Studio Dragon Clarifies Reports About Working Conditions For “Arthdal Chronicles” Production Team

On June 8, the production company Studio Dragon clarified rumors about the working conditions on the set of tvN’s “Arthdal Chronicles.”

The following is Studio Dragon’s full statement:

Studio Dragon has refrained from commenting on reports about the production environment of “Arthdal Chronicles” out of the belief that we as a production company should accept even the slightest criticism and make an effort to prevent recurrences in order to foster a good broadcasting culture. We also did not want to bring these external issues to the fore when the drama had not even begun to air yet.

However, many sources continued to spread these exaggerated reports even after the drama’s premiere, creating a situation in which the average viewer’s viewing experience may be disrupted. Therefore, this is Studio Dragon’s official statement on the matter.

As we have addressed in previous press releases, we acknowledge it to be true that there were some problems during overseas filming, particularly when we collaborated with other companies. We sincerely apologize for this. We will work harder to create a good production environment in future.

Currently, Studio Dragon is adapting to the times and taking responsibility for creating an improved production environment. Last year, we voluntarily set up a production guide and applied it on set. Even if it increased the cost, we encouraged our collaborating partners to participate in this as well. Although the process of improvement has not been smooth, we expect the production environment to improve and get better with time.

The TV drama production environment, as well as the movie production environment to which it is frequently compared, has been able to develop to the level that it is now through many years of discussions and partnerships between various parties. The drama production environment has been under discussion since last year, and improvements are still in progress, but as an industry, we are still in the beginning stages.

However, we regret that despite our efforts to improve the production environment as quickly as possible and our willingness to communicate, false reports continued to spread and led to misunderstandings about our company and the drama that has just begun airing.

False claims and malicious slander about the production staff can create conflict between the production staff and the production company and deepen conflicts between industry members, which prevents opportunities for improvement.

Studio Dragon is trying to find specific ways to improve the production environment by joining the drama production company association, as well as through our own individual efforts as a company. We are also participating in four-way meetings between the production staff association, the three major broadcasters, the drama production company association, and the media union. These discussions have the potential to create changes that can affect the whole industry.

The rest of this statement will refer to the inaccurate statements that have been made specifically about “Arthdal Chronicles.” Thank you.

Working long hours

As we have stated previously, “Arthdal Chronicles” has two production staff teams: Team A and Team B. These teams divide up the 68 hours per week production guide that we have set up.

Beginning in September 2018, Team A has worked 37 weeks in total, with an average work schedule of 43 hours per week, 12 hours a day. Team B has worked 23 weeks in total since December 2018, with an average work schedule of 35 hours per week, 12 hours a day. Team A has filmed for 131 days out of 250, and rested 119 days. Team B has filmed 64 days out of 162, and rested 98 days.

The artistic makeup team, who raised the issue of long production hours, is affiliated with a different company. The company controls its own work hours and we are not liable for its rules or contracts. However, as the overall production company for the drama, we feel a sense of responsibility for the staff who work with us on set. Therefore, we will revise our future subcontracts to follow a production guide as well.

Filming in Brunei

We filmed for 7 days, total 113 hours, in Brunei, under special conditions where there wasn’t any existing production infrastructure. At the time, we consulted with each staff member about additional support required, but there was a shortage of local resources in the area. We apologize once again to the staff, who suffered because of this. We will prepare more carefully in the future for these situations.

Safety while filming abroad

The person who was injured has admitted that they did not notice something was off until they returned home. The diagnosis was a cracked bone in their finger. After they received treatment, the cost was covered by the production staff insurance policy. There is no basis for saying that the incident was caused by excessive production conditions, and the person in question is also concerned that the incident is being made into something bigger than ti is.

It is also untrue that we went ahead with filming while ignoring the advice of our local coordinator in Brunei. All filming took place after careful discussions with our local staff.

Tracking down informers

It is not true that the production company tried to track down informers. In fact, on April 10, the production staff association said through a press release that the informer was part of the artistic makeup team. The press release also contained the handwritten memo from the staff member in question, and their true identity was almost revealed. As the production staff association repeatedly referred to the artistic make up team during face-to-face meetings with the informant, we are concerned that their identity may be revealed.

We hope that this cleared up some of the misunderstandings around “Arthdal Chronicles.” If we discover any other issues in the future, we will humbly accept the criticism and work to prevent recurrences.

“Arthdal Chronicles” premiered on June 1.

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