Lately, the number of dramas based on webtoons has been increasing in Korea. The reasons why broadcasting companies are making the dramas based on webtoons are ones of convenience and an already noteworthy popularity. The director does not have to work on the storyline as much as they do for making a new drama. Moreover, webtoons that are well known for people, already have lots of fans that could spark the curiosity of others. Therefore, the fans can take part in the marketing to try and catch the public eye.
Among those dramas, some of them have the favorable reviews, while others do not. There might be several reasons of the results of the dramas, but they can be narrowed down to three main reasons: Subject matter, Storyline, and Synchronization. Depending on how the director uses these three factors effectively, the drama can be one’s all-time favorites.
Unlike webtoons, where the author can express anything through drawing, dramas have a restriction on presentation. For example, if the drama’s genre is fantasy, either the computer graphic or acting ability could be limited. However, because of the extensive range of expressions available in the webtoons, some directors prefer to make a drama out of webtoons that have fresh material rather than those with a standard cliché. According to the Herald News, webtoons have been playing a significant role as a breakthrough in the movie market which is suffering from a lack of ideas and materials.
Depending on the genre, the preference of people could vary. Orange Marmalade (2015) is a drama that was broadcasted in 2015. The drama is a fantasy romance between humans and vampires. The original webtoon had a good outcome by gaining lots of fans, but the drama did not. The main reason was because it could not gain sympathy from the viewers. By reading the webtoon, we can imagine what the world with vampires would be, and that is what makes webtoon more interesting. In other words, people get vicarious satisfaction by watching webtoons. However, the drama reduces the imagination and the interest. On the other hand, Incomplete life (2014) was different. Was so good that the drama is still mentioned nowadays. Incomplete Life (2014) was about the life of a company employee including conflict and comradeship between colleagues. It evoked sympathy from the viewers by showing the real life of an ordinary employee Compared to Orange Marmalade (2015), the topic of Incomplete Life (2014) had more realistic which gained sympathy from the audience and succeed.
Normally, each episode of webtoon is published weekly. Therefore, the author can get feedback very rapidly. By reading the comments, the author can improve on the storyline and make a complete piece. The higher the perfection of the original work, the more difficult is to implement it as a drama. Most of the dramas these days consist of 16 episodes, but webtoons are published serially for at least three months, and in many cases even more. It is convenient to shift the story of a webtoon into a drama, but it is rare that the shift is done completely the same.
Cheese in the Trap (2016) is a famous drama based on a webtoon. It was broadcasted in 2016 and consisted of 16 episodes. The drama seemed to have shifted the story well just before the ending. Towards the ending, the drama started to lose the point of the original webtoon. Because of a sudden change, the viewers were in chaos. The start was good, but the futility of the ending dragged the drama into failure.
With high satisfaction with the original work, the expectations for the drama would inevitably rise. For this reason, people demand for the best casting that could match their standards. To enjoy the drama as with the webtoon, they prefer actors who resemble the graphic shapes of the webtoon. If the actors are completely different, some of the fans object to the casting so much that they even leave negative comments on the actor’s social media or on the internet news. Thus, the actors who are offered a part in the drama are already under early pressure.
We can see an example of this in Cheese in the Trap (2016) as well. One of the main characters, Hong Seol’s casting was a huge issue for the fans. Even the people who did not see the webtoon had high expectations. According to Edaily News, 4 actresses were mentioned for Hong Seol’s role. About this issue, the production company, Eightworks said, “The director is putting lots of effort to find the most suitable actress for Hong Seol part by having several auditions.” Eventually, Kim Go-eun took the part, but there was harsh criticism towards the actress. People talked about how the appearance and characteristics of an actress and the character were different, and the synchronization was almost 0 percent. However, in the interview Kim Go-eun mentioned about the criticism of her synchronization in the drama. She said to be glad to make up with acting the role with which she was lacking in synchronization. Because of her effort, nothing about her in the drama caused controversy. On the other hand, the main character Yoo Jung’s synchronization was almost perfect because an actor, Park Hae-jin’s appearance resembles with Yoo Jung in the webtoon. Thus, some people wanted to watch the drama because of him.
It stands to reason that the audience wants to watch the drama with the best synchronization. Some people decide whether to watch a drama or not only by the casting. Thus, having the suitable actors and actresses would be one of the important tips of creating a fulfilling drama based on webtoon.
Park Hui-jin, Cub Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
<저작권자 © 건국불레틴, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>