Life, Once Again! - Chapter 225
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It had been a week since his last visit to the JA building. Since this was his third time, he felt quite used to it. The time was 10 in the morning. Since the audition began at 11, there was still around 1 hour left. He visited the brand-name coffee shop on the right of the first floor and bought a café mocha. The sweetness of the chocolate eased the nervousness of his body. Not too long later, people started entering through the rotating door. There were a lot of age groups. They were all wearing casual clothes. It was very likely that many of them had come for the audition. Sipping the coffee, Maru had a look at their faces. There was a college girl who clearly seemed nervous, a youth lazily looking around as well as a couple of men in their 40s greeting each other as though they were acquainted. Many of them seemed to be high schoolers as well.
‘How many people are they planning to pick?' Maru wondered.
The main roles, the supporting roles as well as the extras. The audition today was known to be for picking extras. As the original work of the movie was already revealed, the ones attending the audition today should all have read ‘Twilight Struggles’. A movie adaptation of the book should definitely have some differences to the original, but it was very likely that the existing roles wouldn’t be changed. Among them, the delinquent, although it was a role that only appeared in a single scene and only spoke a few lines, the importance of that role was no less than that of any of the main roles. That was because that scene would change the atmosphere and flow of the movie as a whole. The original author, Gwak Joon, also said that he rewrote the scene several times. Maru was also very shocked when he read the part where the old man’s rage was expressed through the delinquent. This scene where the protagonist, the old man, encountered the delinquent would be handled very importantly during the filming. Just from the words from the man in the middle during the interview was enough to tell that there were many people aiming for the delinquent role. Everyone knew which extra role had the most impact in the story.
“It’s Lee Hyuk.”
People started whispering all of a sudden. The people gathered at the lounge were all looking towards the entrance. Maru also looked towards that place. A man wearing a blue-toned, semi-formal suit was walking inside while slightly bowing towards the people who recognized him. He was a person Maru knew. That man was an actor he saw a few times on the newspaper adverts. Next to him was a lady who seemed to be his coordinator.
“I heard that he was signing a contract with JA productions, it seems that it’s true.”
“Have you heard that most of the prominent actors are joining JA?”
“If JA decides to put their mind to it, the oligopoly of the three companies should collapse in no time.”
Maru was getting free information sitting still. If he was to work in this industry in the future, his social skills would become of importance as well as his acting skills. It was good to get his hands on more information, no matter how trivial they were. He focused on other people’s conversations. The important bit was the power struggles between the entertainment companies. They were talking about how companies were using all sorts of means to sign a contract with actors that reached the end of their contract period. This actor named Lee Hyuk seemed to be a popular target. The appearance of the actor heated up the lounge. Everyone here was aiming to leave behind their name in the movie. Their motivation seemed to have surged after seeing a successful actor. Maru put his empty coffee cup on the counter before looking at the time. It was about time to go up. The people loitering around in the lounge started heading up as well.
‘I see some competitors,’ Maru thought to himself.
It was likely that people of other age groups were aiming for other roles. However, it was extremely likely that people in their late teens to early twenties were aiming for the same role. This was a world where simple logic reigned supreme – one role couldn’t be shared and only the winner would get the role. The atmosphere changed as soon as he got on the elevator. It was quiet, but it wasn’t tranquility, but a fearful silence just before the eruption of a war. Everyone was likely of the same mind. If one didn’t prey, then they would get preyed upon instead.
‘Someone who is in possession of something is bound to kick those beneath him.’
There didn’t exist many win-win scenarios in this world. The majority of systems required competitions. No matter how well the teams were packaged, in the end, there was a winner and there were losers. The winner got the trophy while the losers drank in defeat. Everyone strived to be the winner, but the majority of existing places were reserved for losers. Winning the role meant pushing the others off a cliff. Maru knew this very well. That was why he never used the words ‘competition in good faith’. A competition ‘in good faith’ was an oxymoron in itself. There was only the will to overpower others.
Along with a ‘ding’ sound, the elevator opened. Today, there was no need to walk down the corridor. They entered through the glass door right in front of them. The waiting room allowed the participants to look outside through the gigantic window. In front was the audition room. The lady from the interview was moving around busily, checking attendance.
“Mr. Kim Jinsoo. Is Mr. Kim Jinsoo here?” She called out a name.
If no one replied after calling out twice, the callee’s profile was sent to the back. Maru wondered if that person was moved to last place, but that wasn’t the case. The profiles of the absentees entered the paper shredder in one corner of the waiting room. The papers were shredded with a machine sound. Seeing that, everyone present gulped.
Not long later, the elevator arrived once again before spitting out a man. The man, who was clearly panicking, didn’t even seem to notice that his shoes were untied.
“I’m Kim Jinsoo.”
The man said towards the lady. Since the man’s profile was just shredded to dust, the lady seemed to be stuck in a dilemma.
“I apologize, but people late to the audition cannot attend.”
“What? I was late by only 3 minutes. Only three minutes! It wasn’t that long!”
