A strange coincidence I forgot to write about before. Last Saturday (June 2nd), I was heading to our studio office in Mapo at 8 AM so we could do our location shoot for the day. When I exited the subway, I saw a familiar form walking by, listening to his iPod. I stood in his path, and he looked at me quizzically.

“You? What are you doing here,” Michael Hurt, Mr. Metropolitician, said.

“Heading for a location shoot today.”

“Oh, you do the TV show around here? I didn’t know there were any studios.”

“Well, the offices are here. The studio is somewhere else.”

We talked about getting together for the Transformers event in July and moved on. But man, how strange is that? I don’t know many people in Seoul, and running into one at 8 AM on a Saturday?

I just finished my second to last full studio weekend, and I’m beat. My feet and legs are killing me from standing all day in uncomfortable shoes, trying to memorize three full pages of monologue on the fly.

Saturday went well. It was fast. We actually finished in time for me to get a subway ride home. Nonetheless, it was an all-standing episode. We didn’t sit down at all. And since all the kids had all the wireless mikes, Young and I were attached to the floor with regular mikes. I call them the “dog leashes.”

Here are some notes, observations, and possibly recommendations I have come up with while doing these past few months of shows:

  • Dohee (the writer) makes me cry in almost every episode. She’s sadistic that way.
  • I have become pretty good at memorizing dialog, which I’m sure helps staves off Alzheimer’s.
  • Beware of pages full of yellow. I highlight my lines with a yellow highlighter before taping, and it’s disheartening to memorize a page, get through it, and discover two or three pages full of big blocks of yellow. I then have to memorize all this quickly while the floor manager is yelling, “Standby!”
  • If there is a prop, Daniel will play with it.
  • Daniel has a strange fascination with touching my costume in between takes.
  • Spy Zone drinking game: Drink every time Young says, “Great job!”
  • I love the smell of stage makeup. Hate the smell of hairspray.
  • Always have “energy” standing by (usually a Diet Coke).
  • No matter how hard you work to memorize and get through pages of lines in one take, someone else with only one line will forget and blame you for not saying her cue properly.
  • The final “Kamsa Hamnida” on the last scene is one of the best feelings in the world.
  • All costumes remind me of how fat I am.
  • The yellow hat is good at covering up Einstein hair, so I won’t scare taxi drivers late at night.
  • This has been Frina’s first acting job, and she is by far the most professional of the bunch.
  • Director: “More natural.”
  • Kids, standby means STANDBY! Shut up!
  • Korean TV crews kick ass.
  • Korean I have learned through the show–daum (next), Frina buteo (from Frina’s line), baksu (clap)
  • Memorize lines through visual cues and word associations. Break up each speech into components.
  • Jokes at Daniel’s expense are always funny.
  • Turn off the wireless mike during bathroom breaks.
  • Location shoots are fun. The kids do most of the work, which means more nap time for Joe.
  • Arts and crafts in a script means we’ll be in the studio past midnight.
  • When donning facial hair, drink from bottles and do not eat soup.
  • Why do we have to put on make up and costume before going out for dinner?
  • Try to avoid looking down at your script or looking at the monitor during scenes.
  • If you don’t have lines, it’s not time to turn off the facial expressions. I look like a statue when someone else is talking.
  • I started by not bringing much stuff to a shoot, then too much stuff (shampoo, conditioners, towels, change of shoes), and now I am back to bringing the bare minimum. A hat covers up the hair, and wet wipes can take off enough make up to not look too pretty on the subway ride home.
  • Keep the iPod loaded with fresh podcasts.
  • Make up touch ups are the closest thing to relaxing breaks. It also helps that all the make up artists on our team are attractive and charming.
  • Taxi drivers taking me back to Anyang always miss the turn I ask them to turn, so it’s best just to tell them to drop me off at E-Mart.
  • I have sweat in places I didn’t think I could sweat from.
  • Einstein hair recovery–before shampooing, chuck a lot of conditioner in the hair and slowly run a brush through it.
  • Doing an all-day shoot is the only way to get Eun Jeong to ever rub my feet.
  • Bring snacks to location shoots.
  • Dancing and singing numbers are the spawn of Satan.
  • I should try to learn how to play the games before going in the studio.
  • Wheel of Science takes longer than you’d think it would.
  • I own the most uncomfortable pair of dress shoes. My feet feel like hamburger meat when I come home. The next morning, it’s like walking on glass shards.
  • Like camping, I won’t realize I was having fun until it’s all over.
  • I know I will do it again, but this time I will ask for a lot more money.

Eun Jeong and I are going to join a health club next to the apartment when my shooting schedule ends at the end of this month. We also have a new air conditioner. It’s funny, though. The week we get the air con installed is an unusually cool week. We still haven’t used it. The handle to our kitchen faucet broke off, so we need to find a replacement for that, too. Don’t worry, though, we can still operate the faucet, though it’s a little less convenient.

This next weekend is free. I may just do nothing. I made shrimp etoufee yesterday, and it was surprisingly excellent.

I also was struck by a rare wave of homesickness Friday. It hasn’t happened this strongly in years. I think I need to make more efforts to visit home this time. Depends if Unnamed Hagwon pays me my money. It will be a year this Friday. The Joongang Daily published a piece about my legal problems.

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