Authentic stories that resonate with local audiences should be the priority for Taiwanese content creators who want to go global, international producers told a Taiwan Creative Content Fest panel on Thursday.
“The ability to produce local stories that can travel is a special skill. We look for stories that have the ability to engage audiences in the local market and (which are) at the same time universal, so that they can become a hit outside, across Asia and the U.S.,” said Ricky Ow, president of WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks, Asia-Pacific.
Ow cited the 2019 series “The World Between Us” as an example. The 10-episode drama was co-produced by Taiwan’s Public Television Service, HBO Asia and (local streamer) Catchplay. It won critical acclaim, with writer Lu Shih-Yuan winning best original screenplay at the Asian Academy Creative Awards last year and bagged six awards at the Golden Bell Awards, including best television series.
Ow’s tips were echoed by fellow speaker Hannah Lee, chief producer at South Korea’s Studio Dragon, which has produced several hit series streaming on Netflix including “Crash Landing on You” and “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay.”
“The key to success … it is important to have a target audience in mind when you start out. Then you pick the topic or the theme, and decide who would enjoy such a theme,” Lee said.
“When you develop the production, go for something that is familiar, novel and yet people can relate to. Look for inspirations drawn from our everyday life … The theme has to appeal to human nature.”
On seeking international partnerships for co-productions, Christophe Bruncher of Ici et Là Productions, also EAVE producer and Ties That Bind Head of Studies, cautioned content creators to actively seek support from “soft money” such as tax incentives and grants and don’t be afraid to take their time.
“Don’t confess your plan to shoot in three weeks,” he said. “Asia producers tend to move much faster, but financing takes much longer in Europe.”
In terms of genres, Ow said the network was more interested in crime, horror and puppy love or light drama, rather than gangster stories. IP related to kids and animation are extremely important, he added. “Kids IP appeals not just to kids but also to family audiences and young people,” he said.