No one expected that the spring break in the film and television drama industry in 2024 would be a short drama "I Was a Stepmother in the 1980s" with an episode of about one minute.

  The content of the series is simple and crude. Female college student Si Nian (played by Teng Zewen) wakes up and travels back to the 1980s. She replaces her evil sister to marry a local pig farm owner who has two children and is divorced. She unexpectedly discovers that her fiancé looks exactly like him. Huo Jianhua + Xiao Zhan, with their introverted and simple personalities, are full-fledged rural bosses.

However, the living environment is not optimistic, so the heroine's relationship with her husband escalates during repeated confrontations with the best.

Vertical screen short dramas have already entered our lives

  "I Became a Stepmother in the 1980s" is not an exception. Vertical screen short dramas have long entered people's lives.

  There are roughly two categories of "micro-short dramas" today.

The first type is micro-short dramas in which leading platforms participate in the production sharing and promotion, which have obtained online drama distribution licenses and domestic TV drama distribution licenses, such as "The Young Master and Me" launched on iQiyi, and "New Year's Eve" launched on Douyin ", Farewell", etc. These dramas generally have coherent plots, and the length of an episode ranges from 5 to 20 minutes.

  The second category is vertical screen short dramas of about one minute each episode. Some are officially participated by Douyin and Kuaishou, such as "Little Nian Beast and the Demon Catcher", but most of them are paid to watch via mini programs and are produced by short drama companies. , such as "I Became a Stepmother in the 1980s".

It should be noted that such vertical screen short dramas generally have blurred review boundaries and rely on the platform to grasp the scale.

  Vertical screen short dramas are a genre that has surged with the popularity of short videos. Initially, some online reading platforms hoped to attract readers through videos, and gradually developed into a whole online story.

Last year, the short play "Unparalleled Son-in-law" once became a traffic legend in the circle. The production cost was less than 500,000 yuan. It was online for 8 days and the recharge exceeded 100 million yuan. It was exaggeratedly summarized as: "It was shot in 7 days, 100 million yuan in 8 days, 10 Heavenly wealth and freedom.”

  The reason for such exaggerated numbers is related to the way to watch short dramas. This type of drama usually has 80-100 episodes. The first 20 or so episodes are free. After that, you have to pay to unlock them. You can buy them by episode, one-time purchase, etc. Or buy an annual pass for watching drama mini programs.

Watching a short play is worth as much as a movie ticket.

  During the Spring Festival, in addition to "I Became a Stepmother in the 1980s", "Mr. Pei Thinks of His Father Every Day" produced by the same company was also a hit among micro-short dramas. The combined recharge amount of the two dramas is said to have exceeded 100 million yuan.

Other small program short dramas such as "Homecoming in the Year of the Dragon" and "New Year's Eve" also performed well during the Spring Festival.

  Even recently in the variety show "Infinite Transcendence Class", actor Ning Jing said that he is "really good" and that he would pay to follow short dramas. Maybe he felt "cheated" at first, because they were all "bad productions and bad actors", but It's pleasing to the eye just by looking at it, and you even have to spend money to watch it.

Er Dongsheng also joked that due to the popularity of the short drama, Hengdian has now become a "vertical store".

Stephen Chow also announced that he will soon launch his first high-quality micro-short drama "Golden Pig and Jade Leaf".

  The attention and choice of people in the industry is an important signal, and micro-short dramas may also produce some high-quality products.

Why does it take just one minute to get someone over your head?

  The content characteristics of micro-short plays can be summarized in two words: short and top-notch.

These two characteristics actually correspond to the objective needs of modern people for using mobile phones and the subjective needs for emotions.

  With the launch of short video APPs on mobile phones, the scenarios and habits of modern people using mobile phones are undergoing tremendous changes. Almost all of people's fragmented time is occupied by mobile phones, and they are becoming more and more accustomed to using vertical screens to meet their visual needs. Switch a video content in less than a minute and welcome the visual impact brought by fast switching.

It can be said that the popularity of short video APP has opened the door to a new era for vertical screen short dramas.

  Of course, being short is one of the conditions, and more importantly, it must be combined with an exciting plot.

Whether it is a short play that was not popular before or a hit short play that is now earning tens of millions a day, the plot is the same without much change. The plot is simple, with many twists and turns, a strong sense of rhythm, no nonsense, and lines. They are all memes, and one minute contains the content of several episodes of a long drama. It basically eliminates everything other than providing emotional value, and only has the word "cool".

  Take "I Became a Stepmother in the 1980s" as an example. In one episode, the heroine took her two children to a restaurant for dinner. When she met her ex-boyfriend and her sister, she was humiliated by her ex-boyfriend and said, "It's a good thing I didn't fall in love with you before." Help other people raise children and be a stepmother." The heroine was not in a hurry. She first said to her ex-boyfriend, "This is a common man", and then to her sister, "This is called green tea." But then the heroine was humiliated and said, "Married to a butchered pig." ", smells like it.

It is impossible for the heroine to give in and scold them back and tell them to go back and "brush their teeth".

When the ex-boyfriend saw that he could not gain any advantage through words, he used his identity as the son of the director of a chemical factory to drive away the heroine. At this moment, the hero walked in from the door and said, "What about me?" and was ready to join the fight.

At this point, the episode ends, predicting the future events, and spending money to unlock it.

The plot is corny but effective.

