We all live in a #Dramaworld

Hellooooo kdrama lovers! Has really it really been MONTHS since my last post? My sincerest apologies. Life has been kicking my ass but I’m starting to get back on track now and am excited to share my latest kdrama adventure, the Hollywood premiere of Viki’s new original series Dramaworld!

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Starring hapa heartthrob Sean Dulake and newcomer Liv Hewson, this series is Viki’s first kdrama production, they financed and produced it themselves!  And what a glamorous way to premiere their work.

Here’s Dulake and Hewson on the red carpet.
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Dramaworld is about a college student, Claire Duncan (Hewson), who is obsessed with the kdrama Taste of Love and its star Joon Park (Sean Dulake). But things are going horribly wrong  in Taste of Love — the main love interest, Seo-yeon (Bae Noo Ri) can’t even get a kiss in because her nemesis Gae-in (Kim Sa Hee) keeps thwarting their chances at love.  And as we all know, every kdrama needs a kiss between the main couple by AT LEAST the fifth episode, right? Cue magical dream sequence where Claire gets transported into the dramaworld of Taste of Love. With the help of Seth Ko (Justin Chon of Twilight fame), Claire learns that she has become a facilitator, a kdrama fanatic who must unobstrusively help the story reach its happy ending. Claire MUST get Joon and Seo-yeon to fall in love, or else DRAMAWORLD WILL CEASE TO EXIST. High stakes, right? What’s excellent about Dramaworld is its ability to poke fun at all the kdrama tropes hardcore fans are familiar with. Since the theater was packed with Viki volunteers, they screamed with delight at every reference and kpop star cameo. Chocolate abs? check Overbearing rich mother? check Subplot including a dangerous covert organization that’s spying on everyone? check

The premiere was held at the beautiful Ace Hotel. Many of the cast and crew had flown in from Korea so I’m sure they were impressed with how organized and glitzy the event was.

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After screening the first 3 episodes of Dramaworld, there was a Q&A with the cast and director Chris Martin (not from Coldplay).

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Missing Justin Chon because he had to fly down to Mexico at the last minute for a movie job

The director talked about the differences with working in Hollywood vs. Korea, highlighting the fact that in Korea they just keep shooting no matter what, which makes for very long work hours.  After the moderator’s questions, they opened it up to the audience. I was impressed with the fans that came up to ask questions. Usually when you open it up to the floor you get a couple of wackos that just gush for several minutes without asking anything of substance, but kdrama fans know how to handle themselves.Hewson shared that Girls Generation was her gateway into the kpop world. The others  shared what the first kdrama that they watched was. Answer ranged from Coffee Prince to Descendants of the Sun.

The after-party on the rooftop was an added bonus. I got to mingle with other kdrama bloggers. Plus I snagged a pic with the lead actress! And Viki’s uber-talented CEO, Tammy Nam!

 

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actress Liv Hewson

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CEO Tammy Nam, she’s a smart lady

Dramaworld has 10 episodes total, with 2 shows being released each Sunday on Viki. Enjoy!
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Special thanks to KPOP-TV for sending me to the red carpet to cover this exciting premiere!

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KCON 2013 – All Things Hallyu

This weekend has been crazy exciting. I can’t believe KCON is over! I had such an amazing time, so let’s start with the recap!

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On day one, the lines to get in were loooooooong. Even if you had a ticket, you had to wait for security to check your bag. Like, wait for hours – plural. Luckily the staff was more efficient the next day, but I felt bad for everyone who was baking in the sun even before the convention started.

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My first panel was “The World of K-Drama”. Stephanie Parker, the Community Manager at Viki, did a great job of staying upbeat and positive as the moderator. Sean Richard Dulake talked a little bit about the filming process for kdramas. What stood out to me was him mentioning how Korea doesn’t really have unions, so they can work you 24 hours. Like, you’d maybe get an hour to sleep in your car and then you’d be back on set. No wonder there are so many accidents during production.

