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.
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'
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