FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
First-Ever Bilingual Sitcom Set In Beijing, China – Kickstarter Of To A Good Start!
Beijing-based Chinese and English-language sitcom WOK IN PROGRESS is using Kickstarter.com to kickstart the production of its first season.
BEIJING, China – July 21, 2015 – What would life be like for you if you moved to China? That’s what Murray Clive Walker and Victor Muh, the co-creators of the upcoming bilingual sitcom WOK IN PROGRESS, want to show the world, and there’s no need for you to leave your comfort zone. WOK IN PROGRESS is about the adventures and misadventures of two college drop-outs from the U.S. as they arrive in Beijing for the first time. At the same time, a noodle shop owner/would-be landlord and his gorgeous daughter struggle to make sense of these two “laowai” (foreigners). Check out the sitcom’s website: http://wokinprogress.info.
After self-funding the production of the pilot episode of WOK IN PROGRESS, the series’ co-creators Murray Clive Walker and Victor Muh along with the Beijing and Los Angeles-based production company Ad Valorem International have launched a global, rewards crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to fund the production of the rest of their series. They have set a goal to raise $30,000 in 30 days while offering cool, fun rewards such as high-fives whenever and wherever they see you to all-expense paid trips to Beijing. If they meet their goal, they will be able to continue developing and producing the first season of the sitcom series, which is shot on location in Beijing, China. If not, then they will have to try again or find another source of funding. The good news is that Murray and Victor have already raised over $6,500, 21% of their goal, with 27 days to go. WOK IN PROGRESS will be available via distribution agreements with Youku in China, YouTube across Asia, VOD outside of China, and on local TV in Southern California. Anyone interested in supporting the Kickstarter campaign should visit the WOK IN PROGRESS Kickstarter: http://kck.st/1JwM0aG
WOK IN PROGRESS is a 23-minute, 13-episode sitcom series by Murray Clive Walker and Victor Muh. Set in Beijing, China; two clueless and fresh-off-the-boat college dropouts from the U.S., Melvin and Larry, find the perfect apartment but end up dropping their savings into a squat toilet in their landlord’s noodleshop. For better or worse, they start to work for Mr. Lee, the owner of their apartment, who owns a struggling noodleshop that has been in his deceased wife’s family for generations. Mr. Lee, isn’t too fond of the two foreigners (as non-Chinese are referred to in China). With the help of Lingling, Mr. Lee’s daughter, Melvin and Larry “Chinesify” themselves so that Mr. Lee is less weary of their extreme foreignness. Lingling has her own reasons for helping Melvin and Larry. She wants to study fashion in Paris, but her father feels the same way about foreign countries as he does about foreigners and forbids it. The first season pushes and pulls at these characters’ goals, interactions and dependencies. Everyone is a work in progress.
ABOUT THE CREATORS OF WOK IN PROGRESS
Victor Muh (director/co-producer): Victor is a multi-lingual, multi-cultural, award-winning director who has created content for Saab, Salomon, Quiksilver, the Austrian Government, Audi China, Peugeot China, Citroën China, Yahoo! Sports, Split Works and Swire Properties. He is an “ABC,” American-born Chinese. His work has been seen on movie screens around the world as well as on Fox Sports, Fox Sports Asia, Star Sports, MCM International & MCM France, CNBC, Eurosport, Current TV, Surf Channel, and M6 France. He currently lives in Beijing, China.
Murray Clive Walker (writer/co-producer/”Larry”): Murray is South African-born but did his acting training in Vancouver. He has spent the last 10 years in Taiwan and China learning the language and working as an actor. He mostly acts in Chinese TV shows but has landed roles in movies such as Legendary, an English-Chinese co-production and Dragonblade, China’s biggest budget movie.
When asked why he wanted to create a bilingual sitcom set in Beijing, Murray Clive Walker felt, “After living and working in China for almost ten years, we’ve grown to love the Chinese culture and language. The adaptation to such a foreign environment, although exciting and meaningful for the most part, is still often fraught with challenges and frustrations. Westerners and Easterners have very unique cultural backgrounds which leads to weird and wonderful perspectives on this thing we call life.”
Victor Muh had this to say about his sitcom, “We wanted to create a sitcom that would address these cultural discrepancies, but also convey the idea that although culture is important, sharing the same culture is not paramount to getting along with each other. Yes, we are all different, but it’s these differences that make us interesting and unique. Failing to bridge the cultural gap is inevitable, but it’s how one tries to breech the gap that is important. Cherishing the similarities and relishing the differences is the theme of our sitcom.”
WOK IN PROGRESS WEBSITE EDUCATIONAL TOOL
The WOK IN PROGRESS website, which mirrors the humorous, irreverant nature of the sitcom, not only provides information about the series; it serves as an educational tool for those wishing to understand China better as well as grasp the nuances of the humor found in each episode. The Don’ts With Larry and Melvin section offers advice avoiding cultural faux pas in China, such as not wearing a green hat or where not to place your chopsticks while dining. The Rosetta Wok section deciphers the Chinese language which, even though there are subtitles, sometimes need to be explained in more detail in order to understand the deeper meaning and, therefore, humor of certain situations.
Walker and Muh’s idea to use Kickstarter, an online fundraising site commonly used by artists for films and other creative projects, makes sense, the co-creators say. “It’s a new tool in this age of of social media and instant communication. Many filmmakers are skipping the long, tiresome road of pitching to studios, investors, sponsors, and broadcasters to fund our films. These people usually don’t want to take risks. They often don’t have vision or even know what the public wants. Even worse, they think they know. When I was shopping my surf TV show, H3O TV, that became Europe’s first surfing TV series, nobody wanted it. Now, surfing is huge in Europe and there are multiple surfing TV shows. We’re going straight to the source to get our sitcom made, our audience,” says Muh. “Kickstarter’s a great way to bring ambitious dreams to life, if you can harness it. It’s called ‘crowd funding,’ where you gather ‘your people’, your ‘crowd,’ and even reach out far beyond them to a global community of people interested in life in China, to get them all to back you,” explains Walker.
Because Kickstarter is an all or nothing deal — projects must be fully funded at their stated goal or no money will change hands — Muh and Walker are anticipating no let-up in their social networking efforts to reach as many backers as possible. “It’s like shooting in the dark, but we feel confident our sitcom project has created some incredible synergy, magic and lots of good will out there,” they say.
ABOUT AD VALOREM INTERNATIONAL
Ad Valorem International takes pride in producing world-class television programming, short films, and feature films. Ever since it was formed in 1995 to produce Europe’s first surfing television series, Ad Valorem International has concentrated on building lasting partnerships through co-productions. Currently, they have a global network that includes partners in China, France, the United States of America, Singapore, Germany, Brazil and Switzerland.
Kickstarter Page: http://kck.st/1JwM0aG
Hi-Res Cast Group Photo: http://avionline.info/temp/Wok_Groupe_hires.jpg