Life, Once Again! - Chapter 277
He introduced himself as Yoo Jiseok. Sungjae received the greeting of the high school boy in front of him.
“He’s one of our talents. He’s the one the president is trying to push. Oh, he’ll be appearing in the same movie as you, Sunjgae. Though, I guess you two won’t get to meet each other. Just saying.”
The head manager from Yellow Star left after saying all those words. The two came across each other by coincidence when Sungjae came to Film Academy in Gangnam to learn acting.
“Well then, let’s begin.”
The instructor came in. Film Academy had raised many talented actors. As its primary objective was to teach actors that will actually work in the industry, it was a peculiar academy where money wasn’t enough to get into.
Sungjae glanced at the boy named Jiseok. If he was receiving lessons in this class at his age, it meant that he was no ordinary person. Well, Yellow Star should be aware of that as well when they recruited him. If NL Company and Jewel Entertainment, two of the three major entertainment companies, became large thanks to their idol groups, Yellow Star was the group that became successful with their actors. The fact that this boy belonged to that place at such an age, as an actor to boot, meant that he had an incredible talent as an actor.
He became jealous for a brief moment, but he just smiled it over. Right now, they were in the same position. He was well aware that the public did not want people with good acting, but people with the popularity. As long as he did the basics, he would not be looked down upon by the public. In fact, there were some advantages coming from the fact that he was an idol. He could get the ‘he’s good at acting even though he’s an idol’ judgement. It wasn’t that good of an evaluation for sure, but Sungjae believed that it didn’t matter that much. He had long since abandoned useless reasoning. In the end, only the popular survived. That was what success was.
After practice began. The instructor told the students to release all of their inner desires. Sungjae acted as though he had become some savage, swearing and rampaging around. Although it was a short time, Sungjae thought that Jiseok was definitely different from the rest. They say that the sparrow near a school sings the primer. Sungjae may not have the skills, but he had the eyes that could evaluate others due to all of his experience. According to his eyes, Jiseok was young, but definitely had the talent.
His personality was overly cheerful. It didn’t even take 3 minutes to drop the honorifics with him from the first greeting. Thankfully, Sungjae did not dislike his proactive attitude, so the two could have a fun conversation.
During rest, Jiseok kept muttering something while looking into a script. When Sungjae had a look, he saw that it was the script of the movie he was shooting. From his body movement and the lines, it seemed that he was one of the delinquents. It was one of the most minor roles.
“I think what you’re doing is enough,” Sungjae said to him.
The line was short and there were only three cuts as well. There was a limit to how profound an acting could look in such a short time. He believed that Jiseok was doing plenty. However, Jiseok shook his head as he replied,
“I’m still lacking.”
“Yes. I already lost once. The role I originally wanted was delinquent 2. I competed with a friend of mine after going to the very last audition, but I lost to him. I was quite confident too. But I don’t feel that unjustified though, since I lost cleanly. I had to admit. He did more research than me regarding the delinquent character at least. He should be trying his best to make his scene better even now, so I can’t be resting. He’s not someone who I can try to match if I do things moderately.”
“He’s better than you at acting?”
“That’s probably how he got the role I wanted, don’t you think? I already lost to him once. I don’t want to lose to him twice, so I’m putting in all this effort.”
Hearing those words, Sungjae inwardly laughed at him. They were competing over a minor role. There was nothing amazing about it. It was likely that this boy lost to that friend of his on his looks, not skills. After all, that was what minor roles were about.
“Let’s resume,” the instructor came back.
Sungjae exercised his neck before standing up.
* * *
“I told you it’s true. Isn’t it funny?” After saying those words, Yoojin sighed and lowered her head.
Was she doing well? If it was before, she would be satisfied with just that and go to the next bit.
“Funny, funny, Hmm, funny!”
She repeated the same word several times before throwing the script on the ground before sitting on the chair in front of the mirror. She was cast in a youth drama and the filming would start soon. Her role wasn’t anything major. She was just one of the complaining kids in the main character’s class. This was her third drama shoot. It didn’t seem like she was walking in the wrong direction considering how she gained more lines each time she shot a drama, but recently, her heart became chaotic whenever she looked at the script, making her unable to focus.
