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2014-12-02    来源:fortune    【      美国外教 在线口语培训




There’s an old joke that helps The Hunger Games producer Nina Jacobson survive hard times. You know the one: A kid wakes up on Christmas morning to a pile of manure under the tree—only to excitedly claim that there must be a pony in there somewhere. “I always try to find the pony,” says Jacobson.
一个老笑话帮助电影《饥饿游戏》(The Hunger Games)的制片人妮娜·雅各布森度过了一段艰难的时光。大意是这样:圣诞节一大早,一个小孩醒来后就兴冲冲在圣诞树下寻找礼物,结果却发现了一堆粪便。不过,这个小孩依然兴奋地宣称,肯定有一匹小马藏在附近。“我总是尝试着找到那匹小马,” 雅各布森说。

Like that time she was unexpectedly let go from her gig as president of Walt Disney’s DIS -2.17% Buena Vista Motion Picture Group in 2006. Though Jacobson oversaw the first Pirates of the Caribbean film, Remember the Titans, and the first The Chronicles of Narnia film, among other blockbuster hits, she was one of the casualties in a management shake-up. But the firing pushed her to start her own production company.
比如2006年那次。当年,她意外地被免去迪斯尼公司(Walt Disney)旗下博伟影业集团(Buena Vista Motion Picture Group)的总裁一职。尽管雅各布森监制了第一部《加勒比海盗》(Pirates of the Caribbean) 、《冲锋陷阵》(Remember the Titans)和第一部《纳尼亚传奇》(Chronicles of Narnia)等卖座影片,但她还是成为一次管理层变动的受害者之一。但这次被炒经历,却激励她着手创建自己的制作公司。

Jacobson launched Color Force in 2007. The company quickly secured the rights to Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. The three subsequent films in the series grossed more than $310 million on a total budget of $55 million, according to the movie finance site The Numbers. The first two The Hunger Games films have done even better, pulling in $1.85 billion on a total budget of $210 million. The next installment in the series, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, will likely reap a similar windfall when it’s released on November 21. Given that track record, Jacobson hasn’t just found a pony—she’s ridden a unicorn through Hollywood, developing stories that she genuinely loves and turning them into commercial hits.
2007年,雅各布森推出Color Force公司。该公司迅速获得杰夫·金尼 (Jeff Kinney) 著作《小屁孩日记》(Diary of a Wimpy Kid)的电影版权。根据电影融资网站The Numbers提供的数据,该系列的三部电影以5,500万美元的总预算获得了逾3.1亿美元的票房收入。《饥饿游戏》系列电影前两部的表现则更上一层楼,以2.1亿美元的总预算斩获18.5亿美元的票房收入。即将于11月21日上映的《饥饿游戏3:自由幻梦(上)》(The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1),很可能将获得类似的票房收入。鉴于这份夺目的成绩单,雅各布森不只是找到一匹小马,而是一只载着她疾驰过好莱坞的麒麟——她不断开发自己真正喜爱的故事,然后将其转化为风行一时的商业大片。

Despite the large box office numbers, Color Force purposely remains a relatively small operation. It has just seven employees focusing on one to two movies a year. “That gives us the ability to tell someone that they will be one of five projects we have, not one of 50,” says Jacobson.
尽管获得了庞大的票房数字,但Color Force依然刻意地保持小规模运营方式。该公司目前仅有7名员工,每年专注于一两部影片。“这样一来,我就能够告诉别人,他们将成为我们开发的5个项目之一,而不是50个项目之一,” 雅各布森说。

The low headcount keeps Jacobson busy. On any given day, she will pursue rights to material, find financiers to back projects, meet with studio heads, hire screenwriters and directors, be on a location shoot, assist in film editing or map out a film’s distribution strategy. Her ground-level involvement means that she is fully invested in each project.

“I know that everything Nina submits is something that she knows how to make, who the audience is and how she would ask us to market and sell it,” says Fox 2000 Pictures president Elizabeth Gabler, who worked with Jacobson on Diary of a Wimpy Kid and signed Color Force to a first-look deal this summer. “Everything is completely thought out before she makes a move.”
“我知道,只要是妮娜提出某个项目,她肯定知道如何制作,目标观众是谁,应该采用什么营销方式,” 福克斯2000影业公司(Fox 2000 Pictures)总裁伊丽莎白·高布乐说。“在她开始行动前,一切都已经过深思熟虑。” 高布乐曾经与雅各布森合作拍摄过电影《小屁孩日记》,并且在今年夏天与Color Force签订了一份优先合作协议。

From a business standpoint, everything has to be. With only a few films in development, Color Force can’t afford to have any bombs. And while it likely earns a handsome payday from The Hunger Games—Color Force has been paid an undisclosed fee for its services and given a share of the profits—those funds don’t last forever for an ambitious, growing company in the fickle film industry.
从商业的角度来看,一切都马虎不得。由于Color Force每年只开发寥寥几部电影,任何一个项目都不能成为哑弹。虽然《饥饿游戏》很可能为Color Force赢得了一笔可观收入(该公司已经获得一笔未透露金额的服务费,而且还参与了影片利润分成),但在变幻无常的电影业中,对于这样一家雄心勃勃,不断壮大的公司来说,这些资金不会永远持续下去。

That unpredictability means attention to detail is crucial. Jacobson’s managerial style has transformed from top-line decision-making on projects already in good shape to sweating projects’ details. “As a studio executive, I took the approach that people are competent until proven otherwise. But when you make a movie, because there is so little time to fix things when they break, you have to almost come to it with the mindset that everyone is incompetent until proven otherwise,” she says. “They usually aren’t, but you have to think, What if this goes wrong? What if that goes wrong?”

