Korean Movies

Here’s a list of 10 Korean movies of the past several years that I enjoyed. These range from the comic to the tragic, and involve both action movies and historical dramas. Three of them are taken from events in Korea over the past 40 years or so.

My Sassy Girl – Based on a real life story that a man posted on the Internet, My Sassy Girl became all the rage in East Asia back in 2001, when it was popular in Japan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. This led to a forgettable direct-to-disc American remake in 2008, starring Elisha Cuthbert (who’s unforgettable). My Sassy Girl is about a college guy who meets a drunk girl – known only as the “Girl” – on the subway, and all the odd adventures they get into while falling in love. You’ll never believe where the plot goes in this one.

Joint Security Area (JSA) – The Joint Security Area is the DMZ between North Korea and South Korea, and this movie tells the story of a double-shooting in the JSA. This results in increasing tensions on both sides of the borders, an investigation by a Swiss-Korean woman and nearly two hours of great, if implausible, entertainment.

Oldboy – Oldboy is one of the more famous Korean movies with American audiences, famous enough that it hit CNN during the Virginia school shooting a few years ago. Oldboy is about a man abducted and imprisoned in a hotel room for 15 years, and what happens when he escapes. Get ready for the twist, as well as seeing Oldboy go crazy with his hammer. If they ever actually get the U.S. remake of Oldboy made, it’s going to suck so bad. There’s just way too many essential parts they would have to change for American audiences. Oldboy was great, though.

Sympathy For Lady Vengeance – Like Oldboy, Sympathy For Lady Vengeance was directed by Park Chan-wook, and this is considered part of his “vengeance trilogy” (along with Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance). When a woman leaves prison, after serving a sentence for a crime she didn’t commit, it’s time to mete out revenge against the real culprits.

Arahan – Arahan is a 2004 action-comedy that was panned by critics, but found an audience. When the 6 Masters of Tao decide that an inept cop has the Chi to become an “Arahan” and rule the world, you know that all kinds of wackiness is going to ensue. You’ll either love this one or hate it.

Silmido – Silmido is a South Korean island where, in 1968, a special team of assassins were trained to assassinate former North Korean dictator, Kim Il-Sung, in retaliation for North Korea’s attempt to assassinate the South Korean president. Based on true events involving a 31-man team of either criminals or special forces soldiers, depending on who you talk to, Silmido takes a look a Korea’s sordid past. When it was finished with its run, Silmido was the first South Korean movie to be viewed by 10 million Koreans in the theater.

The President’s Last Bang – Another movie portraying events from South Korea’s sordid past, The President’s Last Bang is about the 1979 assassination of the South Korean President by his friend and Intelligence Director. This would be a controversial movie anyway, but the story is told as a black comedy, which led to lawsuits and court rulings. For those interested in Korean history and Korean film history, you have to see this one.

Chunhyang – If you like period pieces, Chunhyang is the story of a hidden love and marriage between a nobleman and the daughter of a courtesan in 18th century Korea. Chunhyang reveals the harsh realities of pre-modern Korean society. When the noble husband goes away for a time, an official takes interest in the bride, which you know is going to lead to trouble.

Guns & Talk – After a tearjerker, you might want to watch a comedy. Guns & Talk is a comedy about four guys who decide to become a team of assassins. When a couple of detectives get on their case, things get a little crazy. While Guns & Talk has a number of implausible situations, if you go into the movie with the right attitude, you should like it. Guns & Talk has a slick visuals, though if you don’t like occasional split-screens, you might take a pass.

Memories of Murder – Yet another Korean movie based on real events is Memories of Murder, about the serial killer who terrorized South Korea from 1986 to 1991. Memories of Murder was a hit with both critics and the audience, so expect an artistic film that holds your attention.

Great South Korean Films

The Korean film industry has begun to make a big impact with East Asian movie audiences in the past 10 years or so, and Korea’s movies are beginning to reach a wider audience in North America. If you like these 10 South Korean films, keep searching for good Asian movies and expand your viewing experience.

How to Write a Quality Movie Review

Writing movie reviews can be a great hobby. With enough work, it can even become a great profession. However, writing a movie review can be harder than you might think. Fortunately, there are a number of steps one can take to make high-quality, interesting movie reviews that people will enjoy reading and be interested in reading more of your work. In this article, I will discuss some basic parts of a movie review that will make them both informative and interesting.

