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Tuesday,July 23,2019
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Passionate Producer: Lee Young-don

How often do you watch TV?  I think most of you watch television every day.  TV is an indispensable part of modern life.  We watch news, dramas, entertainment programs, documentaries and commentaries on television.  Various programs on television give us tons of information, knowledge and also entertain us.  There are people who struggle to make the programs we enjoy.  They decide what to cover in the program, produce it and make it for the audience.  In a word, they are responsible for everything: they are producers.  Do you want to know more about producers?  In order to satisfy your curiosity, the Post met Lee Young-don, a well-known producer at KBS.  You probably must have heard his name.  He has produced lots of commentaries, documentaries and cultural programs such as Joo Byeong-jin Show, Documentary 'Mind', The Secret of Life, Aging, Disease and Death, Consumer Report and so many other popular programs.

The Post: What made you want to be a producer? 
Lee: I've always loved watching movies and videos since I was a little kid, it has become my hobby.  And then I wanted to make my own videos and programs.  As I grew older, I entered into the Department of Mass Communication at Korea University and I decided to be a producer.


The Post: How do you decide on topics to cover?
Lee: Producers usually have team meetings to choose stories.  Most of the times I find stories from my daily life.  I think it's a good way to find interesting stories.  For example, the program Documentary ‘Mind’ began with my curiosity about myself.  I wanted to find out how my mind and body are related each other and how they function scientifically.   I also think if I express my curiosity through programs, people might sympathize with it and those information or knowledge can be helpful for them.  The same goes for making commentary programs.  I believe that my social concerns are not much different with others..  We producers try to figure out questions and issues people might have regarding products, services or social systems.  Information from the viewers is also important.  We can communicate with the audience thanks to the information they give us.
The Post: What is the most difficult part of a producer's job?
Lee: Legal issues.  We expose companies or individuals and give a warning to the audience that they definitely have flaws.  However, once companies and individuals are exposed, they might suffer from damages, especially in commentary or investigative programs.  Then the exposed companies or individuals sue us for business loss or libel.  Therefore this is what I care about the most.

The Post: What are the most worthwhile moments?
Lee: At the moment when I can see society, social systems and people get changed because of my programs.  Once, in the Consumer Report, we covered the rehashing of food problem, which means to serve the leftover food to the customers in the restaurants.  The broadcast increased public awareness of the issue.  After that, the restaurants tried not to re-use foods and posted signs to tell people they were not being served leftover food.  The social system also changed.  A fine is imposed on the restaurants which serve leftover food to customers.  Those are the moments when I am most satisfied.

The Post: What is your dream or plan as a producer?
Lee: I've already produced various kinds of programs.  Now I want to become a mentor for the junior producers.  There are still problems in the Korean broadcasting system, so I want to improve the broadcasting system to help produce more varied and better quality programs.

The Post: Can you give any advice for students who want to be producers?
Lee: If you want to be a producer, you should make it clear why you want to be one and what you want to do as a producer.  You need to set a concrete goal.  A critical view of society and social understanding is also important.
  The most important thing is creativity.  A producer should be able to create something out of nothing, so  creativity is absolutely essential.  Therefore the students who wants to be a producer should ask themselves how creative they are.  It might be good if you are born naturally creative, but it does not mean you can't be a producer if you don't have natural creativity.  Reading books, watching lots of videos and movies of various genres will help you improve your creativity.  Even if you're naturally creative, you must still make an effort.
  Being a producer also requires physical strength because producers are energy consuming jobs.  We often stay up all night.  If you are not healthy enough, it will be hard to endure the tough schedule of a producer.  However, I think that becoming a producer is a really attractive and interesting job.  The work is interesting because it doesn't follow a regular routine and it always deals with current affairs.  Try hard; it's worth devoting your life to this profession.

Lee Min-jeong  serendipity@dongguk.edu

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