The reason was simple – she saw someone with a qualitative difference.
When she watched her senior actors doing their acts, she only felt respect for them. How could they unfold the characters’ emotions like that? How did they manage to bestow a meaning to each movement of their fingers? Their pronunciation, their attitude, their expression – everything about them said ‘uniqueness’. Just watching them motivated her to do better.
However, after seeing someone of her own age doing something similar, it wasn’t respect she felt, but a sense of inferiority and unease. It was something she had never felt before. Yes, there were people better than her in the academy she went to. However, never did she lose her confidence while watching them. In fact, she became passionate and competitive. She resolved to become better than them and put more effort into practice.
Colleagues that were slightly better than her became her motivation. The overwhelming skills of her seniors became her guidepost.
However, an overwhelming colleague only triggered her to look back at her weak acting. Of course, it didn’t mean he was bad or was in the wrong. In fact, seeing him make her fall into despair and made her feel pathetic. She encouraged herself, saying that she would be able to catch up if she put in as much effort as before, but the only thing on her face was a self-loathing smile.
“Ah, this isn’t right!”
She stomped on the ground as she stood up. She thought that she wasn’t acting like herself. She took out her phone and called the guy that was the source of her problems. It was 8 p.m. It wasn’t that laste, so it should be fine.
-What is it?
She was annoyed when Maru’s said that as the first line, but she was the one who called so she decided to endure it.
“How did you do your practice? Tell me now.”
-Didn’t I tell you last week?
“Yeah, but tell me properly!”
-I told you you have to be reborn.
“Is this how you wanna do this?”
-How else do I explain it to you? I studied the script?
“You really are c.o.c.ky.”
-This isn’t the first time you see me as a c.o.c.ky guy so don’t mind it about so much. Rather than that, what’s up with your attitude? Someone might say that I did you wrong.
“You did do me wrong! Alright, here’s how we’re gonna do things. You’re gonna practice with me. I have to see what you’re doing.”
-I don’t have any time to hang out with you.
“Really? That’s good. I have a lot. I’ll give you half of mine.”
-…But seriously, there’s nothing special about me. Just do what you always did.
“See? You’re hiding something from me.
-Why can’t you trust someone for just one second? Also, I wasn’t joking when I said I don’t have the time. I thought you were doing a drama as well. If you count for your school club on top of that, you should be busier than me.
“I’m not in the acting club anymore. Rather than that, you’re in the acting club this year as well?”
-Yeah, I am.
“But you got a company though. It’ll be difficult for you to keep up with your club once you start working, and you still decided to stay there?
-Who’s gonna use a newbie like me? I also have a lot to learn about acting as well.
“Hm, newbie, huh?”
-Anyway, it’s not like I have some special method or anything, so let’s just each do our best in our respective places. Good luck on the drama.
Before she even shouted, Maru hung up. Her voice echoed in vain before disappearing. Yoojin smirked and uttered his name as though she was deciding on an enemy.
“That’s how you wanna do this, huh.”
* * *
To indicate that the summer was approaching, the red line on the thermometer was indicating 27℃, even though it was mid June. The heat seemed to fade a little from the rain, but it started rising again as though it had never rained. The natural shade that was the louds could not be seen anywhere so it became a season where walking just a little would make anyone sweaty.
The students who had to study under such an environment were already experiencing a mental breakdown, and the competition to get under the air conditioner was more heated than the crusade. The class president said that they should do a ballot to be fair, but with a ‘screw fairness’ attitude, they decided on seats with a match of soccer.
Maru complained thinking that those guys only had brawns and passion in their heads, but desperately shot the balls into the opponent’s net. The weather was enough to make him desperate.
“Han Maru. You’re the best.”
“We’re saved thanks to you.”
As the winner, their team got the best seats. Embracing the cool winds from the top, Maru spent the day comfortably and was able to go to the club with a fresh body and mind.
The acting club had gathered on the fifth floor just as usual. They did a run through after some light exercise.
