by MDL Writers, March 3, 2020
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Meet the Writers of MyDramaList

Every day, article content is posted on MyDramaList written up by community members, sharing our favourite content, our opinions and the films and dramas that make us tick. People pour their heart and soul into articles to build up the site, hopefully, get our favourite pieces more viewers, and to bring the community  together for a piece of media.

But who are we? We can sometimes be pretty faceless, only really having a bit of a presence on the feeds, or even being a silent force writing our articles and appearing in the author notes on a piece.

What if someone else wants to write articles?
Who can you write with, what can you write about, what if you have an idea that hasn't been seen on the site before?

Come and meet the MyDramaList writers, see how we write, what we do to best increase our productivity and learn how to write your own articles!


The Writers

Interviewed for this piece



Interview

What's your name? Did you come here for dramas, movies, or just to follow a group's activities?

etheraltaekibum: I'm Kai, etherealtaekibum or just 'etk'. I found MDL by chance trying to find an old Japanese movie. I just signed up to look at what my stats would be since I've been watching J-horror since I was around 14. The organised side of me loved the idea of the stats, and before I knew it, I was addicted.
ReikaBleu: Hey, Reika (RL Name: Erika) here. I found MDL while looking for a safe place to share my thoughts about Doramas and Eigas. I just watch Japanese stuff. I sometimes write articles for fun. I also study Nihongo hoping to be a subber someday. :)
OldAnimeLady: Old anime Lady, or OAL for short. Watch 99% Japanese, write articles and be a busy body in the public feeds. :) Came for the list ability, stayed for the community.
hideyourheart: My screen name is HideYourHeart, but others can call me HYH or Kay. My interests on MDL include almost everything now. I had originally joined to keep up with and find new Korean dramas/films but soon developed a love for Chinese and Japanese as well. I really enjoy the way the site is and how the interface works/logging etc. The community is also one of the best online communities I have ever been a part of.
Minarii: I'm Minarii, but you can call me Nicks. I use MDL to keep track of what I watch. I also enjoy writing reviews and articles, as well as reading them. Also, I love the MDL community, so I enjoy interacting with the people here.
XingBack: I go by XingBack, my EXO bias's fandom name. ;) I watched too many dramas, and I needed a place to keep track of them. And since MDL is such a friendly, supportive community, it became fun to just share and discuss dramas with everyone on a daily basis~
Ebisuno92: Screen name: Ebisuno92, Real name: Oliver. I came up with my screen name after reading Haruki Murakami's 1Q84. I joined MDL initially because of the site's enormous database and the ability to create watchlists. I came here for a little bit of everything.
cheshire unicorn: My name is Cheshire Unicorn. I basically think MDL is an amazing platform for any Asian drama or movie’s information, and I solely come here for that. However, the many creative articles written by so many talented creators also make me very much interested in the website!
noona: My real name is Camaryn, but my screen name is noona. I couldn’t think of anything to use as a username, so I chose noona. I just like the way it sounds, lol. I first came to MDL when I couldn’t find certain titles on IMDb. I simply wanted to keep track of everything I’ve watched, but instead, it became the main platform that I use to learn about new Asian shows and communicate with people who are interested in the same things as me. 

What piece of media would you recommend for people to watch?