The man showed his watch to the lady. The lady was taken aback and took a few steps back. The man seemed desperate, and the lady didn’t seem to know how to handle this angry faced man. Maru crossed his arms and observed. Although the audition was getting delayed, it didn’t matter to him. In fact, he was thankful since he now had more time for image training. However, the youth sitting next to him clearly didn’t think the same.
“Excuse me, is it okay that the audition is getting delayed?”
The youth eventually decided to participate in the war between the man and the woman. Maru shook his head. The situation was about to get worse.
“What’s your problem!”
And just as he had expected, the man changed his target. Since he was desperate, nothing seemed to matter to him anymore.
“You’re taking everyone’s time here.”
“It’s just three minutes! It’s not even that long! And what did I do?”
The two men started quarrelling. Maru had a look at the others. Everyone didn’t seem to care about the quarrel and focused on themselves. It was as though they had no time to waste on something like that.
‘He screwed up his own mental state.’
Maru understood that he did it because he was in urgency, but did not consider the consequences of his actions. The lady tried to stop the fight, and the youth soon came back to his seat while panting. From his agitated face, Maru doubted that this guy could restrain his emotions properly. If his free acting was related to anger, then it might help, but if he had prepared a smile-related acting, then it would definitely have a negative impact. Maru cycled through the three to four free acting scenes he had prepared in his head. Around 5 minutes later, the elevator opened once again. Two people stepped out. They were Junmin, wearing a beret, as well as the man sitting on the left during the interview.
“What is it?”
Junmin asked the lady. The lady explained the situation as though she finally found a way out. Meanwhile, the man named Kim Jinsoo expressed that he was wronged with all his body.
“Mr. Kim Jinsoo.”
“It was me who ordered the staff to put the documents of late applicants into the shredder. I apologize, but you’ll have to leave.”
“Wait. it is definitely my fault that I was late. But I hope you can watch my acting just once. I’ve given up a lot of things for this audition. I’ve also prepared a lot for it. If you see my act, you will definitely not regret it.”
“Mm…,” Junmin groaned in a deep voice. However, it didn’t sound like he was contemplating. Maru saw a deep crease in Junmin’s brows. It was a sign that he was a little angry.
“Mr. Kim Jinsoo. Please look at the people around you,” Junmin pointed at the people waiting in front of the audition room.
“Watch them carefully,” saying that, he raised right hand.
“Please raise your hand if you gave up absolutely nothing in order to participate in this audition.”
No one raised their hand.
“Then, please raise your hand if you prepared a lot for this audition.”
As soon as his words finished, everyone raised their hand, including Maru.
“And finally, please keep your hand raised if you don’t have any confidence in your acting skills.”
Everyone put their hands down.
“Thank you for your cooperation.”
Junmin turned around to look at the man named Kim Jinsoo. He was clenching his fists, with his lips shaking. Even a little child would have understood what was going on.
“I am very well aware that you must have put a lot of effort in and prepared a lot for the audition. However, that’s pretty basic for the people gathered here. How am I supposed to interpret that you want special treatment for doing the basics?”
“I’m sorry, but it’s rather difficult for me to look at you as someone worth investing my time. If you were a splendid actor, then I would of course have allocated my time. However, I fail to find a reason to keep listening to you when you have nothing special about you and are even late.”
“Please, I know that I’m acting shameless, but if you please give me an opportunity…”
The man was almost about to kneel. Perhaps this audition was the man’s last opportunity. Maru sympathized with that. Everyone has their last opportunities. That servile attitude of his was an indicator of how important he considered this audition to be.
‘You should at least look at the person in the face when they’re talking.’
Maru clicked his tongue and looked away. Junmin’s expression was that of when he was insulted. As the man was looking down at the floor, he was completely oblivious of that fact. Eventually, Junmin grabbed the man by the shoulder.
“Mr. Kim Jinsoo. Please leave while I speak soft words. If you are a man that knows shame, that is.”
That left no room for further discussion. The man seemed to have felt that and turned around while swaying. After he disappeared, Junmin stood in front of the people. He continued speaking as though nothing had happened.
“I’m Lee Junmin, one of the judges for this audition. This fellow next to me is Park Hoyoung, the film director. Usually, I don’t do introductions like these, but somehow I am doing one today. Then, I’d like to notify you once again before the audition. You have up to five minutes to do free acting, and again, up to five minutes for the script acting. As this is a camera test, you’ll have to look at the camera as you do your acts. When you come in, tell us your name and the company you belong to. Since most of you should have experience doing auditions, I think I don’t need to explain any further.”
The two opened the door to the audition room half way when Junmin spoke again.
“Oh, I’ll say this beforehand. Since many people have applied for the same role, you may be grouped together.”
Maru shrugged his shoulder when Junmin looked towards him when he said those words. Junmin smiled slightly and entered.
“As you just listened, you should do your acts as you were told to once you enter. Don’t forget to look at the camera. Also, please pin your number plates on the left side of your chest.”
The lady handed out number plates with numbers on them. Maru checked his number. His number was 27.
“Then please enter the audition room in the order I call you out.”
Since he was 27, Maru believed that he had some time. He sighed slightly and looked at the cold-looking skies outside the window. The next moment, a crisp voice entered his ears.
“Numbers 4, 11, 18, 27, 34. Please enter.”
Maru stood up.