The Priceless Piece-Scripting of “The Chaser”
[Blogger note: I have been MIA due to real life commitments, my deepest apologies to readers who are still hanging around this quiet neighborhood~ ^^; But I’ve been devoting bits of what little me-time I have to [The Chaser]. No regrets~ ^^b]
This post is a translation of a Newsen article by Reporter Hwang Yoo Young.
The Priceless Piece-Scripting of “The Chaser”
“Jjok daebon” is a common practice in the filming of Korean dramas, where individual scenes are written, memorized by actors on the spot, before being hurriedly edited and broadcast almost immediately, sometimes in one day. Literally meaning “piece-by-piece scripts”, “jjok daebon” results in scenes being filmed not in sequence, resulting in extreme stress for the whole production team, especially for actors, who have to try their best to capture emotions of earlier scenes that they probably have no idea of at the time of filming.
However, the “jjok daebon” practice for SBS Mon-Tue drama “The Chaser” has earned the praise of being a “geumjjok daebon” drama instead. (geumjjok = “precious little golden nugget” ^-^)
Directed by Cho Nam Guk and written by Park Kyung Soo, viewer ratings of “The Chaser” have soared past 20% despite the lack of trendy elements (e.g. romance, idols, body-switching, time-travelling etc). Viewer expectations are high and will likely turn into a very unforgiving audience should there be any flaws as the drama transits into the risky live-broadcast mode with the use of “jjok daebon” piece scripting.
Currently, the script is divided for 3 separate production teams to film “The Chaser” in parallel. Typical dramas often divide their scripts between 2 parallel filming teams, but due to the heftier script of “The Chaser”, its filming was shared between 3 teams. Inevitably, the drama’s 3 teams are now doing “live-broadcast” – episodes almost wholly created, filmed, edited and delivered to the viewer, within 24 hours.
On an interview from tvN’s “Baek Ji Young’s People Inside” aired on July 9, veteran actor Park Geun Hyung (73) revealed, “We are receiving piece scripts and filming through the night. We often joke to the production staff that when the drama ends, we are going to punch the scriptwriter in the face.”
With the extraordinary response from the public, this drama will be extended. Originally 2 additional episodes were planned, but it has been finalized that the drama will have a 1-episode extension and 1 episode as a “special”. (edit: Due to the writer’s health, the extension was withdrawn)
Extensions, piece-scripts, live-broadcast filming – these notorious practices of the Korean drama industry is under much criticism, yet the near-perfect production quality of “The Chaser” begs to differ. As the protagonist Baek Hong Suk meets much obstacles in his attempts at revenge, the July 10 airing of episode 14 finally laid rest to all the worries and apprehension that viewers have endured. The episode also touched many hearts with the mass voting scenes.
Ever since competing MBC drama “Light and Shadows” ended, “The Chaser” recorded 13.5% on July 3 (national rating by AGB Nielson media research) before hitting a high of 17.9% on July 9 and 20.7% on July 10 this week. Thus is the strength of a fluff-free, truly respectable and dignified drama.
Every week I look forward to the scenes between Park Geun Hyung-nim and Kim Sang Joong~
In the episode 14 scene below, President-elect Kang Dong Yoon (Kim Sang Joong) visits Chairman Seo (Park Geun Hyung-nim) for yet another politically-laden meal.
Chairman Seo (in his cheery dialect full of hidden stabs):
“Dong Yoonie, I saw on TV what you did today, standing in front of the Prosecutor’s Office and all that. You know what, while I was settling the Korea-Japan Agreement in Japan, I met Rikidozan. At that time, people often say that pro-wrestling is all a show. One reporter fearlessly asked Rikidozan, whether he thinks pro-wrestling is just a show. Guess what Rikidozan said? He put it like this. ‘Life is but a show. And with all my life, I will put on my best show.’ Dong Yoon ah, you resemble Rikidozan in so many ways. Don’t you think so?”
President-elect Kang Dong Yoon (with barely a flinch of his Nike brows):
“Thanks for what I shall regard as a compliment.”
“That’s correct, it was a compliment. Dong Yoonie, oftentimes I wonder how great it would be if you were my son. To be able to reach the place you are at, without a proper family background.”
“Father-in-law, I respect you too. The path you travelled is a history of Korea. I saw a photograph of you in Ji Soo’s photo album. It was the Japanese Occupation and you were 12, carrying an A-frame on your back. That youth who was carrying a Korean A-frame is now carrying Korea’s economy on his back. Because you were here, that I was able to realize my dreams.”
“How is your dad? Is he still a barber? I should visit him one day with you. I should ask him to cut my hair. By the way, Young Wook will be heading to the States tomorrow noon. He’s going to be there for a few years..”
“After I’m sworn in office, he shall be summoned to court. He won’t be able to avoid prosecution. The prosecutors have started investigations.”
“If you bother Young Wookie, you are going to lose new investors for a few years, wouldn’t that be worrying for the nation’s economy?”
“Well, I can start tax investigations on Hanoh Group’s subsidiary companies too.”
“Dong Yoon ah~ Why do you think those chaps in charge of government prefer to receive money from Hanoh Group? If they received money from others, they surely will be found out, but if they received from us, they will never be found out. You’d better learn from them. We Hanoh Group will never be found out. Because only we have the records to those transactions. Look. Even if you get sworn into the Blue House, if someone receives your call and mine at the same time, whom do you think he prefers to answer?
Dong Yoon ah. Are you still ambitiously eyeing my position? You’re not even my son.”
“You don’t have any other potential successor anyway.”
“Actually I do.”