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Culture Ministry introduces standard contract for entertainment industry

TV actors should be given their script at least two days before shooting an episode, cast and crew must not shoot for more than 18 hours a day, and broadcasters should pay the cast and crew if their outsourcing production company be unable.

These are some of the clauses included in the suggested standard contract between the nation’s broadcasters and outsourcing producers, drawn up by the Culture Ministry and unveiled on Tuesday.

“While Korea’s popular culture is a major driving force for hallyu, there are a lot of problems in the local TV industry’s work environment, including the long working hours and industrial accidents,” said Park Young-goog, the director general of media policy bureau of the ministry.

“Actors and actresses get their scripts on the day of their shoots, and many of them don’t get paid. We are introducing this standard contract to improve such conditions and for the betterment of the local entertainment industry.”

While the contract is not legally binding, it can be used as a standard when two parties are involved in a legal dispute or a conflict, said Park.

“Introducing this standard form of contract is practically all that the government can offer,” he said. “It is up to the broadcasters and outsourcing firms to follow it. But we expect most of the public broadcasters will follow it, should there be a legal dispute.”

Other terms in the contract include paying actors and actresses for the portions that have been cut during the editing process, providing staff members with a rest area for long-term productions, and providing accident insurance during production.

Once the shoot is over, the producer can’t ask for more than a total of seven working days from the cast and crew for re-shoots. Should the producer need more days for additional changes, it should pay extra.

Last week, famed TV drama producer Kim Jong-hak was found dead in an apparent suicide, after suffering from legal and financial problems linked with the “outsourced production system” in which the purchasing broadcasters only paid half of the production cost, leaving the rest up to the independent producers.

Kim’s most recent series, “Faith,” which aired on SBS, did not do well and a group of actors filed a complaint in February against the producer for not paying them even after the show ended late last year.

By Claire Lee (dyc@heraldcorp.com)
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