Peng-ha, a combination of Pengsoo and the word hi, has gone viral on social media. This buzzword was coined by Pengsoo, a character from “Giant Peng TV” aired on Educational Broadcasting System.
The program also has a YouTube channel with more than 200 million subscribers. Pengsoo’s popularity is attributed to the character’s unique sense of humor, which has led to many collaborations with famous brands and companies and has even released a series of emojis on KakaoTalk. In order to investigate the story behind how the content of the program was made, Ewha Voice interviewed Yeum Moon-kyoung, the writer responsible for the production of “Giant Peng TV.”
Yeum is a graduate of the Department of Communication at Yonsei University. She works as a multipurpose freelancer actor, taking roles in a variety of broadcasts rather than performing in a particular television series or movie.
Yeum explained that she produced the program with fellow producer Lee Seul-yena at first. After a few episodes, Yeum became involved in creating Pengsoo content for mobile use and brainstormed ideas at meetings. During the last half of 2019, she also dedicated her time to working as a writer when the team needed support.
“Since the team members are mostly in their early 20s or 30s, it is easy to empathize with one another’s ideas because we are in the same age group,” Yeum said. “If an item is selected, those responsible for the writing introduce the details of the content and we develop our script through multiple revisions.”
She also shared one of the memorable episodes of “Giant Peng TV,” which was the very first episode of visiting an elementary school.
“This episode of Pengsoo was the most impressive because the producer, Pengsoo, and I were all both anxious and excited about the shooting,” Yeum added. “Many students showed enthusiasm, and I was delighted to meet them and their teachers as well.”
Due to the creative content of “Giant Peng TV,” Pengsoo is prevalently known and is used widely in commercials as well. Yeum feels honored because the character’s popularity has grown to the extent allowing Pengsoo to have met its role model BTS at the 34th Golden Disk Awards. Considering global fans, she hopes Pengsoo will become an international star. To do so, she is considering inserting official English subtitles in the uploaded videos. She aims to come up with more innovative content to provide viewers with more entertaining programs.
Her career as a broadcasting writer started from her acting experience in college. By becoming involved in a play club under the College of Social Sciences, she developed an interest in acting. She mentioned that working as an actor means having no consistent income and enduring long periods of waiting before shooting the next scene. In order to use the remaining time wisely, she held an acting workshop at Ewha. Also, a senior from the play club who worked as a producer in Munwha Broadcasting Corporation suggested Yeum to work as an assistant writer for the web-drama “Splash Splash Love.” This marked her starting point as a TV writer.
She shared her thoughts on how being an actor and a writer are complementary to each other.
“Acting and writing have many similarities, especially in the process of creating an outline and expressing characters,” she said. “I first experienced acting and then learned scenario writing. While writing, I jot down the lines by speaking out loud like an actor, which facilitates natural language.”
“Working as a writer is great because I can tell my own story,” Yeum said. “Although it might be a short story, I can create a unique world. There are still challenges to being a writer, but after going through revisions and when the writing is expressed through acting, I feel satisfied. This pride is a way of overcoming hardships.”
She also mentioned differences between working as a writer in TV series and in entertainment programs. Entertainment writers cooperate with producers from planning and filming to the whole process of editing and inserting sound effects. Series writers’ work is specialized, but an entertainment writer’s scope expands throughout the work.
Yeum further explained how to make attractive media platform content.
“I believe that people have to be sensitive to changes in society,” Yeum said. “These days, the social atmospheres, issues and preferences are rapidly changing. Being aware of these changes will lead one to regard them as exciting, and this can be applied to the work, attracting viewers’ attention.”
Lastly, Yeum gave some advice to youth who dream of a career in broadcasting writing.
It is helpful to be aware of your ability. In order to realize your competence, you must challenge yourself. Although you might feel hesitant in the beginning, you never know whether it will turn out to be successful!”