The Korean romance drama “Memories of the Alhambra” gained huge popularity in 2018 with its flashy casts and unique storyline set in Spain. The producer of this mega-hit drama was Kang Bo-ah, an Ewha alumni who graduated from Department of French Language & Literature in 2012. Currently, Kang is a producer at Chorokbaem Media, which is one of the biggest digital contents producing company in South Korea. Ewha Voice met Kang to get a glimpse of what it’s like to be a drama producer.
Chorokbaem Media has produced many popular and well-known tv series such as “Memories of the Alhambra” and “Another Miss Oh.” “Memories of the Alhambra,” aired on cable network tvN, talks about a love relationship between a hostel owner in Spain and an investment firm executive, starring Park Shin-hye and Hyun bin. This drama centers on suspenseful events that happened while they were searching for the mysterious creator of a new augmented reality game set in the Alhambra Palace.
When asked about what Kang cared the most when producing “Memories of the Alhambra,” she replied that it was the budget. Her team had to consider the budget for overseas scenes as it required huge finance; hence, she had to make a detailed budget plan that fully covers the whole cost of the production.
Kang shared her memorable episode while shooting in Spain.
“On the last day in Spain, we had to split our teams for each shooting because we were running out of time,” Kang said. “Every staff member was busy finishing the allotted shooting scenes and I was moved by the teamwork. We were like the Avengers, the superheroes from Marvel movies.”
When asked about a common confusion between producers and directors, she replied that although the concepts are quite mixed, the producer’s job is very different from that of a director’s.
“While a director is in charge of the overall contents and shooting the scenes, the producer organizes the set and locations for shooting. My job is to form a perfect shooting environment where the director can get the best shot,” Kang said.
Kang is at the wheel of everything that takes place in a drama production. Before shooting, Kang plans a new drama and makes a contract with staff members and actors. When the production starts, she manages to pay actors and provides payments to staff members. Her main duty is to plan the budget use so that everything goes smoothly in drama producing.
“Physically and mentally, being a producer is tough. Sometimes, I feel a huge pressure as my quick decision can lead to a total confusion between the staff members and turn tens of millions won into nothing but a meaningless expense,” Kang explained. “Still, I think my job helps me build lifetime values. To be able to cooperate with different kinds of people and communicate with them is what really counts.”
For essential qualities to become a producer, Kang replied that having various experiences is the most important. As producer is a job that requires quick wit and flexibility, she emphasized the ability to cope with unexpected events.
“The more experience you have, the more you’ll be able to respond flexibly towards unexpected problems during the shooting, which is an important trait to be qualified as a good producer,” Kang noted.
Her next plan is to continue producing dramas that convey socially meaningful messages. As one working in the film industry, she wants to create some contents that have global competence. Kang says that she won’t settle for her present status quo.
“I believe the most important thing in life is to keep challenging yourself no matter what,” Kang commented with a smile. “Although working to achieve your dream might be frustrating at times, do not try to find a reason for failure within yourself. I, too, struggled a lot and went through many failures. You don’t have to take the highway. Though a little bit of a turn might exist, I’m sure you’ll be able to reach your goal.”