|Lee Sang-yup (Drama PD at MBC since 2003)
1. How would you describe MBC in one word?
MBC is “Do not ask who I am and do not ask me to remain the same”; a quote from a renown French philosopher, Michel Foucault. When you define something, something gets bounded by its definition. In different context may it be, but MBC is transforming every moment. When we define something in MBC, something else pops up. As soon as something is formed, the form changes. The force is within our dynamic culture. Different individuals with different views form MBC, which is why we continuously argue and debate. Nothing goes easily. But again, this is the ‘force’. Our steady yet positive growth seems quite unusual even for me because we reflect every individual’s views and it usually might cause chaos. But MBC is different. I bet MBC will let you in even if you are from outer space as long as you are capable.
2. What is your current role in MBC?
I’m currently under Drama Planning department. People call me ‘the planner’. We assistant directors take turns in taking the planner position. In the big picture, I do management work with the deputy managing director and drama planning with the executive director. In short, I’m an assistant director of Drama Planning department as a whole. From organizing assistant directors, reviewing a range of drama proposals, managing budding writers, taking care of pending issues regarding assistant directing, planning and executing Drama Planning department events, to reviewing scripts from applications, I carry out various tasks. I also take charge of things that are too vague to be assigned to anyone. I have to do it. I have to do it because I know how busy everybody else is.
One of the things that I’m thankful for with this job is that now is the only time I’m working only 5 days a week in my life as a producer. Now I understand why my friends look forward to Friday as soon as when they open their eyes on Monday morning. My cheeky seniors say that vagabonds like us will get tired of planning jobs within few months. They advise me that this is my chance to have relationships, some leisure time, or to exercise. I’m in trouble because I haven’t done any of them.
3. Do you have any memorable experience?
When I was on assistant director duty, my executive director was a mischievous senior of mine. Whether I did something wrong or not, he scolded me in so many ways that I thought he spent all night inventing new ways to scold me instead of thinking about the drama he was producing. I tried hard to be indifferent and laughed it off (in my mind) and I told myself that he’s only doing it for my own benefit. But one day, he crossed the line. It was so hurtful and unfair that I left the set without anyone knowing and cried in the corner. For the first time since I joined the company. I knew he was trying to give me sour grapes and as much as I refused to admit it, I have to admit that he’s done a great job. But to come to think of it now, maybe he was telling me that I must be much stronger to ‘really’ laugh it off. Maybe he was too shy to tell me directly or maybe he thought simply telling me wouldn’t work. I thank him for making me a stronger person because this industry is where we challenge and overcome our limits and we have to be strong to do that.
4. Who are the right people for Drama producers?
People who are attractive, fashionable, funny, active, considerate, smart, creative and responsible should be going to someplace better. Forget all that here. From my secret observation in this department, people here can be categorized into 2 types.
First type is the diligent, conscientious, and monotonous type and the second type is the emotional, trouble maker type.
If you doubt the formal because you think they are too normal or the latter because you think they are unsuitable for bureaucracy, you might be wrong. The formal may be diligent and quiet but they usually are the hit makers when the time and place are right. The latter are in fact, very efficient office workers. To sum it up, everyone here has potential to be a successful producer. Although no one has used statistics to analyze my theory yet but I believe anyone who is confident and passionate to be here are the right people.
5. Do you have anything to say to the future MBC drama producers?
Everyone here is waiting for you. Light up your dreams with your passion. I’d like to see your fireworks set off amongst all the stars in MBC