On the evening of the last day of May, the tag ‘Studio Superstar June 1st recording’ broke into first place on the hot search. The enthusiasm of netizens was very high.
It wasn’t because there was Fan Xue among the contestants but—
“So Shen Tingyan is certain to be one of the mentors?”
“Ahhhhh this is the first time Teacher Shen is participating in a variety show. I really want to watch it quickly. Ahhhhh [love][love].”
“I am a passerby. I heard that Shen Tingyan has a particularly vicious tongue. Is it true? [doge]. Can I see Teacher Shen scolding and making trash actors cry on the spot? [doge]”
“Su Shijin is also participating in a variety show for the first time. I’m looking forward to it!”
“Guan Ruoying is a big beauty. Ahhh, I want to watch the sneak peek!!”
“The show can invite Shen Tingyan, Su Shijin, Guan Ruoying and Feng Wei at the same time [laughing and crying]. Isn’t it awesome to be able to have such a mentor lineup? My expectations are full.”
June 1st, Hu City.
The hot season started early the moment this small southern city entered June.
In the morning, the temperature was still pleasant. Then by noon, it soared to 39 degrees. With the sun above their heads, people were like shriveled dead fish with a hot iron plate under their feet. They could be fried thoroughly in a short time.
Xue Xiao took a taxi to the recording address sent to him by a sister of the show’s team.
After getting out of the car, he took out heavy luggage from the trunk. On his back was a fully stuffed backpack and a folding chair that had accompanied him in Nanhe for more than a year.
The driver looked at his posture and joked, “You look thin but you are quite energetic.”
The things on his back looked heavier than a person, but he stood tall like a pine tree.
Xue Xiao smiled when he heard this. “I also have muscles, Brother.”
Then he clenched his fists and raised his arms.
The driver was amused by him, said goodbye and drove away.
The wind lifted Xue Xiao’s slightly long black hair. He took a deep breath and held it quietly. Then he looked up to stare directly across the street.
This was a huge camp on the outskirts of Hu City.
After receiving the email from the team of Studio Superstar a month ago, everyone around him was shocked while Xue Xiao was so excited that he hadn’t slept well for two whole days.
Of course, in the end, he didn’t leave Nanhe Film and Television City on the spot. There had still been a month remaining until the show started recording so it was too early.
During this month, he discussed with the landlord to settle the remaining rent. He also contacted a sister working for the show to confirm the matters he needed to pay attention to during the recording. At the same time, he didn’t forget to continue reading books and watching movies to learn and adjust his physical condition.
Zhang Chengyu and many brothers enthusiastically inquired around for him and received a lot of information.
It was said that Guantian originally built this recording base to film a new season of an idol talent show.
Unexpectedly, the base was ready but idol talent shows were uniformly banned. Thus, the ready-made luxury venue was directly used for Studio Superstar.
This show simply required the trainees to learn from idol trainees and to all live together in the base. They would conduct closed training, selection and recording.
This might be a bit painful for some artists who had signed with large companies and had good economic conditions.
But for Xue Xiao, a wandering actor, this arrangement couldn’t be better. It saved him from worrying about accommodations.
At this moment, the staff greeting the trainees and mentors at the gate of the Studio Superstar recording base noticed Xue Xiao and locked their eyes on him.
This huge camp opened its doors to a straight trail. There were several cameras at the end of the trail and a long table was placed in front of it.
The recording had already begun.
Yesterday, a young lady of the show team specially told him on WeChat that he must arrive on time at 12 o’clock. He couldn’t be early or too late because the trainees were arranged to arrive in batches and record the footage of entering the camp separately.
If one person messed up the time then it would affect other people’s shots.
“Also, remember. The moment you enter the door of the camp, you are surrounded by cameras. Pay attention to your words and deeds.”
“But don’t forget to seize the opportunity to be in front of the cameras.”
Xue Xiao had been excited for a whole month since receiving the email. Now he finally felt belated tension.
The phone ‘buzzed’ and one message after another appeared in the family and friends group titled ‘Acting Acting Acting to the End.’
