Life, Once Again! - Chapter 300
“The boom mic is in the frame!”
The man holding the boom mic hurriedly raised the microphone up when he heard the fussy words.
“You raised it too much. I’m not picking up any audio.”
The boom mic tried to find its place that was neither too high nor too low. The person that seemed to be the audio director was whispering into the ear of the youth holding the boom mic, and they seemed to be words of encouragement.
“Be careful not to hurt any of the students. Well, then. Get yourselves ready.”
Maru pulled his chin inward and looked at Woomin next to him. The scenario here was simple. Woomin would try to rush into the actor on the other side, and he just had to pull him back from doing so. They already went through the action once, so there was nothing difficult for him.
“Get ready, stand by, cue!”
Along with the cue sign, Woomin rushed forward. Maru quickly followed suit. He glanced at the light scattered by the reflector and placed himself to the right of Woomin. His face wouldn’t be captured at this angle. Well, he was supposed to be an extra that was supposed to fall down after being hit once, so it didn’t matter to him.
“Try saying that one more time.”
“What, you didn’t hear me?”
“I didn’t. So try saying that one more time!”
He matched his steps with Woomin’s, who took a large step forward along with a shout. He had to be right next to him if he wanted to grab his arm as naturally as possible. The opposing actor closed in on Woomin. They were within arm’s reach of each other. The camera shot the scene so that the two people fighting were on either side of the frame, and the supplementary actors started to stop them without getting in the way of the camera. The mood kept escalating, and Woomin raised his hand.
Now, huh – Maru grabbed his hand. If he pulled too hard, he would surprise Woomin so he didn’t put that much strength into his grab.
“Hey, let me go.”
“You really shouldn’t do this.”
He said his only line today and pulled Woomin’s arm. Woomin tried to shake his arm out just as they practiced. Maru pulled the arm towards his chest just like what they did during practice. The back of Woomin’s hand came considerably closer to his face. Now, he just had to get hit once he tried to shake him off once more.
“Goddammit, I told you to let go!”
Woomin swung his arm. This was what they agreed upon. The problem was that Woomin tried to shake Maru off so awkwardly. Maru was supposed to get hit on the face, but Woomin was swinging his arm downwards. Maru wondered what they did all that practice for. He thought about what he should do in that short moment and decided to fall backwards just like the story. Maru fell on his butt and covered his face as he tried to curl his body up. Would this be enough for a cut sign? He thought that it might not be.
“Cut,” it happened, contrary to his expectations.
“Are you okay?”
Woomin approached him with a worried face. Maru nodded and grabbed the hand offered to him. It didn’t hurt that much but the problem was if the producer would accept this scene or not. Woomin did not look good either. And just as he had worried, negative words came from the director.
“Let’s do that once again.”
I knew it – Maru returned to his position quietly. Director Kim, who had been watching this whole time, approached Woomin and started talking to him. Have more confidence; swing your arm more violently – he was probably saying something along those lines.
He was pressing his sore butt when the producer gestured for him to come.
“So you’re the one that Joonggeun-hyung talked about. You’re good. Did you learn action scenes like that separately?”
“Really? I guess you are a tough kid then. Didn’t it hurt? It looked painful.”
“I can endure it.”
“What a tough guy. We’re gonna do that once again, and do what you just did.”
The producer clicked his fingers and shouted ‘stand by’. The actors got into position again and the students also started exclaiming like it said on the sketchbook. Maru stood behind Woomin again. Woomin’s expression was a little stiff. Maru wondered if that was because he heard some bad words from the director.
“It was good last time, so let’s do better this time. Stand by, cue!”
The exact same situation unfolded out again just as though they reversed time. The two main actors approached each other and said the exact same lines. Maru grabbed Woomin’s arm at the precise time again. The first attempt to shake Maru off went perfectly. Now, he had to actually shake Maru off.
Maru and Woomin met eyes just as Woomin tried to swing his arm outward. The hand that was supposed to come at Maru’s face brushed past his hair this time. Maru got ready to fall down, but the producer’s cut sign fell faster.
“Woomin. I get that you’re worried, but think about the camera. Also, what’s up with that face? The character named Chajin that you’re acting is a kid who doesn’t think about the consequences. Such a kid is swinging his arm out of anger, so it would be strange if you look like you’re struck with fear like that. I’m not trying to scold you. I’m saying that you can do better. You get me?”
The producer frowned seeing Woomin who flinched back but just turned around. Woomin covered his face with both of his hands and sighed. The curtain of silence between the one who had a lot to say but couldn’t, and the person who couldn’t put his thoughts into action, seemed quite thick.
“Well then. Again.”
The producer stood in front of the camera without any emotion on his face. The atmosphere at the shooting scene fell to rock bottom. Even the students, who seemed like they were enjoying themselves, started whispering among themselves.
Other actors approached Woomin and tried to console him, but he didn’t look consoled at all.
“There he goes again. This isn’t the first time he’s delaying everyone, isn’t it?”
“You’re right. He’s driving all of us crazy. Does he not think about how he’s causing a disturbance for everyone? If we add up the times he caused delays, then we might have a whole episode worth of shots.”
“He does well at times, but he’s like this every time he makes a mistake, so the director must have it hard too. We’re almost running out of the production budget because we’re not getting any ad offers. And here we are, giving him money because he’s the main character.”
