[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]To survive, foreign actors must take illegal workAs an actor who has appeared on nine different TV shows on every South Korean broadcast network, I would like to add my concerns to the growing debate about the visa system for foreign actors in South Korea.
As it is now we are forced to work illegally to make ends meet if we do the legal thing and obtain the proper E6 entertainer’s visa. The reason we work illegally is because the Korean agencies we must sign contracts with in order to get work can’t provide enough work to pay our weekly bills. An agency is lucky if it can provide one day of work a week.
This forces every foreign actor here to make money by part-time teaching. The government is not interested in rectifying the problem because foreign actors are not viewed as benefiting the entertainment industry. That myopic view ensures that Korean movies are “too Korean” for Western markets.
If Korea wants to make profits from its movies it has to overcome the Korean language barrier. I am not suggesting that all future Korean-made movies be in English; I am suggesting that movies that cross the linguistic divide will make more money instead of being investment black holes.
by Joe Ninety