The story began when our friend in Korea told us to meet her at one of the KBS Studios in Yeouido so that we can
gatecrash observe the filming of the K-drama, My Daughter Seo Young (currently airing at KBS and KBS World).
Unfortunately, said friend mistakenly gave us the wrong subway stop, and we ended up being near MBC Studios instead of KBS. We checked the map posted at the Yeouinaru subway station to look for KBS, and it says that it’s more than 600 meters away from where we were. We decided to take the cab from there, so we took the subway exit that is more likely to go towards the direction of KBS, and found ourselves right beside the breathtaking view of Yeouido Park.
Meanwhile, while I was busy documenting the view, my more geographically-equipped friends were busy trying to figure out the Seoul bus system, since we ended up alighting near a bus stop.
As we’re already running late, Charity gave our friend a call and that’s where we learned that she made a mistake with the subway stop and we should just take a cab to get there. However, just then, a bus that has KBS studios as one of the stops happened to pass by, so we decided to take that one instead of the cab. Lou figured that KBS is just three stops away from where we were, so we should be okay.
However, after two stops, we suddenly found ourselves waiting too long for the third stop. Things got more worrisome when the bus took the expressway, passed by the Han River, and then we noticed the road signs leading to Incheon airport.
What made it scarier: a road sign suddenly appeared, and it says, “Goodbye, Seoul.”
It’s such a blessing that Lou has become adept with her Korean language skills and she was able to ask the driver in fluent Korean if this bus is going to KBS. His answer: yes, once the bus turns around to come back to Seoul. Apparently, we’re going the other way. The driver told Lou that he will just drop us off the next bus stop. It turns out, the next bus stop is in the nearby city of Goyang, which is yes, already outside of Seoul.
If it’s any consolation, at least we now know how to go to Goyang City.
We had to wait 20 minutes for the next bus going to Yeouido, but fortunately, the bus stop has high-speed WiFi (yes, welcome to Korea, ladies and gents) so we killed time Tweeting about the fact that we’re lost in Goyang City. Twenty minutes later, we got on the (hopefully) correct bus that will (hopefully) bring us to KBS Studios in Yeouido. Fortunately, it was the correct bus. Whew!
Ok, we’re now at KBS Studios. Our friend was still at work, but she has already informed her contacts at KBS about our studio visit. We were met by her friend who’s part of the production team of My Daughter Seo Young and he took us to the actual soundstage where filming was being held. OMG. Is this really happening??? As soon as we entered the studio, we immediately spotted Park Hae Jin – yes, the same Park Hae Jin that we had a chance encounter with some two years ago at an office supplies store in Gangnam – and Park Jung Ah – yes, the same Park Jung Ah who sat one row ahead and behind us at KBS Music Bank just the other Friday. It seems that the recurring theme of this trip is “see Korean stars that we have seen before again” since we also saw Jo Seung Woo filming Horse Doctor at MBC Dramia a week ago (will write about that later). We had a chance encounter with him at the KeyEast Entertainment office last year. Anyway, our host led us to one of the sets where some members of the cast were rehearsing for the scenes that they will film later that day. These cast members include Lee Bo Young (Equator Man, Athena: Goddess of War, Save The Last Dance For Me), Chun Ho Jin (the President in City Hunter), Hong Yo Seob (Bright Girl), Choi Yoon Young (Baker King Kim Tak Gu), Jang Hee Jin (Big, Spy Myeong Wol) and Shim Hyung Tak (Brain, God of Study). We were looking for CN Blue’s Lee Jong Shin who’s also part of the cast, but we couldn’t find him. Later on, we learned that he wasn’t scheduled to film that day but he was there the day before. Howell…
Since they haven’t started filming and our friend wasn’t there yet, as well, we decided to have some very late lunch first and just go back at 5:00pm, when they start filming.
When we returned, this time with our friend, filming has already started. I have to say that I’m absolutely in awe at how they did this. First of all, all of the scenes were being filmed in one big soundstage which was divided into individual filming sets which actually were quite small and cramped in real life but look bigger onscreen. But each set was very intricate and detailed. Even the tarpaulin backdrops which represented outdoor views look incredibly real, even when not viewed through a screen.
The filming system was very efficient, as well. As I have mentioned, they rehearsed the blocking first before actual filming started. The actual filming is like in stage plays wherein while one particular scene is being filmed in one set, the next scene to be filmed in another set is already being prepped up and the actors included in that scene are already waiting for their turn there. Thus, once filming for that particular scene has ended, all they have to do is to move the cameras and sound equipment to the next set and filming commences right away. They said it usually takes 15 hours per filming schedule, but I think if the system isn’t like that wherein the sets for the next scene aren’t ready, the filming hours would be quite longer.
