Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Writer Kim Eun Sook's pattern of pairing drama couples with big age gaps

Mr. Sunshine: Lee Byunghun (46) and Kim Taeri (27)

Gentlemen's Dignity: Kim Minjong (45) and Yoon Jinyi (26)

Goblin: Love line between a high school student and an adult
Kim Goeun (26) and Gong Yoo (38)
Daum: A 20-year difference? Writer Kim Eun Sook's pattern of pairing older-younger couples

1. [+1444, -93] Lee Santa on a romance drama... Writer Eun Sook.. this is too much.  Knowing your dramas haven't failed yet, are you willing to take this risk?

2. [+1388, -101] Ah seriously.. the problem isn't the age difference, it's that Lee Byunghun's going to be on it..

3. [+1125, -57] If you're a popular star writer you have the leeway to cast rookies but she just always goes for the top qualified actors

4. [+596, -23] Santa can freely act out his fantasy...... Kim Eunsook you're the one at fault!

5. [+537, -22] I'm not going to watch this 'cus of Lee Byunghun

6. [+473, -23] I can't agree with it this time

7. [+433, -26] Writer Kim changed after she got an award ~

8. [+426, -28] Not gonna watch Lee Byunghun!!!

9. [+318, -18] Feels like she's just riding on her name for the drama to do well now.  Please watch "Fight My Way" and reflect

10. [+291, -13] Aigoo~ writer, have you lost your touch? Don't you think Lee Byunghun's really wrong for this??  Feels like a dirty affair

11. [+262, -13] Gong Yoo saved Goblin.. were there really no other actors? You should've just used Jung Woosung instead.. can't believe you're leaving fine and normal actors and going with sicko Lee Byunghun ㅋ This is too much

Tattoos in Korea: art or a dangerous medical procedure?

Tattoos were once generally thought of in association with gang members but now more and more people think of it as fashion or art.  According to a law that was put in place 25 years ago, all tattoo procedures are considered illegal in Korea unless performed by a medical professional.  
There was a time when majority of the people thought of tattoos as intimidating and disgusting but now the debate on tattoos is at a neck and neck race. 
"Tattoos offer a surprise.  It's an engraved picture so it allows you to see a different side to someone."
"I think tattoos are dangerous.  There can be dangerous side effects and once you get one it's hard to get it erased." 
More than a million people have tattoos and there's a growing number of tattoo artists in Korea.  It's becoming even more prevalent with semi-permanent tattoos for eyebrows, eyeliner, and other types of makeup on the rise.  But did you know that you can't give a tattoo if you're not a medical professional?
"I didn't know that it was illegal [to give a tattoo].  It's the first time I'm hearing that."
"I was completely unaware.  Everyone's getting it done though, aren't they?" 
At the 19th national assembly, there was an attempt to legalize tattooing but the proposal was rejected. A speaker for the Korean Medical Association said, "The act of using a needle to insert chemicals into a person is considered a medical procedure.  Viruses can spread.  It can cause infections and that's dangerous."  On the other hand the chairman of the Korean Tattoo Association argued, "I don't think it's that complicated of a procedure that a specialized doctor has to perform it.  I don't think there's a problem as long as we set rules like disposing of waste materials and following single-use protocols."

Japan and Korea are the only countries where tattooing is illegal.  The chairman said, "I don't know of any other country that sees it as a medical procedure.  They just strictly control it with sanitary practices and licensing.  I know that there's inadequacies but why can't we make it so that people in Korea can receive a license for it instead?"

The speaker for the Korean Medical Association commented, "Our country [compared to other countries] has double the prevalence for hepatitis.  It can spread [through tattooing procedures]."

The tug of war between tattoo as an art and tattoo as a danger continues.

Naver: Artistic or dangerous... an age where millions have tattoos, what's your take on it?

1. [+4772, -213] It's your choice whether you get a tattoo or not but I think it would be much better if legally we can set rules like banning minors from getting it, providing the proper tools, hygiene education, supervision, and license registration.

2. [+4014, -178] Tattoos are okay and all but please don't get couple tattoos......ㅠㅠㅠ you're going to regret it when you break upㅠㅠㅠ

3. [+3780, -491] I heard people regret it when they get older....

4. [+2601, -113] There's a lot of tattoo businesses that don't throw out needles after one use and are just unsanitary.  They even give tattoos to minors without the parents' consent

5. [+1302, -72] The true kind of 'cool' is when you've got a body that's been toned by self-management, tidy clothes and when only smart words come out of your mouth.