etheraltaekibum: One Korean drama would be Live. It was raw, emotional, not scared to go places and one of the only dramas I've been able to focus my ADHD mind on. For Japanese drama, Boku dake ga Inai Machi. Binge-worthy, took me less than a day to finish, just devouring episode after episode. For films, it would be The Wailing or Parasite. I wasn't the same person after finishing them.
ReikaBleu
Hard question. Hmm... I have lots I want to recommend but at the top of my head right now would be Grand Maison Tokyo, Mr. Brain, and dele from Japan. If I have to recommend something from my country, Philippines, that would be Kita Kita.
OldAnimeLady: 
I have several 10's, but for me, my recs would be Algernon ni Hanataba O, followed closely by Taira no Kiyomori and The Last Emperor (Chinese Movie not a drama).
hideyourheart: 
I would recommend depending on taste in genre/etc. So, if someone loves darker material/ I would go for Warning Do Not Play or Parasite in film and Strangers From Hell or The Guest for drama. For a lighter watch: Us and Them for a film or Eulachacha Waikiki for a drama. And just one more recommendation for good measure, Love At Least.
Minarii: 
Six Flying Dragons. It's a drama that every historical (or non-historical) fan should see, truly a masterpiece!
XingBack:
 I'm actually addicted to recommending stuff, but if I had to choose one it'd be Circle, it's such a rare never seen before sci-fi genre in dramaworld, I think everyone would at least appreciate the change.
Ebisuno92: 
One recommended drama: Kekkon Dekinai Otoko (2006); One recommended movie: Love Letter (1995); One recommended series/franchise: Bayside Shakedown (1997-2012).
cheshire unicorn: I don’t exactly have any drama that I specifically love, but there are 3 dramas I’d want to recommend. First one is The Untamed (2019), the second one is Be Melodramatic (2019), and the third one would be Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo (2016).
noona: If I could only recommend three movies to someone, I’d choose Himizu, Hot Road, and I’m a Cyborg, But That's Ok. If I could choose only three dramas, I’d pick Missing 9, Chugakusei Nikki, and Just Between Lovers

What articles do you write mostly?

etheraltaekibum: I mostly write about horror films - Asian horror is some of the best on the market. I also enjoy doing fan guides for my favourite directors and idols and focusing on new interests, such as short films.
ReikaBleu: I mostly write about why you should watch a drama or a movie. I also like to write about things Japanese related that catch my eye, something random. More or less, I write whatever crosses my mind (which means stuff related to Takuya KimuraLOL.)
OldAnimeLady:
I write articles to highlight dramas I like, I also translate news or awards for English speakers. I have recently been trying to do the Season line up of dramas from Japan. I also write Fan guides.
hideyourheart: 
Mostly I do "Let's Talk About" articles centered around things that I can go into the depth of, especially for something I really really enjoyed. I think they have all been Korean dramas so far. (I need to expand them sometime.)
Minarii: 
Currently Watching ones for sure, I'll probably continue writing them in the future too.
XingBack: 
Fan guides and articles that highlight characters.
Ebisuno92: 
I mostly focus on the stuff involving movies (started off with Weekend Recommendation section). However, I tend to gravitate towards dramas, especially recently. I just love writing about past genres, past movies, and past franchises. How to say this? I like the history of cinema. Perhaps that was the reason when, as a teenager, I received the bulky "Chronicle of the Cinema" book as a birthday gift.
cheshire unicorn: I mostly only write recommendation or lists articles!
noona: Other than the ASK MDL articles, I like to write recommendation articles. I try to give underrated dramas more attention or simply talk about series and movies that I’ve really enjoyed.

What do you love about writing on MDL?

etheraltaekibum: I love the freedom; most things are allowed, and admins are always happy to help formulate an idea in the best way it can be shared. I love the feedback and the way everyone calmly discusses opinions.
ReikaBleu: 
It's like an outlet where I can let my thoughts and feelings be heard. Since I write about random things, I like that the admins give us enough freedom to do so.
OldAnimeLady: 
I love the feedback and community. I love bringing light to topics and genres not usually covered.
hideyourheart: 
I love the community and the vast options which we have as writers to choose a topic/subject of an article as well as express our emotions (like or dislike) towards said topic/subject.
Minarii: 
I love sharing my opinion with other users here, and I love hearing theirs, too! I think this is the best thing about writing articles.
XingBack: 
For one thing I have a lot to write about, so it's kinda therapeutic, but it's also fun to share and discuss a subject I enjoyed with a wider audience~
Ebisuno92: 
The feedback of this amazing community drives me to keep on writing more. I am working on two projects right now, and this would not have been possible without the support of you, the readers and dear friends (my special thanks go primarily to penel, kura2ninja, kaisrexci, ReikaBleu, and Seonsaeng).  ❤
cheshire unicorn: What I love most about writing here is my freedom of speech in the articles and the many amazing and supportive users of MDL! And yes, of course, MDL’s a super-reliable source of any drama information. ;)
noonaI love writing on MDL because I can talk about my interests without judgement, and I can share my thoughts on movies and shows with other people.

