Kickstarting Remember O Goddess: Interview with Yoon Jung Lee
Working for YAM Magazine, I get to do one of my favorite things — find talent that excites me, but sometimes talent finds me. This is what happened when I got the message from director Yoon Jung Lee about her short, Remember O Goddess, and the crowdsourcing campaign she had started at the Kickstarter website.
Yoon Jung Lee got together with a very talented cast and crew — which includes actor Jung Tae Kim (one of Julyssa’s faves), up and coming star-in-the-making Ara Choi, editor Sae Kyoung Moon (Mother), cinematographer U Yong Chang, and producer Jung Youn — working together for their love for filmmaking.
I was really intrigued by the scene at the police station in Remember O Goddess, and once the character says the missing person he wants to report is himself, I knew I had to support this any way I could… even though, by the end, it was terribly depressing for me. LOL, so we got in touch with writer/director Yoon Jung Lee and asked her a couple of questions.
I was really surprised when you said that you wrote the original story 17 years ago. I usually re-read things I wrote a few years back, and can’t believe the things I wanted to do or the things I said. How was the process of finding this story and having to dust it off?
One day my friend — who’s also a filmmaker — and I talked about how the stories or songs written at a young age of a creator are compelling. I thought of my old notebook that I used to write stories in high school. I had a dim memory of the story, but when I turned the page where the story was lying dormant, it became very vivid regarding the motivation that made me write it… as well as the emotion that dominated me while I wrote it.
Did you re-work much of what you had written?
I instantly decided to expand the story into a feature film — the characters and the main conflict of the film are mostly faithful to the original story, but I reorganized the scenes so it could embrace a more noirish mood, and peppered some nuanced humors that I became interested in as a filmmaker.
I always ask this to scriptwriters I get to talk to, to see the difference in people’s way of working. How is your creative process? Do you usually write stories and scripts on one night, or over a couple of days? Or are you one of those who takes years in working out their ideas until they begin seeing the light of day?
I try to spend regular hours of a day in front of the computer screen and focus on the script that I am working on. However, I often get tempted to write another story which will turn out to be a masterpiece, or to write some Facebook messages to my friends. When it goes well, however, I write all day even when I don’t have my hands on the keyboards.
The story dominates my brain and grows there, but I should not depend on those creativeness-high days because the special days come to me only after those painful unproductive days of blank pages.
Coming from a film student background, I understand the process and environment of independent film and having to be supportive in any way you can and having to pull your own weight and other’s when needed.
I also know a lot of people who have projects brewing that are dropped either during the pre-production stage, or post… so the question is: how did you do it? Was there ever a point when you thought, “Maybe I should drop this“?
I procrastinate when it comes to talking about my project to people, as long as I can stand not making anything — you know, it’s very painful, but I still put it off. I know once I start to talk about it to people and ask their help, it becomes my responsibility. Fortunately, I hate to turn them down, so having them involved in my project becomes the strong fuel to keep going on.