6. [+1155, -33] Objectively speaking, men that have so many tattoos just look pitiful.  If you wanna look cool and strong go work out instead,,

7. [+998, -21] I read back then that people use tax money to erase their tattoos. Don't do that

8. [+1082, -91] Tattoos aren't bad, it's just that I've never seen someone with a tattoo that's normal

9. [+860, -31] A few days ago I saw my neighbour.  He's a big guy in his 20s and he got a tattoo on his shoulder.  He was walking around with his head up high and flaunting his shoulder... ugh annoying

10. [+669, -14] Getting a tattoo = your choice but the responsibility is all on you too.

11. [+653, -55] I especially don't like it when I see celebrities getting tattoos and coming out on TV

12. [+491, -20] I don't care whether someone gets a tattoo or not. That's a personal choice but those that get one and then show off their arms acting all though & swearing ㅋㅋ You cute bastards

NJTW4: Episode 5

1. [+2636, -33] Mino was so good at guessing the movies and acting out the most famous scenesㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ Freaking funny

2. [+2239, -32] I found out how daebak Song Mino is at acting things outㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ

3. [+1948, -33] I was actually so shocked at how good Mino was at re-enacting scenesㅋㅋ Just like how he's good at drawing things, he really captures the picture well!!

4. [+1672, -29] Song Mino's acting was insanely goodㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ

5. [+1487, -26] Song Mino's expressiveness is daebakㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ

6. [+413, -17] He's super good at re-enactments. Song-Talent, there's nothing he can't doㅋㅋㅋ

1. [+625, -3] Eun Jiwon and Lee Soogeun really go great togetherㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋAloha Coupleㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ

2. [+509, -5] Freaking hilariousㅋㅋㅋ Eun Jiwon and Lee Soogeun's match up is the bestㅋㅋㅋ

3. [+461, -9] Eun Jiwon looked so cute in the back all nervousㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ He and Soogeun really match with each otherㅋㅋㅋ

4. [+390, -3] Eun JiwonㅋㅋㅋㅋWhat are you doingㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋDoing that all of a sudden after getting the answer rightㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ

5. [+357, -2] I love Eun Jiwon and Lee Soogeun together.  I kept laughing at the two of themㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ

6. [+318, -3] Eun Jiwon and Lee Soogeun have great chemistry as expectedㅋㅋㅋ So funnyㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋNJTW is the best!!!!

1. [+1381, -14] Mino's the cutest in the world ㅠㅠㅠㅠ MinHodong didn't form out of nothingㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ 

2. [+1171, -7] MinHodongㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ Looks like they're becoming more like each other after using the same room

3. [+1076, -12] I laughed so much at how he didn't get the answer even though he was touching the fanㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ

4. [+770, -5] So adorableㅋㅋㅋㅋ plus Mino's sexy in a sleeveless shirt

5. [+730, -10] Why is Song Mino so cute.. I'm going crazy.  Is this the start of me becoming a fanㅜㅜ

6. [+687, -7] MinHodong is so cute seriouslyㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ Even the producers said "you're like your father" ㅋㅋ 

1. [+813, -3] NJTW is the best stress reliever, for real.

2. [+641, -3] I love the OB team so muchㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ Kang Hodong, Eun Jiwon and Lee Soogeun's chemistry's so greatㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ

3. [+607, -2] Kang Hodong, Lee Soogeun and Eun Jiwon still have the original member vibeㅋㅋㅋㅋ Today was the funniestㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ They lost but it's like they wonㅋㅋㅋㅋ I like the OB team so much, show them more oftenㅋㅋㅋ

4. [+467, -3] Look at how much Eun Jiwon's enjoying itㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ OB team meshes so well with each other, love itㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ

5. [+424, -3] The last scene they were so happy to the point it almost looked pitiful but I became excited with themㅋㅋㅋ OB team fighting next week!!!ㅋㅋㅋㅋ

6. [+374, -3] You can't ignore the times OB team have spent with each other since 1N2DㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋSo funny

Monday, 10 July 2017

Top drama stars paid too much, producers leaning towards 'cheap' rookie actors

With the Korean wave and investments pouring in from China, Hallyu stars' worth are currently on the rise.  Their appearances fees fetch anywhere from $8,700 to $87,000.  SBS "Saimdang: Light's Diary" was 100% pre-produced and received a $10 million investment from Hong Kong's Emperor Entertainment.  The lead actress, Lee Young Ae, reportedly received $87,000 per episode.  