Girlfriday (on left) shared that she enjoys supernatural kdramas, so My Girlfriend is a Gumiho is one of her favorites. Dramabeans (right) said her favorites change depending on the time, but her current love is Shut Up Flower Boy Band. It was such an honor to be standing next to the goddesses of the kdrama blogosphere.

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I also attended the “Asian American YouTube Stars” panel. The special guests were Jeff Bernat, Jun Sung Ahn, and Jung Sung Ahn’s manager.  Christine B. Balance, a professor at UC Irvine, was the moderator. Several of her students must have been in the audience because she got lots of applause. Yay teachers that care! Afterwards, the line to talk to (hug) Jun Sung Ahn was so lengthy that security had to make a cutoff point.
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I asked Jung Sung Ahn’s manager how many views a YouTube personality needed in order to get professional representation, and he said that he’s signed people with only 1000 views. According to him, it’s the talent that matters, not so much the hits. Hmm, food for thought.

The “Successful Asian Americans in Entertainment” panel was right before the “Behind the Scenes of a K-Movie” panel. Since Henry was one of the special guests, there was already a line for him before I sat down. Wish I could’ve stayed for Henry, but I’m not really familiar with his work so I didn’t want to take a seat away from an actual fan.

The successful Asian Ams gave us some helpful pointers on how to succeed in the industry – don’t party till 4 a.m., shower every other day, eat bread because it’s amazing, … Yeah, it was pretty wacky and irreverent, mainly because of Will Yun Lee and his friend (can’t remember his name and since he was a last minute addition to the guest list he didn’t have a name tag). They spent a good portion of the panel joking around and leading everyone into tangential topics. Super hilarious. TOKiMONSTA explained how she doesn’t read YouTube comments because they can be depressing and it’s not worth it. She said it’s been hard for her as a female Asian American to make it in the electronic scene. Some people assume that it’s her boyfriend who creates her beats or that she’s just the face of her albums. Sucks that in the year 2013 women still can’t get proper credit for their work.

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In addition to the panels, there was lots to do. Fun games to win prizes like a Psy fan, Bibigo headband, Nongshim ramen, and even a free trip to Korea on Asiana Airlines. I won all of these prizes … except for the plane ticket.

I’ve been a fan of Sulli since I saw her in To the Beautiful You, so I was super excited for f(x)’s Artist Engagement. Wasn’t able to get very close, but here’s a pic. Props to Amber for being their spokesperson.

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Overall, I had a fantastic KCON experience, but there were a few issues that will hopefully be resolved by next year.

– Communication between the venue staff and KCON staff. Didn’t seem like many of the security guards or parking attendants had any idea what was going on at LASA (Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena).

– Getting people into KCON as soon as the doors open. People shouldn’t have to wait hours to enter, especially if they already have tickets and just need to get their bags inspected. There’s got to be a more efficient way to manage the entrance.

– There were only Porta Potties available during the convention portion. That’s okay, but not so great if the toilet paper runs out or the portable sinks have no water.

– Lack of shade. The L.A. sun can get intense during the summer. Really hope there’s an indoor venue next year.

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The heat kept my appetite at bay, but I didn’t pass up the chance for some food truck grub.  To purchase food, you had to first buy a meal ticket and then trade the paper ticket for your lunch.  I especially enjoyed the delicious  goodies from Tornado Potato and Tous Les Jours. Finding a place to eat was tricky since most of the tables didn’t have shade, but sitting on the grass was fine.

Love how KCON brought together fans from all over the world to share their mutual love of Hallyu. I started random conversations with people from as far as Washington, D.C., Mexico, and Japan.

The highlight of KCON of course was the MNET concert. I was already thrilled to be able to see 2am and f(x), but I am now also a fan of Crayon Pop, Teen Top, and with grudging respect … G-Dragon. He really knows how to work the crowd.
My seats were decent, albeit not close enough to get any sharp pictures. Will post some video later after I check to see if I was able to capture any footage that’s worth sharing.

Stay tuned and thanks for reading!