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After hanging up, Pei Qian located Ruan Guangjian’s cell phone number.
However, before he dialed it, Pei Qian searched for the phrase ‘shared phone booth’ on Qiandu, just because he felt like it.
Soon, several results came up. Most of them were stickies, forums, and Weibo posts created by locals of Jingzhou. “Today, I came across a brilliant, creative idea that a genius came up with-a shared phone booth! Once you scan the QR code, you can enter right away to make your call!”
“Are you crazy? The QR code scanner is located on a cell phone… can’t you just make the call using your cell phone?”
“I nearly died laughing. I took a picture with it because it feels like performance art. [Image]”
“This rotten phone booth looks quite big, but why does it look handmade? Was it really manufactured by a proper factory? They were really negligent with the details.”
“This is… a pay-to-enter jail cell. People can even see through the glass walls?”
Pei Qian scanned the comments and visibly relaxed.
Look, the audience’s eyes are so sharp!
Since everyone thinks that the shared phone booth is a bad idea and that it won’t generate revenue, I should ask Ruan Guangjian to do more paintings. That’ll turn the shared phone booth into a big, cultural symbol that serves as a pure public good. Yes, that’s a great idea!
At that thought, Pei Qian dialed Ruan Guangjian’s number.
January 10th, Monday…
Ruan Guangjian had just finished his work at Shang Yang Games. He had given the art and art outsourcing teams at Shang Yang Games the necessary suggestions for improvement; gone to the nearby art and tools shop to buy some brushes, paint, and other necessary materials; and then rushed towards Huanyu Tianjie.
Since it was a Monday, traffic in the shopping mall was low.
Still, even then, a good number of people were taking photos around the shared phone booth. Perhaps many people were visiting today because news of the lame project had spread yesterday.
Just as Ruan Guangjian stepped off the escalator, he saw a burly, well-sculpted, muscle man with long hair walking towards him.
“Master! Hello, hello! Master, you’re so young! You look very different from how I imagined.”
Zhang Wang had arrived early to receive Ruan Guangjian. When he saw the latter carrying bags of tools and art materials, he immediately confirmed that that was the artist whom Boss Pei had hired. However, on the outside, Ruan Guangjian looked nothing like the artist whom Zhang Wang had in mind. He did not have long hair or a beard, and he did not have earrings, piercings, or tattoos. Instead, he looked prim and proper, no different from ordinary students.
On the other hand, Zhang Wang had long, flowy hair. Passers-by might think that he looked more like an artist than Ruan Guangjian.
Ruan Guangjian studied the shared phone booth. It looked no different from the pictures, except that it looked slightly bigger now that he was standing before it.
Once Ruan Guangjian was finished with surveying the shared phone booth, Zhang Wang expectantly asked, “Master, how long would it take you to do a painting like that?” After some thought, Ruan Guangjian replied, “There’s no hard and fast rule. “Painting involves creativity. The time that it takes to paint could differ greatly from painting to painting. For a simple oil painting with sketches and concepts prepared could take about ten or so hours if the artist is experienced and adept enough.
“However, an oil painting of high standards done by a highly-skilled artist could take one, three, five, or even more years.
“That includes the time needed to find materials, come up with the design, and make edits. There’s no limit to the time required.”
Zhang Wang quickly asked, “Three to five years? There’s no need for that. Just paint anything. Master, if you paint too well, people might end up stealing your work. “After all, this phone booth can be torn down and taken away.
“Still, the likelihood of that happening is low because the shopping mall’s security guards would keep an eye on it for us, hahaha.”
Ruan Guangjian did not find Zhang Wang’s lame joke amusing. However, at least one thing was clear: he did not need to create such an exquisite painting for the shared phone booth. Thus, he did not need to look at it as a premium work of art.
However, he could not just randomly put something together either. After all, Boss Pei was paying a huge sum. Moreover, they were good friends. Of course, Ruan Guangjian could not take advantage of him.
After some thought, Ruan Guangjian said, “I heard that this is only the first of a total of twenty phone booths that I’ll be painting?”
Zhang Wang nodded. “That’s right, and this is only the initial stage.”
