Short dramas bring surprises and also affect the traditional film and television drama market

  The TV series "The Beginning" launched in 2022 is very popular. Many popular stalks of the show, such as "Infinite Flow", "Prepare for Drug Test", "Canon" and "Auntie Siguo", have been on Weibo hot search for many times.

What's more eye-catching is that it only has 15 episodes, and it was broadcast quickly in just three weeks, but many netizens shouted that they became "empty" after the end.

  Compared with traditional hit dramas, the episodes of "The Beginning" appear to be less "gregarious".

As a suspense drama, "The Beginning" with only 15 episodes not only achieves the high-density and fast-paced narrative that a suspense drama should have - it directly informs the audience who the real murderer is in the 8th episode, and the plot not only does not appeal to the audience , even "resolutely".

It is also interspersed with the perspective of small people - including the melon farmer who wants to send fresh watermelons to his son, Lao Jiao who wants to support his life with the award for righteousness and courage, Tao Yinghong who wants to return the truth to his daughter, and so on.

Not only did it not have a bad ending, but it also made the audience hooked.

  In fact, starting from the iQIYI Mist Theater a few years ago, Chinese suspense films have become more and more short and concise, such as "The Silent Truth" and "The Hidden Corner".

Suspense dramas focus on the narrative rhythm. Compared with traditional film and television dramas, short dramas require the creator to take the essence and get rid of the dross. It is not difficult to understand why excellent suspense dramas in recent years tend to be In short form.

Moreover, in addition to this type of short dramas that are shortened in episodes, it also has another form, such as the newly opened section of Tencent Video "Xiafan Short Drama", which has been shortened in length.

What the heck is a short play?

  A data from November last year showed that the daily active users of short dramas reached 230 million, which shows that it has gradually entered the public eye and has become a dark horse in the film and television drama market.

  The definition of a skit is actually not clear for the time being. Many people think that a skit is a video with a duration of less than 5 minutes and a certain coherence of the story.

This type of short drama is actually derived from the popularity of short videos.

But I secretly think that compared with the current long-form traditional film and television dramas, the duration has not changed much (about 40 minutes), but the dramas with fewer episodes (within 20 episodes) are fast-paced, compact and more refreshing. Counted as a genre of skits.

In other words, if the duration is short or the number of episodes is small, either of the two can be called a short drama.

 Popular in the era of "double-speed playback"

  In recent years, the popularity of works such as "The Beginning", "The Hidden Corner" and "Auntie's World" is a testament to the gradual improvement in the quantity and quality of short dramas.

The reason for the increasing popularity of short dramas is that, first of all, it is inseparable from the improvement of the quality of the content, and secondly, it is also closely related to the changes in the audience's living habits.

  Undoubtedly, the rise of short dramas is inseparable from the topic of fragmented life, and fragmented life is a label that contemporary young people cannot escape. The pressure of external life and the high-frequency rhythm make it impossible for young people to focus on it for a long time. Ingesting text or long videos, "reading for ten minutes, mobile phone for two hours" "can't watch without double speed", so short videos came into being and became popular.

Obviously, compared to long videos, short videos are more in line with the viewing habits of contemporary young people - rather than watching a movie or TV series in its entirety, many viewers prefer to quickly understand the plot by watching commentary videos.

Short dramas are developed on the basis of short videos. Compared with traditional dramas that start with forty or fifty episodes, short dramas with fewer episodes and shorter duration are more attractive to young audiences.

  On the other hand, the continuous development of society has not only made people’s time division more and more fragmented, but also more and more diversified entertainment methods. Games, web articles, script killing, etc. are dizzying, and film and television dramas are no longer people’s only choice. , the audience does not have enough patience to finish a drama completely, "double-speed playback" has become the norm, and short dramas are also very popular.

 A very different viewing experience

  "A story that could be told in one episode has been dragged into ten episodes." From previous years' hit dramas "Chu Qiao Biography" and "Sweet Honey as Ashes as Frost" to last year's "Sweeping Black Storm", there are The phenomenon that the later plot was procrastinated and poured into water was criticized by the audience.

  However, due to the limitation of space, the short drama requires that it must show a complete story in a fast-paced and high-density narrative, which objectively greatly reduces the possibility of plot water injection.

Taking "The Beginning" as an example, the 15 episodes not only describe the story of the protagonist's search for the truth about the explosion and the battle of wits and courage with the police, but also show the joys and sorrows of the little people.

In order to fully display the story in the limited number of episodes, it is even more necessary for the creator to grasp the narrative rhythm, so that the audience has no room to breathe - the first episode is explained by the heroine of the plot background, and the hero and heroine of the second and third episodes join hands to prevent the explosion. The third to eighth episodes are looking for the real culprit, and then they try to save themselves. The plot is compact, and the audience will not feel fatigued at all.