“Xiao ah, have you arrived @Smile.”
“Don’t be nervous. Just treat it as if you are still acting in Nanhe. There is no difference!”
“Don’t be afraid of Fan Xue’s stupidity. There are cameras and he doesn’t dare to blatantly find fault with you!”
“Don’t be so obedient and earn yourself more shots. Otherwise, you will still be an amateur after recording for two months hahaha!”
@Old Jin Go Away @Smile don’t listen to him, don’t listen to him. Be yourself. The audience’s eyes aren’t blind. Deliberately fighting for the camera is disgusting. Our Xiao doesn’t need to do this type of thing. Serious acting is good!”
Zhang Chengyu sent him a message alone. “Xiao Xiao, eat well, live well and act well. Talk to Master and your brothers if you have any questions. Don’t hold it in your heart.”
“Enjoy this time of acting and studying.”
His parents were far away in their hometown and he hadn’t seen them in a long time, but even they sent two voice messages.
It was still the blunt but caring tone in his memory.
Xue Xiao was very heartbroken. The corners of his lips curved up and a bit of tension was replaced by the excitement that surged in his heart.
He replied uniformly, “I’m already here and I’m ready to go in! [Jiayou.]”
The time was 12 o’clock sharp.
Xue Xiao put down his phone and took a deep breath again.
He dragged his suitcase and took this step.
From 10 o’clock in the morning to now, a total of 25 out of 50 participants had arrived.
The staff member sent to welcome the trainees and mentors were dizzy under the hot sunlight. He saw the figure hanging around across the street for a long time finally moving and quickly picked up the roster.
“You are… Xue Xiao, right?”
As he spoke, he looked at the roster again to confirm it.
“Hello, that’s me.” Xue Xiao stopped in front of him and smiled kindly and obediently.
The staff member instantly became clear-headed due to the smile in these eyes and said, “Oh, okay. Then go in quickly.”
He finished speaking and put a tick on the roster. Then he raised his head to give a reminder. “Pay attention to the camera.”
Xue Xiao quickly nodded his thanks, pulled the suitcase and walked inside.
The bulging backpack and the iconic folding chair, this was a typical preparation for the film and television city.
The staff member withdrew his gaze from Xue Xiao’s back.
However, these eyes were much more spiritual than many popular actors.
In the beginning, many colleagues were worried in private that the audience’s expectations would be greatly raised by the lineup of mentors. But how could a show that was like a talent show survive to the end on just four mentors?
Among the 50 participants, 30 were amateurs who acted as extras and most of them were unknown to the audience. The remaining 20 were seriously debuted artists, among which the most famous one was Fan Xue.
This guy was hot but the first drama where he acted as the male lead hadn’t officially aired. In the final analysis, he was at the second-tier level while the rest were at the 18th tier.
The overall flow of participants was insufficient and there were too few works that could be used to judge the level.
Acting skills were much more metaphysical than singing and dancing. Different works, different roles and even the training of different directors could cause the level between the same actors to open a gap that was like heaven and earth.
They selected amateurs, extras, background actors and young actors to take part in the show. If they weren’t careful and all the participants weren’t up to scratch then they couldn’t be saved.
The man tapped on Xue Xiao’s name with the tip of his pen and his eyes swept over the names of a few participants who had already reported in.
The leaders had a good vision. It seemed that there were many excellent seedlings among these participants.
The wheels of the suitcase rolled loudly on the ground.
Xue Xiao was so hot that his neck was sweating slightly, but there was no irritability in his heart.
He saw the black lenses waiting in front of him, getting closer and closer, and blood rushed through his body.
It was almost an instinctive reaction of his body.
It had been almost two months.
He could finally act again, right in this place.
Xue Xiao stood at the long table and gave a polite greeting. A staff member came over to put a lavalier microphone on him. Then the staff member retreated behind the camera and said, “Find your name tag and pin it to your right waist. Then go to that building and follow the signs.”
‘That building’ referred to a six-storey ‘Building 1’ on the right side of the trail.
