Just recently, I have received some inquiries regarding how to get into SM Entertainment. At first, I really thought it was just a random question until I realized that it was a serious query that was indeed directed to me. I gave my answer, expressing my honest thoughts. But the biggest reply here is: how would I know?
I never really take pride in being an opinionated person but there are some things going on in my mind right now and let me just share it. Hopefully, it would be a justifiable and acceptable read.
SM ENTERTAINMENT: THE COMPANY OF DREAMS
But first of all, let me tell you my own perception about SM Entertainment first.
I may sound biased but I am pretty confident when I say that this company does produce world-class acts. There are several essential factors why it happens; and personally, I believe that SME’s success is rooted from three very vital groups of people: the management, the staff, and the artists themselves.
Let me be more specific.
We all know – and it’s entirely obvious – that SM Entertainment takes pride in the visuals of their artists. I might not share this opinion with everyone else but I really think ALL their talents look good. Maybe it’s just the SM Town-biased in me who’s speaking, but really! Whether they’ve gone under the knife or not, we cannot easily discard the fact that their artists really have pleasing appearances.
But contrary to what haters love to say, SM artists aren’t just about good looks and sexy bodies. They wouldn’t get into where they are right now if they don’t have the natural talents. Excuse me for saying this, but I’ve always believed that for singing, dancing, acting and variety skills to be developed fully, it has to be there. Think about it. What would you develop if there’s nothing in the first place? So just please let us all put to rest the issue about SM artists being talentless. It’s not true.
Moving on with the topic, the second essential factor for SM’s success would be their staffs – and this includes the make-up artists, designers, fashion consultants, choreographers, trainers, back-up dancers, even the personal coordinators who had to run around with the artists’ items everywhere. To be honest, I think they’re quite underrated; but they deserve much credit for being the backbone of the company. Working behind the camera, most of what we see on the artists came from their ideas – the clothes, the hairstyle, the make-up, the dances. Artists justify and popularize what the staffs contribute; and the staffs take pride in transforming the artists. It’s a win-win situation, and that’s what basically comprises the accomplishments of the company.
But if there would be one thing that’s beyond these two, it’s going to be the management, of course. Artists and staffs won’t exist if there’s no one to gather them together, right? That’s what SM Entertainment specializes in. If the artists are the flesh, and the staffs are the backbone, the management is the brain indeed. Everything happens because they will it. Everything begins because they wanted it to start. They are the root of all.
And particularly, no one is above Lee Sooman.
Lee Sooman is one of the biggest players in the business industry that is Korean entertainment. Obviously, he had managed to secure a position in the society that cannot be seized by anyone. He had solidified his name as perhaps the most successful company boss of all times. How did he do that? He has the eye for possibilities; and that’s the main secret why SM Entertainment is on top.
Who would have thought that funny names like Kangta, You Know Yunho, Choikang Changmin, Lee Teuk and others would eventually be household names in the Korean society? Who would have thought that splitting groups into sub-units will eventually become a trend among the industry? Who would have thought that releasing different versions of albums would mean more money?
Seriously, Lee Sooman is a scary business tycoon because he has this great instinct about what will be a hit. He knows his craft well, and he knows what he’s doing. Forget the negative issues for a while, please.
I know I’ve mentioned the three already; but let me mention one special group that holds a gigantic responsibility and plays an immense role on the continuous success of the company: THE MARKETING TEAM.
Perhaps under the orders of LSM too, the marketing team is like a group of psychics to me. How they come up with concepts, how they come up with advertising techniques to sell the artists… it all astounds me to no end. Their ideas incessantly develop and improve; setting the trend for all others to follow. Remember how EXO and now SM The Rookies manage to get so much attention even before they debut? Yeah, blame the marketing.
HOW TO GET INTO SM ENTERTAINMENT
Now that I have impressed my opinions on what SM Entertainment is, I will now answer the most important question: HOW TO GET INTO SM ENTERTAINMENT, based on my beliefs and observations.
It is indeed a fact that SM Entertainment is probably the pickiest company of all. As far as I know, there are only two ways to get into the company. First is by being scouted; second is by passing the auditions. Luhan of EXO was scouted. Same goes with Kibum of SJ and more others. But hey, that doesn't mean you should pack your bags and immediately fly to Korea in this very instance. Because most times, I think, one has to get through both. A scout approaches you, inviting you the join the auditions. It’s still up to you on whether you’ll do good or bad; and it’s all up to them whether they will accept you or not.
People say that getting into SM Entertainment is expensive so I am thinking that maybe, it’s really just like a school where you’d have to pay to receive lessons. If that’s the case, Kim Junmyun must really be freaking rich. :p
Anyway, let me tell you what I think people should have when at least trying to get into SM Entertainment. No, please forget Sunny and her connection. She is a cute, talented and funny girl in my opinion and she trained outside the company to be fair.
Okay. The first important thing to be an SM trainee is you’ve got to have the looks. Whether we accept it or not, people judge according to what they see first and so physical appearance matters A LOT. I don’t think you’ll have to be skinny right away as diet could always come in the latter part of your training years; but yeah, you need to have that X Factor – the magnetic charm that would make people take a second good look at you.
Confidence is another quality you should have. If you are confident that you can achieve your dreams of becoming a KPOP artist, it will reflect on what you are and what you do. Scouts tend to have the eyes for this and sometimes, it’s what they’re looking for.
And of course, you’ve got to have the talent. You sing? You dance? You act? GOOD! But one talent is never enough. SM artists are famed for their versatility and you should come at par. I don’t think it matters whether you haven’t mastered it all yet. That’s where training becomes important; but as I’ve said you’ve got to display potential.
There is also a possibility that you will have to discard some of your beliefs and principles to adapt fully to the environment of SM Entertainment. So if you want to get into the company, you have to be ready to turn your back against things you’ve been used to and accept things that are against your ideas, if the situation requires. The most important thing in succeeding is that you have to come up with the best decisions and be ready to stand up for it, no matter what it takes. Many SM artists had gone through this psychological challenge, and even when they’re on top already, they’re still going through their own dilemmas. Why? Because it’s all part of it.
But you know what? All I’ve said above can be toppled by one thing: DETERMINATION.
Every successful artist, not just from SM Entertainment, had their determination tested during their trainee days. Some had to repeatedly go through auditions because they were rejected during the first few times they did. If SM Entertainment is your goal, then so be it! You know what you want and all you have to do is to convince yourself that whether you get accepted on your first try or not, you will reach your dream.
I have no dreams of becoming a KPOP artist, nor am I experienced in this field. I have no connections with SM Entertainment and all my statements are based on my own opinions. But you see, it doesn’t really require experience for me to understand that the main secret to following the footsteps of your favorite idols is to believe that you can. Everything started as dreams for them too...
What makes you any different?
ALL STATEMENTS ABOVE ARE MERE OPINIONS. IT DOES NOT REFLECT THE STATEMENTS OF SM ENTERTAINMENT NOR ITS ARTISTS.
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IMPORTANT NOTE: This post may not be 100% accurate.
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