While Erik Matti has earned the ire of netizens for making harsh comments against K-Dramas, director Jose Javier Reyes, known to many as Direk Joey, has gained several fans for his well-thought-out and balanced analysis on what makes K-Dramas appealing to Pinoy fans.
It all began when Reyes, on Twitter, asked a question about K-Dramas which has which he didn’t expect would amass almost 800 responses from fans.
He wrote: “Just wondering because I want to know your thoughts: WHAT MAKES KOREANOVELAS SUCH FAVORITES FOR FILIPINOS? What makes them DIFFERENT?”
Just wondering because I want to know your thoughts: WHAT MAKES KOREANOVELAS SUCH FAVORITES FOR FILIPINOS? What makes them DIFFERENT? #direkasks— Joey Javier Reyes (@DirekJoey) April 9, 2020
Having received an overwhelming response from Twitterverse, Reyes wrote a four-part entry on his blog Choking On My Adobo dissecting what makes K-Drama such a hit among audiences. The acclaimed director shared his thoughts on the kind of storytelling K-Dramas have to offer.
See some of his thoughts below:
The scripts are so well-written. More important, the plots vary. There is an assortment of genres to choose from and even if they are dealing with things we have heard and seen before, Koreans make them sound and look new.
“K-Dramas are what they are meant to be: materials that are meant to make you cry but never in your face to the extent of going over the top or squeezing a scene dry in order to bring about emotional impact. There is still a certain restraint in the way scenes are written—so that (here is the clincher) the impact of a sequence is achieved not through words alone but what is visualized in its execution. And that makes great writing.”
There is an entire array of genres in the K-Drama. They are not obsessed with just love stories per se but have innovative ways of creating engrossing narratives
“What makes K-Drama so interesting is because they are iba-iba, You do not get trapped with more of the same kinds of stories because the Korean producers uproot all kinds of possible genres in order to provide entertainment.”
All the K-Dramas have limited runs. Others may be shown in stretches but the average is from sixteen (16) to twenty (20) one hour telecast episodes. They are not ratings-dependent to determine the length of broadcast life.
“Seeing the production value and content of these dramas, someone who is familiar with the workings of television can decipher that the episodes are canned before they are telecast. In TV parlance, canned means pre-taped and prepared for broadcast quality distribution before the date of the telecast. They are not written as the show is being taped or in progress based on other factors outside and aside from the needs of the narrative.”
The approach or style of narratives of K-Dramas is not over-the-top dramatic: they are light, warm, innocent when romantic — fast-paced, cutting edge, and suspenseful when dealing with crime and mystery
“K-Dramas dramatize through tenderness. Tears fall sweetly in the right moments with beautifully shot close-ups both from female and male leads. The emotions are never held back but are never exploited to the point of stretching a scene to squeeze its dramatic intensity. That was immediately noticeable in both CLOY (Crash Landing on You) and PIN (Pinocchio). You are fed an emotional scene but then it is cut right at the time when you know exactly how to react to that moment — followed by, strangely but effectively, a light moment involving comedic elements.”
Production value is given utmost premium in Koreanovelas because it has got everything to do with branding.
“You know you are watching a K-Drama because you can immediately identify the look. Money is funneled into giving worth and value to every scene shot. Sure, you've got these terrific actors who are focused on delivering varied roles per project, exquisitely written plots that make familiar tropes look new. But all these are topped by a look ... a brand ... that makes the Koreanovelas distinct from their other Asian counterparts.”
Read more about what Direk Joey has to say about K-Drama in his blog.
Joey Reyes is the director behind several classic films including May Minamahal, Batang PX, and Hiling.