A student appeals for an opening in a class he missed during the course registration period but the teaching assistant shuts him down, telling him off for asking for the impossible.
“We pay millions of won each semester to take classes—why do I have to beg from door to door for professors to open courses?” the student says. “Why build more buildings when there are no classes to hold?”
The student huffs and puffs until his cue.
“And... cut!” exclaims Kang Min-goo (Chung-Ang University, 2), the executive producer.
Crew members wrap the scene at the command of the director, a common routine for the production crew Paper Feelm. Paper Feelm is a virtual company in which diverse university students in their 20s have come together voluntarily to produce a comedy drama titled “The University Students.”
“The University Students” is gaining the interest of students in Korea, receiving up to 14,000 views for an episode on YouTube.
It started in the form of a mockumentary, a combination of the words mock and documentary, which presents fictional events in documentary format. Episodes of “The University Students” seek to portray the reality of university students—what they experience, worry about and hope for.
Though it may have been easy to imagine and design the project, it was easier said than done when it came time to take action. Bringing together a group of students of similar minds was the greatest task. Producing a mockumentary requires manpower—from crew members to actors—which the producer cannot provide alone.
“At the hardest times, it was like running into a stone wall,” Kang said. “Thankfully it all worked out, and the program started to roll.”
When it comes to choosing the theme of each episode, crew members fly in their imaginations. As it is a system where students produce episodes based on themselves, story ideas come from their daily experiences. From common dissatisfactions to the simplest jokes, the ideas range in great diversity.
“All we need to do is create a story that students can relate to and sympathize with,” Kang said. “There is an overflow of ideas that we worry will not be aired within our next season.”
Shooting is largely divided into two portions: Outdoor and indoor shootings. The outdoor scenes are filmed first as the weather can be a decisive factor, which could possibly lead to a rigorous schedule or a lift off of the scene.
“We do not know how the weather is going to turn out the next day, so we make our best out of the situation,” Kang said. “The irony is, whenever we finish shooting our outdoor scenes, the weather brightens up.”
Paper Feelm is warming up for its second season of “The University Students.”
“Season one was more of a pilot, a foretaste of what is to come,” Kang said. “Once the pre-production starts, we intend to receive ideas and advice from our viewers. We look forward to sharing what the present-day university students laugh and cry about.”
Ultimately, Paper Feelm hopes to sustain “The University Students” as a long-range project.
“There will always be university students in Korea, and the hot potato will change as time pass,” Kang said. “In that sense, I hope Paper Feelm and ‘The University Students’ can continue to speak for the students.”
“The University Students” is available for view at the Paper Feelm homepage (http://www.paperfeelm.com/).