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.