[Pexers Write-Ups] 김현중 KIM HYUN JOONG: Acting as a Hardship Area (Revised Version)
Author: AprilS Pexers Write-Ups on FB
Hardship areas as employment terminology used by the military or general labor refer to difficult or troublesome areas requiring additional compensation. Though we see acting as a glamorous and exciting field in the performance arts in either small and big screens as well as in theatrical stages, it is full of pitfalls not for the faint hearted. The glitzy promotions add to the hype and heightened expectations from its practitioners. It cannot be denied that it is also a high paying job thus it will not be lacking for aspirants and dreamers. South Korea has one of the biggest pool of child actors and trainees all waiting to be casted. The rapid drama and movie production and many performers transitioning from other fields such as singing and dancing to acting show it as a robust industry.
Acting has never been as transparent as it is now at least in South Korea. From the time the actors are selected (with dropouts and changes ) to initial script reading to press conference or show case to poster, stills and teaser makings to actual start of shooting for the episodes make the internet rounds as quick as the blink of an eye. Media and fanhood had documented the process or ‘the making’ for example of KHj dramas from BOF, to PK to the aborted City Conquest to the most recent Inspiring Generation.
So we are virtual witnesses through BTS or Behind the Scenes to the hardships and challenges actors undergo. These BTS show how they deliver their craft as realistic as possible even to the extent of refusing doubles and stunt actors. KHJ had to enrol in action school to be adept for his action scenes.From showbiz news reported in blogs and media we learn of actors’ injuries due to the demands of the drama or show that sometimes force them out of the ongoing project or even lasting body damages. Some actors become mentally stressed by their roles as they internalised them deeply. What is worse is when dramas or movies fail to proceed to their intended end -project dropped/cancelled or episodes cut due to low ratings, financial woes of the investing drama companies and internal bickerings of those involved. Call them occupational hazards.
Those who were in a related field like singing have been perceived to be inadequate in acting that they have an additional burden to prove themselves beyond prettv faces and song and dance performers. Although there were some who made their transitions successful at first tries, KHJ suffered from the stigma attached to Kpop idols turn actors. Sometimes it is a choice, but in majority of cases, management agencies sign them up for drama or movie project. In some instances they result to overlapping assignments driving actors to health problems and compromised competence. Sometimes actors and staff are not paid in time or not paid at all.
To survive in acting, it is said, means to challenge one’s capacities to assay varied roles, to be able to last in this volatile universe of fluctuating popularity and fan base, gossip and intrigues, increasingly over populated area and to receive recognition through awards. And yes to accumulate commercially successful projects aka highly rated and command high prices.
True actors never retire.They just fade away or move on and stake their claims to their special niche of memorable roles.
Kim Hyun Joong as you already by heart know has experienced the success and travails of being an actor. He is a trooper and professional who had embraced the field to test the extent of his career boundaries. Media it seemed has yet to update and revise their perception of him as an actor referring to BOF of 2009 when he has succeeded in honing his acting skills as of the IG drama of 2014 and two other dramas in between.On the other hand, drama production has repeatedly over burdened him to carry the project on his shoulder relying on his popularity and widespread fandom. Take it as positive rather than negative his being into drama has become the big deal.