It’s a good thing that we were allowed to take photos. To be more precise, our friend said, “aren’t you going to take pictures?” and we were like, “are we allowed to take pictures???”, and she said, “why not??” I think, if we weren’t able to document this, we really would think that it was just a very nice dream that happened and we don’t have any concrete memories to remind us of that wonderful experience.
Just then, our friend who knew how much we love Korean dramas started talking to people about having our picture taken with some of the cast. We actually weren’t expecting anything like that; just the fact that we were able to have an actual immersion on how Korean dramas are being filmed is already a blessing but we were given this extra blessing so we’re really grateful to her. (Side note: I realize that I already have a previous “immersion” on Korean drama filming with Fugitive Plan B, but we all know that I really wasn’t there to “immerse” myself about filming but more like to “immerse” myself on the person being filmed.) But of course, we have to wait until they have some free time but we didn’t mind since we still get to watch the shoot.
As this was happening, the particular batch of scenes being filmed is about the Choi family, and the matriarch is someone very familiar to all of us. In fact, she’s so familiar that we can’t even remember exactly which drama did we see her from. I’m sure it’s not just us who has this syndrome of not knowing the actual names of the supporting actors; we only know the character they played, not the actors themselves. But for this particular actress, we know that we saw her in so many dramas but we can’t seem to know exactly which ones were they. Our friend told us her name, but like I said, we never knew her name. We only know her face and the characters she played.
What’s worse, after she filmed one scene and had to change costumes, she passed by us and greeted our friend. Our friend told her that we’re her fans and we’ve seen her dramas. She said, “oh really? Which drama?” (Note: this actress is very fluent in English.) Our reply: “……..” Charity had to tell her that we were arguing among ourselves on exactly which drama did we see her from. I personally wanted to hide under a chair as she looked at us waiting for our response. It was quite embarrassing, in fact too embarrassing that as much as we wanted to take a photo with her, we simply didn’t have the guts to do so out of shame.
The actress was Song Ok Sook, who starred in so many popular dramas but is most notable for her role as the pianist Kang Mi Hee, the mother of Kang Joon Sang (Bae Yong Joon) in Winter Sonata.
So anyway… photo ops. We managed to have our picture taken with some of the cast, the ones we do know the dramas/shows they starred in, anyway. First was with Park Hae Jin, who once again showed how nice a person he is by allowing us to take individual photos as well as a group photo with him. He also takes the initiative to lean in closer to us since he’s too tall. I really have mad respect for this guy, and it didn’t hurt that he’s cute and a good actor, as well.
We contemplated on telling Hae Jin that we have already met him two years ago and even gave him some coconut candy. However, we decided against it. Hae Jin might think we’re his stalkers.
We begged our friend to let us take a photo with Chun Ho Jin, who’s probably so surprised that someone wanted to take photos with him.
Filming took a break, so we decided to leave since we still have to catch the Banpo Bridge fountain show and have to do some last minute packing for our early morning flight the next day. As we were leaving, we chanced upon Lee Bo Young who was nice enough to allow us to take photos with her, as well.
We therefore conclude, based on experience, that actors are much nicer than idols.
That’s it. We said our thanks to the awesome people from KBS who allowed us to spend some time with them, and took our leave. But wait! the celebrity encounters didn’t end there. As we were getting out of KBS’ main doors, Lou saw a very familiar face also coming out of the main doors. She started screaming, “omigad! It’s Han Tae Sun!”, referring to Lee Jong Suk who played Han Tae Sun/Ssun in Secret Garden (my 2nd favorite character in that drama after Oska) and who also happened to be in the cast of R2B: Return to Base with Rain. Unfortunately, he was talking on the phone and our friend has also gone ahead to the parking lot by that time so we only managed to catch a glimpse of him. But still, it’s a fitting end to this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
When we planned this Korea trip, we never even imagined that we would go as far as getting into a music show and watching an actual drama being filmed (and we even get to experience the latter twice). The most that we hoped for was a chance encounter, just like in our previous trips. Until now, I sometimes think that what happened last Friday was just a dream; I only knew that it was real when I saw the pics. I think this trip is really my best Korea trip, so far, and not just because of the showbiz parts. It’s because I get to experience it in the company of friends, and in the process we also met some awesome people who became our friends. I will definitely treasure this experience in my heart forever.