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CJ E&M invests in young writers

Apr 21,2017
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Nam Gung-jong from CJ E&M answers questions on the opening day of O ’PEN center on Tuesday. [CJ E&M]
Who holds the intellectual property rights for a drama or movie script that won a contest? Controversy surrounding whether the rights belong to the scriptwriter or the hosts of the contest has existed for many years, as most hosts took the scripts as their own.

To provide an alternative to these contests and to foster an improved foundation for rookie film and television scriptwriters, CJ E&M and the CJ Culture Foundation launched a new business, O ‘PEN. The center, located in Sangam-dong in western Seoul, opened on Tuesday.

CJ is planning to invest 13 billion won ($11.6 million) through 2020 to foster young scriptwriters. Those chosen are provided space to work, mentoring and lessons from renowned producers and scriptwriters like Kim Eun-hee, who wrote the tvN series “Signal” (2016), to develop their abilities.

CJ started recruiting its first writers in January. Some 3,700 contestants applied for the position, and 20 writers for television and 15 writers for film have been chosen. More will be recruited next year.

“Unlike the majority of contests that focus on searching for scripts that could be filmed, our goal is to discover new [and talented] scriptwriters and to provide them an opportunity to debut,” said Nam Gung-jong from CJ E&M, who stressed that the final scripts they produce will not belong to the company, but rather will belong to the original creators.

“Scriptwriters are the core creators behind the development of dramas and films. But we thought they are not given as many opportunities as in the past to display their talent. We decided to provide them an opportunity by discovering and supporting them,” Nam explained regarding the motivation behind the project.

“Though CJ E&M will not be able to gain short-term profit, if scriptwriters [with diverse styles] are generated from [O ‘PEN] and the foundation for the industry becomes solid, it will benefit us [in the long-run].”

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]