How do you choose what you're going to write about?

etheraltaekibum: I have a look at the films I want to watch and make a plan around that. E.g.: Am I going to be catching up on a K-Pop group's filmography? Do they need a fan guide on the site? Is there something I can do to highlight their acting? Am I going to watch a lot from one director? Is there enough of their films I enjoy I can broadcast? Sometimes, I just get hooked on something and want to have a babble - I started watching short films and watched 100 in a week - my first short film article came out after that.
ReikaBleu: 
As I mentioned above, I just write whatever comes to mind. I don't have anything planned, so that's probably why I can write lots of articles in a month or not write at all in a few.
OldAnimeLady: 
My muse grabs hold of me and won't let go.  No seriously if I can't stop thinking about it, I need to write it to empty my brain.  Which is why some times it will be a few months, then BAM! 4 OAL articles back to back.
hideyourheart: 
I choose what I'm going to write by watching. Usually, if the drama catches my attention or causes me to look further into things, I'll be tempted to write an article. Or if I want to share some top 5 favourites or something.
Minarii: 
As I said, I love writing Currently Watching articles, so I always write an article if I really like the drama and want to share my opinion. I usually write about the plot, the characters, and what I like about them and of course why people should watch the drama.
XingBack: 
Usually I write about subjects people seem interested in, but no one ever writes about.
Ebisuno92: 
My idea behind choosing topics is simple: "To boldly write about topics which nobody has touched upon before". If I find something interesting, and when I'm confident that this article will be some valuable addition to the community, then I go with it.
cheshire unicorn: Basically, I get an idea for an article’s topic from a drama or a drama category/genre I would be obsessed with at the moment. For instance, I would write a list of good short dramas after I would finish watching a short-lengthed drama that I absolutely loved.
noona: I don’t need to plan much since I only write about a drama and say how I felt about watching it.

Why did you choose to write for MDL?

etheraltaekibum: Again, the freedom. The admins will let you do pretty much anything for articles; I like the way I can use my interests in Asian media to make a portfolio I can hopefully use in the future to get a film journalist job (knock on wood).
ReikaBleu: 
Because I can, and I'm allowed to. Though, whatever I write for MDL, I also upload on my personal blog.
OldAnimeLady: 
Because they let me, simple as that. I have my own blog I never update, it's all right here.
hideyourheart: 
The reason I chose to write for MDL had to have been how I read so many articles before, which in turn made me admire all of the writers who submitted to the site and then after watching Hymn Of Death -- the drive to express my thoughts/views on said drama pushed me to make that admiration into a goal to join the writers that I admire so much.
Minarii:
I love MDL and writing articles here makes me happy. I feel like I'm helping the site with at least something and I hope other people enjoy reading my articles, too!
XingBack: 
I write a lot on MDL, whether they are reviews, comments or episode updates. Also. the people here are usually so accepting and welcoming of other's opinion, and I wanted to challenge myself and overcome my shyness. ;P
Ebisuno92: 
Because I saw the announcement and felt up to the task.
cheshire unicorn: Before I joined MDL, I used to think of this site as only a place for drama information, like a Wikipedia for Asian dramas and movies. But after discovering the article feature, I was super interested. I always wanted to write articles, so I was glad to have finally found a place where I could easily do so. It’s easy and compatible to write here, and I love reading them too.
noona: I wanted to write for MDL because I enjoy writing and I wanted to give underrated series and movies more of a chance to be liked.

Did you have any fears about writing for MDL?
How did you overcome them, or how did time pass to show you they weren't something to worry about?