  The popularity of mobile devices such as mobile phones and the rise of video websites have changed the traditional viewing mode of film and television dramas. It is not only a matter of large and small screens, horizontal and vertical screens, but also provides multiple options for watching dramas at double speed, watching only TA, etc. .

The micro-short drama is like "dehydrating" a long drama directly. You don't need to choose between 1.5x or 2x speed. It implements the "Occam's razor" principle and the plot is given directly, making you just want to click on the next one in one minute. set.

Are skits at the bottom of the contempt chain?

  The audience and quality of vertical screen short dramas have undergone some changes in the past two years.

  Initially, paid short dramas targeted male audiences aged 30-55 who like keywords such as "cool", "counterattack", "brother-in-law" and "dragon king". This group of people is also the main force in the live broadcast reward mechanism and is the male channel's main force. The main audience of the subject, "The Son-in-law", which became a hit last year, is this routine.

"Male Channel + God of War" and "Male Channel + Son-in-law" are still the dominant themes on the dataeye short drama list.

But with the entry of hot capital, more possibilities have emerged in this track. "Female videos + emotions" and "female videos + cute babies" have begun to squeeze into the popular list. According to dataeye statistics, from November 2023 At the beginning, the themes of female channels have risen sharply, and even occupied seven seats in the top ten lists. By January 2024, the popularity of female channels has become higher than that of male channels, and the overall number of episodes and placements are higher than those of male channels. .

  With the increase in themes and content, the audience has gradually expanded, users have become younger, and the proportion of female groups has increased significantly. The expansion of the market has also prompted short dramas to gradually abandon the "simple and crude" production model.

For example, young and female audiences like fantasy and costumes, which increases the production cost of short dramas.

Some short drama directors said that now the cost of a short drama of 80-100 episodes has far exceeded 300,000 yuan, and some even cost 1 million yuan.

According to some people in the short drama industry, short dramas have passed the era of wild growth and begun to involute.

  Regarding the current short drama market, whose quality has improved, both industry insiders and ordinary audiences are divided into two obvious "camps".

  Some people think that watching dramas and movies is a pastime, and surfing Douyin and Kuaishou is also a pastime, so why not watch short dramas as a pastime?

It has its own advantages and strengths, which are not necessarily related to whether to choose a long drama.

  According to an on-site visit to Hengdian by Douyin blogger "Baipingjun", the current production scale of short dramas cannot be underestimated. This is related to the downturn in the film and television industry in the past two years. Short dramas have attracted many professionals who originally worked on the crew of long dramas. .

The cost has increased, there are more professionals, short plays have begun to have storyboards and lens language, and the way of service is no longer simple.

  The improvement in production sophistication has greatly increased the competitiveness of short dramas, allowing them to leap from competing with short video platforms for users to competing with long dramas for film and television audiences, becoming one of the pastimes of modern people. For example, in the discussion of some domestic long dramas Some netizens said, "Nowadays, long-form dramas are long and poorly paced, with outdated plots. Even at double speed, they are boring. There are also problems with dubbing and acting. It is better to watch short dramas, at least without adding water."

  But on the other hand, some people believe that watching short dramas is not the same as watching traditional film and television dramas. Some even say that micro-short dramas "have low moral sense and can make money."

The meaning behind this sentence is that in order to achieve emotional refreshment and make people pay for it, the content of micro-short dramas is mainly reversal, bloody, and strong stimulation, which is contrary to the artistic pursuit required by literary and artistic works, and is regarded as "contempt" in film and television. Bottom of the chain".

What is the future of short dramas?

  In fact, just like the development of online dramas back then, it is still too early to judge short dramas now.

  Objectively speaking, the current short dramas have their undeniable shortcomings, the most obvious one is that the content and form are relatively simple.

From "Wan Zha Chao Huang" to "Unparalleled Son-in-law" to "I Became a Stepmother in the 1980s", the same reversal method has been used again and again.

According to the data summary of dataeye, short drama companies have actually noticed this problem. Especially as the audience scope expands, routines such as the Dragon King and the Son-in-law can no longer meet the needs of users.

  Secondly, the operating model of previous short dramas has caused hot money to pour in. It seems that as long as you have money invested, you can create a hit.

It is reported that the ratio of a short drama's investment cost and return cost is called ROI. The ROI of a short drama is usually around 1.2-1.3. As long as the ROI is not less than 1.15, the short drama company will continue to invest.

This is a business that puts traffic first.

  At present, the short drama market is indeed changing.

First of all, in terms of content, new companies are constantly emerging, and various leading platforms are also testing various themes and formats.

In addition to professional and experienced actors joining the ranks of filming short plays, directors like Stephen Chow personally directing short plays will also bring a new atmosphere to the short play market.

"Hot money" is not terrible. How to turn hot money into a help for professionals is the problem.

  In addition, supervision has been strengthened. By the end of 2022, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television had removed more than 25,300 short dramas. According to some short drama screenwriters, after the "Black Lotus Master's Manual" was removed from the shelves in the second half of last year, now Rebirth, Themes such as revenge and showing off wealth are all handled with caution. In many short dramas, even ambiguous and intimate scenes have begun to be deleted and blurred. Some of the usual cool spots have become minefields, and the screenwriters have to explore new directions.

  To a certain extent, preventing short plays from focusing solely on “coolness” may stimulate real creativity.

Some practitioners mentioned in interviews that those who can stay are professional teams with better creative capabilities.

(The Paper reporter Yang Qian)