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Lu Zhiyao looked at the script and then at Zhang Zuting. He looked back at the script and then at Boss Pei.
It was obvious that he was conflicted.
He had never heard of the director, the cast and crew had not achieved any recognition, the script was one-of-a-kind, and he was being asked to play the brown-nosing protagonist.
From many angles, taking this role would be extremely risky.
However, after hearing Zhang Zuting’s advice, Lu Zhiyao was visibly shaken.
Maybe this movie would really help me to break out of the box I have put myself in with my previous roles. Perhaps I will no longer be known as the ‘toxicity in the box office’…
If the movie turns out successful, it wouldn’t matter how much money I make in the process. If I can get rid of my title as the ‘toxicity in the box office’ and regain my audience’s approval, all the effort would be worth it!
Moreover, I could learn a thing or two from working with Zhang Zuting. Perhaps my acting would improve. After much consideration, Lu Zhiyao made up his mind. At last, he nodded. “Aright, I’ll take a gamble for this good script and Mr. Zhang! I’ll do the same as Mr. Zhang and ask for less remuneration!”
Pei Qian quickly raised his hand to stop them. “I can’t allow that!
“Both of you will be paid as much as you deserve. I won’t shortchange you. In fact, I’ll pay you even more!
“Don’t feel embarrassed. You can best pay me back by displaying your excellent acting skills during filming!” Zhang Zuting and Lu Zhiyao smiled, obviously comforted. Indeed, it was a pleasure working with bright people like Boss Pei!
Pei Qian was elated as well. The ‘toxicity in the box office’ had been roped in. His job was done!
“Since that’s decided, we can hurry up with the preparations and start filming as soon as possible!”
Pei Qian could not wait to spend all thirty million yuan at once.
For now, all the preparation work for the movie was done.
The script had been finalized, and the initial preparations were almost complete. The two main actors had also been found. Both were quite famous and acted quite well. On the surface, the movie looked like it would be a success. It looked nothing like a movie that would fail on the day of its premiere.
Pei Qian had been quite successful at lying to everyone and disguising his intentions!
He would not get involved in finding the lead actress and bit-role actors. Instead, he would leave these matters to Zhu Xiaoce.
After all, the lead actress would only play a small part in the movie. She would not have many lines, and she probably would not be that outstanding Now that the actors playing the male protagonist and judge had been confirmed, Pei Qian was confident that no other actor or actress could turn the situation around, no matter how hard they tried.
November 22nd, Monday…
Pei Qian subconsciously switched off his 10 AM alarm and then slept for another thirty minutes before waking up naturally.
When he sat up, he realized it was almost time for lunch. Habitually, he ordered Fish-Catching Take-Out. After watching shows for some time, his take-out arrived. Pei Qian ate his food as he thought about the work he had to do in the coming weeks.
He had more or less finished distributing the tasks for this cycle. In the next five or six days, he probably would not have anything else to keep him busy.
However, he had not thought about how to spend the five million yuan meant for charity yet.
There were many ways to do charity.
Large, foreign companies did charity in order to avoid taxes. Some even took charity as a form of business. Not only could they avoid incurring losses, but they could also earn some profit.
On the other hand, Pei Qian’s motive in doing charity was purer; he only wanted to lose money.
The simplest method was to donate all five million yuan. Yet, who should he donate the money to? That was another problem to think about.
Whether he chose to donate the money to poor children or less-developed areas, he would have to go through some charity organizations in the process. Pei Qian did not have the time or energy to research various organizations and distinguish the reliable ones from the non-reliable ones.
After all, many charity and non-profit organizations that looked reliable on the surface ended up being involved in some form of scandal.
He had to spend the money no matter what, but if blood-suckers benefited in the process, he would be extremely dissatisfied.
Thus, Pei Qian planned to start from his surroundings first. He could make sure that the money landed in the hands of people who really needed it before he expanded his area of influence.
Spending five million yuan did not seem like much. In fact, compared to ballers overseas who would make all-out donations of up to ninety percent of their assets to charitable causes, the figure seemed lacking.
However, many ballers overseas only made all-out donations in order to avoid taxes. It would be good enough if only a fraction of the assets were genuinely used for a charitable cause.
In contrast, all the five million yuan that Pei Qian intended to spend on charity was meant to be put to good use. He would make sure that the amount would not be discounted in any way. As the starting sum in the System Funds increased, Pei Qian would be able to spend more and more money on charity. He could even end up spending eight to ten million yuan, or even more, on charity in the future.
Eventually, Pei Qian was sure that he would build a charity foundation just to manage the funds and ensure that the money landed in the hands of those who really needed it.
However, there was no need for such a foundation now.
Thus, Pei Qian decided to start from his surroundings. At the very least, he could personally ensure that he only distributed money to the needy.
As for who he should give the money to… Pei Qian had not thought about it yet.
Just as he was deep in thought, his cell phone rang. Pei Qian set down his chopsticks and glanced at the screen. It was his instructor, Zhang Wei.
“Eh?” Pei Qian was slightly surprised.
When Zhang Wei called the last time, he had wanted Pei Qian to recommend some classmates to Fei Huang Workspace’s head. His intention had been to get Pei Qian’s seniors employed.
Pei Qian had thought that he had stumbled upon treasure. Very excitedly, he assigned all of them to Zhongdian Chinese Network.
There was nothing more.
Why would Zhang Wei call him now?
