by Joe McPherson

I was sitting on a platform on the edge of rice fields next to an old Korean farmer with a total of six fingers. In front of us was a small table of makkolli, the local rice beer. He held out his cup. I poured. Then he reciprocated. We were about to drink when…


The director brought things to a halt, again. We’d already tried this shot—a standard foodporn closeup—a few times, drinking the bad takes. And now we’d have to try it again. We were finishing a grueling day of living my dream as a travel show host with the most inefficient director in East Asia.

He’d scheduled a big massage scene at a hotel on Jeju Island, flew the crew and me down there, only to find out the hotel didn’t allow filming. He’d set up a scene with female sea urchin divers, and we’d arrive to find that no one had told them about it. He had driven us five hours through a monsoon to do a fishing scene only to discover that the fishing place was closed because of… rain. So we drove five hours back to Seoul.

The crew was on the verge of mutiny.