Joseph sat silently on the sofa, having lost much of the arrogance he'd had in his heart.
Actually, those symbols had not dealt him such a severe blow. Although he felt like he had hit a wall when he had tried deciphering those scribbles, what had given him a bigger shock were those books.
Fang Zhao had actually finished close to a hundred books in the space of three months!
He still had some ability when determining whether he was being deceived. Even though he could not understand the scribbles, from what he had seen, the person had made markings and taken notes randomly and had read them seriously. All the underlines, notes, and remarks on blank spaces clearly showed that the person had read it really seriously and taken notes conscientiously!
What sort of speed was this!
Of course, reading books quickly did not mean much—his main objective was to see how capable this Fang Zhao person was.
Recalling when he had investigated all the information regarding Fang Zhao, Joseph felt that it was best for him to maintain silence.
Continuously staring at someone was an impolite gesture. Joseph could not bring himself to fix his gaze on and analyze Fang Zhao, so he stared at the bookshelf. He had wanted to ponder some questions, but as he thought about it, he found himself in a daze.
Only when he heard a book being closed did he return to his senses and put on a polite smile once again.
Fang Zhao placed the notebook into a drawer and looked at Joseph. "Sorry for making you wait."
This time around, Joseph was more humble. "No, no, not at all. It's me who is being a bother." Whatever the case, Fang Zhao was someone worth admiring.
Joseph noticed that Fang Zhao did not seem impatient, so he did not delve straight to the main topic and instead picked out the thickest history book from the shelf. "I have a question I wish to ask, Mr. Fang. Are the notes inside written using shorthand?"
"Yes," Fang Zhao joked, "this is a shorthand I created: Fang-style cursive. One stroke per book."
Actually, it could not be considered a cursive script 1 ; rather, it had gradually evolved from one. A few more complicated words inside had been substituted with other symbols, and that was how it had become Fang Zhao's own shorthand style. Fang Zhao could practically write a whole sentence with one stroke.
It was just taking notes. He wrote it this way as it was for himself to read. If it were for others, he would write in the normal words that everyone knew.
Just like when Fang Zhao was composing, the script was written in a code that only he understood. When it was for other people's eyes, he would change it to common musical notes.
During the Period of Destruction, Fang Zhao had frequently used this sort of shorthand method for formulating battle plans and taking notes. When there had no longer been any use for those notes, Fang Zhao had destroyed them. Those times required being prudent, not just against the foreign enemy but against vile characters as well.
Thus, those "handwritten notes of a great man" in the New Era memorial hall were actually nothing personal. They had been written for others to see and were not secret, so he naturally hadn't used "Fang-style cursive."
However, now the notes no longer needed to be destroyed and were nothing like the formulated battle plans that could decide the lives or deaths of troops and needed to be safeguarded. However, this was a habit that Fang Zhao continued to retain when he went out on missions. Idle time in between was shorter, so this method of cursive saved time and effort.
Furthermore, perhaps due to his body's physical changes, Fang Zhao's current reading speed kept increasing, and his brain thought faster. To best save time, Fang Zhao would write out all the thoughts in his head, regardless whether he was in battle mode or not. Using this "one stroke per book" was the most appropriate.
During the Period of Destruction, these sorts of shorthand note-taking methods had all been lost, so now, Fang Zhao had no fear of anybody else understanding it.
"So that's the case." Indeed, it was shorthand.
Joseph asked a seemingly harmless question. "All of these have been read by you?"
"Yes. I'm almost done reading them," Fang Zhao replied. Actually, there were still around 10 more books that Fang Zhao had shifted away to make room for newly printed books when he had been tidying the bookshelf, as it had been too full. However, Fang Zhao did not feel that it was necessary to mention this.
"I never expected that Mr. Fang would still read so many books while undergoing his military service," Joseph said ruefully. "I finally know why you know so much even though you only have a composing background."
Fang Zhao wanted to say "One will never cease to learn as long as one lives," but he swallowed his words just before he opened his mouth. This proverb did not seem too appropriate.