The drama scene is becoming quite different though.  You don't see Hallyu stars like Lee Young Ae as often and it seems like more new faces are filling in the spots of lead roles.  Naturally, the average payout for lead roles are decreasing because of this change.  Insiders say the salary gap between lead actors is starting to get bigger and bigger.  
A starred in a drama on a public broadcast channel which gained a lot of popularity this first half of the year.  'A' received somewhere between $5200 to $6000 per episode.  'A' is rising as a top star, though it hasn't been long since A rose to a 'lead' level position so with that in mind, A's pay was much lower than expected.
New actors B and C have been appearing on a variety of public broadcast mini series and they've both been getting lots of love calls from drama producers.  The reason was because their fees are cheap.  Combining the fact that their faces are somewhat known, their acting skill is alright, and their fees are only around $2600 per episode... a nickname has spread among drama producers, half-jokingly and half-seriously they call them "actors that are a bang for your buck." 
With the after effect of China's ban on Korean entertainment, more of these "bang for your buck actors" are filling up the spots of lead roles.  A broadcast insider said, "Dramas aren't getting enough money without the Chinese market.  So naturally broadcast companies are tightening their belts.  The good days where you could spend almost the entire production budget on the actors' salary alone to make a drama are long gone."

"The reason we're leaning towards new faces is because we also want to give out spots to rookies but truthfully, the biggest reason is because their appearance fees are cheaper.  I think this will continue until the Korean-Chinese relations are resolved."

With that said, there are still actors receiving over $8700 per episode.  These actors are usually the ones appearing on dramas produced by CJ E&M (operates tvN, Mnet, OCN).  They've received a huge investment and have grown their cable viewers so they are able to give actors huge salaries.
D is an actor who isn't yet known to be a 'lead spot' worthy actor but D received a $43,000 contract.  This is something that would hardly be seen for public broadcast channels.  More Hallyu stars are pursuing cable dramas aggressively with the main reasons being they produce higher quality projects and their pay is much larger.
The huge gap between public broadcast and cable companies has formed a gap between salaries.  Another insider revealed, "The higher the actors' fees go up, the less there is for the production budget.  But we still have to offer top stars a huge sum of money.  So all the more, we would rather lean towards new faces to take the lead spots and stop this abnormal rise of salaries.  Even so cable TV channels are still offering large amounts of money so it's hard for public broadcast companies to co-exist with CJ E&M."

Daum: "From $2,612 USD to $87,000 USD.. salaries of small screen leads, a gap between the rich and poor"

1. [+1380, -82] Lee Young Ae ahjumma who can't act, isn't it shameful to take $87,000

2. [+810, -21] The sincere actors, singers, and artists can't get the spotlight.  The big bullies armed with dirty tricks, technique, and media play are the ones living well off the entertainment industry.  But rookies have no choice but to end up following the same cheap tricks and technique... so it's becoming a place filled with bullies.

3. [+642, -24] Lee Young Ae's photo is revealed front and centre~~ yet the other actors are A B C D

4. [+401, -4] Don't use top stars and start raising actors who have the skill... their salaries are way too high~~

5. [+345, -11] Please go to universities and recruit good actors.. don't just play around with companies and use idols..

6. [+248, -9] We need to get rid of entertainment programs that go out and have fun but receive lots of money.. they even film overseas~.. where's the money coming from?..

7. [+239, -11] Lee Young Ae and Song Seunghyun should return all that money if they have a conscience~

8. [+228, -4] That damn ABC is so annoying, at least reading the comments helped quench my curiosity..

9. [+159, -5] At least invest all that money you receive into practicing your acting... some of them don't even have the fundamentals as actors...

10. [+124, -5] Please don't cast actors who can't even pronounce things right, can't act, and only stare at the screen with wide eyes.  The viewers can't understand what they're saying since they can't even speak Korean properly

Daum: From 3,000,000 KRW to 100,000,000 KRW.. salaries of small screen leads, a gap between the rich and poor
Soompi: 13 of the highest paid K-drama actresses and what they earn
Hancinema: 2015 actresses and their salaries
Billboard: China blocks Korean entertainment on streaming platforms over THAAD row
CJ E&M: No.1 contents creation & marketing company
XE Currency Converter [Used to convert KRW to USD]

Korean actor drops out of American TV show due to racial wage gap

Korean-American actors Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park withdrew from the American TV series, "Hawaii Five-O".  It was reported that both actors received 10-15% lower than their white counterparts.  Though CBS offered 'large and significant' offers to both actors, they made the difficult decision of leaving the show due to the still prevalent wage difference.