Xue Xiao’s gaze swept over the table and he found his name tag. After bidding farewell, he instinctively smiled at the camera before turning around to walk briskly toward Building 1.
Someone paused before turning around to whisper to a colleague, “The contrast with him compared to the scenes is a bit big…”
“Yes.” The man covered his lips. “I didn’t expect him to be so… pure, cough cough.”
The lobby of Building 1 had sufficient air conditioning and sweat instantly collected into his pores.
There was a guide board in the center of the lobby, instructing the participants to take the elevator to the No 1 studio on the third floor.
Xue Xiao continued to take two deep breaths, his cheeks puffing up before deflating.
Be calm and don’t get too excited.
He came here to act. As long as he could act, what was the difference between this place and Nanhe Film and Television City?
He had to treat it as normal.
Xue Xiao muttered in his heart. He grabbed the suitcase handle and strode toward the elevator.
Once he went up to the third floor, the elevator doors opened and a deep corridor appeared in front of him.
A faint conversation could be heard coming from a room in front of him.
The beating of his heart was amplified in his ears.
Xue Xiao walked in the direction that the sound came from. The wheels continued to make sounds on the smooth ground.
There was a door wide open in front of him and a bit of light was scattered onto the hallway floor.
Perhaps it was due to the aura but even though he was still a few steps away, Xue Xiao could magically feel that there was a huge space there and there were already many people.
The frequency of his heartbeat reached its peak.
He let out a long breath, pulled the suitcase and stepped inside.
—The studio appeared in front of him.
It was about the size of a large auditorium and surrounded by cameramen and machines. It felt oppressive.
On the side near the door were five rows of raised seats from top to bottom. There was a flat space and a huge screen in front. It was currently a static picture, showing a promotional photo and ‘Studio Superstar’ in gorgeous font.
There were more than 20 people scattered on the raised seats. Everyone was talking in low voices in groups of twos and threes.
The person closest to the back door turned his head and looked at Xue Xiao the moment he stepped in.
Immediately afterward, the static picture on the screen switched. There was a sound effect and what appeared in front of everyone’s eyes was Xue Xiao’s simple electronic resume.
Xue Xiao froze for a while.
There was a well-behaved ID photo and the text listed his name, height, weight, age, graduate school, acting age, current career positioning, film and television works he had participated in, goals, idols, acting enlightenment, favorite person…
The last few items filled in by Xue Xiao caused a burst of surprised laughter in the studio and some people cast him teasing glances.
At the same time, there was applause to welcome him, the new participant who reported in.
Soon, the simple electronic resume disappeared and was replaced by a video of his portfolio.
Xue Xiao was caught off guard and completely stunned by the random punches from the show.
The portfolio was requested by the show’s staff when recruiting students… Xue Xiao never expected that the video would be shown like this on the first day of meeting new friends!
The participant by the door beckoned to Xue Xiao and smiled. “Hey, Brother, don’t be embarrassed. Each one of us was like this when we came in. Come here and accept the public execution.”
Xue Xiao didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as he dragged his suitcase and sat down. He whispered, “It startled me.”
“Hahaha, right? Based on your outfit, did you come from a film and television city?”
Xue Xiao nodded before asking curiously, “You too? I was over at Nanhe Film and Television City.”
“Oh, I was hanging around Fushui Film and Television City.”
As Xue Xiao’s collection of works started to play, someone exclaimed, “Awesome. Brother, can you still do this?”
The sound attracted everyone’s attention. Xue Xiao also shifted his gaze to the big screen as he looked at the video material he had compiled and produced himself.
The big scenes came first.
These were all his works from his period as an extra.
Many of the people present were extras. Some hadn’t been able to get roles with lines so far and were very worried when first making their highlights video. They participated in big scenes but were all background boards. Even if it was sent to the show team, could the staff members find them among the crowd of passersby?
However, even if they didn’t want to send it, they had to send it. Otherwise, it would really be like they had no works and they could only record some short videos to show themselves.
Meanwhile, Xue Xiao’s collection of works was very spiritual.