Pei Qian was already in his second year of university. He still had not taken on any roles in school, and his grades were about the same as the year before at best. He definitely still did not qualify for any scholarships or awards. As for the other things… they were even more unlikely.
Was Zhang Wei calling for help to solve his seniors’ employment issues again?
That couldn’t be. It was only November. His seniors hadn’t graduated.
Puzzled, Pei Qian picked up the call. “Hello? Teacher Zhang?”
Zhang Wei remained silent for two seconds and then spoke in a heavy tone. “Pei Qian… or should I call you ‘Boss Pei’ now?”
Pei Qian’s mind was filled with question marks. He felt that something was amiss.
Had his identity been exposed?!
Zhang Wei remained in the university as an instructor after graduation. He was only five or six years older than Pei Qian, and they were considered to be from the same generation. Thus, although they did not interact much usually, they were as good as friends.
Zhang Wei also often paid out of his own pocket to treat a few male students to meals and drinks from time to time. That was why Pei Qian had quite a good impression of him in general.
However, this call seemed to spell trouble for Pei Qian!
Pei Qian had told Zhang Wei before that he had found a part-time job at Fei Huang Workspace. Zhang Wei had not suspected anything at the time.
Yet, this time, Zhang Wei was referring to Pei Qian as ‘Boss Pei’. That was very problematic! Pei Qian laughed nervously. “Teacher Zhang, what are you joking about? Since when did I become Boss Pei?”
Zhang Wei sounded both furious and amused. “Drop the act! If Zhu Xingan had not come back to visit me recently and started talking about you, I would still be kept in the dark!
“All this time, you were the boss of Tengda. That means Fei Huang Workspace and the other companies are all yours?! “You’re really something. I haven’t heard a peep from you over the past year or so, and yet you have established such a huge business like Tengda. You’ve even remained so low-profile the entire time. Not many people around you know about your achievements!
“Anyone else would have boasted to the entire school after making just a small profit. You’re much better. Even after establishing such a huge company, you continue to conduct your business in secret, just like a thief!”
Pei Qian was speechless. “…”
Oh, no! I’ve been exposed!
Pei Qian had already tried as hard as he could to not show his face in Zhongdian Chinese Network. Still, there was no way he could have kept this hidden forever.
Pei Qian remained silent for a split second and said, “Teacher Zhang, you know that I’ve always been low-profile. I just want to lead a normal life in school. I don’t want seniors and friends to rush into class to ask for employment while I’m trying to learn. That’ll be quite a scene…”
Zhang Wei felt speechless. “Am I looking into the mind of a business genius? You’re really different from the rest. Alright, since you’ve put it that way, I’ll keep this secret as your teacher. You won’t have to worry about this affecting your normal life.
“Will you do your part to help your Teacher Zhang during the next graduation season?
“I heard from Zhu Xingan that you assigned all of them to Zhongdian Chinese Network and that the website is now doing very well! Look, it’s a win-win situation. The school provides you with talents, and you provide your seniors with jobs. My employment rate has gone up, and so has your company’s efficiency! How great is that?!”
Pei Qian was speechless. “…”
It did look good on the surface, but…
Forget it; it was hard to explain.
Pei Qian really did not want to take in any more seniors. He would not be able to take it! He would consider killing himself if another Zhongdian Chinese Network popped out of nowhere!
Zhongdian Chinese Network was not earning much at the moment, but it was still a burden nonetheless. Boss Pei did not want to add on to his burdens.
Yet, he could not possibly turn Teacher Zhang down as well. After all, he was right. From various angles, this was a win-win situation for the school, himself, and his business. How could Pei Qian turn him down…?
All of a sudden, he recalled the recruitment examinations he had set earlier. An idea surfaced in his head.
“Teacher Zhang, this is the current situation.
“You know that Tengda has been thrown into the spotlight recently due to many unforeseen circumstances. The company has just laid down a new regulated system for recruitment. We now have to put all applicants through several examinations before we shortlist them based on their results.
“I can’t possibly make exceptions for myself immediately after setting this system up, don’t you think?”
“…I see. That’s a pity, then,” answered Zhang Wei.
“Alright, since there’s a new system in place, I shall not force you. I’ll inform my students who are in their final year to prepare for your company’s recruitment examinations in advance.”
At that moment, Pei Qian thought about something else. “Oh, right! Teacher Zhang, although I can’t recruit them directly, I can help the school in other ways. “Firstly, I would appreciate it if a few seniors studying for postgraduate degrees would help me mark the recruitment examinations in time to come. I’ll give them an allowance for sure.”
Zhang Wei answered, “That’ll be easy to arrange. In any case, the school assigns students doing post-graduate studies to mark both college entrance examinations and government officials’ recruitment tests as well.
“They can help your company to mark examinations during staggered periods. I’ll speak to the head of the university to arrange this. There shouldn’t be a problem.”
Pei Qian spoke again. “I also want to donate a sum of money to needy students in school.” Zhang Wei replied, “Of course, that’ll be great! How do you plan to do that though? Do you want to refer to the school’s list of needy students?”
Pei Qian shook his head. “I hope to refer to the school’s Campus Card System. I will shortlist those who visit the canteen many times in a month but don’t spend much each time. Then, the school can conduct a check on these students’ financial backgrounds.
“I will provide five hundred yuan each month for the next five months to the needy students among them. This sum can be used to secure their basic needs.
“I’ll fund a total of two thousand people.”
Zhang Wei remained silent for a moment and then said, “Alright, I thank you on behalf of these students.”
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