Related Works

[Hyereen] Table For One


Directed, Edited, Composed music

No items found.


"Table for One: Recipes and Stories of New Yorkers Living Alone” is a documentary project that delves into the often-overlooked lives of solo New Yorkers. The series uses food and the act of sharing meals as the entry point into intimate stories. Participants share recipes and the personal narratives behind them, providing a glimpse into the struggles, triumphs, and everyday realities of living alone in such a dynamic city.

Living in a major metropolis can be both exhilarating and isolating. "Table for One" addresses the sense of loneliness that many urban dwellers experience.  The project highlights the particular challenges of navigating NYC alone: forging meaningful connections, pursuing aspirations in a competitive environment, and finding joy and self-care within the often-cramped living spaces.

The series aims to foster empathy and connection. For those living alone in NYC, it serves as a reminder they're not alone in their experiences. For others, it humanizes the countless anonymous faces they encounter,  encouraging recognition of the rich array of lives being lived within the city's bustle. Additionally, "Table for One" challenges the romanticized portrayal of New York, offering a more nuanced, relatable look at the everyday struggles and triumphs most New Yorkers face.

[Hyereen Nam]

Hyereen is the first person I got to film in January of 2022. We’ve been talking over the winter break about this project and I am very honored to have her be part of it. She is a third-year international student studying Design at the School of Visual Arts and commutes from Long Island City. 

A week before the film day, I visited her apartment to check the lighting, where to plug in the electricity, and her kitchen setting, and to pre-interview her. Based on this visit, I was able to make a brief timeline of the film day and a storyboard of how I wanted to capture her cooking and story. We decided that it would be best for her to express herself in Korean during the pre-interview as it is her native language. With the information I got from the pre-interview, I came up with a list of questions to ask her in Korean.

Because the interview was done in Korean, I translated and added the subtitles on the lower thirds. The interview took about 40 minutes and it was a challenge to cut it down to 4-5 minutes. It was an opportunity for me to learn that can never tell the whole story, but only a slice of a slice of a slice of someone's story.

[Music Composition]

Each episode includes three originally composed songs in it and they share the same opening song.

The descriptions and stories behind each song:

Opening - Inspired by Siski by Cooliger in their album Living the Simple Life. It has modern jazz/new age music stylistic qualities, which I tried to create in my music. The instrument includes a piano, upright bass, and drum kit - a jazz trio instrumentation. I made the music as a loop, repeating the same 8 measures over and over again so that I can fade out the music whenever each episode is done with the intro.

Hyereen Cooks - This song appears in Hyereen’s episode when she is talking about the food that she’ll make and when she is cooking. I chose this orchestral and waltz-y style of music for Hyereen because the ingredients she prepares and the food she makes seem like musical instruments coming together to create harmony and a greater work of music. The waltz rhythm in 6/8 time lightens up the weight of the full orchestra.

Hyereen and NYC - During the interview, Hyereen said that she has been listening to indie rock music and is in love with the electric guitar sound. I got the inspiration from the music that she was listening to - Everything by The Black Skirts. To make it sound more realistic, instead of using MIDI, I used sample sounds online and included these elements of a pre-existing recording by someone else in my composition. I manipulated, edited, chopped up, and looped the samples to fit creatively within my work. I started the music with a subtle electric guitar riser then an electric guitar loop comes in. The drum joins after 8 measures in. I added reverb to the drum sample sounds because each sound had a different level of sound space and had to level them out.