Garrison Farquharson-Keener spent seven years working in the Korean entertainment industry as an actor, appearing in K-Dramas like Twenty Five Twenty One, Run On, Sh**ting Stars, and When the Camellia Blooms.
Despite the amazing Korean actors he’s met and his positive experiences, Garrison exposed how poorly the industry treats foreigners—including the sneaky ways that companies steal money from them.
Garrison revealed that Korean entertainment companies could take up almost all of a foreign actor’s income without them knowing. Not only do those companies sign contracts on the actor’s behalf, but they also take whatever amount they want out of the contract money.
They can take up to ninety percent of the original contract value by the time they pay you. And then, that’s after tax as well.
Another way that Korean entertainment companies steal money from their foreign actors is by agents withholding information. Since agents get paid by the episode, they scam their foreign actors out of money by paying them a lesser day rate and forcing them to film every episode that day.
Dramas will pay an agent per episode, but the agent will pay you a day rate. What they don’t tell you is that you’re going to be shooting four or five episodes, possibly in one day.
Garrison revealed that companies are so afraid of losing the money they scam from foreign actors that they monitor who they speak with on set. He said, “They’re so paranoid that I’m going to give my contact info to a director, and now he’s going to contact me directly.”
Korean entertainment companies take it to the next level by making translators keep track of whatever’s said between the foreign actor and the staff. Garrison revealed, “And a lot of times, they will use their translators as spies for them.”
Since Garrison moved to California to begin his Hollywood career, he understood how predatory Korean entertainment companies are to foreigners, especially with American laws allowing no more than a thirty percent cut for agencies.