“Season of Love” Scriptwriter Slams Wong Cho Lam
Inbound Troubles <老表，你好嘢！> star and scriptwriter, Wong Cho Lam (王祖藍), is again bombarded with complaints from his fellow TVB scriptwriters.
During the pre-production of Inbound Troubles in early 2012, an anonymous TVB scriptwriter formally sent a complaint letter to media outlets; the letter questioned Cho Lam’s ability and qualifications in helming a television drama script. In regards to the complaint, Cho Lam expressed that he was not worried with the criticism, and stated, “The story belongs to me, which is based on a partially true story. It is best that I write the script myself. TVB approved the project, so there is no problem!”
Inbound Troubles is currently airing on TVB Jade during a prime time slot, averaging 1.92 million viewers per episode. The comedy drama’s final episode will air on Friday, February 8. It has since been earning favorable critical reviews, in which it is praised for its realistic content, lighthearted storytelling, and refreshing cast.
Wong Cho Lam Criticized
With the success of Inbound Troubles, Cho Lam was quickly named as TVB’s next lucky star. Producer Wong Wai Sing (黃偉聲) also confirmed that he has already cast Cho Lam as the lead role in his next comedy drama, Food for the Slaves <食為奴>, which is expected to begin principal photography in February. Cho Lam was also praised for his bravery in helming the controversial Inbound Troubles script, which touches on the cultural differences between Hong Kong and mainland China.
But not everyone had good things to say to Cho Lam. Season of Love <戀愛季節> executive scriptwriter, Cat Kwan (關皓月), was one of them.
Cat Kwan, the Hong Kong Film Award-winning screenwriter of 1999 film Tempting Heart <心動>, joined TVB in the early 2000s. Some of her best known work include Triumph in the Skies <衝上雲霄>, Revolving Doors of Vengeance <酒店風雲>, E.U. <學警狙擊>, and Lives of Omission <潛行狙擊>.
On January 15, Cat Kwan wrote on her Weibo, “I read a report that wrote: ‘New drama, co-written by Wong Cho Lam, discusses about contradicting social differences between China and Hong Kong; many sensitive topics were already played with in the premiere episode.’ Does ‘co-written’ mean that he is part of the scriptwriting [team]? Then I am very curious to which episode Mr. Wong wrote, because I am really interested in rewatching it for my enjoyment. To the lovely audience and all my friends, can you please tell me which episode Mr. Wong was in charge of after viewing the ending credits? If you can’t find it, then TVB must have many scriptwriters. The number of people who contributed ideas to dramas is endless.”
Cho Lam Gives Tearful Response
Cho Lam made a response on his Weibo ten days after Cat Kwan posted her dubious comment. Cho Lam replied, “Beloved Ms. Kwan, you are a scriptwriter I respect very much. When I was working with the other [Inbound Troubles] scriptwriters, we always bring up your masterpiece Tempting Heart, and till this day, my heart is still tempted. It is very rare for TVB to have such a great and golden scriptwriter like you! As for which episode I wrote, there was none. Not even one. However, I “had a part” in every episode: I had a part in designing the characters and their relationships with the scriptwriters; I had a part in coming up with the synopsis for each episode; I had a part in research, brainstorming, and outlining each episode; I had a part in designing each episode’s climax, comedic, and emotional timing; I took part in eating, sleeping, brushing my teeth, washing my face, joking, sharing stress, etc. with other scriptwriters. Why is my name not credited after each episode? I asked about it before, but everyone knew that I already had a part in writing the show. I hope the audience will take notice in other scriptwriters and commend them. Our team of scriptwriters does not care about title. We just want to quietly and creatively work on a script together.”
Cho Lam accepted an interview from HK Headline a few days later. When the topic of Cat Kwan questioning his abilities as a scriptwriter was brought up again, Cho Lam’s eyes were brimmed with tears. Cho Lam admitted that he had committed a faux pas when TVB announced that he would be co-writing the Inbound Troubles script.
“I understood that I could have directly contacted Tommy Leung (梁家樹) about my [script] ideas. I also used a lot of non-TVB cast and crew members. This made a lot of people unhappy, and I have heard people gossiping [about me]… but I will extend out a harmonious hand. I hope they will be able to understand me. I only want to write a good script so the audience can enjoy. I am definitely not trying to steal anybody’s rice bowl. I’ve always respected TVB scriptwriters.”
Cho Lam revealed that he spent three months polishing the story line for Inbound Troubles, which resulted in Cho Lam declining a few mainland Chinese drama and film offers. “I think I’ve lost up to a seven-figure sum, but I believe that in order to write a good script, you must concentrate. Now I will concentrate in earning all that money back!