Daniel wrote to his fans about the issue on Facebook, "Though I made myself available to come back, CBS and I weren't able to agree to terms on a new contract, so I made the difficult choice not to continue.  I'll end by saying that though transitions can be difficult, I encourage us all to look beyond the disappointment of this moment to the bigger picture."

"The path to equality is rarely easy.  But I hope you can be excited for the future. I am.  I've got new acting projects on the horizon, as a producer, my company has its first show... The Good Doctor, set to air this fall on ABC.  There's a lot to look forward to and I'll be sure to share it with you."

Daum: Korean actor, drops out of American drama series due to pay gap.. "Difficult decision"

1. [+9190, -31] It must have been a tough decision for them.  They seem to have thought about it from a bigger picture rather than just a personal decision.  Fighting

2. [+7489, -117] Let's start by not discriminating ourselves too~!!!  I need to start with myself.  We need to put ourselves in their shoes and think about how much it hurts to be discriminated against.

3. [+5185, -33] Don't discriminate.  It's annoying.

4. [+1210, -4] Hawaii Five-O won't be entertaining without them though?

5. [+1053, -5] It's not an easy decision but you receive big opportunities for the stepping stones you bravely start on.  Wise decision.

6. [+1035, -10] There's a lot of people who think everything America does will be great.  Truthfully if you've lived in the states, America says they're a country who is logical and rational.  But it feels like that only applies to white people.  Since there's more discussion on black issues, they seem to be headed towards a better direction.  On the other hand, the racism on Asian Americans is off the charts.  Please get rid of the perfect fantasies you might have about America.

7. [+768, -1] They made such a tough decision.

8. [+746, -5] They did good. The racial discrimination is really harsh.

9. [+725, -1] I'm a fan who has watched all the past seasons.  If both of these actors leave, the show won't be any fun at allㅠㅠ I can't believe I can't watch the new season. Now what do I watch?

10. [+656, -1] Let's give them a round of applause for their brave decisions!

11. [+501, -2] I'd get it if it was a pay difference between a lead and sub actor but if their roles are pretty much equal and they're getting 10% less, then I can't see that as anything else but a wage gap.

Daum: Korean actor, drops out of American drama due to pay gap.. "Difficult decision"
Facebook: Daniel Dae Kim - A message to my fans about Hawaii 5-0
Variety: CBS on 'Hawaii Five-0' exits: Made 'large and significant' salary offers to Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Infinite Challenge's ratings shoot up, an army special made for Park Myungsoo

Infinite Challenge's ratings shot up to 14.5% for their 'Real Men' special, an increase of 2.8% from last week's 11.7% rating.  This is their best record since coming back from their hiatus in March.  

Naver: "YES I can"... 'Infinite Challenge' Park Myungsoo, reborn as a laughter huntsman in the army

1. [+12,498, -101] YES I CAN ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ How can anyone not laugh at this

2. [+10,622, -97] 'Yes I can' '6 hyungs' ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ Today was a legend special for Myungsooㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ

3. [+8591, -77] Ah legendary it's so funny ㅋㅋㅋㅋ

4. [+8225, -72] The most hilarious thing is when the members themselves are trying to contain their own laughterㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋI laughed so much I criedㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ

5. [+7036, -78] ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋMuDo's seriously so much funㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋIt's somehow heartwarming and funny at the same timeㅋㅋ

6. [+2342, -28] Yes I can!!! Ah for real Myungsoo gained a year's worth of laughs todayㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ

7. [+2261, -29] '6 hyungs' ㅋㅋ Suddenly introduces his familyㅋㅋㅋㅋ Yes I canㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋAh my stomach hurts Park Myungsooㅋㅋㅋㅋ

Naver: "Myungsoo did it"... 'MuDo' achieves best rating of 14.5% since hiatus

1. [+1373, -15] The other members worked hard too but Park Myungsoo was super funny on this episodeㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ

2. [+1282, -17] Imagine if Park Myungsoo actually became a guest on 'Real Men' ㅋㅋ No wonder the PDs were out to get himㅋㅋ Haven't laughed like that in a while... it's so funny because he looks so serious ㅋ

3. [+1023, -22] The Real Men special is a legend

4. [+694, -7] Everyone in the army, you're all working so hard. Can't imagine how hard it must be... take care of your health

5. [+674, -9] As someone who hasn't gone to the army yet, I felt how hard you all worked.  I'm scared now

1. [+5255, -68] Yes I canㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ

2. [+3710, -72] A Mobius strip of compliments and scolding ㅋ The PD who put a CG butterfly on Yang Sehyung's so witty.  Actually cute the more I think about it..

