Revisiting the classic | "Water Margin" director Zhang Shaolin: bringing the heroes of Liangshan to the screen

    The 1998 version of "Water Margin" is about to end on the "Revisiting Classics" channel. In order to bring the heroes of Liangshan to life in the 43-episode story, the main creative team at that time carefully crafted and strived for perfection in every aspect, from the creative concept to the rhythm of the script, from the art styling to the sound soundtrack. After the series was aired, it generated huge social repercussions. The majority of the audience gave positive comments on the flesh-and-blood characters, the ups and downs of the storyline, and the adaptation based on the original work.

    The "TV Art" WeChat public account has republished the shooting concept published by Zhang Shaolin, the director of the 1998 version of "Water Margin" on "China Television", and watched the "Water Margin Wave" with audience friends.

    Creation guiding ideology: keep things straight rather than old-fashioned, old stories should have new ideas

    "Good-looking" is the general guiding principle for adaptation and secondary creation. We must respect traditional appreciation habits and respect the nation’s aesthetics, morals, and values. This is a complex academic issue, such as the standards of good men and bad guys in the original work, the meaning of good and evil, the evaluation of loyalty and treachery, and justice and injustice. judgments and other issues that need to be re-understood. Viewing history entirely from the perspective of contemporary people is contrary to public taste, but completely copying the original work is too outdated and will not satisfy the audience.

    The novel "Water Margin" is a realistic work, a picture of the social landscape of the Song and Yuan Dynasties, with the excitement of shaping heroes. It shows the various living creatures of Liangshan heroes and plays a majestic and tragic symphony of ancient heroes. The TV series "Water Margin", like the original work, has the basic mission of shaping a group of Liangshan heroes.

    Liangshan's 108 generals all have the character of being generous with money, acting bravely when seeing justice, helping the poor and those in danger, and daring to act. They are heroes among people. However, with the capacity of 43 episodes of the TV series, we can only focus on shaping the most representative, familiar and favorite heroes among them. They mainly include Song Jiang, Chao Gai, Wu Yong, Wu Song, Linchong, Li Kui, Lu Zhishen, Ruan Shixiong, Yang Zhi, Yan Qing, etc. They have made great efforts and efforts to make them flesh and blood, lifelike, and recognized by the broad audience.

    Script structure: Balancing the whole process of Liangshan heroes from gathering to falling

    We chose the 100-chapter version of "Water Margin" as the blueprint for the TV adaptation, and made bold structural adjustments. Before starting the adaptation, we noticed that there are three circulating versions of "Water Margin", namely the 70-chapter version, the 100-chapter version and the 120-chapter version. Only the 100-chapter version rewrote the gathering of Liangshan heroes, The whole process of growing in strength and final failure and destruction, the story is complete, and the characters have endings. This version is in line with the adaptation requirements of TV series and the appreciation habits of the Chinese people.

    On this basis, we adapted the first forty chapters into 23 episodes, with the main content being the experiences of Liangshan heroes who were forced to go to Liangshan; we condensed chapters from forty to seventy-one into eight episodes, focusing on the growth and fall of Liangshan, and creating a new chapter for Liangshan heroes. To pave the way for the ending. We condensed the remaining content into 10 episodes to expand the story clues and plot lines of Lin Chong, Lu Zhishen, Wu Song, and Ruan Shi, thereby changing the top-heavy shortcomings of the novel.

    Martial arts shooting: It is related to the success or failure of the whole drama. Fighting for the sake of fighting is meaningless.

    "Water Margin" is famous for its martial arts among the four famous novels. The heroes must be excellent in kung fu to satisfy the audience's viewing psychology. The success of the martial arts filming will directly affect the success or failure of the entire drama. I think the martial arts in "Water Margin" must be significantly different from those in Hong Kong and Taiwan martial arts films. Our approach is "real". We need to show real skills when punching, we need to handle the relationship between reality and magic, and we need to show unique skills.

    Martial arts movements must conform to the character's personality, and the individuality and action style must be highlighted in the movements. Fighting for the sake of fighting is meaningless. The principle is to be less but more precise. If you can't fight, don't fight. If you really have to fight, you must use the skills, the heroic courage of the Liangshan heroes, and the unique skills of the heroes. Every martial arts show should give people a sense of pleasure and beauty, and leave an unforgettable impression on the audience.

    Fuhua Road: Serve the overall effect and pursue coordination

    Art is a major project in the modeling of this play. It is necessary to create a living space for the characters in the play that has a strong sense of the times, is suitable for the character's identity, and conforms to the scenes specified in the plot. It must also be conducive to the expression of the character's personality and the development of the times. All in all, the styling must serve the overall effect of the play. Any styling design that is divorced from the plot is undesirable and seems to be showing off. For example, all buildings should avoid the appearance of being born on the same day, same year, same month, and enhance the sense of time. In order to maintain the seriousness of the famous works, the fan building, shop, dyeing shop, restaurant, couplets, and lamps and balls during the Lantern Festival on Yuan Ye have been carefully designed to create a living environment in the Northern Song Dynasty.

    In terms of character modeling, it should be personalized and stylized to achieve the effect of helping actors shape their characters. In particular, we need to pay attention to the "blind spot" of extras. Whether a work can become a masterpiece can be judged by looking at the extras. You can't lose the big for the small.

    Finally, we must pay attention to the expressiveness of the lens and strengthen the spatial effect, depth effect and dynamic effect of the picture. The use of lenses can have the rough edges of life, but should not be too harsh. The composition should be rigorous and the internal tension of the picture should be pursued. The lens should be used accurately, vividly and enthusiastically.

    Music and sound: an irreplaceable means of creating an atmosphere

    Good music can complement a TV series. To give full play to the special role of music in character creation and atmosphere rendering, sometimes in certain situations, sound is more important than picture language, and the atmosphere and artistic conception it creates is unmatched by other means.

    The music of the TV series "Water Margin" is mainly ethnic music. By using modern expression methods to enrich the expressive power of the music, the music is powerful and powerful, presenting a musical image consistent with the temperament of Liangshan heroes. The song design should be catchy, easy to sing and remember. The song "Ode to the Heroes of Liangshan" (later named "Song of Heroes") is a high-pitched, high-spirited and beautiful song. In terms of sound, "Water Margin" wants to change the situation that the country has not paid enough attention to the sound part for many years. This play has a heavy martial arts component. If the dynamic sound rendering is not in place, it will directly affect the quality of the whole play, so senior professionals must be hired. Group, turn off the sound.

    In director Zhang Shaolin's 10,000-word long essay, there are also thoughts on the story rhythm, plot setting, language style, actor selection, etc., as well as derivation and interpretation of the entire process of script formation. It is precisely because of the creative team's continuous improvement of the shooting concept and the creative goal of striving to create first-class quality products that the majority of TV audiences can leave a work that can be watched repeatedly.

    Attached: "One of the shooting ideas for the TV series "Water Margin"" and "2nd of the shooting ideas for the TV series "Water Margin"" (originally published in "China Television" Issues 2 and 5, 1998)


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