etheraltaekibum: I was worried people might not like content as most of what I wanted to show off was horror - horror isn't a very large part of the community although we linger all over. I started off with a fan guide to one of my K-Pop biases (Xiu Min) and built confidence through that. There's always one person who watches all the films I talk about and enjoys them, and that is enough for me to be confident in myself with my article writing - we're all here to enjoy things, and if my article makes one person enjoy the content, then the piece has done its job. Starting with something simple I knew wouldn't be hard to write helped ease me into it - now I cannon ball into the deep end and have fun with what I challenge myself to write about.
ReikaBleu: 
I'm really not a writer, so I did have - still have, fears when writing. Like, "would they read what I write?" or "will I get negative feedback?". But I learned that when you write about something you like or love, all other things don't really matter. It's like you're writing because you like to read what you write, or something to that effect.
OldAnimeLady: 
I was super nervous in the beginning, but Ceki sent the article back to me like 6 times, fix this... do that (I actually miss interactive editors). And then I was kind of nagging while waiting to be published. Don't be me. Now I can wait a month and not be bothered lol. Feedback. The comments. The views. The hearts. All of that made me feel like my articles were wanted and gave me the courage and fuel for the next one. Even if it's to criticize what's in the article, I still love every comment I get.
hideyourheart: 
I had a lot of fears about writing on MDL. At first, it took me months to get up the courage to write an article. But, to overcome the issue -- I wrote and submitted an article. Since then, I still have some little anxieties about it, but they are nowhere near as severe as before. The reason for me becoming more comfortable with posting articles is due to the community being so kind and welcoming and accepting. Any comments I get on the articles have helped to make me feel more comfortable with sharing more of the things I enjoy and writing more articles.
Minarii: 
Yeah, I was really afraid that people won't like my articles. It took me some time to get the courage to write an article. And I'm still afraid, and I still get nervous, but I just keep telling myself that there will be at least someone who would enjoy reading what I wrote.
XingBack: 
I'm a shy and indecisive perfectionist, so I hate submitting something before I'm 100% satisfied, and I worried I wouldn't meet the word limit or people won't find the subjects interesting, but the editorial staff are super supportive and once I gave them my 1st idea, and they helped me through it, then writing articles became easy and fun. ;)
Ebisuno92: 
I like challenges, and that's why I volunteered myself after reading one of the recruitment announcements. It's difficult to say if I had any fears. I always try to keep extra attention to the spelling and structure of a text and never had any clashes (*knock on wood*) with the editors.
cheshire unicornBefore I published any, I would be most afraid of the public opinion of an article I would write. I’m usually a very sensitive person when it comes to negative criticism, so I was super skeptical about writing an article due to that. That was pretty much the only fear I had. I only published my first article to see whether people would like it or not. From my perspective, it seemed like a very badly written article honestly, but some people had liked it. Hence, I gained a lot of confidence and decided to continue writing articles. Maybe positivity and support helped me to overcome my fear and made me want to write more.
noona: I was scared at first because I felt weird putting myself out there. I don’t really have any people to talk to about Asian dramas, so it felt weird to suddenly say a whole bunch about it. After I wrote my first article, almost all that fear went away because the people on MDL are so nice. They left me nice comments and said that they enjoyed it, so I don’t really fear writing on MDL anymore.

How do you focus on writing?

etheraltaekibum: I kick back, get a DM chat with someone going to have a laugh as I work, and pump some tunes out on YouTube. Something that isn't distracting - the melody doesn't change much, or it's a song I know I love and subconsciously move/dance around to as I write.
ReikaBleu: 
I don't. I know this will sound weird, but since I only write about stuff I like, I tend to just write whatever comes to mind. As you'd see, it's mostly non-coherent. Haha!! I don't really focus, I even write in between work or while watching a drama or while I'm playing with my son.
OldAnimeLady: 
For me its like throwing paint at the wall.  I put out the jumbled mess in my head, then I organize the mess.  Sometimes the ideas don't pan out, but I have emptied my head. Lol.
hideyourheart: 
I focus on writing my articles by listening to Drama OSTs in between and re-watching scenes from whatever I am writing the article on to help keep my focus and find new points to mention or things to write about it.
Minarii: 
To stay focused is the hardest thing for me, and I always get distracted when writing. I made a playlist on Spotify with drama OSTs which helps me stay focused while writing. It actually works lol.
XingBack: 
I listen to music and open 100 tabs looking for gifs.
Ebisuno92: 
It depends on the topic. When I feel that the mood is right and the stars are perfectly aligned, I just sit down and write. Completing an article usually takes me between 2-3 days on average.
cheshire unicornI love writing articles, overall honestly. It’s kind of something I really enjoy to do, basically because it’s a place where I can write my own opinions and what I like and I really like that.
noona: Some articles take me forever to write and others I can easily finish in a day, it just kinda depends.

