SEOUL SESSIONS: Korean Animation Production Memoirs #3


Can you name some original Korean-animated feature that rocked the world of animation?

Maybe a popular tv show created by an all-Korean animation house that blew your mind?

Many ask why isn’t Korea creating their own Korean-cultured content, not just for the world to see, but for their own kids to watch and enjoy on a more consistent basis like Japan and America? Living here and doing a little research ( and talking to my co-workers ), one of the major issues is ” lack of Market. ”

The uninformed love to assume Korea just doesn’t have the skill. I find that highly offensive and just untrue. It really is a matter of lack of fiscal opportunity to do so. In fact, One of the Korean Government’s important policies is to generate a Quota for domestic and newly produced domestic animation in South Korea.

However, unlike the quota for domestic animation, the quota for NEWLY PRODUCED ANIMATION isn’t very common here. The purpose of this new Quota policy would be to provide opportunities to promote newly produced domestic animations. 2005′s “Korean Broadcasting Act” was created for just that. However, it’s easier said than done i’m learning.

Normally, Korean animation companies rely heavily on broadcasting when they recoup the production expenses because comparatively, they have little to no market to begin with. What’s one of the solutions to this problem?

Government funding.

See, unlike America, who enjoys the splendor of open market for animation & the tried and true fiscal effectiveness of animation as a revenue generator ( thanks in part to Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs ), Korea has to turn to it’s government to help finance their shows.

Lack of Investment in Korean Animation industry is another ( HUGE ) issue. Unlike movies and games, Animation has a longer cycle of recouping the investments. Until now, animation hasn’t been a very attractive investment subject for venture capitalists here in South Korea. As a result of the situation, The governments financial assistance schemes are necessary to sustain a creative animation industry here.

Regardless, looking at the long-term, direct assistance provided by Korea’s government is not desirable as of late.

In my personal opinion, living and working here for almost 8 months, i realize the key to generating a market in Korean animation is through small steps like, for example, a foreign investor ( ie; Co-Production of feature/ TV-Series). By creating a new source of revenue through co investment/ production, resulting in that money coming back into the market generating enough guap for Korea to finance and produce more of their own culture-oriented productions to put out there in the game.

Most notably letting the animation world landscape know that ” WONDERFUL DAYS,” “Aachi & Ssipak ” and ” YOBI: The 5TAILED Fox” aren’t just hi-quality flukes

To be cont in SEOUL SESSIONS: Korean Prodution Memoirs Pt.4

4 Comments on SEOUL SESSIONS: Korean Animation Production Memoirs #3

  1. Darrell    

    Yeah man I was wondering the same thing. I go to CalArts for character animation and there's a lot of folkz from South Korea here. And it's definitely not because of lack of skill. Some of dopest artists I know in the industry are from South Korea.

    Last summer, while at Annecy Animation Film Festival,there was a South Korean Art College that made a feature length animated film on a discussion panel. I didn't get to see the film but during the discussion they briefly addressed this issue.

  2. brandon    

    I also wondered the same thing in my travels to Korea and talks with Investment folks. I think the Pusan film festival would be a great venue to show off Korean original animation to Asia and the world. Important work Les.

  3. Hey LeSean, I’ve only just come across you but am inspired already! It’s great reading your thoughts on the current state of animation in South Korea – it IS quite odd that they don’t produce content enough for themselves, that can generate revenue. What type of content would they have to produce in order to gain popularity over there in Korea? Are they big on cultural pieces?

    • Yo LeSean, I’ve been wondering about that issue for some time, because when I look up for original content from South Korean Animation Studios, there’s only a handful, so I hope animators like you, can convince the venture capitalist to help fund some projects, which might turn the animation world, on it’s head. Peace out and keep up the animation.
      P.S lookin’ forward to CB Anime and CB Graphic Novel

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