Just then, his phone rang. Maru had a look at the name on his screen before answering the call.
“Aren’t you calling too frequently these days?”
The caller, Yoojin, suddenly asked.
“Yeah, why do you ask?”
-Which floor are you on?
Those words made Maru feel uneasy. Maru opened the window in the self-studies room and poked his head outside. Among the students that were going home late was a girl wearing a school uniform. As Woosung High didn’t have a school uniform, the school uniform that the girl was wearing was quite eye-catching. She was blatantly watching the school buildings while she was on the phone, so she was at the center of attention for those leaving school as well. Above all, Bosung Girls High was famous for having a fancy uniform.
“Are you insane?”
-What? I heard you went to her house late at night just like I’m doing now. On top of that, you confessed there, didn’t you?
“You two are close enough to talk about that as well…?”
-Because we’re friends!
Her smiling face somehow lingered in front of his eyes. Maru sighed and said that he was on the fifth floor. She was the type of girl who would visit every single classroom starting from the first floor even if he ignored her. According to what he knew of her from the amateur actors class, she was obstinate enough to do that.
“What’s up?” Daemyung approached and asked. Maru pondered a little bit on how to explain before speaking.
“An alien invasion.”
A while later, the door opened before Yoojin came in. Seeing Yoojin in her uniform, the members of the club made a confused expression.
“Hi everyone! I’m Lee Yoojin from Bosung Girls High. We are both schools that lost to Myunghwa High last year so maybe you remember?”
Hearing those words, Daemyung realized and made an ‘aha’ sound’. But that only lasted for a brief moment.
“But why’s she here?” He asked Maru in a small voice.
Maru wanted to know as well, so he couldn’t give him an answer. Just why was she here?
“So, why are you here?” So he asked.
He wasn’t someone who liked being roundabout, so he asked directly.
“Field experience. I’m not doing it for free.”
Yoojin took out some cosmetics from her bag. Maru tilted her head since he didn’t know why she took them out, but Jiyoon and Aram widened their eyes. They recognized what those were.
“Wow. That’s some very expensive cosmetic brand.”
“I think they’re the same ones that my mom got as a gift.”
The two juniors usually didn’t put on that much makeup, but they seemed interested in cosmetics regardless.
“Allow me to watch you guys act. I’ll take care of the makeup in exchange. You know that my mom takes care of only the top stars, right? I learned a thing or two from her, so I’m quite good as well,” Yoojin boldly claimed.
Maru made a ‘ha’ sound. She was really quick to act, and she also knew how to make deals. They were lacking someone to do their makeup since Yoonjung and Danmi had left the club.
“Daemyung, what do you think?”
“So she’s giving us makeup in exchange to watch us practice?”
“I don’t know. Anyway, what do you think? I don’t think it’s a bad deal. We’ll also be a little nervous if we have an audience. Above all, we do need someone to do our makeup, right?”
“She’s quite random, but she’s not a bad girl. So I hope you can give her the okay.”
“There’s no reason for me to refuse her. I’m just slightly confused that she came to us all of a sudden.”
They came to a decision. Yoojin seemed to have heard their conversation as she spoke,
“Then please take care of me. I won’t get in your way so just do like you normally do. Just like usual.”
Yoojin looked as though she was going to analyze every last detail. Maru shrugged his shoulders before saying,
“Let’s resume practice then.”
* * *
Yoojin crossed her arms and stared at Maru. She alternated between reading the script and seeing the stage to see what was different and what made such a change.
However, that only lasted a brief moment. She became dazed when she saw that the stage was flowing so smoothly. Maru seemed different from the time he just read his lines on the spot. Seeing him, Yoojin realized that Maru’s gaze, acts, intonation, breathing and everything else was on a different level to her.
‘It’s only been half a year since last winter. Only half a year!’
She tensed her eyes while gripping the script in hand. The boy in front of him had changed completely during the past half a year. He was a freak, so to speak. That was the only word she could think of to describe him. She judged that it was a good thing to have come to watch. Yoojin started thinking about what she should do in order to bridge the gap between him and herself.