Customer Stories

Remote and under control: How a K-Drama got made across continents


Published on May 17, 2024

Dropbox Replay helped U.S.-based director Yun-Hong Min and his team in Korea get "The Impossible Heir" ready to stream.

“Location, location, location” is just as important to TV making as it is to real-estate listings. A show’s settings act as separate characters, storytelling devices, and visual shorthand for the world the main cast and story are inviting viewers to inhabit.

So getting the right locations was a huge part of producing the Korean drama The Impossible Heir, says director Yun-Hong Min.

“Since the drama revolves around Korea’s top property class, or chaebol, we needed expansive, luxurious settings,” Min explains. “So we traveled across the country in search of suitable locations.”

The twisty, “wait, who’s conning who?” series sees a trio of class and social misfits scheming their way into the upper crust through a number of cunning sleights of hand and heart that would make Machiavelli proud.

Finding those opulent country homes and sleek high-rise penthouse apartments was a lengthy process. It made Impossible Heir’s turnaround especially tight, even by K-drama’s uniquely fast-paced standards. Several unexpected complications didn’t help: Many of the show’s props had to be replaced after a warehouse fire, and many important locations were hard to secure, meaning shots that ideally would’ve been captured first came later in production. (“This challenge is common in other K-dramas, making me envious of Hollywood’s production environment,” Min says.)

Director Yun-Hong Min on the set of a past project.

Min and his team were able to navigate the resulting “complex web of constraints” by using Dropbox to share files among each other. And when Min decided to move to Boston during post-production to get inspiration for his next project, Dropbox Replay provided an easy-to-navigate space for detailed video feedback and remote reviews between the United States and Korea.

“For me, speed and time are of the essence,” he says. “I’ve benefited greatly from being able to spend time on creative work that would otherwise be spent on data sharing and communication, and my team has greatly benefited from receiving rapid feedback. We estimate a 20% time savings by integrating Replay into our workflow.”

We talked to Min about how he and his team brought ease and simplicity to this complex project. (The Impossible Heir is sponsored by Dropbox and is currently streaming on Disney+.)


You’ve worked on a lot of K-drama projects over the years. What drew you to The Impossible Heir?
I was intrigued by the idea of a main character who is bold and daring in setting, designing, and acting on his dreams. It reinforced my belief that if you dream big, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish despite frequent setbacks.

Impossible Heir’s production had its own share of obstacles. What’s usually the hardest part of post-production?

Managing multiple communication methods simultaneously was quite inconvenient. For instance, if I needed to suggest changes in a scene, the process was cumbersome: I took a screenshot, edited it in Paint or prepared a presentation, sent it over, and then followed up with a phone call to explain. This multi-step process was not only time-consuming, but also prone to miscommunication and losing important information along the way.

Min (middle) with a cast and crew member during a previous project.

I was thinking, Am I going to have to go back to Korea? Then I introduced Replay to my team. 

I’ve always found managing these processes challenging, but accepted it as the only way to do it. However, upon discovering Dropbox, I began exploring its services for more efficient file sharing and communication. In Korea, KakaoTalk is the most popular communication tool, so we frequently used it for real-time updates, saying, “I’ve uploaded the files here, please take a look” or “I’ll send the link via email, check it out.”

How many people are you working with in this way?
In total, we have around 50-60 people on our crew. For post-production, I frequently communicate with a core group of 10, including assistant directors, editors, the music supervisor, and the computer graphics supervisor.

We wrapped up filming in September 2023. During that month, we managed to complete as much editing and post-production work together as possible. After I moved to Boston in October, we continued the remaining work online, maintaining communication throughout the process.

What was it like working with your team remotely?
So this is my first experience doing post-production online. I knew that technically I could, but mostly we didn't because it's very important to be there and have the emotions and feelings together. I’ve experimented with various data and video-sharing solutions, but faced significant download speed issues, especially with files uploaded from Korea to Boston.

Typically, the choice of service falls to the individual who first sets up the storage space; NAVER MYBOX, Webhard, and Google Drive are the mostly commonly used services in Korea. However, they had their downsides, such as limited sharing capabilities. And although they had good download speed within Korea, their international usability was less satisfactory.

Min and his team on set and hard at work.

... within Dropbox Replay, I could highlight a point, draw directly on the frame, and provide detailed feedback, all without needing to switch to another app.

I thought it might be difficult to give my feedback remotely, but the intuitive interface—similar to that of video editors—meant they could easily adapt without needing extensive instructions from me. The most useful feature for me was the ability to comment on specific frames directly within Dropbox Replay. I could highlight a point, draw directly on the frame, and provide detailed feedback, all without needing to switch to another app.

With a project that has this many moving parts, were you concerned about leaks?
Security has always been our top priority, especially in the editing room. We were initially very concerned about safeguarding the footage, particularly as we were constantly getting the footage that we shot the day before. However, after thoroughly evaluating Dropbox’s security, we felt reassured enough to start uploading our footage there.

Even though Dropbox offers robust security, the risk of leaks increases with too many people accessing the content. Therefore, we limited access to myself and a few essential team members. Replay allows for customizable permissions, such as the ability to write comments or edit content. For others who need only to view a portion, I adjust the permissions accordingly.

You were deeply involved in the post-production of The Impossible Heir for about 3-4 months. The show has now aired. What’s next?
I haven’t settled on my next project yet. I’m exploring various options and fleshing out a few ideas of my own at the moment. The ability to work from anywhere, in environments that spark my creativity, is a game-changer. I’ve found myself more inspired, dreaming up stories and visuals I wouldn’t have otherwise.

When I came to the United States, the people I met, the new things I saw… It’s broadened my narrow horizons for the stories I wanted to tell. My team, whatever I say, they understand right away. Having my own staff back at my base camp so I can roam around and think differently and make something new…? It is a very good work process.


This interview was edited for clarity and concision.