“When [Inbound Troubles co-star] Roger Kwok (郭晉安) told me that the drama is doing quite well in the market, I felt that [the sacrifice] was worth it. Everyone’s efforts weren’t wasted.”
Cho Lam Hopes to Establish Production Studio
Cho Lam disclosed that he is currently writing a preliminary script for a few other dramas. As for whether or not the dramas will be given the green light by TVB, Cho Lam said, “Let’s wait until the final episode [of Inbound Troubles] finishes airing. If Tommy wants more from me, I do have two to three stories ready for filming. They are all comedy dramas, but they are not sequels to Inbound Troubles. I don’t need to be the main leads in these stories, because I really do enjoy working behind-the-scenes. My goal is to be like Eric Tsang (曾志偉) and Ruby Lin (林心如) – to be able to produce my own dramas. [Inbound Troubles] is a touchstone. I hope I will be able to open up my own production studio in the future and sell my works to television stations. However, I do like to be able to star in my own projects. Many comedian actors gain success after starring in their own productions.”
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.
inbound went away from what it was suppose to be about….
This wong cho lam is overrated and ugly. he is annoying and taking some other scripwriter credit
Why does it matter if he is ugly or not? I think that he is pretty comedic and he sings pretty well.
I wish him the best. The series is getting quite high ratings for this time of year. I’ll wait and see if any scriptwriters who worked on IT has anything to say. Nobody knows how much work Cho Lam put into it besides the actual producers and writers.
“see if any scriptwriters who worked on IT has anything to say. ”
I think TVB has issued a “no comment” by these same writers. Probably.
It’s people like Cat Kwan (關皓月) that gives other script writers a bad name.
Just becoz she was(or one of) the script writer of a few successful TV series doesn’t give her the right to bag other up and coming script writers. Everyone should be given a chance. We learn from experience. It’s like those annoying job ads that advertised ‘experienced only apply’. Well you have to be given the chance first to GET the experience!
A script is NOTHING if no producer or director is willing to take it on and produce it. I’m sure she had her fair share of ‘flops’.
She has a point. If the script is claimed to be co written and no others given credit, then due credit must be given. If so much hype is given to him for having written a script which is termed co written then everyone has a right to question how much is actually written by him to give him that much credit.
Yes it sound snobbish doesn’t it? But scriptwriters like directors and writers, it is a very exclusive club, so egos are involved. But it is not an unfair question.
“A script is NOTHING if no producer or director is willing to take it on and produce it. I’m sure she had her fair share of ‘flops’.”
Unless you are Wong Kar Wai who has zero regards for script. A good script is the foundation of a possibly good production. A script is also very very important as well.
I forgot to mention it was the same issue with Natalie Portman’s ballet dancing in Black Swan claimed to be her own mostly and the very public complaint by the woman who did the dancing for her which became quite a farce when the director attached a % to how much Natalie Portman did do her own twirls and such. Same issue here.\
It makes good publicity to have own artiste in own production being part of the creative process.
Unlike Korean, where they only have 1-3 scriptwriters per drama, it is easier to name and people remember there representative works. TVB writers are under the name of TVB writer team. If anything, that’s the thing TVB needs to change. The only reason why they keep mentioning of Wong Cho Lam this time around is because he is not just someone who works behind scene. He’s a celebrity and a cast of the drama. It’s normal to give extra push to promote its cast/drama.
I know music fans like it when their artistes get involved in the album producing process (songwriting, concept, MV, etc) It becomes a selling point too. It’s no different in Wong Cho Lam’s case. He isn’t just an actor this time around, he participated in the writing process too! It’s one of the selling points of the drama, a way of promotion.
But still, I think she’s a very bad veteran to discourage a newbie like this. Her tone is very sarcastic.
She’s (Cat Kwan) just standing up for the other script-writers’ not given acknowledgement. Just like singers nowadays having co-writing credit for their songs. How many have really given inputs!!
i knew linda chung hummed some tune with her mouth and send to her record company and she’s credited as the ‘composer’. open secret.
I like this comment. It’s a really good comment.
the head scriptwriter of Rosy Business 3 and Detective Columbus joined Cat Kwan to bash Wong Cho Lam. wonder if these scriptwriters ego are blasted by wong cho lam’s inbound troubles getting great reviews and high ratings. could it be that they’re afraid wong cho lam stealing their limelight and rice bowl?
I am curious also. Co written with who? Does the credit tells us who?
agree,its not fair if it is co-written an you only hear the name of cholam,but normally if a serie is succesful you only hear credits to the actors/actresses and the director but hardly credit to scriptwriters.