The first thing to realize is that no one really cares about your opinion. Nobody really wants to hear about what you like or dislike. After all, they like and dislike things, too. Whatever you do, talk about the qualities of the movie, not about your own sentiments. Movie reviews, after all, are not polls.

On to the techniques…

Talk About the Direction: Talk about the direction of a particular film. You should speak about the choices that the director made with respect to music, lighting and how the performances work together. Don’t forget to name the director of the film. It’s a good opportunity to link to other reviews for movies by the same director.

Talk About the Actors: Pick one or two of the actors in the film and discuss their performances. Who really drew you into their characters and why? Who best brought out the themes of the film using the acting? Was there anyone who stood out for the wrong reasons?

Talk About the Appearance of the Film: This is a general category, but you can talk about the use of color, of sets, of cinematography or even of special effects. Films, after all, are a visual medium, so you should discuss how that medium is used. You can even discuss things like the use of shadow, special camera tricks and so forth.

Talk About the Themes: Films are about something. What was this movie about? Once you’ve discussed the theme, discuss how well the film brought out the theme or any ways that it did the theme a disservice. What did this film have to say about the theme that is better than any other film. Themes are generally what directors are most interested in, so by discussing this, you’ll discuss the film in terms of what the director had in mind.

Compare the Film to Other Films: There are a few ways to do this. First, it’s usually a good idea to comment on how this film compares to other films from the same director, or how the performances of the actors compare to other performances by those actors. When doing this, comment on what is special about this film relative to those by the same artists. Second, you can comment on how it compares to other films with the same basic themes. Does it bring out the same themes in a more insightful way? Is the film re-inventing an already better-invented wheel?

Comment on the Making of the Film: One nice trick when reviewing a movie is to comment on its actual making or even distribution. If a film went over-budget, or if an actor chose this film over another, these facts can be interesting and something readers might not know, even if they’ve seen the film. You can also comment on how it was received at film festivals, if it was originally released there.

Following the above steps will help you write interesting and informative movie reviews that people will actually want to read. Happy viewing!

How To Sell Your Indie Movie With iTunes, Amazon and Netflix For Maximum Profit

If you’ve made a feature film, congratulations! As an independent filmmaker, you’ve just accomplished a feat that many find impossible. But behind all the excitement, you and I both know there is one nagging question on your mind. And it is the same question asked by every independent feature filmmaker. You’re wondering: “How am I going to sell this thing?”

That is a good question. And if you’re crossing your fingers for a huge paycheck and a three-picture Hollywood deal, what I’m about to tell you is going to be very different than what you had hoped for.

Thanks to technology, any person with a thousand dollars can grab an HD camera and create a backyard indie. And while this does not guarantee quality, it does create a market flooded with cheaply produced movies. Couple this with a decline in traditional sales channels and your odds of finding a profitable deal have become increasingly challenging.

For most filmmakers, this revelation comes as a shock. After all the work you put into making your movie project a reality, the prospect of putting a no-deal DVD onto a bookshelf and failing to get a return on investment is discouraging. And if it wasn’t for the internet, I’d probably tell you that a career selling life insurance wouldn’t be too bad.

But I have good news! Like you, our first feature was met with empty distribution promises and crappy deals. So by necessity, we started selling our title on Amazon as both a physical DVD and a video on demand download. At first, none of the producers liked that idea. I mean, even if a traditional deal sucks, at least there is still validation of seeing your title on the shelves at the local video store…

Then we made our first sale. We thought it was an anomaly. How could we possibly make money with our movie? We had no stars. We had no formal distribution. And most people on earth had never heard of our title (including you.) But then we made another sale… And then a third… And then a dozen…

That was 2006. Since that time, our movie has sold in ways we never imagined. As a result, every four months I get a nice check. And while it’s not enough money to buy my retirement, I can’t complain.

This success was enough to convince me that making money as an indie filmmaker is no longer about the BIG pay day. These days filmmakers need to create good work, find their target audience and focus on selling movies consistently over time. As a result, I now believe the modern moviemaking model is to eventually create multiple streams of movie income.

For many filmmakers, this sort of talk might be crazy.

Think about it. In years past, filmmakers only self distributed their movies when they had to. It wasn’t a choice! But these days, filmmakers can choose to self-distribute, because 9 times out of 10, making your title available on Amazon and iTunes and other popular VOD marketplaces can potentially pay more than a traditional deal. Because a deal that pays zero is not a deal. (Of course I’m expressing my opinion.)

