The columnist with Jung Hae-in 
The columnist with Jung Hae-in 

Recently, I weighed in on the issue regarding the suggestion to ban Kdramas in the Philippines by posting my thoughts on my social media account. It was an attempt to provide clarity based on my six years of service as the former head of the national film agency of the country.

This post has sparked debates and more insights from the public, and as of writing, has more than 1,000 shares, almost 4k likes, and 250 comments.

I want to take this opportunity to share it in my column.

Here it goes:

With Lee Byung-hun 
With Lee Byung-hun 

"We are losing our very own audiences to Korean content because there aren't enough local producers who produce the kind of content that Filipino audiences prefer to watch and consume.

Get the latest news
delivered to your inbox
Sign up for The Manila Times’ daily newsletters
By signing up with an email address, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

So instead of banning their works, let's look at our own backyard and think of ways to improve our output. We should challenge ourselves by learning their way of doing things. Adopt their best practices.

When you watch Kdramas, you feel that they give importance to you as an audience because you know that their goal is to produce content with high production values. Glossy. Beautiful lighting. Well-developed plots and stories. Well-paced. The sound design and music enhance the story.

You feel valued as an audience because they invested in their productions, both with money and time. It never feels as if the project was rushed.

They also take pride in their culture. You see it reflected in their content and it's very intentional. From food, to fashion, to their beautiful locations — they use Kdramas and movies to promote their culture.

The core challenge of the local entertainment industry is funding — both from the government and the private sector.

Korea thrives because there is substantial government funding to finance small to ambitious projects — from incentives to investments. The Korean Film Council's budget is 5 Billion a year. In FDCP, I started with P76 Million in 2016, and after six years, P290 Million a year. Still not enough.

With Kim Da-mi 
With Kim Da-mi 

Korean content also benefits from huge investments from the private sector — big corporations and conglomerates invest in Kdramas; that's why their budgets are high; hence it reflects on the production value of their content.

How can we expect investments to come in if we ourselves don't even invest appropriately in the projects that we produce? Instead of making the film according to its budget, we scale it down so that it will fit into the set budget that was allocated for each film, regardless of its requirements.

We also need a change of mindset.

Let's be more ambitious. Let's respect our workers. In Korea, there is a set system and standard. Writers, filmmakers, actors and crew are paid appropriately, and their rights are protected; hence their environment is conducive to creativity.

Mindsets like "pwede na yan," "bahala na sa post," "ito lang ang budget natin eh," and "basta matawid natin ok na yan, maganda naman ang istorya" have become barriers to our ability to elevate our ways of making films.

We all know that we are better than what we produce, so let's invest in developing better-quality content.

But Rome was not built in a day. It took 20 years for South Korea to reach global success. But they did it with a goal: strike a balance between art and commerce and reach global success by making films that represent the best of their industry, whether commercial or art films.

The name of the game now is to innovate, collaborate, and elevate.

Let's work with them, not against them."

With Park Jae-soo
With Park Jae-soo