Noticing that Fang Zhao did not appear to be pleased or even have any other expression, Joseph did not mention it further. Straightening his face, he spoke about his motive for coming today.
"Does Mr. Fang know the revolutionary film project set during the Period of Destruction is on the verge of being rebooted?" Joseph asked.
Fang Zhao nodded. "I heard about it."
"Although it has yet to be officially announced, certain entertainment companies in every continent have received news of the pending reboot, and it is indeed a reality. As the investors and one of the producing parties of this project, the Interplanetary Fund has nominating rights."
Joseph seamlessly observed Fang Zhao but did not notice any trace of impulse or excitement, or any other expression, on his face. Fang Zhao was still the same as before, maintaining his calm demeanor and listening attentively.
"Mr. Fang is contracted to Silver Wing Media and is one of the members on the consultant team for 'Beauties' and 'Warring States.' You should probably know that for any dramas concerning history, a consultant team cannot be lacking. We have seen the two period dramas released by Silver Wing, and they are indeed top quality. The consultant teams for these dramas are indeed capable. Today, I'm here on behalf of the Interplanetary Fund to give Mr. Fang an invitation and hope you will join as a member of the consultant team for the revolutionary film project that is about to be rebooted."
When Joseph had first received this assignment, he had not understood why the top had a preference for Fang Zhao. As part of the film projects team, naturally, Joseph knew what the revolutionary film project was all about.
Although this project had been raised long ago, filming had been continuously put off, as the parties that were investing in the production were always at odds.
Besides the Interplanetary Fund, there were over 10 other coproducing parties that were large investors. These were all the famous families in each of the continents, and they had continuously argued—having opposing views on this actor or that, being unable to see eye to eye, and even arguing over the script. Parties would say that these were fabrications, slander, or overexaggerations that were misleading. The script had also seen many years of adjustments and amendments, but with so many disagreements, the project had kept being shelved.
Now, the Interplanetary Fund had increased their investment in this project and contacted the other investing parties with their decision to reboot the project. First and foremost was setting up a consultant team.
For the revolutionary film project, the consultant team would naturally be huge. It could be said that consultant teams for past film and drama series could not compare to this film project's consultant team in terms of manpower and capability. Perhaps even many years into the future, there might not still not be a consultant team that could compare with it.
Every investing party had their own consultants they acknowledged. The Interplanetary Fund had put forward two expert professors renowned in many circles for their research on the history of the Period of Destruction.
For the highly viewed online historical dramas "Beauties" and the currently airing "Warring States," many people did not bother watching the tiny words in the end credits after an episode ended, but people from the Interplanetary Fund's film projects team paid attention to them.
Many consultants in many historical dramas were nothing more than consultants in name only and were being dragged along just as a facade, leaving after perhaps having a meal or making some small talk while having close to practically no use. Perhaps these titular consultants had not even watched the dramas in question, so there were lots of drama series that appeared with lots of inaccuracies. For these titular consultants, this would damage their reputation. However, many of these history consultants did not bother about their fame or reputation. They were more concerned about how much money they would get, and it was fine as long as they got paid. If the director did not need them, they were more than happy to relax.
But when the completed "Beauties" and currently airing "Warring States" that were really popular were released, everyone could see the quality. The masses were not blind, and it was shown by the popularity of the two series as well as their rankings on online video sites. This was what made the Interplanetary Fund pay attention to the consultant team displayed at the end credits.
Fang Zhao had already been eyeing this revolutionary film project. Having received an invitation, there was no way he would reject it.
Fang Zhao discussed the terms for the contract with Joseph and was required to sign a confidentiality agreement. There was no need for nondisclosure about Fang Zhao signing on as a consultant—rather, the confidentiality agreement was for the contents of the script he would receive.
The script had not been completely set in stone and required the members of the consultant team to run through it. Probably only when the script was fully set would there be an official announcement on the reboot of this project.
After signing the contract, Fang Zhao asked, "Who are the other members of the consultant team that have already been invited?"