The following “How To Sell Your Movie” checklist will provide you with a broad overview of how to market and sell your movie without the middle-man. Also, wherever I thought it would help, I have mentioned some of my partner companies. This means if you utilize any of these services, there is a possibility I will receive compensation. This will not affect your purchase price. That said, let’s get started!

How To Sell Your Movie – Check list

1. Create a website specific to your movie. Research various hosting companies and grab hosting for your site and reserve your domain name there. When you purchase your hosting, a domain name is usually included in the purchase price.

2. Branding is the marketing equivalent of matching your belt with your shoes. Don’t make your marketing complicated. Make sure your colors, logos, posters and fonts are consistent.

3. Most filmmakers make a crazy website with all sorts of bells and whistles. Your website should be simple. You should have a trailer, an about page, a buy now button, links to your social networks and an audience list.

4. Out of everything I mention, getting people onto your opt-in audience list is most important. An audience list will allow you to collect a name and email address of your visitor.

5. Take a moment to think about your target audience. Hopefully you have a marketable hook for your movie, and a plan for reaching your target demographic. If not, figure it out!

6. Get your movie selling as a Video on Demand rental and download. Upload your movie to the many VOD marketplaces, such as iTunes, Amazon and NetFlix. To make this easy, research a company called Distribber. Tell them I sent you.

7. You can sell DVDs too. Amazon’s Create Space makes this easy. And even though it’s more expensive, I advise you to stay out of the shipping business. Let CS manufacture your DVDs and fulfill your orders on demand. This way, you can focus on increasing your sales, as well as your next movie projects. Not shipping.

8. Your trailer is your sales tool. Upload your trailer to YouTube as well as other, popular video sites. Make sure your trailer mentions your website. Put your focus on optimizing YouTube. Why? Because YouTube is both a social network and the second largest search engine on earth (also owned by Google.) It’s worth it!

9. Write press releases related to the availability of your movie. Include back links to your site. Send the release out via one of the online press release submission sites. In addition to this, don’t be afraid to call magazine editors and journalists who write for your target audience. As they say, if you don’t ask – you don’t get!

10. Join online forums related to your target market. Create a profile, complete with a signature link to your website. Now, whenever you join a conversation, you’ll spread your links.

11. Just because you’re in a forum doesn’t mean people care about you or your movie. If you join conversations without adding value – or if you become one of those spam happy people who talk about your movie and fail to add value to the discussion, you will be seen as a spammer.

12. If the idea of contributing to forum conversations annoys you, then just pay for advertising on the site. The whole point is to increase awareness of your movie and get prospective audience members to your site.

13. Create a Facebook page, a Twitter account and join the popular social networking sites. Again, you’ll want to build a fan base for your movie. And to manage it, try http://www.Ping.Fm This tool allows you to update all your social networking sites at once, which is cool!

14. The purpose of using social networks is to connect with your target market, spread word about your movie and once again, lead people off the networks and onto your Audience list.

15. The reason you can not rely solely on social networking for your audience list, is because many of those sites have gone out of vogue. I lost 10K “friends” on one of them. As a result, I estimate this tip is worth $100,000.00.

16. Additionally, have your webmaster put a button on your website so people can tweet, bookmark, and share your movie website with friends on their social networking sites. (Can you please click the tweet button at the top of this article?)

17. If you have the budget, purchase some offline advertising in publications related to your movie. To find related publications, go to a book store and look for magazines. Also, try Google.

18. All of these methods are intended to get people back to your website. The purpose of your site is to get people to watch your movie trailer and click the BUY NOW button. Anything that distracts these visitors must go!

19. You’ll soon realize that most people will not buy your movie on their first visit to your website. If they don’t click, then at least try to get them to opt into your audience list. Then you have a chance of getting them to buy later.

22. Out of all the people who click the BUY NOW button, many won’t buy. But some will!

23. Consider using that money to purchase more advertising and then repeat the cycle. The goal is to keep investing and reinvesting the money until you produce a self sustaining machine.

24. Sales will tend to level off after a few years. This is the normal. When this happens, find some other filmmakers with a movie geared towards the same target audience. Offer to promote their movie to your audience list. If these other filmmakers have an audience list too, ask them to promote your movie. Be willing to pay them a cut of your profits.

25. Time for your next project. But unlike before, you’ll have a strong mailing list at your disposal. And as a result, you can now ask yourself the following magical questions: “How many VOD downloads do I have to sell to recoup my investment? And how am I going to sell them?” Answer those questions, and you’ll also be talking the talk with your investors.