3. [+3197, -58] Myungsoo's stumped facial expression is still so funny to me. I haven't seen him like that everㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋAh so funny

4. [+3097, -47] Super fun episode. The 30th division seems to come out on variety a lot

5. [+2680, -86] MuDo articles always feel like they're written like movie reviews than as varieties..

6. [+849, -34] I laughed like an insane, crazy mad man yesterday. This is Park Myungsoo's legendary episodeㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ

7. [+686, -17] Did he know he was going to be this funny so he didn't guest on Real Men? Gotta save it for MuDo only

Only the rich with 'gold spoons' get into top Korean universities?

SKY: Seoul National University, Korea University, Yonsei University

Kim Sang Gon, Education Minister
In order to get to the top universities in Korea, there's a comprehensive student record screening you have to prepare for.  It includes grades, introduction, list of awards, creative extracurriculars, volunteer work, research and essays.  It was introduced to help showcase individual student talents but it's just become a playing field for those with money and information.

A mother of a student preparing to enter university said, "It's seen as an investment.  You can spend over $35,000 in 10 months but if you can use money to change your kid's life, then of course people who have the means will use it.  That's why poor kids can't succeed in this kind of model."

Parents will spend thousands of dollars for elite high schools, tutors, extracurriculars and hagwons to embellish their kids' student records with the hopes of getting them into the top schools.  Elite high schools offer special programs to help with this.  For instance, they'll have experts coach students on high level research topics like 'analyzing chest CTs for lung cancer diagnosis' which they can then put on their record to help with admissions.  

Other parents team up to gather the latest information on what academics or extracurriculars to focus on to get into a top university.  They'll then build a curriculum using that information, hire the best private tutors and 'purchase' extracurriculars to gain admission. That's why this comprehensive student record screening is known as the gold spoon screening among many parents and students.

Kim Sang Gon said, "I will restore the education ladder that has crumbled, for equality of education opportunities."  One of President Moon Jae In's promises was to get rid of elite private high schools to promote education equality which has sparked controversy.

Naver: It all depends on how powerful your parents are?... 'The comprehensive student admission screening is a gold spoon screening'

(t/n: Naver recently made some changes in their comment system.  If I've marked a * before a comment, it means the original comment was "hidden due to the request of multiple users.")

*1. [+5638, -616] Normalize public education!!! I hope for this to happen, fighting!

*2. [+4286, -524] I support normalizing public education

3. [+3411, -353] Let's get rid of private schools and their corruption

*4. [+1658, -238] Make getting into university easy but harder to graduate from it. This is the answer.

*5 [+3197, -838] Is there a way for students to record that they're ilbe users on their admission screening?  I'm worried since they're people who could potentially become criminals...

6. [+811, -125] Extracurriculars only benefit those with gold spoons so it'd be nice if there was a limit on that ㅋㅋ

*7. [+2189, -598] The comprehensive screening didn't expand what I can show, it just limited me even more ugh

*8. [+838, -161] Normalize public education

9. [Deleted by user]

*10. [+892, -211] Let's just add more to what the comprehensive screening is lacking.  You say extracurriculars are advantageous to those with gold spoons but Moon Jae In's government pledged to lessen it
- [+122, -4] It's not that we need to get rid of the comprehensive screening because it benefits rich people, it's because we're driving children into an infinite battle with each other! It's truly an inhumane system which is why it needs to go
- [+96, 0] The comprehensive screening doesn't just have 1 or 2 problems. It's a complete mess. Nothing will change by just changing a couple of things. The biggest problem is the students involved are plunging into the temptation of immoral corruption.
- [+95, 0] Comprehensive screening = gold spoon screening... if we're being honest isn't this completely true?

Naver: It all depends on how powerful your parents are?... The student admission screening is a gold spoon screening
The Korea Times: Elite high school controversy heats up
The Hankyoreh: For prestigious university admissions, S. Korean students and parents in a war for information
The Korea Times: Monthly tuition at children's English academies exceed $1000