Ruan Guangjian took the measurements of the area on the phone booth that he was allowed to work on. Then, he asked, “Do you have any thoughts on what I should paint?”
Zhang Wang shook his head profusely, expressing his lack of opinion. “No! It all depends on what you want to paint, Master!”
Ruan Guangjian thought about it carefully and said, “Hmm… I have to paint twenty of these, and each one is going to be a huge project.
“After all, the painting is going to be two meters tall. That’s three or four times more work than an ordinary oil painting.
“Even if I can use my own style and I can pay less attention to the details, it would take three to four days for me to finish the painting
“Moreover, this is on the assumption that I’ll be extremely, extremely familiar with the work I’ll be doing.
“The phone booth is a project that Boss Pei is investing in. Whatever I paint has to be somewhat related to Boss Pei’s companies, right?
“Since that’s the case… there aren’t many things I could possibly paint…
Ruan Guangjian’s eyes suddenly lit up. He had thought of a great idea. He could paint the heroes of GOG!
That’ll be just right. GOG had twenty-odd heroes in this first batch, and the concept art and animations for them were already done.
Ruan Guangjian was the one who had completed the concept art’s appearance and design. The sketches went through multiple modifications, and he drew them all over again in the end. He was extremely familiar with the heroes.
Moreover, the art belonged to Tengda’s new game. The phone booth was also a project that Boss Pei was investing in. Both of those projects were closely related.
The concept art for the heroes would feel closer and more interesting to the young customers in the shopping mall compared to traditional oil paintings.
The idea started sounding better and better to Ruan Guangjian.
The only thing that had to be modified was the actual expression of the concept art.
GOG’s original animation and concept art were extremely detailed and tangible. That was because the game’s models would be built based on these concept art drawings. If any part of the drawings was blurry, the model master would have to fill it in with his own imagination.
However, the paintings that Ruan Guangjian would do on the shared phone booths could be concept art or illustrations for advertisements. They could look more artistic.
Ruan Guangjian thought about using his own style-thick-stroke painting. On one hand, he could blur out the details and save time On the other hand, the paintings would look more artistic and eye-catching.
At that thought, Ruan Guangjian prepared to get to work.
As for which hero he should paint first…
Was there any need to think about it?
In the office, Pei Qian yawned.
There were less than three months left to settlement.
He was working on many projects at the same time. However, by next week, the movie would probably be done; the rough cut could probably be released by the end of the month. Given GOG’s current progress, Pei Qian guessed that a closed beta could also be released at the end of the month to test waters.
It was almost impossible to finish the haunted house. The two largest projects probably would not be done before the end of this cycle. However, the second project was a small one, and one or two containers could probably be released by the end of the month.
Then, Ruan Guangjian could go and give it a try, and Pei Qian could dampen the former’s
As Pei Qian looked at his planner, he realized that this week would probably be the most relaxed he would have for some time in the future. He had to quickly do some revision and study while he could.
How could Boss Pei face the world if Old Ma managed to pass based on his own capabilities, and yet Boss Pei had to pay to pass?
He glanced at his junior, Little Tang. Every day, when she came to work, apart from feeding the cat and clearing its litter; she would sit quietly at her desk to read. Pei Qian guessed that it would only be a matter of time before she won a scholarship. He could not help but feel sorrowful. “Ai, if only I could spend money to make someone else study on my behalf. I can only say that knowledge is priceless!” While Pei Qian was wallowing in self-pity, he realized that half an hour had already passed. Thus, he quickly flipped through his notes and started revising.
However, less than an hour later, someone knocked at his door.
Pei Qian looked up to see Ma Yiqun.
“What’s the matter?” Boss Pei was irritated that his studying had been interrupted. However, Ma Yiqun hardly visited. Guessing that something important had cropped up, Pei Qian said nothing. Ma Yiqun said, “Boss Pei, Zhongdian Chinese Network has earned another sum of money recently…”
Pei Qian’s mind was filled with question marks.
Can all of you stop generating revenue in secret? Can’t you give me some time to brace myself?
Pei Qian had thought that he could relax this week, but his plans were ruined.