Since the contract had already been signed, they now had a working relationship, so there was no need for Joseph to keep this a secret. He handed over a list of people who were already included in the consultant team. "These members have already been confirmed. There might be a few just like you who have been invited but have yet to be recorded on the list."
The list might not have been completed, but taking one glance through, Fang Zhao could tell right away why this was the consultant team for the revolutionary film project. This lineup was formidable, and past series could not compare.
The head of the historical consultant team was the president of the Academy of Social Sciences, an esteemed and respectable historian. Following behind him, there were names of people from archaeology fields, historical research institute staff, and literature award recipients. All of these were famous names in the fields of history, art, and literature.
Why did Fang Zhao recognize these names?
That was because a third of books in his bookshelf were written by these people!
Just looking at these names, Fang Zhao could tell that this project was absolutely of the highest quality.
If this revolutionary film project was rebooted and the names on the consultant team released, that lineup was enough to make the entire film circle tremble!
Compared to the names on the list, generally, as someone who did not specialize in history, Fang Zhao would not have received an invitation. With regards to advice and consultation, Fang Zhao's current status was a far way off from the others who had been famous for a long time already.
But Fang Zhao's "combat" experience was strong: consultant team member for "Beauties" and "Warring States," design team member for the Silver Wing region of the Wai film entertainment complex, and a member of the advisory panel for Fiery Bird's "Battle of the Century." These were actual examples displayed out in the open and could not be falsified!
The most significant was Fiery Bird's "Battle of the Century." The game had been set during the actual Period of Destruction, and Fang Zhao had provided many pertinent suggestions.
From an investor's point of view, Fang Zhao's resume was no less valuable than that a few of these award winners.
And because of this, the Interplanetary Fund had dispatched Joseph over to deliver an invitation to Fang Zhao.
Even Duan Qianji would never have expected that, through the two meticulously produced historical dramas, none of her actors had managed to secure a spot, yet the historical consultant team had already set their eyes on one of her staff.
With his assignment completed, Joseph had no intention of remaining at the outpost for long and got ready to take his leave.
Fang Zhao called out to Joseph as he got up and prepared to leave. "Please wait."
Joseph raised an eyebrow. "Do you still have any doubts Mr. Fang?"
"Has the cast been confirmed yet?" Fang Zhao asked.
"Not yet. Only after the script has been finalized will the casting be decided on." Joseph assumed that Fang Zhao was helping Silver Wing make inquiries, so he did not find it strange. "For this series, significant supporting roles and leads all require approval from many different parties. After that, a vote will still be required to finalize the decisions. This will be up to how the various companies go about their operations. I do not understand all these too well, but one thing is for certain: people without a certain degree of fame will not even have a chance."
The "fame" that Joseph spoke about was not just being famous in one continent but rather on a global context.
"Thank you," Fang Zhao replied.
"Welcome." As if suddenly recalling something, Joseph turned around to face Fang Zhao. "Right, Mr. Fang is really talented in composing. I have also listened to the background music in the two Silver Wing drama series. They are very good, and I anticipate hearing more of Mr. Fang's works in the later episodes that will be released."
After he finished, Joseph flashed a courteous smile and left.
What he meant to tell Fang Zhao was this. Get your company to do some work and promote you and expand your reputation. Perhaps it will get noticed by the relevant parties at the Interplanetary Fund. After all, this revolutionary film project would also require background music and accompaniment pieces for all sorts of scenes. Sure, Fang Zhao still lacked the qualifications for the opening and closing songs, but for short interludes of various scenes in the show, Fang Zhao might have a chance.
Of course, Fang Zhao understood the underlying meaning behind Joseph's words. However, he had his own plans and would not do as Joseph had suggested. He still thanked Joseph for his kind intentions, though.
After Joseph left, Fang Zhao studied the invitation letter on his table. After scanning it on his personal terminal, he gained access to a group discussion platform for the consultant team, which was really easy to manage.
Shortly after entering, Fang Zhao received a few electronic files that were not related to the script. These were points to take note of for newcomers to the consultant team and to help newcomers adjust to the consultant team.
