Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dear KDrama Fans, Fuck Your Socialism



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.


40 comments:

  1. I like it how you used a Chomsky-quoting blog to denounce some of the fictions of socialism. Nice.

    Also, WTF is Vault Of Doom?

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    1. Vault Of Doom, My Lover, My Educator, My Believer.

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    2. Not sure if this was a rhetorical question .. but anyway.

      Vault of Doom is blog where you'll find news, info and reviews by Kitteh/X about KDramas and films. His blog before that got shut down by CJ E&M (I think it was due to the subtitles that he use to release).

      Most people know him as he use to write for twitchfilm and sub for withs2. His posts are always long, but usually there's a shit tonne of background info for whatever topic he's talking about.




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    3. It wasn't rhetorical, I honestly had no idea.

      I don't really follow k-drama so I'll probably never check it out. But I'm firmly on AKFG's side on this issue. Stars get paid tons of moeny because they increase the potential of the companies to make returns on that investment. Michael Jordan gets billions of dollars because his name sells even more billions of dollars of sneakers. That's how shit works in the real word for people not suckling the socialist teat.

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    4. Yep, agree with why certain 'Hallyu stars' get paid shit tonnes in dramas, despite them being stiffs, s#it actors etc.

      Either because they need them on board to secure selling the drama overseas (like with Love Rain or that Hana Kimi remake), or the hope that the star(s) will get them decent ratings and what not.

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    5. I know who Mr. X is since I remember the days when everyone got their subs from WITHs2 before Dramafever and Viki came around. However, he has this condescending attitude when it comes to dramas. If you don't think the same as he does, you're a "retard". People who enjoy dramas for the sake of entertainment (me) are dumbasses who don't give a shit about wanting every single drama to follow a distinct formula.

      Imagine if Infamist and Kpopalypse had the same knowledge about writing, directing, acting, etc. in dramas as they do in music. Now imagine these two are unbearable cunts who hates everything that doesn't follow a very specific formula and looks down on anyone who doesn't agree with them. That's Mr. X in a nutshell.

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    6. Also, speaking of needing stars for dramas, Mr. X is also naive enough to believe that dramas would still receive the same amount of money through PPL advertising. The dramas only receive that much in the first place because of the star power of the leads. For example, Five Fingers kicked Eunjung off because they couldn't receive enough money through PPL advertisements. Imagine if you had four scrubs headlining the drama; you wouldn't get any PPL either.

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    7. Haha, yeah alot of people get the condescending vibe from X. But he's pretty much the go to guy if you want to know some info about Kdramas/film pre Hallyu wave (or shows that nobody watches) if you don't know Korean.

      Almost forgot, RIP MR KIM.
      Thanks for damn good shows such as Eyes of Dawn and Sandglass.

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  2. I come from a country that used to be a socialist state, and from what my parents have said to me, it did suck ass for the educated, hard working people, who got the same salary (sometimes lower)as the uneducated, lazy dumbasses, who had jobs, that anyone can learn to do in a day.

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    1. Exactly. What's your incentive to work when you don't get justly rewarded for it? You become lazy like everyone else because you know any extra effort will just be in vain.

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    2. You talk as if there are only the two extremes... which is, forgive me for saying this, super-Republican.
      I also couldn't read all of your blog post, because it seemed so clichéed at times.
      Besides, one could argue that some stars are fundamentally over-paid. Just like some stocks are over valued.

      I certainly do agree that the problems Korean (or most country's) mainstream culture has, live in the management segment.

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    3. Sure, anyone can think someone is overpaid. For example, I think Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys is overpaid. He got a 6 year/$100 million contract. Do I think he's worth that, considering the Cowboys can't even make the playoffs? Hell no, but I'm not bitching that he even got that much money. Jerry Jones obviously saw the value in him to pay him that much, and it's probably justified from Romo's stats, jersey sales, etc.

      However, provided that someone or something is overvalued, the market correct that. If a sports player is washed up, he won't be signing his next contract for $15 million a year when teams only value him for $3 million a year. If a stock is overvalued and is currently $70, over time the market will correct itself and the stock will fall down to $50. It's the same with actors. They have a short period of time where they are able to draw salaries this high. Eventually, when the market decides that they're not worth as much, the stars will make less.

      And no, I'm not Republican. I'm a libertarian, something that the liberal mainstream media likes to point to as "right-wing terrorists" just for wanting people to pull their own weight and for the government to stop interfering in everything.

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    4. Well, political orientation has nothing to do with economic reality. The truth is, neither socialism nor capitalism is sustainable in their purest form. Unbridled capitalism only breeds unbridled greed, acute disparity, social stratification, simmering resentment amongst the disenfranchised, and eventually, social unrest and/or revolution. Thus, even the most ardent capitalist societies have elected to absorb some elements of socialism in order to make peace with the population. For instance, welfare safety net is instituted to offer reprieve to people who have fallen on hard luck; or government-funded education is administered to children across all socioeconomic class to generate upward social mobility. These policies are probably socialist by nature but everyone regardless of ideological leaning has come to take them for granted. The bottom line is, the capitalism as we know it today has already been mitigated and held back by a series of socialist policies implemented throughout past decades. With all due respect, retarded capitalism may find its identical twin in bastardized socialism e.g. socialism with Chinese characteristics. Therefore, crusade against alleged socialist notion is not all that dissimilar to tilting at windmills............

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    5. Ugh AKF can you stop having such a set mind for everything. You constantly criticize stupidity and dumb statements while you yourself constantly spew out controversial strong opinions without proper reasoning behind them.

