大家好！Serenity Chen checking in from Beijing, China. I just finished my last day of internship at the School of Journalism and Communications at Tsinghua University. I worked as a research and director’s assistant for a camera crew consisted of professors and graduate students from Tsinghua. For the university’s upcoming 110th anniversary, which will take place in 2021, my supervisors were commissioned to produce a documentary for the celebration. The film is consisted of five story lines, each line represents a person at various stages associated with the university. I was fortunate to participate in the filming of the first story line: a graduating high school senior, about to enter Tsinghua University. One student was to be chosen from fifteen candidates and the plan is to follow the student for the next three years. In order to document the student’s transformation throughout his/her time at Tsinghua.
On the first day of my internship, I was told that I had to pack up for Chengdu, leaving the same night for a city almost four hours away by flight. There, we followed five candidates from Chengdu No.7 High School during the three days of Gaokao, the Chinese National Higher Education Entrance Exam. These candidates are some of the most accomplished students in the region. All filmings were previous agreed upon by the parents and teachers. The students were later notified after Gaokao was over. Throughout the process, I realized the amount of work and planning that goes into filmmaking, to ensure the quality and the authenticity of the film. One thing really amazed me was how the parents collaborated with us without any of the candidates’ notice. The night before Gaokao, we received a text with all information needed to ensure a footage of all five candidates entering the test site. These information included, the candidates’ outfits, mode of transportation, license plates, time and direction of arrival. It felt like we were in a top secret mission, as the crew were spread out at various locations near the high school and communicated through WeChat, the main communication app used in China. Whenever our odd presence was questioned by the authorities, by saying the name Tsinghua alone, we’d always receive a nod of approval and respect. Below are some photos from on-site filming:
An experienced camera guy is the most respected in a crew. Filming requires a ton of concentration, even when standing on a round and slippery marble car block.
How to act professional and convincing when you know you look mad sketchy, peeking into a classroom full of students.
Other than the wonderful internship experience at Tsinghua University, I also learned two terms that I think are worth sharing:
- Beijing Bikini（风骚大爷露脐装）: When a Chinese man rolls up his shirt, exposing his belly during hot summer days. This “fashion” trend is sort-of the result of Chinese middle age men (大爷）making compromises to the custom of men going completely shirtless. A Beijing Bikini ranges between exposing just the lower abdomen to complete beer belly out. Although, some Chinese people think it it is unethical to go Beijing Bikini, I think the trend is funny and believe it will still be fashionable for the next few decades.
- Chinese Squat （深蹲）: A Chinese Squat is unlike your average squat for toning your glutes, it is a deep deep squat, that can only be mastered if you grew up using squat toilets. I won’t insert a photo of a squat toilet, you can use your imagination or google, but I can tell you that they are pretty much the worst thing ever. I’ve noticed that Chinese people can squat for a long period of time while remaining balanced throughout. Also, it is a fact that a lot of Westerners cannot maintain or even get in position for a Chinese Squat.
This concludes my blog post. Thank you all for reading. Can’t wait to hear about everyone’s summer when we get back to school! Enjoy the rest of your summer.