Monday, 20 January 2014

How to get on TV in Korea - A guide on how to get yourself on a Korean drama as an extra!


My guide on how to get on TV in Korea.

So you've seen the latest episode of Non-Summit (비정상회담) and you ask yourself how did these people get on TV? Believe it or not it is actually much simpler than you would imagine. Whether it be Drama's, Entertainment programs or even guest appearances on news programs there is a wealth of opportunities for Non-Koreans in Korea to get there face on TV and other media outlets. Many of the foreign 'Actors' you see on Korean TV are just everyday people with the right visa and the right amount of free time! In my 4 years in Korea I experienced a plethora of media opportunities - from acting as an extra in Drama's to a recurring role on a talk show.


Where to look for opportunities.

Craiglist (http://seoul.craigslist.co.kr/
believe it or not but craigslist is a great resource to find acting / modelling jobs in Korea. Just by searching you will see a numerous amount of adverts asking for various nationalities to take part in a photo shoot, as a Drama extra or as a guest on a TV show. Just click here and see!. Use your own discretion as to whether or not you feel it is a safe and legitimate opportunity. If you are not to keen on contacting over Craigslist you can always use the email / name from the advert and do some of your own online research. 

Yonsei Korean Language institute Job Board (http://www.yskli.com/act/job.asp) 
Students often have access to a wide variety of TV / Modelling opportunities. This "free board" has access to arguably the best opportunities for Korean speaking foreigners. Students usually have the most flexible hours as many Drama's and TV shows do their recording during the day and in remote areas (meaning you will have to take a day or two off school!) If you can't find anything on the job board then be sure to hand out around the front gate at Yonsei Korean Language Institute, there are  TV crew on campus from time to time scouting for some foreign talent or looking to do an interview!

TV Shows Direct Sites (www.kbs.co.kr / http://enter.jtbc.joins.com/nonsummit/)
If you have seen a TV show in Korea that featured foreigners than make sure you visit the TV show's website online! Most if not all of these shows will have a forum section under which you can send in a post to say that you would like to appear on the show, more often than not you will get a response via email asking for your photo's and resume! This is how I managed to get on the short lived Chosun TV show "Hello Hello" - alternatively message them on social media; you will be surprised at the responses from 'cold calling'

Networking
If you manage to find a job from the above sources than you will more than likely have a minder / manager for the day. This person is a low level agent but they will be your connection to other jobs in the future as these agencies are regularly used to provide foreigners! So don't forget to get the details of the agent assigned to look after you for the day and be sure to be friendly; a general rule of thumb for anything in Korea is if someone asks you to go out for a drink - then do it!


Wardrobe not my own! One of my appearances on the Chosun TV talk show - "Hello Hello"




Pay and Other Important Information


As a model or an extra you can expect to receive anywhere from between 100,000 KRW / Day up to 300,000 KRW per appearance. On a show like "hello hello" which is an actual guest appearance then you will likely receive around 300,000 KRW. Sometimes if it is just a short segment then you will only get a gift voucher.Now be aware that as a student; or even as an E7 working visa you are technically not allowed to receive pay for your TV appearances. There is a reason most foreign celebrities are married to a Korean - without a temporary resident visa there are limited options in terms of working 'legally'. In fact if any foreigner has been on TV regularly for over a year it generally means that either they have been married/are currently married or their agency has found them a visa via a loophole.

That said there are of course multiple ways around the system. As I stated before I had a recurring role on a TV show despite also having a full time job. As such I did not receive any pay (directly) instead money was transferred into a friends account. Most part time extra roles / guest appearances you will be paid without the smoke and mirrors but for anything that is constant; like in the case of Non-Summit (비정상회담) then they will have to do some creative accounting to ensure you get paid. Please be aware that TV appearances are at your own risk - being in the public eye will mean that when it comes time to renew your student visa / E7 / Working holiday then you may be subject to more scrupulous investigation.

Working hours are usually early in the morning on a weekday! especially for drama's with tough schedules. Depending on the shoot you can expect to be there for 2 - 4 hours including travel time. Another issue is naturally a lot of the filming is done out of Seoul to avoid crowds and hence you will be travelling in a van for an hour or more to most sites.

Opportunities are not limited to TV and I also had chances to be in magazine interviews, promotional photos for products/companies, newspaper articles and radio interviews.