Zhongdian Chinese Network had gone through several stages of development ever since it had been established. Now, its losses had turned into profits.
In the beginning, they increased the full-time remuneration standards for their authors to secure their basic privileges. Subsequently, they topped up their mid-tier authors’ remuneration so that they could earn a comparable income to elite writers in Infinite Chinese Network.
Lastly, they collaborated with Repent and be Saved to integrate all Tengda accounts and directed a huge group of Tengda’s gamers to the website.
During this period, traffic on the website increased significantly. Although the scale of the website and the top writers’ incomes still could not compare to Infinite Chinese Network, the lower-tier authors were still being comfortably remunerated. Thus, spending the revenue that the website generated became a problem. “Do not submit the money. Just spend it all.”
Again, Pei Qian was keeping to the principle that ‘whoever caused the problem should solve it, whoever earned money should spend it’. Thus, the directions that he gave in response to Ma Yiqun’s report did not stray far.
“Ah, alright, Boss Pei.” Ma Yiqun had guessed that Boss Pei would react that way. However, it was one thing for Boss Pei to give the directions and another for Ma Yiqun to do it on his own accord.
Even if he knew Boss Pei would redirect the revenue back into expanding the website, Ma Yiqun could not skip the step of asking for his permission.
After all, this was different from running a combined event with Repent and be Savedthis concerned finances.
If it had been a combined event like the one with Repent and be Saved, Ma Yiqun-as the person-in-charge of the website—could have called the shots because it would not have cost that much money.
“Wait a minute.”
Ma Yiqun was just about to turn around and leave when Boss Pei stopped him.
Pei Qian casually asked, “How do you plan to spend that money?”
He had not planned to get involved at first, but Pei Qian suddenly realized that he could not stand by the side and not ask questions.
Who could guarantee that Ma Yiqun would squander the money away if Boss Pei left him to his own devices?!
Thus, Pei Qian decided to ask a few questions.
Ma Yiqun smiled. “Boss Pei, I’ve thought about it.
“Our website’s mid- and low-tier authors are becoming quite attractive. What’s more, they’ve caused many loyal players of Tengda’s games to stay. Our games channel is doing well, and the readers there are starting to form an exclusive circle that can entertain themselves.
“I think the main problem now is that we’re lacking top-tier writers!
“That’s why I’m thinking about using this sum of money to buy over a group of top-tier writers from Infinite Chinese Network, who might not be satisfied with their current situation.
“I’m looking especially at authors of unpopular genres and authors who have the skills but do not get a lot of attention.
“I don’t think I’ll be able to buy novel gods over, but as long as I’m willing to pay, I’ll at least be able to buy over a few authors who draw thirty to fifty thousand yuan a month but finding it difficult to become novel gods.”
Pei Qian remained silent.
That sounds like a reliable idea!
Indeed, Zhongdian Chinese Network’s biggest problem now was that it had a low ceiling. It had not produced any explosive books that had the potential to become hot topics throughout the entire Internet.
The low- and mid-tier authors were very comfortable now, but the website practically had no ability to create novel gods.
If they could focus on buying a few authors with potential over, find a book with the best figures, and pour all their effort into recommending it to the rest of the Internet…
They could probably take Zhongdian Chinese Network further!
At that thought, Pei Qian cleared his throat and said, “That’s not good.
“The real novel goods depend on their own skills and hard work. They produce good books and gather their own readers; they do not rely on the website’s resources to make them famous.
“We will definitely have to pay a high price to buy authors over from other websites. However, those authors would feel out-of-place for sure. They would be writing for a different audience, and they might not be able to sustain their own popularity.
“At the same time, the website would be paying for authors with a low price-quality ratio. We can’t guarantee profits.
“Buying them out and imposing requirements for them to hit certain figures would make us no different from gangsters. We won’t be able to earn their loyalty, and authors might not even find this arrangement attractive.
“All in all, I can’t say this strategy is wrong, but it doesn’t match Zhongdian Chinese Network’s direction.
“I think we should continue to invest in the low- and mid-tier authors instead. If we want to create novel gods, we can start from the community of authors that we already have. Why should we try and steal from others?”
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