What do you do when you need help with your piece?

etheraltaekibum: I go bug OAL if she can give me a second opinion, haha. She has a look and gives me a few pointers, and I'm back on my way. The writers all tend to stick together and give advice and help where and when it's needed. If I'm super stuck, usually I update the film/drama page. Missing tags make me think back on the content and, most of the time, it unlocks something I forgot, and I can rush back to article editor to add more details which tends to release me from writer's block.
ReikaBleu: 
I ask, mostly on twitter, for suggestions. I love my twitter mutuals.
OldAnimeLady: 
When I need help, I ask in the feeds if anyone is interested in the topic. New eyes often offer a new perspective and format. I usually have the information, but the layout and fun interaction with readers are sometimes a hard thing to achieve.
hideyourheart: 
I usually ask someone on the editorial staff or write on feeds asking a question or two to see what others think. If I have a moment where I can't think of anything to add or my brain is fizzling out, I'll take a step back and revisit at a later time when I can focus longer/better. Re-watching can also help stir the creativity and get it flowing again.
Minarii: 
Honestly, I don't do anything, I'm just trying to do my best... I'm struggling by myself. :D
XingBack: 
I ask the super nice editorial staff ❤
Ebisuno92: 
I take a deep breath and flick through Carl Jung memes.
cheshire unicorn: So far, I haven’t really needed any help with writing an article, but I do take notes and inspiration for a writing technique from magazine articles and such.
noonaI haven’t needed help with any article yet, except for editing, but once I do need help, I can just ask the MDL writers. They’re all really nice people :)

If you have an idea that hasn't been seen on the site before, how do you plan it and show the admins what you want to do?

etheraltaekibum: I draft an intro out on Word/Google Docs first. I see if the intro and films I've seen easily come to mind for writing about. Once I'm confident I have an intro and a basis of the content I'd use, I contact Yuanwei; I explain what I'm thinking, if she doesn't quite get my idea, I show her my draft, and we go over it until she's happy to approve it.
ReikaBleu: 
I sometimes ask if the topic is available. If it is, I just write it. At times, I write and submit without asking. LOL.
OldAnimeLady: 
I just do it, and wait for the rejection.  I pretty much know what is acceptable or not.
hideyourheart: 
Usually, if I have an idea that I haven't seen on the site before, I'll message someone of the editorial staff (usually Yuanwei) and run the idea by them. Then write up an example and ask to have it reviewed and approved on before submitting it for final approval.
Minarii: 
If I have an idea, I ask if I can write about it and then start planning. Taking some notes really helps, but I don't do it often. I start writing the moment I'm given permission to, and it usually takes me 1 or 2 weeks to finish an article. (I'm a lazy writer tbh)
XingBack: 
It might not have been on the site before, but they are usually subjects I talk about a lot on MDL, so I usually know how I want to write them, and sometimes I follow the pattern of my old articles. For my 1st article, I contacted @azyjtevol, but after that, I just write my idea on the article's forum and wait for @Yuanwei to approve. ;p
Ebisuno92: 
First of all, I check all the movies/drama episodes connected with the topic. I also do meticulous research on the net and beyond (bonus features from official releases or even books/academic articles). Then, I outline the structure of an article and write the most important things to be mentioned next to the bullet points. As a result, the writing process itself is quick and easy for me.
cheshire unicorn: I haven’t really gotten any unique and new idea for an article yet, but if I do, I would simply write it according to myself and try to make it seem unique and outstanding!
noona: I don’t really try to come up with ideas; they just randomly pop up when I watch a really good movie or show.

Would you be happy to co-write or help finesse ideas in the future?

etheraltaekibum: 100%! I love writing for MDL, and sometimes, I can't focus on any of my articles. Helping others with theirs is a nice way for me to step back and get my muses flowing again. I also find it fun to help people with their articles because it's usually content I wouldn't watch otherwise; it's an awesome way to find new content and diversify my tastes.
ReikaBleu: 
Definitely! I even joined the ASK MDL team, hoping I would be helpful. I hope I am. If anybody there needs me, just PM me (though I may not answer right away. Gomen ne, etk).
OldAnimeLady: 
I LOVE co-writing with people. I am an idea person and not always happy with execution, so new eyes, a new perspective, new spins are great for me to learn and the community.
hideyourheart: 
Co-writing has always seemed so fun and exciting to me! Also, helping anyone with anything is one of my favourite things to do. That sounds like a blast!
Minarii: 
Yes! It would make me very happy!
XingBack: 
I actually thought about it before; it seems fun to share different views on the same subject.
Ebisuno92: 
As a matter of fact, I already did that (From Best Korea with Love: An Introduction into North Korean Dramas and Movies article with @Seonsaeng), and it was a wonderful experience. We have complemented each other on every writing stage (Google Drive draft, copying all the content into MDL draft, then editing it). In addition, there are some MDL writers which I greatly admire and would love to work with in the future, but I guess I do not have the guts to ask them.
cheshire unicorn: Yeah, I would love to co-write an article with somebody in the future!
noona: I would love to co-write with someone. Anytime someone wants to, feel free to ask me. :)