Well, one thing to keep in mind with TVB scriptwriters is that there are a lot of restrictions placed on them due to TVB’s politics (for example: having to write the script so that it ‘highlights’ certain people that TVB wants to promote, etc.), so they really don’t have as much ‘creative freedom’ as they would working in a different environment (that’s why whenever I hear people complaining about how much a series sucks, I hate how the blame is always placed solely on the scriptwriters when a lot of times, it’s not necessarily just them – others should share in the blame as well). That’s also why back when Ricky Wong did his poaching thing, so many scriptwriters readily left without having to think twice about it (because many of them wanted the freedom to write whatever they wanted without having to deal with the politics)….
Since WCL wasn’t considered an ‘official’ TVB scriptwriter in the first place (he received money for his part in writing the script, but it’s not like he signed a contract with them to write scripts for a living), I’m assuming he wasn’t subject to the ‘restrictions’ that a lot of the other scriptwriters are normally subject to — hence he probably had the ‘freedom’ to write whatever he wanted within the limitations of TV broadcasting rules. The fact that Inbound Troubles turned out so well doesn’t necessarily mean that WCL is a good scriptwriter, it just means he got lucky because of the ‘freshness’ of having a non-TVB scripwriter writing the script and being able to express the ideas he wanted to express – I’ll bet that if he were to ‘sign up’ as a full-time scriptwriter for TVB and be subject to the same politics-related ‘restrictions’ that the other scriptwriters are subject to, the output would undoubtedly be different…
This is why I can totally understand why Cat Kwan would react the way she did – it’s not really a matter of having one’s rice bowl taken away (Cat already left TVB anyway, so it’s not like she feels ‘threatened’ by WCL now)…rather, it’s a culmination of ‘dissatisfaction’ toward the entire HK television industry as a whole and how the scriptwriters are generally treated…to me, it really boils down to the way TVB (and the general public due to the ‘culture’ in HK) have treated scriptwriters in the past. I actually feel that Cat’s comment was directed more toward TVB than WCL…
Great comments! I admire your ability to think out of the box.
You’re simply different from Funnlim whom to me is nothing better than “”a frog under a coconut shell.””
Jan, same to you too. So there are now 2 frogs under a coconut shell. You can keep me company.
Or maybe just professional snobbery. Like how dare an actor dare to claim credit for writing or co writing a script for a series that is well received? There must be an uncredited bullied co writer somewhere! That sort of mentality?
If she’s no longer employed by Tvb, then be blunt and say it to TVB face instead of throwing mud at newbie’s writers who are trying something different.
ilwy12,you mention there are’restrictions’ to scriptwriters within tvb. im curious,could you tell me what the restriction are about that they are subject to?
I suppose cat is more particular abt this because she is also a scriptwriter and proud of her profession but to send such a message thru weibo jus shows shes childish and not confident of herself and her position in the scriptwriting world. Just cos inbound troubles is showing now and gettig good
Reviews, shes jealous.
Not very professional to down throttle someone like tht.
I agree too! She’s also jealous maybe cause Wong Cho Lam became a scriptwriter so fast? While she might’ve had to wait longer to get improved?
I do feel like Wong Cho Lam help wrote alot of the script though as TVB comedies have been going downhill for a while… As they aren’t as funny before like Cant Buy Me wasn’t that funny to me
Wong Cho Lam is just another Eric Tsang in the making = short, unfunny and overrated.
Sounds to me that someone who hasn’t done something in awhile is a little upset that another NEW script writer is receiving some accolades.
Looks very poor on Ms. Kwan… sour grapes / jealousy never wears well.
Inbound Trouble is just overrated and hyped
despite it has Joey and Roger.
Stop hating Kwan. He’s new at this and he can’t be a pro over night. This guy has good talent. At least he’s better than Jonathan Chik.
Man the drama in the entertainment industry -__- idek what to say.
Inbound Troubles is a decent drama with good humour in it but I agree with Cat Kwan.
It’s unfair to the other script writers if Wong Cho Lam is the only one that is publicly credited for the script when many other people put in more time and effort in it.
This has nothing to do with “hating on him” or being jealous that his drama is well-received.
Lets see how good ‘Season of Love’ is.
Sometimes the golden rule works best: if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it. It only makes you look petty and jealous.
If Cho Lam isn’t all that great etc, he’ll just disappear with time. Why make yourself look bad by badmouthing him? If he’s talentless yet he still succeeds, then it’s his luck and fate. In either case, I believe it’s best to just mind your own business, do your best and forget about how others are doing.
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