5 Lessons from City Hunter for Filmmakers and Lovers

City Hunter Lessons

5 Lessons from City Hunter for Filmmakers and Lovers

Currently, we’re in production of a “secret” web series. Unlike film, this production is very much organic. Why? We shoot right after every bit of script is done. We happen to have a writer and producer who’s quite attached to his “feelings” and moments of insights. So everything is fast paced, and is always on the go. And the closest to that are TV series.

After dosing myself with “Fringe” and “Game of Thrones”. I still felt far too distant in the elements of the show. The sets, the characters, the skin tones, etc. So I’m really looking to for something to learn on which is closer to my heart.

Pinoy Dramas? NO WAY! If I would spend my time on, it should be something worthwhile.

Thai or Indonesian Dramas. I wouldn’t know any.


Korean Dramas! So I head on to google and searched for Korean Action Drama which is closer to the genre of the series we are making. And then, I landed on City Hunter.

(Shocks, the moment I typed the words “City Hunter” their soundtrack played on my head!!)

In one week, I finished it, and I was torn into pieces – exploded into euphoric smithereens!

Here are the awesome take-aways I got from the series especially for aspiring filmmakers:

1. Build a Gut-Wrenching Motivation

City Hunter is a revenge film. And like what Koreans are best at, they’re epic on putting on layers and layers into the story especially on the motivation. I promised myself that in the next time I’ll write my screenplay. I’ll drown myself in laying in the “Why’s”. And it must be right from the heart, and pain works most of the time.

And never let go of that motivation. I should always drag my viewers back into that motivation.

At first I found it funny, why every episode, the lead actors would always describe and narrate the motivation – why they are revenging. Without me knowing it, I am unconsciously building that same connection to the pain the actors are going through.

2. Diffusers! Tons of Diffusers! And reflectors too!

The skintones – aside from the real white Koreans – are quite similar to the actors and actresses I’m working now with. I’m just happy I found the solution to my lighting cinematography problems.

3. Cut-ins to Conceptual Shots

Clenching fists, clearing throat, moving jaws, fixing ties, sighs, rearrangement of objects, etc.

The use of cuts’ into symbolisms may not be that obvious, but then again, unconsciously it helps deliver the story.

4. Reaction Shots – overly exaggerated reaction shots.

Finally, I understood what one director said that dialogue scenes is not about the one who’s talking, but the one who’s listening. And I’ve counted it, some reaction shots even last upto 5-seconds! I realized that the reaction shot is what we want the viewers to react as well – might as well show them how, right?

And finally, my favorite…

5. Saying “I Love You” is saying “I LOVE You!”, so don’t waste it!

Never did the Lee Yun Seong and Kim Nana said, “I love you!”.

The only climax – which I unfortunately found myself munching snacks while I reached that part – was when Kim Nana finally said “I like you” and the torned Lee Yun Seong never responded back.

Later on, I asked my trans-cultured friend, Grace, who is a divinely appointed Korean, about this and she shared that it really is their culture. They are honest to themselves and they say what they mean to say. They completely understand that like and love is different, and they don’t just give it away.



They’re right, in my experience, it took me 11 years to understand the meaning of those three words. And look at how our Filipino culture – which is obviously co-created by the media from the West – just blot it out that easily. So put a cost on those “I Love Yous” its priceless, so don’t throw it all away.




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hanzstHanz Florentino is the founder of Studio Inspiro, a filmmaker, a story teller, a lover and a student of life.View all posts by hanzst →

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