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Internet Comic Brings Home the Bacon
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It has been more than a year and a half since Internet prankster Hu Ge achieved overnight fame for the Web clip, "A Murder Sparked by a Chinese Bun."

The popular 20-minute video produced by easy video software was a parody of the farfetched storyline of filmmaker Chen Kaige's kung fu epic, "The Promise."

Now the latest project of Hu, a 33-year-old freelancer from Wuhan in Hubei Province, is an original comic short, "007 Versus the Prince of Pork."

"The story is largely inspired by the rapid rise in pork prices in recent months," Hu tells Shanghai Daily. "The project is sponsored by Pepsi and I believe it will be more funny and entertaining compared with my previous works."

In this 30-minute stalker film which is now shooting, agent James Bond has a new mission: catching the Prince of Pork who left heaven without permission of the immortals and is now engaged in scrambling for pork.

More than 100 performers, most of whom are amateurs and extras, participate in the shooting. Hu says the project with abundant production funding has provided him more space and freedom of thinking and imagination during the shooting.

"Many of the scenes will be more real and exciting," he adds.

Hu anticipates that the production will be completed by the end of this year, and it will be screened on the Internet.

Hu released last year his second 10-minute Web-video recast titled "The Empire of Spring Festival Transportation" - based on impressive scenes from "The Matrix" and Stephen Chow's comedies - and the original shorts, "Annihilate the Gangsters on Niaolong Mountain" and "007 Versus the Man in Black."

These clips posted on numerous Websites and Internet communities have been watched by several million viewers and encouraged many young enthusiasts to produce or remix short films on their personal computers.

Nie Sulin, who admires Hu's creativity and editing talent, also presents his 90-second video clip, a mashup of dancing animals, as an entry for the "7-Up I Lemon You" MV contest.

Nie has high expectations for Hu's new short. "Hu never lets us down," Nie says. "I hope he is ready for a breakthrough and can provide more fun and fresh elements for his new production."

Hu himself is also invited as a judge for the "7-Up I Lemon You" contest.

"I really enjoy this experience," Hu says. "It gives me a rare opportunity to view many ingenious pictures and help these young grassroots talents in DIY videos."

However, the question is how long the popularity of an Internet star like Hu can last when so many young people are apt to express themselves with video images instead of words.

Some experts even regard the spread of the digital video among the youngsters and its merger with the Internet as a superficial "fast-food culture."

They note that at first people will consider them fresh and funny, but if there is no originality or changes to this genre, their novelty and appeal will die away.

"Many young Netizens spend much time and energy adding japes and jokes to their works just to win Internet fame," says Professor Wu Gang, a media expert from East China Normal University. "That's not a good sign. It really takes time and patience to create a classic in this fast-paced world nowadays."

But in Hu's eyes, everything, especially the booming "new media" industry, is on the way to being like "fast-food" because of the rapid development of science and technology in modern society.

He is even not afraid of becoming a "meteor." He says no one can avoid receiving significantly less attention no matter how big a reputation they enjoyed before.

"That's quite normal but what matters to me is to be myself," he says calmly.

(Shanghai Daily September 18, 2007)

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