The camera looked down and slowly scanned the shocking corpses on the battlefield. Suddenly, the screen stopped and a red arrow appeared. it shook twice and pointed to a small head exposed in the middle of a pile.
The white face was stained with a lot of blood and he burped very peacefully. If it wasn’t for the arrow specifically pointing him out, it wouldn’t be obvious at all that this was Xue Xiao.
The screen changed to the scene of a charge. A group of people were rushing halfway when the image froze. Then the bloody arrow pointed to a raised hand behind the crowd.
The hand was raised really high and the ax was held so boldly, but the face couldn’t be seen. There was only a handful of black hair fluttering in the wind.
“Hahaha, amazing. Why didn’t I think of this trick in the beginning?”
“In comparison, the collection of highlights I made is simply invalid homework!”
“I thought I was acting as an extra and what was the point of sending it to the show team. Thus, I specially recorded a short video. As a result, it can still be like this?”
Even the brother next to Xue Xiao couldn’t help exclaiming, “You can really do things. Brother, your name is Xue Xiao, right? This is much more impressive than a short video! I’ve learned it, I’ve learned it!”
Xue Xiao’s face was red from the praise but he still pursed his lips and smiled. Then he said bluntly, “I thought that I had to let the staff members of the show see me.”
In the beginning, he actually considered if it was necessary to send the content of his performance as an extra to the show.
He had been admitted as a contracted actor. Even if he played some attendants or small eunuchs, he still had some lines and separate shots.
Meanwhile, the extras were purely in the background. They were people coming back and forth on the streets of the film and television cities, the masses shaking the flags for the protagonist in the audience.
No one would notice these background actors.
Even if the camera didn’t blue them, the eyes of the viewers would automatically blur them.
In the case where there were better materials, was it necessary to add these performances into the collection?
Xue Xiao thought about it for several days before finally making a decision.
He did put them in.
In fact, even for Zhang Chengyu and the other veterans, the fact that Xue Xiao got a contracted actor qualification in nine months with a non-professional background was already divine speed, a talent and a miracle.
However, during the one year and three months that Xue Xiao spent in Nanhe, it was true that nine of them were spent as an extra.
In his short acting career so far, ‘Passerby A’ was still an indispensable, extremely large and important part of his growth process.
No matter what achievements Xue Xiao would gain on the road of acting in the future, his starting point was a corpse on the battlefield. These background characters led him into the mysterious world of acting one by one and Xue Xiao would never forget that time.
So what if it was insignificant?
It was as the old saying went. There were no small roles, only small actors.
Even if it was an extra, he could be an excellent extra.
Can’t see him?
Then he would try to be seen—even if it was through outrageous means.
Xue Xiao raised his head slightly. His eyes reflected himself on the screen and they were calm.
After this unexpected and interesting extras video material passed, Xue Xiao’s roles as a ‘background actor’ in the real sense appeared in front of the participants one by one.
Everyone watched seriously and curiously until a scene crashed into their field of view.
The sound of the water being disturbed was heard.
Something broke out of the river under the clear moonlight. It was a person.
A head of wet black hair clung to the bare back alluringly. His complexion was such a dazzling white that it was like the moonlight had turned him into a demon.
His body was thin but covered with a thin layer of muscles. The youthful and seductive lines fully showed that this was a young man.
Arms slowly stroked through the water. In the midst of the sound of water, the beautiful shoulder blades swayed in their field of view.
He swam to the short. The waterline gradually receded, revealing a thin and flexible waist. The bright water flowed along the beautiful lines of the depression in the middle of his back and sank into deep darkness.
He supported his body with both hands as he used slight force. The back muscles stretched, tightened and became more eye-catching. It was so beautiful that it seemed to even brew some fragrance.
Then he turned his head as if he heard something.
While turning his head, he slowly brushed back his wet hair and raised his eyes.
The raven-blue eyelashes were stained with water and clumped up. The black eyes reflected the moonlight and seemed wet.
Several gasps suddenly sounded in the studio.