A consultant was not all about advising and not asking, nor was it all about asking and not advising. Worst of all was doing none of the above. This series was not a historical documentary, and it had some artistic value to it. The pointers were to remind some less attentive consultants about where to set out from and which angle to take when asking questions.
For a historical drama, it was first and foremost a theatrical piece of art, not a historical study. This art was expressed through film and music and had to be slightly larger than life, and for this art that had such a large investment, it naturally needed to arouse sufficient interest from audiences. Only then would there be greater returns. But as a historical drama, this art form could be excessive, but it still had to have a certain degree of authenticity.
After looking through these files, Fang Zhao had a rough of idea of what was going on. Being invited in now was just to report his attendance. When the time came, the contents of the script would be issued.
Just as he was pondering which events would be contained in the script, Fang Zhao received a call from Xue Jing.
Having already completed his global lecture tour on music, Xue Jing had just seen the video of Baiji military district's commendation ceremony and had seen the portion where Fang Zhao was honored.
However, besides showing concern, Old Xue Jing was also worried that Fang Zhao would walk down the wrong path. What if Fang Zhao decided to stay on with the military?
Xue Jing still had high hopes that Fang Zhao would undertake a greater pursuit of musical art and hoped that Fang Zhao would stay away from the military path. He wanted Fang Zhao to gain the recognition and approval of more people, especially the really fussy academics. If Fang Zhao did not walk down this path, academics would then judge Fang Zhao as having taken a "low-end route."
Fang Zhao described his daily routine. "I go on missions during the day and compose at night after returning to the outpost. I'm now working on a piece for a certain scene in 'Warring States'."
Hearing all this, Xue Jing's worry dissipated slightly, and he smiled a little brighter. "That's good. The ancient-style background music for 'Beauties' and 'Warring States' is really good. I have seen your work. If you keep it up, given your ability, once your military service ends, you can begin planning for your own individual concert."
"My sentiments exactly."
Xue Jing was delighted at Fang Zhao's reply, and they chatted about a few other music-related questions before Xue Jing reminded Fang Zhao to be careful and stay safe while out on his missions and then ended the call.
Fang Zhao remained silent for a while after ending the call with Xue Jing before dialing a certain number.
Yanzhou military district's general hospital. Yan Biao was undergoing a medical checkup. His prosthetics had already been fitted, and they were really expensive ones at that. The artificial limbs were nimble, and their functionality satisfied him. He had received a generous payout for his military discharge as well as bonuses. If he had not been discharged with merits and received particularly generous treatment and discounts, with just a normal discharge payout, he would never have been able to afford these sorts of prosthetics.
Yan Biao was also astonished to receive Fang Zhao's call. He had been keeping contact with Fang Zhao, but it had just been through text messages. Undergoing half a year of treatment and rehabilitation, Yan Biao's body had already recovered and he was in good spirits, probably anticipating what lay ahead for him. Furthermore, with the current levels of medical technology that were continuously improving, his recovery time had been much quicker than he had expected.
Yan Biao had sent a message to Fang Zhao last week saying he had already been discharged from the hospital, his body was at peak condition, and he could start work at anytime. Today, he had returned to the hospital just for a follow-up, and the results were all good.
Reading through Yan Biao's follow-up results and confirming that there were no issues, Fang Zhao said, "Prepare to start work."
Yan Biao brightened up, and his eyes shone with anticipation. "I have long been waiting for this day!"
After listening to Fang Zhao's instructions and ending the call, Yan Biao stood at the entrance of the hospital, sighing deeply as he stared at the sky. He had just started work!
But before that...
Yan Biao pulled up his trouser leg, looked at his lower leg, which had been replaced with machinery, and hesitated slightly.
This would be his first job after being discharged from the military. To give everyone a good impression of him, should he color this leg gold? Maybe silver-plated? Or perhaps a lower-profile skin-color tone?An ancient calligraphy technique whereby using cursive strokes joined together, an entire script could be completed in one stroke.