Thursday, July 9, 2015

Danwoo Jung on "Mongolian Princess"

What was your  film making  background before making " Mongolian Princess "?

DANWOO JUNG: I studied Acting at the Korean and American University. I have been working as an actor and I had produced two films as a producer before I decided to direct. Mongolian Princess is my first film as a director.

Where did the idea come from and what was the writing process like?

DANWOO JUNG: The idea came from my personal experience. I had my first love relationship when I was 34 years old. It seems really late to most of the people, but I consider myself lucky because I was in love with someone I truly loved.

I had written a book about her, about our story. And I wanted to make the film about the story. So, I dramatized the book into the movie script.

The script was revised 18 times after the first draft. Every time I did cast someone, I tried to put the actors' and actresses' reality into the character in the script.

Can you talk about how you raised your budget and your financial plan for recouping your costs?

DANWOO JUNG: Producers who participated in this film raised the funds with their own money. I used some of my savings as well.

The movie has been distributed to the Korean market currently; hopefully we will be able to get back the budget we spent. And hopefully the movie can be distributed to the other countries.


What kind of camera did you use to shoot the movie -- and what did you love about it and hate about it?

DANWOO JUNG: I used Canon EOS C300. My production team considered enough time to pick the right camera for us.

C300 was affordable, 2K, easy to move around so we could save some time for setting up the camera for shooting compared to the heavy ones.

Edited with Final Cut 7. Editing team had to convert the raw files into a format that is suitable for the Final Cut 7. Time consuming but inevitable. Generally I was satisfied with using the C300.


You had many jobs on this project -- director, writer, actor. What's the advantage and the disadvantage of working that way?

DANWOO JUNG: Disadvantage is that I had too much responsibilities for the work. I had to focus too many areas. It was more time consuming than I expected. Even with careful preparation, having many jobs can cause delays at the scene.

Advantages. I played the character that I created based on me. I was able to reach almost 100 percent of characterization. Since I wrote it, all the images were in my head. I was able to control the balance of all the components in the way it was created. I understood the whole story.

Being an actor helped me to lead co-actors to the way I wanted as a director. I was able to balance the acting of other actors by acting with them instead of telling to them.

I believe writing, directing, and acting my life in the film can show deeper level of one person's inner soul than most of the films. Hopefully Mongolian Princess showed some of the artistic level of reality.  


How did you direct and act at the same time?

DANWOO JUNG: Preparation is vital. I tried to calculated all the things that could happen at the shooting.

I believed in the crews' talent and their profession. Everyone who participated this film made this film together. I was only one of them.


What was the smartest thing you did during production? 

DANWOO JUNG: We didn't drink during the production. I mean, alcohol.


And, finally, what did you learn from making the film that you have taken to other projects?

DANWOO JUNG: I learned what a director is. Through many years of living as an actor, I think I know the differences between the successful actors and the other actors in terms of their acting skill, talent, and many things that can be categorized as a fine actor. After this project, I started to see the qualities of what a fine director is.

Directing is a result of hard working, countless effort, and how they see the world and portray the world with their artistic sense, in a way that audience can relate to in the film.


The next film will be much harder to make, because I know more than before. I know now directing is a job that's "more you know, harder it becomes."

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