Since it started airing, The Golden Eyes 黄金瞳 starring Zhang Yixing has quickly gained popularity and ranks among iQIYI’s top three dramas. However, being based on a novel by Da Yan 打眼, it has also received criticism for not being a good adaptation.
With a total of 10 screenwriters which included the head writer, many questioned why the show needed that many screenwriters, calling out the tendency of production teams to rush and shorten production time by hiring many screenwriters to work on the script which then results in messy storylines and characters due to differing opinions.
Head writer Zhang Yuan’ang addresses the criticism during a recent interview. According to her, having a large number of writers doesn’t instantly mean that they are there to shorten the production time and quickly finish the script. Instead, Zhang believes that 10 screenwriters working on a series requires a lot of cooperation from each person.
Zhang explains that those 10 screenwriters must first completely dismantle the novel from which The Golden Eyes is based. These would include the timelines, the major events and plot twists in the book. Zhang says the next step is to choose the content that they would use for the drama adaptation, followed by the script outline and how it will be divided into parts. It’s important to allocate how many things will happen in each episode and have those events be connected. The final step is to allocate how many episodes the series will have and to seamlessly integrate the script across the different writers.
Zhang elaborates on this by saying, “After combining everything into the script, we discuss them. For example, I wrote these episodes, but I also need to know what the others have written.” This is done so that there will be unity and cohesion throughout the episodes, Zhang said. As proof of this long process, she mentions that making the script for The Golden Eyes began in 2017 and only started production in 2018.
She tells us that when the script is finally written, everyone including the directors, writers, production staff, cameramen and landscapers will thoroughly discuss the issues of the script like shooting, casting and even special effects. This means that the script must be fully ready even before any actual shooting begins since there would be no further edits once the shoot has begun.