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China's Changing Game

Ex-pat animation producer gives the inside scoop in freewheeling podcast.

I've been living and working in China for 10 years, and had the chance to reflect and expound upon that decade in an interview with fellow ex-pat producer Brendan Davis in an episode of his popular "Big Fish in the Middle Kingdom" podcast.

China has been good to me these past 10 years. Professionally, my academic efforts as the Beijing Film Academy Animation School's first foreign guest professor gained recognition with a Great Wall Award, and my independent production endeavors culminated in Disney's first Chinese TV animation co-production: the hit TV series Ban Jin Ba Liang. Personally, I met my wife Wen, and am now the happy father of two daughters: Claire and Emma. Financially, I have more money now than when I arrived (though that's not saying much, given that I came over in 2008 with 12 boxes of books and clothes).

But, China is a work in progress. China is changing, and Chinese capability and pride are rising. And with that rise, China's cultural, media/tech, and sociopolitical landscapes are rapidly morphing. It's incumbent upon anyone in China - native or foreign - to roll with those changes. To wit on the media front, China announced that its State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film & Television (the unfortunate acronym "SAPPRFT" for short), will be abolished in favor of even tighter control under a new body at the cabinet level.

I dish on my decade of adventures in China - my indie struggles, my efforts on behalf of the Walt Disney Company, China's evolution, and my current endeavors - in an enjoyable conversation with Brendan Davis. On his "Big Fish in the Middle Kingdom" blog, Brendan notes:

"Among all the great points that Kevin makes based on his extensive experience and perspective working here is the main, macro one - namely, that China IS changing, but that it won't change for YOU. We also discuss the point that you can’t view China and attempt to solve any challenges you may be having in dealing with or understanding it through an outside lens, especially a Western one. To interact successfully and satisfyingly here, you have to gain some real local perspective and develop an alternate set of instincts that are relevant for this reality as it is, not what you imagine it to be. Lots of food for thought in this episode, and many good words to heed before diving into anything over here. But it's not all serious; in fact, it's mostly a fast, fun and funny talk, and I hope you enjoy it. If you're a China-curious creative, this episode is especially a don't-miss."

Have a listen during your daily commute. If you're short on time, start with my final piece of advice in the last two minutes of the podcast. It's sure to hook you. ;-)

Kevin Geiger's picture

Kevin is the author of AWN's Reality Bites blog, his musings on the art, technology and business of immersive media (AR, VR, MR) and AI. You can find Kevin's website at and he can be reached at