It can be said that the rise of short dramas is actually a resistance of the audience to water-filled dramas. It is not so much a "condensed essence" that it "forces" traditional dramas to be more compact and focused.

In other words, it is not a reduction of the content of traditional dramas, but the original content can be performed in a small number of episodes.

  Compared with traditional dramas, how to tell a complete and attractive story in short episodes is the most important thing for future short dramas.

  At the beginning of this year, the short drama "Auntie's World", which did not explode but gained countless reputations, made the audience feel strongly that the short drama was working hard towards the direction of "boutique".

Each episode of the drama is only about 5 minutes. In the short-length drama with the main keywords of appearance, dog blood, and love, this "treasure drama" focuses on the elderly group and shows it in a humorous and funny way. Hot social phenomena such as health product sales scams, young people chasing stars, yin and yang contracts, etc.

Although each episode is only a few minutes, the story is wonderful, the laughter is dense, and the reality is satirized.

  Excellent short plays are often "cool" frequently.

The "cool point" here lies in the fact that the plot is compact and not procrastinated, so that the audience's first feeling after watching it is "cool"!

Secondly, it refers to its content that the audience likes to hear.

This category mainly refers to short-length short dramas, which are popular in short video apps. Compared with traditional dramas, their "cool" points are dense. For example, the Xianxia drama "This young hero is a little cold" has a total of 25 episodes, and each episode is about 2 In minutes, the popular elements of traditional fairy tales such as obsession, amnesia, and love and hatred are gathered in a plot of no more than one hour in total, achieving the "cool point" that an audience is most looking forward to in two minutes.

  However, although "cool point" is one of the reasons for the popularity of short dramas, short dramas that rely on "cool points" to bring popularity are often short-lived, and they come and go quickly.

In other words, "cool point" is one of the reasons for attracting audiences to watch short dramas, but it is not a necessary condition for short dramas to enter the mainstream attention.

There is a long way to go. For creators, short dramas are a test of innovation and change in content. Excellent and high-quality short dramas are still scarce.

For short dramas to truly enter the mainstream content market, they still need to accurately grasp their own positioning, continue to explore and improve, and tell truly innovative stories in a streamlined rhythm.

Bringing challenges to the creation of traditional film and television dramas

  The rise of short dramas has brought challenges to the creation of traditional film and television dramas, and also brought breakthroughs in creation:

1. The way to break the traditional film and television drama

  Since "Unexpectedly" in 2013, short dramas have appeared in the audience's field of vision, but there has been a long window period since then. It was not until the rise of short video apps such as Douyin and Kuaishou that short dramas resumed. return, and gradually become a trend.

We believe that with the development of the times and the evolution of young people's movie viewing habits, short dramas will inevitably become a new mode of viewing dramas, which will then affect the traditional drama market.

  In other words, it will be an inevitable trend for the number of traditional film and television series to decrease in the future.

The reason is that in addition to the "restriction order" to be stipulated by the Radio, Film and Television Bureau, which restricts water-filled dramas in terms of policy, it is difficult for audiences to "endure" the long-winded discussions of traditional dramas after they have gradually become accustomed to the fast-paced style of short dramas. .

Therefore, adapting to the changes in the audience's viewing habits is a way to break the situation for traditional dramas in the future.

2. The plot is the key

  Of course, traditional dramas are not necessarily as short as possible.

The fundamental reason why audiences like to watch short dramas is that they want to see a streamlined main story, rather than a short story.

Therefore, traditional dramas should seek to differentiate from short dramas - short dramas strive to simplify and fast-pace, while traditional dramas can pursue further enrichment and innovative plots.

For example, "The Legend of Zhen Huan" has a length of 76 episodes. It is well-known because of its high-quality presentation of details. Moreover, it is obviously an impossible task to make it into a short play.

In the final analysis, long and short dramas have different focuses, but what attracts the audience is always a reasonable rhythm and an excellent plot.

 3. Stimulate more possibilities

  To sum up, "The Legend of Zhen Huan" can never be made into a short drama, and short dramas are suspected of water injection when making long dramas. Therefore, short dramas and long dramas each have their own advantages, and neither is better.

In other words, short dramas cannot replace long dramas, but can only prompt long dramas to cut unnecessary plots and make the content and rhythm closer to the needs of the audience.

In a word, in the future, both short dramas and traditional dramas will need higher quality and take the route of quality.

  The fundamental reason why short dramas can enter the mainstream market is that they conform to the life style of contemporary young people, as well as the shortness of expression and the improvement of content quality.

The core element of a short play is not actually the length, but the compactness of the plot without procrastination.

  In short, the rise of short dramas is a wake-up call for traditional dramas, which reflects the changes in audience appreciation habits and strong resistance to boring water-filled dramas.

Some people say that the popularity of skits is the disappearance of art, but we cannot deny that the quality of skits is also improving.

It is certain that the interaction between short dramas and traditional dramas will bring more possibilities to future film and television creation.

  Guo Mei