Top French TV producer launched beauty reality show (China Daily)

4 August 2011 21 h 09 min 8 comments

Top reality TV series producer Alexis de Gemini, the brains behind Loft Story, France’s first reality show, and The Bachelor in Paris, a smash hit, has directed a reality show for a Chinese TV station.

By Sun Li

In China Daily (2011-08-04)

Beauty Academy, a pioneering Chinese reality TV show, aims to pick the country’s most talented makeup artist. Comprising 10 episodes, each 60 minutes long, the show took about three months to complete and is a joint effort of Gemini’s professional team and Shanghai-based Dragon TV.

But this is not the first time Gemini has worked on a project in China. In 2005 and 2006, he traveled from Beijing to Hong Kong to shoot Pekin Express, a popular French adventure show.


“It is a lifetime opportunity for me to film across China and I always wanted to come back. The experiences in China have really broadened my horizons as I encountered a unique culture,” the 39-year-old director says.

Gemini says he was impressed by the success of the Super Girl contest hosted by Hunan Satellite Television. “It is proof that Chinese audiences are embracing reality shows, so I revisited China to make an original program,” he says.

Since reality shows in China are seldom about luxury and lifestyle, Gemini came up with the idea of putting the spotlight on makeup artists. Like other reality shows, Beauty Academy involved elimination rounds and commenced with a nationwide audition held in major metropolises including Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing.

Thousands of applicants, regardless of age, gender or occupation, were asked in the first round of selections to bring their friends, on whom they could display their makeup skills. “Some applicants really stunned us while others expressed an odd definition of ‘beauty’ that shocked and amused audiences,” he says. “But what I want to emphasize are the stories of those who evolved by tackling various challenges.”

For example, a 45-year-old divorced mother, who quit her job, pulled herself together by pouring her passion into makeup. “As the program’s name suggests, we want to develop contestants’ potential and train them well,” Gemini says, adding that the training includes tips from the nation’s top-rated stylists and also a trip to France to learn from leading dancers at the dazzling Moulin Rouge”. “As I brought in European expertise and technology, Beauty Academy opened up another type of training for the Chinese crew,” Gemini says.

While Chinese employees contributed to the lighting, sound, dcor and coordination, his French assistants helped with the storytelling and editing. Gemini also deployed a stage setting where cameras were hidden behind specially designed mirrors. “It helped put the players in a relaxed mood,” Gemini says. “It’s efficient and maybe Chinese cameramen can use this in future.”

Asked about the difficulties he encountered during shooting, he says that despite the language barrier, the production went smoothly. “Thanks to my translators, the language problem was no big deal. Sometimes, I communicated with gestures and we always quickly understood each other when talking about the plot and how to shoot a specific scene. After all, the communication of art transcends language boundaries,” the producer says.

The show is being shown on Dragon TV at 10 pm every Wednesday.

[The main sponsor of the show is the French brand Sephora]



SOURCE: China Daily (04/08/2011 page18)

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