Got a good idea for a movie? Now there’s a place to sell it

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Got a good idea for a movie? Now there’s a place to sell it

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Park Chan-wook, the director of such hit art films as “Oldboy” and “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance,” has a lament he makes every so often: “Where can I find a good scenario writer? I want to hire scenario writers so I can focus on directing.” After all, if the scenario is bad, there’s little chance the movie will be good.
Companies on Chungmuro street, the stalking ground of Korea’s movie producers, have been desperately looking for decent plots, and have complained that there are not enough good scenarios. However, scenario writers and aspiring writers say it’s difficult, nigh impossible, to get access to film studios. Writers can apply for open competitions, offered five to six times a year, or knock on studio doors, but opportunities for employment are very limited, they say.
That’s why the Korean Film Council’s new online “scenario market” is attracting attention.
The first permanent scenario market in Korea, it opened in the beginning of the year, a combination of the council’s open scenario competitions with its database of ideas. The council is also now offering matchmaking services for writers and studios, introducing film studios to scenario writers. The council also says the market helps ensure that the intellectual property rights of writers will be protected.
The council said the market is a first step toward the creation of agencies specializing in scenario writers.
Scenario writers and film studios have welcomed the move. Since the market opened, more than 600 writers and 200 film production companies have joined. Most of the members are unknown writers, though there are a few bigger names. So far, 16 scenarios have been sold. Add to that the number of scenarios sold since 2004, when the council launched its scenario database, and that figure rises to 28.
Three of those have so far been produced: the films “Love Phobia,” or “Domabaem,” featuring Cho Seung-woo and Kang Hye-jung, and “A Bloody Aria,” featuring Han Suk-kyu and Lee Moon-sik, have already been released, and the film “Mudori,” a black comedy about a group of people who want to commit suicide in a village, is in the making.
The organizers of the scenario market also plan to ask outside judges to select four scenarios a year, and will provide 20 million won ($21,050) each to three films made from scenarios sold in its market.
“Because of the market’s commercial aspects, we were worried that the initial goal, to discover talented writers, could be weakened. But art-film scenarios have continued to be brought into the market even while more commercialistic scenarios are being made into films,” said Choi Eun-gyeong of the Korean Film Council.
Film industry insiders say the scenario market could help standardize scenario prices and protection for less established writers.


by Yang Seong-hi

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