      Sweden, where I live is a socialistic country (not socialist, socialistic because every country in this world right now has a combination of varying degrees of planned economy and market economy) and we're doing alot better than america thank you very much. I'm not standing behind the 10 million won salary cap (dumb as fuck) nor am I propagating socialism=win but when will you fucking understand that you can talk about your points of views without sounding like a big gaping asshole?

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  3. ψ(`∇´)ψ I would Pay Ssul with more than just ₩500,000 for a Drama if u catch one of my drift lol =Pp

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    1. I doubt Sulli made that much through To The Beautiful You. Most stars stop out at around $30,000 per episode, which would be $480,000 in a sixteen episode drama.

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    2. If what you said is The Case, then Ssul made well Over ₩500,000. She would have made around ₩535,000,000. Korean Millionaire Sulli.

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  4. Off topic, but I know there're Shingeki no Kyojin fanboys here, some of them who perhaps understand Japanese. Would muchly appreciate any takers able to translate a part of the light novel

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/406375202X

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    1. You're better off going to an anime/manga site for that shit.

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    2. Nothing available in engrish unfortunately.

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    3. Have you searched "Attack on Titan light novel translations"? I'm not sure if the light novels will get translated since the manga is the source material and the light novel is just a spinoff. For series like Full Metal Panic and Sword Art Online where the light novels are the source material, they get translated in a reasonable time period.

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    4. Yep, I did every variation of that—no success. Fuck me hard and long if this light novel has its second anniversary coming up and not one stroke of kanji's been rendered into these simple Latin squiggles. It appears that's it then. The manga sells well enough internationally for Isayama's team not to be bothered translating a side project. Ach schade.

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  5. Dramas are generally terribly backwards as to the hoops, they have to jump through to satisfy the fans. One of those being actors.
    Profile actors become near necessity, when the producers don't want to invest in better scripts and concepts, because it doesn't pay, and viewers being too reliant on authoritarianism to watch anything their oppar/unnie isn't in, thus creating the same problem, they are complaining about.
    Heavens forbid that the demand revise their standards, in light of market restriction, instead of the supply.

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    1. As of now, the cable dramas are the only ones trying to change the formula because they know off the bat that they can't secure high profile actors, so they have to come up with different ideas and actually have a script that differs from "these four people are in a love square, there you go" formula that Korean ahjummas so incessantly demand.

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  6. Socialism time, when people could find themselves in prisons, just because they stopped clapping first after The Leader's speech (that's what our history teacher said) or because they said something wrong about The Leader.
    Though, my parents say everything wasn't so bad at that time. They remember, people were "simpler" then. I come from former socialist country as Sniper granny hooker.

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  7. there's a market value for every thing, stars, idols, actors, actress inculded. If the askingi s deemed too high or they ask way over what they worth, the production has all the power to say no and cast someone else within their budget. You can't spur on what is out of your means/budget and later complaining it's some one else's faulse to make you spend over your limit.

    Though a Hallyu stars studded cast doesn't guarantee to yield a good return (good rating and all the CF $$ that come with a successful rating). If the scrip/plot/production sucks no one can save a skinking ship...

    It's just my general comment, not particular about this Faith production. I feel very sad at the tragic death but people should really stop pointing the fingers at the wrong place. The way how they fund drama/movie production should change.

    RIP Mr.Kim :(

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    1. The stars guarantee that there will be PPL funding. That's why Five Fingers had to boot Eunjung because they couldn't get any PPL advertising because of the T-ara controversy.

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    2. yup I mean there are others that holding out till good viewer rating before committing product placement deals. This probably be the production's gamble makes or breaks. If the $$ doesn't pour in due to poor viewer rating, they're stuck with high casting cost and a lower in coming cash than expect

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  8. Broadcast companies aside, what about them sponsors? Don't they have a role in funding dramas as well?

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    1. That's what PPL is. Product Placement. More and more shows worldwide depend on PPL more because no one watches commercials anymore. That's why you'll usually see a Samsung phone, a Kia car, a cafe, etc. etc. in the drama. Without Hallyu stars, there's no guarantee that these dramas would even get any funding through PPL.

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  9. I see I've successfully implanted "scrub" and "socialist fucks" into your vocab. l0l

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    1. Huh? While I may have never used these words on AKF, I use these two phrases all the time irl, especially "scrub" since I pay attention to sports all year round.

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  10. Here's a good article about big screen actors. Mind you, the actors named are big names capable of pulling big numbers.

    http://www.hankyung.com/news/app/newsview.php?aid=2012092436961

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    1. Highly recommended to watch 강우석's episode of 힐링캠프 as well. He talks about finance management as a multi million hit director.

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    2. My anti-virus blocks that site lol. Can you provide a summary of the article?

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    3. http://media.daum.net/entertain/enews/view?newsid=20120924183305862

      http://06web.co.kr/index.php?mid=com_2&document_srl=146373

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    4. "'하울링'에서 6억2000만원을" I'm bad with Korean numbers when they are written out like that, but that's 620,000,000 won, right? It's better to make roughly $600,000 shooting a movie than $500,000 shooting a drama.

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  11. Yeah, about 500k is about right. But for some actors, that's just guaranteed pay. Doesn't include the bonus pays and such (differs from contract to contract).

    Movies generally have bigger impact on actor's image anyway.

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  12. Could one not argue that the part where socialism is relevant is not about the wages of actors, but that the broadcasting companies are able to basically fuck over production companies like that in the first place? No? Different approach?

    Just a thought there and all.

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