What advice would you give someone thinking about writing for the site?

etheraltaekibum: Just try your first article. If you don't like it, you don't like it. There's no harm done. But you'll never know if you don't try. Start with something simple that's easy for you to write out and just give it a go. First one is always the scariest and most nerve-racking, but it gets much easier once you get past the barrier.
ReikaBleu: 
Just write. You don't really need to be the best. You just have to write something that you, yourself, would want to read, and the rest will follow.
OldAnimeLady: 
Don't be afraid. The first one is always the hardest. Don't see editor revisions as an attack; they are trying to help make you a better writer and a better article. Be ready for comments both positive and negative, and take them both in stride.
hideyourheart: 
Go for it! Trust me! Once you leave any fears or insecurities behind (if you have them!), then I think you'll find the magic in writing for MDL like other writers have. It's an indescribable feeling to be able to work really hard on an article and then see it approved/posted on the site that we all cherish and spend time on.
Minarii: 
Don't be nervous; there's no reason to be.
XingBack: 
Don't think your ideas are not "good enough", it's always fun to read other peoples interpretation on things. And don't be shy, the MDL staff are super, super nice and helpful, and they are willing to answer all of your questions.
Ebisuno92: 
If you have an idea and you are really passionate about it, then give it your best shot. Don't be afraid. In the moment of desperation, there are always wonderful editors to help out. Let me end my part of the interview with a word of encouragement for prospective writers from Mark Twain himself (but actually I heard this in the "Outlaw Star" anime XD): "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
cheshire unicorn: My advice for a new MDL article writer would be simply to not be afraid of expressing your own opinions when writing an article. Being honest and truthful instead of trying to sugarcoat words is the best charm when it comes to writing an article. It totally removes the mediocrity from your article and everyone loves them!
noona: If you want to write for MDL, just go for it. Everyone is really nice on here, and I personally love to read everyone’s articles, even if they’re not that good at writing.


How do I write for MyDramaList?

Curious about writing articles or feeling daring to try your own piece? 

The first step is to finesse your idea! Write down your ideas! How many different ways can you do the article? Which one looks more interesting to you? Which one would you like to read? Look at each one and decide which one you would like to see the most. 

The second step is asking the article editors if you can write it! This thread is where article ideas are posted, and the editors will approve or deny the idea - if it's denied, it's okay! Ask why and see how you can change the idea a little bit; they'll help you solidify the idea. If you want to write a Currently Watching article, then it's a slightly different thread - this one here.

Write! Once you have approval, go ahead and write! Either the editors will give you a link to the article editor, or they’ll tell you to PM when you’re done to send you the link.
On the article editor, there are numerous things; take a look through at what the buttons do! You might realise there is more stuff you can add due to the spoiler feature! (Article editor has quite a few things: take a look.)  Once you’ve got things figured, go ahead and pour your ideas out into writing!

When you’re 100% happy with your piece, submit it. It won’t be published straight away, and it can take some time. Two article editors will edit each piece, cleaning up the format (e.g.: If you forgot to tag an actor, or you didn’t put something in a quote, etc.), and tidying up little grammar and spelling mistakes. Once they’re done, they’ll be put through for the owner of the site to publish when he decides. Articles are all posted, there are just some days that site news or a big piece of news – like Oscar nominations for Asian films – have to come out first and the rest are picked out and posted on each day.

The writers of MDL also have a Slack channel that we work together in, generally chat, help each other with article ideas, and to chat about missing data on the site. Contact OldAnimeLady or me, if you'd like to take part in this Slack!


Edited by: Yuanwei (1st editor), KimWanHee (2nd editor)

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