In the 21st century, we are all intertwined with mass media. The media market is growing rapidly, not only on academic terms, but also on financial terms. In this trend, directors, play essential roles in creating innovative works of art. It is never an easy task to create contents that absorb target audiences within time constraints; it greatly depends on the PD’s ability in keeping celebrities and staff members in harmony and making sure that the whole process flows smoothly. Lee Sa-Gan– director of numerous renowned music videos such as those of Eric Nam, 9Muses, 2am, and Super Junior, etc. presents such an example. A CAU Department of Theatre graduate, Lee Sa-Gan is quickly getting fame in her respective field, and I now present you her story to success.
CAH: Why did you apply for CAU Department of Theatre? How did you gain interest in Theatre and producing?
Lee: Ever since I was young, I had interest in making short stories and acting out the scenario. It was simply fun to write, act and add effects such as background music. I was also a member of the broadcasting club in my high school. I wished to be in the drama club, but unfortunately, our school did not have one. Although it is true that broadcasting and acting have their differences, I wanted to be enrolled in what was closest to my interest. It was only when I was writing my university application that I realized broadcasting was something I enjoyed, and that was the moment when I decided to pursue broadcasting in further depth and as a career.
CAH: How did your university help you in achieving your goals?
Lee: Being a member of Department of Theatre has given me the strength to endure even the toughest challenges. Freshman year has taught me to tolerate physical work required in building stages and studying different scenarios. Although the work was draining at first, I eventually got used to it as time went by and, in retrospect, I think it has equipped me with the necessary skills required in creating professional content– as the old saying goes, ‘it is best to face difficulties as early as possible’. Through this experience, I’ve learned that drainage is not an obstacle but an opportunity.
CAH: How different is your current life as compared to what you’ve thought of it in freshmen year?
Lee: I do not think there has been a drastic change. Originally, I was interested in acting, but after failing several auditions, I’ve concluded that I’m not talented. I was lucky to recognize that I was not suitable for acting. This allowed me to deeply focus in building my career as a director.
CAH: You’ve taken a step forward to go abroad to learn more about Theatre at London Film School. What have you gained from studying abroad?
Lee: I was able to improve image production skills. Compared to CAU, London Film School has three to four times intense workload. Under trimester school curriculum, we were given weekly assignments of creating professional video projects. We had to work together, so I also learned to cooperate with teammates. After successfully completing 2-year-course, all my peers and I have made evident advancement. Besides, due to the expensive production cost of film-based video projects, I could work with responsibility and take tasks seriously. Apart from technical improvements, I’ve made a great progress in English. Although I could have an everyday conversation, analyzing English based text and selecting a chapter and writing a scenario out was an academic challenge that I’ve faced. I’ve tried my best to learn the technical terms and have made a great improvement.
CAH: What is the most difficult part in directing music videos? What kind of effort did you put to overcome these hardships?
LEE: I think financial problem is the hardest thing I should consider while working. Well, there are too many directors who have great skills and amateurs who are easily exposed to the media, so that this field of work is highly competitive today. Unfortunately, inflation rate has been increased in last 10 years and the financial support has been generally decreased. Therefore, we need to contemplate on planning and investing money effectively in every take we make. Fortunately, I’m less burdened because I belong to an agency, which provides steady financial support.
CAH: Did your elder sister, also known as a fashion designer, Lee Do-Ii influence in your interest in fashion?
LEE: Yes. I went abroad with my elder sister, and her friends were already famous in the field of fashion and design. Compared to the interest and knowledge of people in fashion industry, I dare to say that I am interested in fashion. However, recently, I’ve edited self-beauty clip from Elle TV. I even started preparing for National Beauty License to film things that I’m knowledgeable of. Besides, I refer to videos of renowned beauty creators for beauty tips. Indeed, outer beauty could never be an absolute standard for evaluation. However, it is inevitable that it makes synergic effect when good outer look or one’s fashion sense goes with one’s work style and potential.
CAH: Recently, you have shot various video clips of renowned artists. In the future, what kind of video do you want to be participated in?
LEE: Frankly speaking, I do not plan anything special expanding the new field, but I sometimes think that I should make a film movie. I had several opportunities to make a film, but it is difficult to take time off from my work for 2~3 years to fully concentrate on one genre. Therefore, nowadays I’m considering about directing films that are less time-consuming. To be more specific, I want to direct a movie, which is somewhat intuitive to be followed through quickly. It gets harder to face challenges as more works are continuously given to me.
CAH: The book you’ve written with two other artists, <India Never Shed Tears> was an unusual approach of expressing your artistic interest and thoughts. What made you to decide to write a book and how did you grow as a professional by visiting India?
LEE: My father has given me lots of books since I was young because he published many books. He published 4 poem collections and more than 5 essays even though he was not an official writer. I cannot forget his words, “the reason why I read a book is to write a book”, and it greatly influenced me. Furthermore, many friends of mine have released at least one book. Likewise, when it comes to writing a book, I had various positive influences around me. I’d visited India, and was really impressed with the working condition as a director. To say about the Bollywood, there are not only talented and creative directors but low personnel expenses give abundant human resources. For instance, there was a “Fruit Person”, and “Umbrella Person” who only provide fruits and parasol, which allow every staff members to be fully focused on their designated task.
CAH: Do you have personal philosophy for your production?
LEE: Not many people know, but I take two to three videos every month in average. There are risks of falling into mannerism since I constantly repeat a selected track. Therefore, I try not to be lazy and bored because it drags down my motivation.
CAH: What is your final goal in your career?
LEE: To be honest, it has been a while since I’ve thought about my ultimate dream. I was always chasing after my current to-do lists in the constantly changing media. I felt that I want to shoot many music videos and meet many people, but as the time goes by, I can feel that something is ‘missing’, or to be exact, ‘lacking’. Till now, I’ve never felt a strong sense of accomplishment in my career. Hence, I might make a film after I am satisfied at my current work. If I continue to work hard, I think I can make it someday.
CAH: Please give a warm advice to students of CAU hoping to become a producer in the upcoming future.
LEE: Majority of students start at the bottom when they enter the society, and there’s always someone who attracts the attention. They not only conduct works that has been given to them, but also try to find something to add on to their work. Successful film producers endeavor to create their own distinctiveness. Working ardently is the most important characteristic for success. Above all, executive ability supported with physical strengths is necessary to keep one from lagging behind.
< 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >
As mass media market is growing in size, many students strive to become a director or obtain a career related to broadcast. In the middle of this cut-throat competition of the “Red Ocean” media market, Lee Sa-Gan still shines with her own color. What makes Lee Sa-Gan stand out is that she not only directs music videos that represents K-Pop, but also actively express her style through beauty and fashion. Her eager to develop her potentials and absorb knowledge in her early twenties has established strong foothold for her present success. Inspired by her passion, we should recognize that 20s is a critical period for us to work on what we enjoy and wish to do. CAH anticipates progressive improvements in Lee Sa-Gan’s production in quality and depth.