Posted : 2013-10-13 19:26
Updated : 2013-10-13 19:26

New drama genres branch out from SNS, podcasts

A popular radio podcast "Ratoon" provides dramatized audio performances based on hit web cartoons. / Courtesy of Ratoon

"After-school Bokbulbok," a popular drama-toon, stars Kim
So-eun and members of Surprise, a male actors' group.
By Chung Ah-young

Tech-savvy Koreans are quick to adapt to the fast-changing media milieu and fond of playing with words, creating new terminologies that describe this social and cultural phenomenon.

As people gain greater access to digital devices, experimental forms of broadcasting content are being created and finding young audiences.

Recently, reflecting entertainment platform shifts, new drama formats dubbed as social networking service (SNS) dramas, "drama-toons" or "radio cartoons" are gaining popularity among young people who constantly play with their digital devices.

SNS dramas refer to short mini-dramas, which run for around 10 to 15 minutes per episode and are aired through Internet casts or mobile services. Meanwhile drama-toons, a portmanteau made from drama and web cartoon, contain more fun and entertaining elements making viewers feel as if they are reading a web cartoon. Unlike conventional dramas, drama-toons focus more on cartoon-like visuals rather than plots or storylines.

A radio cartoon is a dramatized audio performance in which voice actors perform cartoons, similar to radio dramas. Reading the cartoons this way is a new kind of concept tailored for a growing number of comic fans here amid the soaring popularity of web cartoons thanks to advances in digital gadgets and Internet distribution. Podcasts have helped radio cartoons prosper with easy access to portable digital devices.

A scene from "Because We Are Not Breaking Up Yet," an SNS drama, starring Han Jae-suk, Lee Wan and Kahi from K-pop girl group After School.

SNS dramas and drama-toons are contributing to the entertainment scene in some ways because they offer opportunities to rookies to get an audience which is hard to achieve on popular shows.

"Because Not Breaking Up Yet," an SNS drama, whose first episode was aired on July 22, generated buzz because it stars actors Han Jae-suk, Lee Wan and Kahi from K-pop girl group After School. However, after the drama was actually aired through SNS, Kim Min-kyung, a new face among the main actresses, is gaining more attention than others as a rising star.

K-pop girl group Dal Shabet's Woohee has been cast in a new SNS drama remake of popular webtoon "Infinite Power" along with Seulong from 2AM. This drama will be online from next month.

"After School Bokbulbok," a drama-toon, produced by Fantagio Pictures and Group Eight, renowned for hit productions such as "Boys Over Flowers" and "Goong," was initially planned to nurture aspiring new actors. A press event was held on Aug. 27 prior to the launching of the drama on Sept. 2 through Nate Hoppin, T Store and Btv.

Except for Kim So-eun, a lead female role, all actors are from Surprise in the drama. Surprise is a male actors' group similar to K-pop boy or girl groups.

At the press event, Yoo Il from Surprise said that it can be defined as a group of newbie actors. "As many K-pop band members begin their music career but end up acting, we are going in an opposite way, starting with acting and later turning to music."

Fantagio whose artists include movie stars such as Ha Jung-woo, Ju Jin-mo and Yeom Jeong-ah selected the group members through the company's "Actor′s League," a program for discovering aspiring, talented actors.

After taking part in the training program for about two years, they have made their debuts on "After School Bokbulbok."

"After School Bokbulbok" is a high school story revolving around Kim, portrayed as a timid girl who gets into a school club. Each episode contains "missions" that have to be carried out.

"This is the first time I'm acting in a drama and character in this kind of genre, and it's a lot of fun. I think it'll be an extremely unconventional drama," she said.

EBS, the state-run educational television and radio network, launched "Soseol Madang Pan _ Radio Cartoon," a radio program featuring web comics from Monday to Saturday on Sept. 26. The host is DJ and dentist Kim Hyung-gyu. The host not only reads the cartoons but also invites fans, cartoonists, authors and actors to share views on various subjects.

A popular radio podcast "Ratoon" provides hit web cartoon recordings such as "Murderer," "Sherlock Holmes" and "Carnival" through the audio performances of professional voice actors. Ratoon is available through a mobile application.

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