Incubation Programme 23/24- Case Study: Adaptation and Production on “Left on Read” Review
孵化計劃23/24- 案例剖析:與《那年盛夏我們綻放如花》團隊細談創作與製作回顧

Eye Catcher Incubation Programme 2023/24

Date: 2 December, 2023 (Sat)
Venue: Hong Kong Institute of Contemporary Culture Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity (HKSC), Room 501 – 502 (135 Junction Road)
Chan Kin-long | Director
Debbie Lam Suk-Yin | Producer
Ho Siu Hong【Ho Hei yin】| Original Author & Script Editor, Online Participation
Shin Cheung | Actor
Dr. Li Mei Ting | Lecturer, Department of Cultural and Religious Studies, CUHK

During the first public event of Eye Catcher Incubation Programme 2023/24, we invited the team of Left On Read, ViuTV’s hit series of 2023, to return to HKSC to discuss the adaptation of the novel into a TV series, the determination and theme on creation, as well as different kinds of considerations and what to insist during production, how to keep yourselves into the creation mode and more… Audience were deeply immersed in the 2-hour in-depth discussion, leaving them with a deep impression. 

Firstly, it was the collaboration between Dir. Chan Kin-long and the original author and script editor Ho Siu Hong. The 2 good friends used their talents in literature and film to adapt the original text, Left On Read, which consisted of enough content to only run 8 to 10 episodes, into the free-to-air television series we can enjoy currently.

“Some works based on novels aim for a 100% complete adaptation, and there are some that adopt the concept of the original work and write a whole new story, but we want to take a middle ground.” Said Ho Siu Hong. Ho’s remark related to the original-to-adaptation character of Shek Hiu Yeung (Shek Tsai) in the series: in the original text, some high school students devised strategies to beat the “game”, some relied on their instincts to become the remaining survivor, the rest of them looked for the mastermind behind the game. From the beginning to the conclusion of the series, the character of Shek Tsai acted to lead the audience in finding the clues that sussed out the “target person”. While retaining the style and flair of the original novel, the adaptation created a natural rapport and engagement between the characters as the plot develops.

Dir. Chan also shared his thought process in regard to the series’ creation and production throughout the shooting period. The director’s role is multifaceted like an octagon – when introducing his own stories, he explained that it is key for a director to clearly know what they want to achieve, and to believe in themselves. Clarity of mind and being able to think through problems is the first step, after that, no matter who you meet, you will be able to introduce your story’s central theme, to let the story take on a unique impact based on the impression you make. The ultimate goal is to convey a message to the audience while retaining one’s own identity and value, so that the story can be appreciated by all.

With regards to the production process, Producer Debbie Lam mentioned that working with the new generation of directors and a young production team on this series has touched her. Sometimes, in the circumstance where resources are limited, our creativity has to be maximised – and in the production of this adaptation, each department were deeply involved in the creative process, working together and contributing toward the betterment of the production. From location scouting to getting the actors who play the students into shape, the production of the series created a fluid and symbiotic space for everyone to explore, develop and break through the imaginations of entertainment and performance.

“Like a sponge that is in contact with all forms of art, what is left after filtration is its own thing.” Shin responded about acting, expressing that the acting process is similar to the way we watch, digest and create our own unique works. As the sun set outside the classroom window, one is reminded of the crimson colour present in the series. The unsaid encouragements and new inspirations remained inside the audiences’ hearts.