“A producer having her level of love of story is pretty rare, “says The Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence. “I think a lot of producers sit in story meetings and have ideas, but I don’t think they are quite as good as Nina’s.”

Jacobson acts as the conduit between the storytellers and the studio, managing costs and editorial concerns and advocating on behalf of what she thinks the film needs. Her background gives her the ability to harmonize the business and the creative sides. “A lot of times people are only able to see one or the other,” says Lionsgate co-president Erik Feig, who oversees The Hunger Games for the studio. “She is one of the rare individuals who has the ability to focus on the forest and the trees.”
雅各布森是故事作者和电影公司之间的沟通渠道,需要管理制作成本和编剧关切的问题,并且就她认为某部电影需要何种元素发表主张。雅各布森的背景让她有能力协调商业要求和创意需要。“很多时候,人们只能看到事物的一个层面,” 《饥饿游戏》的监制,狮门影业公司(Lionsgate)联席总裁埃里克·费格说。“而她既能看见森林,又能看见树木,这种品质确实难能可贵。”

Besides The Hunger Games, Color Force has acquired the rights to Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. But first up is a series for FX called “The People Vs. O.J. Simpson,” based on The Run of His Life by Jeffrey Toobin; it’s slated for 2015.
除了《饥饿游戏》外,Color Force公司已经获得了玛丽亚·森普尔的小说《你要去哪儿,伯纳黛特》(Where’d You Go, Bernadette) 、唐娜·塔特的小说《金翅雀》(The Goldfinch)和凯文·关的小说《疯狂的亚洲富人》(Crazy Rich Asians)等作品的改编权。但首先要开发的是根据杰弗里·图宾作品《他的人生赛跑》(The Run of His Life)改编的《人民诉辛普森案》系列(The People Vs. O.J. Simpson)。这部影片预定于2015年开始制作。

Jacobson’s media diet is voracious and varied. She reads The New Yorker, New York, Texas Monthly and Longreads.com. She listens to “This American Life,” “Radiolab,” UnFictional.” She’s currently watching Orphan Black, Sherlock, Transparent, The Affair, The Leftovers and The Honourable Woman. Her favorite journalists are some of the best out there—Lawrence Wright, Jon Krakauer, David Kushner and Patrick Keefe, the 2014 winner of the National Magazine Award for Feature Writing.
在闲暇时间,雅各布森总是贪婪地浏览各种媒体。她阅读《纽约客》(The New Yorker)、《纽约》(New York)、《得克萨斯月刊》(Texas Monthly)和Longreads.com,聆听《美国生活》(This American Life)、《广播实验室》(Radiolab)和《非虚构》(UnFictional)等广播节目。她目前还在追看《黑色孤儿》(Orphan Black)、《神探夏洛克》(Sherlock)、《透明人生》(Transparent)、《婚外情事》(The Affair)、《守望尘世》(The Leftovers)和《谍影巾帼》(The Honourable Woman)等剧集。她最喜欢的记者皆是一些佼佼者,比如劳伦斯·怀特、乔恩·克拉考尔、大卫·库什纳和帕特里克·基夫,后者是2014年国家杂志奖之特稿写作奖(National Magazine Award for Feature Writing)得主。

Jacobson’s strong understanding of what makes a compelling narrative resonates with the authors and directors she teams up with on films. “She made me feel very safe [creatively],” says Lawrence, mentioning that even Jacobson’s critiques were welcome. “When she says something about the film, it’s coming from a genuine, smart and tasteful place, and she’s usually right.” (The Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins trusted Jacobson so much that their initial deal was struck verbally over the phone before any formal contracts were written up. “I had such a strong emotional reaction to the book that there was no way she could see that she didn’t have a fan,” says Jacobson.)
雅各布森对如何讲述一个令人信服的故事有着深刻的理解,而且往往能引起与其合作的作者和导演的强烈共鸣。劳伦斯说,“她让我觉得可以安安稳稳地创意。”他特别指出,哪怕是雅各布森的批评意见,也是值得聆听的。“每当她谈论自己对这部影片的看法时,那往往是一种真诚,聪明,很有品位的观点。而且,她通常是正确的。”(《饥饿游戏》的作者苏珊·柯林斯非常信任雅各布森,他们最初的协议是在电话上口头达成的,双方当时还没有签订任何正式合同。“这本书让我产生了强烈的情绪反应,她肯定能够体会到,我是一名忠实粉丝,” 雅各布森说。)

As Color Force branches out into TV shows, Jacobson envisions controlled expansion. She’ll add another member or two to the company’s staff and do two to three movies a year. At this size, Color Force can remain nimble—and Jacobson can continue to make project decisions based on her own interests.
随着Color Force开始制作电视节目,雅各布森产生了适度扩张的打算。她准备为公司员工团队增加一到两人,每年制作两到三部电影。按照这种规模,Color Force依然能够保持足够的灵活性,雅各布森也可以继续根据她自身的兴趣,做出项目决策。

“We will always be more of a boutique rather than a factory, but we would like to be a slightly bigger boutique,” she says. “When I became a producer, I told myself I will finally be able to bring my dog to work,” she says of implementing the company’s first (and favorite) perk. “Dogs in the office are very important.”

ambitious adj. 野心勃勃的;有雄心的

fickle adj. 浮躁的;易变的;变幻无常的

managerial adj. [管理] 管理的;经理的

harmonize vt. 使和谐;使一致;以和声唱

boutique adj. 精品屋的;小规模专售精品的/ n. 精品店;专卖流行衣服的小商店

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