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Cultural differences

 
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jhharvest
steve albini likes it


Joined: 23 Oct 2010
Posts: 375
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2014 9:47 pm    Post subject: Cultural differences Reply with quote

So I came to South Korea last September. I landed a sound design gig for a smaller Korean film production. Today is the last day of shooting (maybe, more on that later) and I have to say it's been tough.

I've really struggled with both the language and cultural differences we've faced among the crew. The crew, especially the director and the DoP, can speak English but prefer not to. Fair enough, but then we often have trouble when they decide on the shot by themselves without considering the sound and then we can't get decent boom position or face other issues. Further more, speaking with them gave me the impression that they don't even consider sound being important for the film, which really isn't something I'm used to in smaller productions where ADR isn't planned. The line-producer told me this is the Korean way.

Then the other thing I've found difficult is the work ethic. They do long days to the point where we had to postpone today's start because both the DoP and the focus puller had a trip to emergency ward this morning. People keep making silly mistakes which cost time because they are too tired to think properly. Then the answer seems to be that we just do even longer days to catch up...

Anyway, any tips for working across language and cultural barriers? I still have post production ahead and I'd prefer to live through it.
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Gregg Juke
ghost haunting audio students


Joined: 12 Jun 2010
Posts: 3316
Location: Buffalo, NY, USA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Cultural differences Reply with quote

Tough spot; sorry JH!

From what little I know of independent film production companies, it sounds more like "the Indy Way" rather than "the Korean Way." But the language barrier and cultural differences don't help. How much longer is your contract? Could you possibly hire an assistant that speaks Korean?

One thing I've learned from my limited (but growing) travel experience-- be patient, and be flexible/ready for change...

GJ
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Gregg Juke
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http://MightyNoStars.com

"He's about to learn the most important lesson in the music business-- 'Never trust people in the music business.' "
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jhharvest
steve albini likes it


Joined: 23 Oct 2010
Posts: 375
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Cultural differences Reply with quote

Thanks Gregg. Yeah, a lot of it isn't unique to Korea but the language issue just exacerbates our troubles. I guess I just wasn't prepared how much of an issue it could be. As I said, there's a fair few people on set who speak English: the diretor and the DoP both have worked in the US, the line-producer is Korean-American, etc. I got asked to do the project because the second female lead is a French actor and they wanted someone who could communicate with her (and the other foreign talent) more easily.

And being flexible is cool and all but it's difficult if it's one sided and you still want to do a decent job. It was pretty much every single time that we had to sacrifice the sound for the image because the DoP didn't want to change his framings and we didn't have (supposedly) enough time to shoot also a tighter frame for the edit. It's just that in my experience the reason why we can make indie films cheaply and quickly is because we have relatively light weight cameras and lights and we can, if we are clever about it, shoot image and sound on set which saves time in post.

Anyway, the production is now finished. We somehow muddled through the last shots yesterday. There's one and half months of post planned. I'm hoping it'll be a bit easier going when there's fewer people.
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Gregg Juke
ghost haunting audio students


Joined: 12 Jun 2010
Posts: 3316
Location: Buffalo, NY, USA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Cultural differences Reply with quote

I hope so. From the comments I read from the guys doing a lot of film work over at DVXuser.com, it's usually the same story-- "Get great sound, but don't expect us to help or care about it in any way..."

GJ
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Gregg Juke
Nocturnal Productions Music Group
Drum! Magazine Contributor
http://MightyNoStars.com

"He's about to learn the most important lesson in the music business-- 'Never trust people in the music business.' "
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