How to Make a Korean Drama: Lessons From My Favourites

What happens when you are out of ideas for a post and have been sitting on some reviews? You steal from  get inspired by an article elsewhere and apply it to K-drama!

1. Start off on the right foot (Coffee Prince)

Coffee Prince ep 1 Choi Han Kyul steps out of the shower

Opening strong counts for a great deal. But sometimes a drama conflates ‘strong’ with ‘a lot’, and in a desperate bid to hook audiences throws every thing it can at the screen–a car chase here, a shower scene there, a flashback or three. All this frenzy of activity can seem disorienting and muddled instead of clear and assuring. In this light, I’m struck by how lean and efficient Coffee Prince‘s opening is. The first 6 minutes contains everything you need to know about the show in a nutshell. In quick, fun succession, the show introduces the two leads, tells us who they are, and even has them meet! We see Eun Chan zipping around on her motorcycle, and getting thrown out of the sauna when she’s mistaken for a boy–there’s our Candy (with a slight twist). Han Kyul is all playboy charm, toothy, bare-chested and sweet-talking (our resident man-child male lead). And with his brief glance at a photo and slight hesitance on the phone, we see our second leads, Han Seong and Yoo Joo, and get hints of Han Kyul’s complicated relationship with them. Voila! Characters, conflict and set-up all in 6 minutes. It’s a fabulous reminder of that old adage less is more. (For a recent example of the exact opposite, see the first episode of Warm & Cozy.)

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The (Belated) Sunshine Award

First, I owe all these lovelies who nominated me for this award a huge apology for taking so long to respond. I went into hibernation for a lot longer than anticipated.

Second, to anyone still reading this blog, I’m sorry too for taking a leave of absence not fully planned or accounted for.

Life gets in the way, yunno? Or more accurately, feeling like I wasn’t in the right headspace to blog. Or rather, not feeling like anything I had to say was worth writing about. And then the side of me that’s full of self-loathing emerged with her devil horns and said to me, “No one reads this blog anyway. So go ahead, just keep on being lazy.” Silly me, I listened to her.

Also, my drama watching had slowed to a trickle and then came to a screeching halt, so that compounded the rut.

And then I became obsessed with Rurouni Kenshin (aka Samurai X)–the films, the manga, the anime, the EVERYTHING–which sort of took over my life. I even thought of turning this entire blog into a shrine to Kenshin. But that’s another story.

But I recently picked up watching a couple of shows again. So here I am.

TL; DR I’m sorry, I’m back, and here are my answers to your questions: Continue reading

Coffee Prince Episode Guide: Episode 3 and 4

Episode 3 – 3rd Cup

Coffee Prince Ep 3 Han Kyul

Synopsis:  Han Kyul is forced to takeover Wang Ja Coffee by his grandmother, egged on by Eun Chan who’s desperate for a job. Eun Chan and Han Kyul get to know each other a little more, while Yoo Joo and Han Seong rekindle their relationship. Eun Chan however, is forced to continue the charade of being a boy in order to keep her job and enlists Manager Hong to keep her secret. Manager Hong and Han Kyul clash right away with the latter wanting to overhaul the entire concept of the cafe–a rename to Coffee Prince, all-male staff, and a new menu selling waffles. Renovations begin and since Han Kyul is put on a tight budget and timeline, he recruits his friend Ha Rim to help with the re-design. Min Yeop rounds out the new crew, but screws up an order for coffee beans which Eun Chan takes the fall for. Han Kyul tears her a new one asking her to leave if she can’t handle the job. Continue reading

The Liebster Award–Part 3

awardWell, I’m back with another round of questions to answer for the Liebster Award. Shucks, I’m really chuffed yet again by the shout-outs, especially since these are from blogs I love and read all the time. So let’s do this!

Picture Perfect Paradise asks: 

1. If you could write the script for a drama, what would it be about?

I recently heard a story about a fortune teller who tells fortunes using a deck of cards. The cards need to be buried with the fortune teller and then dug up after a few days by someone she’d chosen to pass them on to. And I thought, now that would make a great character!

