What’s the saying? “Masters don’t just fall from the sky.” Meaning that one can’t expect others and oneself to be perfect at something from the get-go. Well, that’s certainly true; most definitely when it comes to acting.
Idol-Actors are surely a manifested part of the South Korean drama industry. Professionals in singing, dancing, occasionally rapping and fan service are those people also trained in acting, the general effect of our body language on others and melodic talking. The way they behave in variety shows, talking shows or during interviews is mostly a rehearsed act of politeness, smiles and just the right amount of weirdness, polished and perfected over years and years of practice. If you think about it that way, they seem to have the best requirements for being comparatively good actors – since it’s all they do whenever they’re in front of a camera.
It is, however, a completely different thing to act as a, let’s say, polished edition of oneself on a daily basis or an absolutely non-related character in a drama or movie. So here’s the thing: I appreciate and understand that Idols, especially when they’re getting older, have their debut in the acting industry. It is a good way to secure ones future while still doing what they like because, let’s face it, Idols do have an expiration date. Actors, on the other hand, are still needed when they’re old and grey. Sure, they probably won’t play the lead characters anymore since these spots are usually reserved for the younger generation but they sure as hell can play other important roles.
So do I like Idol-Actors? Well, that depends on their acting talent and diligence. The biggest problem is usually either the intention of the on-set director who decided to let them participate in the drama or the company behind the Idol. Was the Idol properly cast and chosen because they delivered a promising audition or did they get the spot to earn their fans as loyal viewers? (You can mostly tell which one it was by comparing the proportion between lines and face time – if the Idol has more close-ups and camera moments than actual script, you can be almost 100% sure that they were cast for the ‘face’ and viewer ratings.) Is the Idol motivated by itself or rather urged to be motivated by their company? (Yes, that is a thing, although it doesn’t happen that often. Sometimes though, you can tell that the Idol feels extremely burdened and queasy in front of the camera – as if to run away as soon as the opportunity arises.)
The thing about main spots: As much as I appreciate new faces and talents though, here’s my complaint: If you cast an Idol for your drama or movie and if said Idol is acting for the first time in its career, why would you give that Idol a lead role? I understand that viewer ratings are important. I understand that Idol-fans are a great way to achieve high numbers. I understand that certain faces have a certain value. What I don’t understand, however, is how some on-set directors can so bravely ignore the fact that a pretty face does not make up for a bad acting performance! I like eye candies as much as every other person but I’m not watching my dramas just for the pure pleasure of gazing at those peoples beauty! It’s about the plot (at least mostly) and its thrill; about the characters and their developments and relationships; about the story line and the costumes and the background music and whatnot. A good drama is a consistent and creamy mix out of all those details combined. One pretty face that cannot act, however, is like a sip of too much milk: Everything gets watered down.
Don’t underestimate the power of supportive characters – key word being the ‘Second-somewhat-syndrome’! I’m not saying there aren’t Idols who didn’t deserve their lead roles when they got them, oh no! I’m all open and happy to be impressed when it’s called for. Of course I’ve seen Idols which’s first performances in a drama/movie where so amazing that I wondered why they didn’t pursue an acting career to begin with. (One that comes to mind is Park Yoo Chun, member of Korean boy band JYJ, former TVXQ. His first drama character ever was the lead guy in “Sungkyunkwan Scandal” and dammit if I wasn’t impressed! Even though I’m not even his or his groups fan.) BUT, and let me repeat myself here, don’t underestimate the power of supportive characters. They are what makes the story whole, diverse and more realistic. They are, sometimes, more relatable than the protagonists ever could be because they’re not “special” in that dramatic and exaggerated kind of way but humane and down to earth and just real. They’re funny and cute and, oftentimes, awesome friends with a consistent and reliable shoulder to cry and lean on.
… I was a normal little girl. I liked Barbie, dolls, playing mother-father-child and cooking a lot of interesting meals with plastic dishes. I’d go out in our garden and catch little pitiful insects to watch them trying to escape their prison called “jam jar”. My older sister liked to play with building blocks which were originally mine just to tell me that I’ve to play with the house she constructed just now. I didn’t mind.
So quite a normal childhood. Until I met the Japanese cartoons in the afternoon-TV.
I’m sure many people know about series like “Sailor Moon”, “Detective Conan”, “Inuyasha”, “Pokémon” and the rest of that sort. That’s how all of this began. I got infected with the “Anime-Virus” and from then on my life revolved around the time after school and before going to bed. My parents are sort of strict so they allowed my sister and me roughly one hour of TV per day. No need to mention that we hardly followed that order, right? There were just too many interesting anime’s going on so we couldn’t help it! 😉
Aah, the nostalgia’s strong with this one. ❤
Man, how I loved Inuyasha. xD And the song still gives me chills.
I actually use this as my work-out background music sometimes. xDD
Sheesh, the memories with this one! -^^- Conan was basically my everyday-after-school date for years!
Soon after discovering these series I found out about the Japanese comics – manga’s. Well, one thing led to another and my sister and I began to collect all sorts of manga’s at our home. I even began to draw these kind of figures myself and the more I was getting into the matter the more passion grew inside of me. My love for Asian things became a part of me and even my family began to recognize that. They gave me all kind of Asian gifts for birthdays, Christmas and other holidays. It was great! ❤
The step from manga’s and anime’s to Asian dramas with real actors and actresses was done by a manga called “Hana Kimi” – a really cute one – which was the “model” for a Japanese drama. I don’t remember it that exactly anymore but I think the friend who borrowed me “Hana Kimi” told me about the drama series. Well, however I got there doesn’t really matter. The point is: I loved it! So much that I searched for other dramas like this and found a website with thousand and more thousand series – Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese… you can’t imagine my reaction! I was literally blown away!
I still clearly know which was my second drama because this one guided me to the Asian music industry: “You’re Beautiful”. I fell in love with Jung Yong Hwa (second male lead) at once and as I was collecting some information about him I stumbled over his band “CN Blue”. While watching the famous music video “I’m a Loner” on YouTube some other videos related to k-pop showed up at the right side bar – and one click later I found myself confronted with the 13 handsome boys of “Super Junior”. What should I tell you? They had me in their hands immediately. Again, one thing led to another and a few months later I knew about almost every k-pop group and singer there was to know, started to spend my days indoor watching k-dramas and collected information about idols and actors.
CN Blue: I’m a Loner
My first ever MV by Super Junior – and I fell hard! 😉 Especially for Donghae… #FirstKoreanIdolCrush ❤
Super Junior: Sorry Sorry
That’s how it started. People often said – and some still do – that I waste my time with these things and should do something “useful” instead – to which my question always is what “useful” means in their eyes. And why I should live my life according to their opinion of “useful”. I am responsible for my own life and no one else. I don’t owe anyone an explanation as to why I am doing with my time what I am doing. Neither my parents nor friends or anyone else. They won’t live my life for me, right?
And as I am looking at my lovely Korean and Japanese friends which I treasure dearly I know that it was the right thing to do. =)