Alex Jensen talks with SG Entertainment CFO Thomas Sommer. Thomas postulates that the success of, ‘that show’s’ can be found in our collective need to see direct consequences of our actions, in a world where we get so little visceral feedback, where we are unsure of our consequence, Squid Game shows us a world of less talk, more direct action and consequence.
Thomas then draws a line to a seemingly unrelated show, Hometown Cha Cha Cha, about a young dentist giving up the big smoke and finding connection, happiness (and love) in a small country town.
Thomas’ premise is that despite these shows being on opposite ends of the genre spectrum, their success lies I their portrayal of authenticity. As Thomas says both of these shows portray worlds in which, ‘acts trump words.’
Thomas then deep dives into why Korean writing, whether for dramas, movies or even songs are resonating so much globally. He posits that Korean writers have been dealing with the angst caused through lack opportunity to show our true selves for so many years, and now that authenticity and connection have become so rare worldwide, the result is a global need for the kind of writing that Koreans have done so well for so long.
Alex and Thomas then take a right turn into something often seen as the most inauthentic form of art and culture, NFTs. Specifically, NFTs offer the promise for fans for instance, to get part of the ownership or the ownership of a specific artifact that belongs to an idol. Thomas warns us against prejudging these kinds of transactions and realize that it is another step in building a connection between fan and talent. If the societal purpose of pop stars is to entertain, to give solace and to make the world a little brighter for a fan, then owning an artifact of the talent, even virtually is simply another connection.
As an example of this deep connection, Thomas and Alex discuss the relationship between BTS and their Army. As Thomas says, without army BTS would not have gone so far, or become who they are. At the beginning, the Army because BTS talked about themes and topics which were very relevant to them and really resonated with their deeper needs. having said that, Thomas also warns the companies surrounding BTS, to balance their need to exploit the group for profit, with the need to maintain the authenticity that brings them such devotion.
In the final stanza of the interview, Alex and Thomas look at what happens when the veneer of a Kpop star’s life is peeled back in front of the world, and the world’s reaction.
Today’s episode is brought to you by the Four Seasons Seoul. Stylish elegance in the heart of the city.