So, my drama would be something along the lines of a fortune teller who goes in search for someone to pass on her powers to when she finds out that she’s dying. After a string of rejects she stumbles on a young woman who is a con artist with whom she inexplicably has a connection. Throw in a hot client-turned-love interest and another sidekick they pick up along the way, as this rag tag bunch go on their merry way trying to prevent a murder that the fortune teller has foretold. It’ll have lots of womance–our leads learn from and heal each other–lots of comedy, thrills and spills, heart, and some sexy kisses. But it ends with the fortune teller’s death. I haven’t filled in all the details yet and I doubt I can since I’ve never been one to write fiction, so if anyone out there cares to fill in the blanks, be my guest!

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Coffee Prince Episode Guide: Episode 1 and 2

CoffeePrince_cast2

For a drama I deeply love and the one I credit for making me fall down the rabbit hole of drama addiction, Coffee Prince could do with a little more love on this blog. I haven’t even written a review of it, mostly because I fear being unable to adequately describe in words my love and affection for this show. But since this is a new year and there’s no better time to try new things, I thought I’d rewatch this show and compile a guide of sorts, which as you will see, is really a collection of fangirl gushing musings.

I’ve also included a list of songs from each episode from both on and off the official soundtrack, since the music was flawless, and one of the many reasons why this drama is one of my favourites of all time. I’ve shamefully stolen from the amazing work of Dramabeans for this, filling in some gaps where I noticed them.  Continue reading

The Liebster Award–Part 2

Liebster Award Logo-1

[Shucks, there’ve been a couple more (thanks again Snow and Ahjusshi Fan!)so I’ve updated this page to keep the Liebsters together. Scroll down if you’re interested ;)]

Well lookie here! I’m really chuffed and grateful for Erl at A Mix of Anything and Everything for nominating me for the Liebster Award (why do I feel like I’m writing my Oscar acceptance speech?).

I know everybody says this but it is true that I’d never really thought anyone would read anything on my blog, let alone receive something like this.  So I am downright humbled and well pleased that this has come my way. So Erl, I shower you with rose petals, and same goes for anyone who has ever read and commented here on my little corner of the world. Everyone gets rose petals! Continue reading

Weekly OCDrama Digest 6 – 12 Jan 2014

I mentioned last week that as a resolution for the new year, I’m taking a cue from Snoop Dogg. If the drama doesn’t fit, it’s time to drop it like it’s hot. I’m committed to not committing.

With that in mind, I’ve shelved Miss Korea and You From Another Star, and I‘ve started on In A Good Way (which is going swimmingly) and re-watching Coffee Prince. For the 6th time! The latter is especially magical and I’ve decided that it’s about time I devoted some blog space to it and so, I’m announcing a series of episode guides or whatever you call postings of me nattering on about why each episode makes me so happy, Gong Yoo’s gorgeous smile not withstanding. I’m struggling to hold myself back from marathoning the daylights out of it as per usual because I have to take notes and write as I go along. But I find this only prolongs the delicious pleasure.

Pleasure, people. Isn’t that why we signed up for this drama madness business? The episode guides will start next week. And if anyone has better ideas on what to call ’em please share! I’m stumped.  But I digress (see how it gets with me and Coffee Prince?).

On with regularly scheduled programming:

Yoo Ah In1. In drama casting news, Kim Hee Ae is set to romance Yoo Ah In in Secret Love Affair, the upcoming JTBC drama by the A Wife’s Credentials team, about an older woman falling for a much younger musical prodigy. Colour me excited. Before this was announced, in my casting couch daydreams, I had envisioned Song Joong Ki being perfect for this role. Or maybe even Gong Yoo, if the drama wanted to skew older leading man (I read that he was in the mood for a sexy, adult, dramatic turn). But I’m not complaining! Yoo Ah In can rock the boyish smoulder and has honed some serious dramatic acting chops during his stint in Jang Ok Jung that a melo like this requires.  Continue reading