Me and a friend promoting a new CJ product


Below is a short of the TV show "Hello Hello" where you can see me stealing a kiss from comedian 정주리



30 comments:

  1. Hahax.. but not everyone is as lucky as you.. alot of times luck and hard work is a must to be a successful actor / actress.. I would like to be an actress too but sometimes things don't go my way.. :) all the best to you in your acting career.. :)

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    Replies
    1. Not an actor at all Melissa. Which is the point, if you know where to look anyone can get on TV in Korea!

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  2. You're living my dream! Haha. How would you suggest going about getting on a Korean drama/show as an extra, specifically?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The first time I was an extra on a Drama was through responding to an advert on a Yonsei bulletin board. As I've said just look out for any modelling or acting opportunities through craigslist and ask to be kept on file; chances popup constantly.

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  3. Do you think you could write more about your Korean-learning process and time in Korea in general (or do you have a separate blog or something for that?)? I just found this blog and I'm really interested to know more about everything you've done and do!

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    Replies
    1. I have two separate posts in which I have been comparing Korean language schools based on criteria which I consider more important than things such as curriculum but other than that I haven't written much in terms of learning Korean.

      Delete
  4. Did you have to get a special visa or anything to do these things?

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    Replies
    1. In terms of visa, whether you have a working holiday H1 visa or a student visa (D2 or D4) "Technically" you are not supposed to get paid for doing such activities. It's kind of like how private tutoring is also illegal. Generally what will happen is the agency will advise you of this and then tell you that if worse comes to worse an immigration gives you a call then to just say that you were helping a friend and you didn't get paid!

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    2. Hi, just curious, I heard now D2/D4 holder allowed to take parttime job not more than 20hrs/week, is it not true?

      thanks

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    3. Thanks 가비.

      When I was there it was a 20 hour limit yes. You had to fill in a form which linked you to a job and hour limit. Generally speaking the production companies won't do this unless they want you to appear regularly. There are of course ways around it (which the production company will also advise to you!)

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  5. this was really cool, my friends tell me that im photogenic and that i can take really good photo's even when im caught off guard. i was wondering how to actually go about moving to Korea for a job, im starting college to get my A-levels but then hope to move over to Korea because have wanted to travel there since i was young and watched koreanTV when i was at home after school days.

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  6. Hello! I just wondered, the resume I include in the forum post, is it the standard Korean resume? like the one you have a post on how to write?
    Thanks for this post! It answered a lot of my questions! :)

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  7. So usually when you go on shows, do they have you change into a certain outfit or can you wear your own clothes?

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  8. your blog is so help ful. i am writing down all those important info!! hey can you help me out here... i am doing B.S honors in graphic designing. i want to do work in korean media. (i really mean it, i am so in love with south korea) so i am collecting as much as i could info about south korean media. most of the info what i got , most of the time was gossip wasn't sure info. but i have read your blogs its really good. so if you could write any blog ? or give me any important info which could help me out in near future?

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  9. So is there a type of visa or other way that allows to guest on TV shows and be paid directly without being married to a Korean? I also heard that you can take part-time jobs as a D-2 student and work up to 20 hrs a week, is this true?
    Btw, your blog has been very helpful as I will start living there in August :) Thanks a lot!

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  10. Were you a student of Yonsei University? And is craigslist safe and trustable? Are there any chances of getting conned?

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  11. Hello, thank you for all your info so far. I am planning to move to Korea in Jan. I live in NYC and work in film production, but also as a teacher. I want to know of there are any peoe you may know that work in production doing short, independent films,l or studio production --it does not matter. Also, do you know anyy groups on Facebook or otherwise that I can connect with so I can get in the foreign production crowd when I move there?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hello, thank you for all your info so far. I am planning to move to Korea in Jan. I live in NYC and work in film production, but also as a teacher. I want to know of there are any peoe you may know that work in production doing short, independent films,l or studio production --it does not matter. Also, do you know anyy groups on Facebook or otherwise that I can connect with so I can get in the foreign production crowd when I move there?

    ReplyDelete
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  15. Hi I'm 18 years old and was wondering is there any possible chance for me to get a job in korea as an MC or a side tv host..... also maybe being a side actress I am American but many people tell me that I look Asian ? I would appreciate a response thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hello. I want to be an actor in korea. I did independent film here in the Philippines. Pls help me.

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  19. Hello i m a non asian girl my age is 18 and my height is 5'2 and i m planning to do audition in dramas i do look like korean ... how can u help me is there any possibility ?? Please please let me know will my height cause problems?

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  20. I mean non korean asian girl sorry for mistype ?? And i m pretty good in korean

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