On the 23rd in Korea, Korean drama producer Kim Jong Hak was found dead. He hadn't paid all of the debt that he owed, so he committed suicide, though it is unconfirmed at this point. Kim Jong-hak's death points out one of the many inherent flaws in the Korean drama system, but many people are quick to point the blame at the wrong people.
Like in the screen-capped comment and the reaction in this Netizen Buzz article, fans are so easy to blame actors and actresses as the reason as to why staffs and actors/actresses go unpaid. The common reasoning from such fans is that "Well, herp-dee-derp, if they didn't make so much money, there wouldn't be a problem with paying everyone else," while ignoring the fact that the actors/actresses haven't been paid either. So their salary is irrelevant if no one is getting paid.
I'll be referring to this asininely long-ass post from a guy who jacks off to word count and number of times he has to consult a thesaurus while writing each post. The fucking thing is ten times the length it should be, so I'll quote the highlights.
As you can infer from the post, it's the broadcast companies at fault. They hire third parties to produce dramas; however, these third parties lack the means to actually produce anything. The budget for each episode isn't that high. The broadcast companies only pay a certain amount to these production companies, leaving the production companies up to the task of funding the rest of the episode. It is this point right here that needs to be fixed: the broadcast companies continually outsource dramas to companies that can't afford to produce anything.
For example, 2012's hit drama My Daughter Seo Young had trouble paying the actors and staff despite 30% ratings (and eventually 50+% ratings). This production company was fucked from the beginning despite MDSY bringing in all of that advertisement revenue. If a successful series has trouble paying its staff and actors, the problem lies with the broadcasting companies and production companies. It starts at the very top, not with actors/actresses.
Now, the common "solution" pitched by fans/netizens/socialist fucks is that the actors/actresses make too much money.
Now let's look at the scenario painted by Vault of Doom:
So let’s imagine that you start with 120 million won per episode, plus another 30 of initial PPL and OST revenue. Of those 150 million, you spend a good 30 (at least) on your writer, 50 on the major Hallyu star you needed to cast in order to get a timeslot on network TV, and a total of 30 million for the remaining three pieces of your leading quartet. That’s 110 million just to cast four people and get someone to write your show.In his opinion (and the opinion of others), it is the fault of the Hallyu star and the writer that the production company cannot afford to pay anyone. In his suggestion to change the industry, he gives a ludicrous pitch.
I would establish a salary cap that works for real, and not the silly regulation the big three decided upon a few years ago – with all the perks that Hallyu stars got, practically rendering such regulations futile from day one. No more than 10 million won per leading star, and no more than a cumulative 100 million won per episode spent on the cast.Here, he shows his true colors: "I'm a socialist fuck envious of how much money Hallyu stars make and I want to punish them for their success." This is not unlike how the liberals and socialists paint rich people as Satan for making so much more money than everyone else. Well, guess what? THAT'S HOW CAPITALISM WORKS, YOU SOCIALIST FUCKS.
In order to get the audience to watch a show, you need stars that people recognize and adore and a writer who has written successful projects. They get paid more because they bring more to the table. You can always replace a makeup artist, but you cannot replace a Hallyu star with some unknown rookie actor and hope to bring in the same ratings. The Hallyu stars and writers bring an inherent value that these broadcast companies are willing to pay in order to attract investors and an audience. In compensation for these broadcasting companies using their names to get people to watch the drama in the first place, they get compensated more.
"But..but...it's not fair. The Hallyu stars make so much and the supporting actors and staff make so little. Everyone should be paid the same."
Welcome to life, mother fuckers. In capitalism, there's always going to be inequality in how much people make. Those with more value get paid more. Those who are easily replaced get paid less. That's how the market works.
"But they should still be paid the same."
What you're suggesting is for everyone to suffer equally rather than to prosper unequally. Vault of Doom capped the salary of the major Hallyu star at $10,000; however, that is the maximum. Realistically, under his system, the Hallyu stars would get paid less, but everyone else would be paid less. The only reason the budgets are this high in the first place is due to broadcast companies wanting to use high profile Hallyu stars. It is very naive to believe that the budgets would remain the same with everyone making a lower salary. So yes, the Hallyu stars make less, but because of the budget cuts, so does everyone else.
You wanted equality? There, you get it with everyone suffering equally with shitty pay. If you are truly for the interest of everyone, instead of demanding the Hallyu stars get paid less, demand that the broadcast companies increase the budgets so that the staff and supporting actors get paid more.
A great example of this is the Detroit Tigers. Back in 2003, with a budget of 5 dollars (exaggeration, but they were extremely low budget back then), the Tigers set an AL record of 119 losses. This was because the owner kept on scaling back on the team's budget for about a decade straight in order to pay for the new stadium. In the early 90s, the Tigers were a good team and contended for the AL East title every year. However, they traded all of their good players away and just replaced them with scrubs from their Triple A affiliate.
The scrubs replaced the good players because they were worth less money. If you reduced the amount of money Hallyu stars made, they wouldn't even do dramas anymore, opting to do movies full time. Without paying top dollar for stars, you end up with a nobody. However, the nobody isn't good at their job compared to the star. Replace four stars with four scrubs and the quality goes down. Just like how fans won't travel to the stadium to watch the game since their favorite team is now laden with scrubs, people won't tune in to the station to watch a drama full of scrubs.
However, starting in 2004, the Tigers started investing heavily in getting stars to come to Detroit (even though the city is the definition of 'shithole'). They paid the stars more than any other team would. With more stars coming to Detroit, the team got better. With the team being better, fans weren't ashamed of liking the team anymore and tuned in to watch the games on TV and go to the stadium to see them live. Since 2006, the Tigers have been to the World Series twice. They did this by buying the best players they could and drafting well. They would use their draft picks to trade for the best players they could get. This has allowed them to compete with the other teams. With the increased spending, they were able to get more revenue.
Just like in Korean dramas, if you bring in more Hallyu stars and a prolific writer, yes, you will be spending more, but you are also expecting a bigger return because of the increased interest in the drama.
You socialist douches want to capitalize on the brand power of these stars without paying them. Sorry, but that shit only flies in your fictitious utopia. In the real world, people are compensated to the value that they bring to the project/firm/company/etc. You can choose to demand that everyone suffers equally or that everyone prospers unequally.