The chat between the staff members could be heard. Woomin’s image among the staff didn’t seem that good. The reflectors were put back up again, and the lights came on.
“Uhm wait a moment.”
Woomin raised his hand. His face was filled with sweat. The make-up artist quickly came and wiped his sweat out before fixing his make-up.
It seemed that he was sweating because of nervousness since the gym was cool enough for any sweat to cool down easily. Woomin apologized before getting into his position. The producer crossed his arms. It was as though he was saying that this would be the last time.
Maru talked to Woomin before the cue sign fell. Woomin turned his head around slightly.
“Just hit me.”
“It won’t end if you’re like this. I won’t get hurt if I’m prepared, so swing your arm with the intent to hit me. If you restrain yourself because of worry, then we won’t be getting anywhere.”
“Worry about ending the scene here rather than about me. At most, I’ll get a nosebleed, and I’m fine with that. I don’t think the director will like it if we keep dragging things out like this. How about it?”
“Alright, I’ll try.”
Woomin nodded his head heavily. At the same time, the producer shouted ‘cue’. This was the third shoot. It felt as though the tempo was faster than the previous two shots. It wasn’t that disturbing though. From how the producer was staying quiet, it didn’t seem like a big matter.
The two actors started getting into a fight again. Maru listened to the conversation as he measured the precise time he should start acting. As it wasn’t like he would be paid more just because he stayed here longer, he wanted to wrap this up as early as possible.
Just as Woomin’s arm flinched, Maru grabbed his arm with both of his hands. The previous takes were good up to this point as well. Woomin tried to shake him off hard. This time, he looked like he had made up his mind. Then came the moment where he had to hit Maru on the head. Woomin glanced back at Maru before shaking off his arm. He was definitely putting more strength into his arm than before. However, the direction was the problem this time as well. It was supposed to head towards Maru’s face, but it was heading towards empty air.
As he had expected this somewhat, Maru pulled in his left arm, which was still holding onto Woomin’s arm, towards himself. He could see Woomin being visibly fl.u.s.tered. Nice expression – he thought as he put his forehead against the hand flying at him. The boxing instructor told him that an ordinary forehead was stronger than an untrained fist. He probably wouldn’t have any problems with just this.
Along with a loud pow sound, Maru fell down on the floor. The sound was louder than expected. Thanks to that, Maru saw that the students standing around looked truly worried for him. It was as though they were thinking what if he was really hurt. Maru was relieved. This would probably get an okay sign.
The director shouted ‘cut’ and smiled with satisfaction. Maru said that he was okay towards Woomin who came to him.
“Sorry. I didn’t plan to hit you that hard.”
“I was the one who pulled, so don’t worry about it too much.”
Maru dusted his butt and stood up. In any case, the shoot was over. He had no more appearances, so he wondered if it was okay for him to leave. He thought that he should have a hot shower once he got back home. He didn’t do much, but he felt tired for some reason. Hot water was the best for fatigue.
“Wow, that was good.”
Director Kim walked up to him from the back and put his hand on his shoulder as he spoke.
“The sound was good as well. But it must hurt. You should’ve secretly angled yourself so that it wouldn’t hurt.”
“It would be strange if that was caught on camera, so I didn’t do it. Uhm, so, the supplementary actors can go home after their scene?”
“That’s for the leader of the supplementary actors to decide. He’s the one that decides whether to send people back or to take them late into the night.”
“Ah, alright. But we don’t get any additional pay or something, right?”
“You do. A lot, too. If you go home before 4, then it’s just 40 thousand won including lunch fee, but it’s 100 thousand if you stay late into the night. That’s why there are people who get on the leader’s good side and stay late into the night despite not having any appearances.”
“A hundred thousand? That’s a lot.”
“Because that much work is involved. Waiting without doing anything is quite tough too, unexpectedly.”
Maru looked at the set where they were shooting the next scene. The supplementary actors he was talking to during the waiting time were doing their scenes now. Though, the only ‘act’ they did was to act like a fl.u.s.tered student. The aspiring actor looked the most natural, perhaps thanks to his experience.
“The producer must be pissed too. There are people who are better than the main actors everywhere, but they have to take people like that kid.”
“Well, they are the ones that get the views, so it can’t be helped.”
Director Kim scanned Maru from top to bottom, probably thinking ‘what is this kid?’. Maru smiled at him before leaving the group. The shoot continued for a while.
“Thanks everyone for your work.”
The scene at the gym ended with the producer patting the backs of the main actors. The students, who had been enjoying themselves, seemed quite tired as well. It wasn’t that surprising thought, since they had to go through the same scene several times.
“Your acting is becoming better by the day. You might just end up ignoring me in the future.”
“No way. You know how much respect we have for you.”
The producer grinned as he was surrounded by idols. It was as though the strict face he had on during the shoot was all a lie. His efforts into making the mood better for the next shoot was tear-jerking.
Wasn’t the producer supposed to be superior to everyone? It felt quite strange. Slight disdain could be seen in the smiles of both the producer and the idols. Power within the television media was quite incomprehensible at times.
“Haha, director Choi. You’re here.”
The producer greeted the man that just entered the gym. There was an identity card hung around his neck signifying that he belonged to a TV station. Now that Maru thought about it, the people in the staff could also be separated into those that had an identity card and those that didn’t.
“Is the shoot going well?”
“It is. What brings you here?”
“I’m here for support. The drama production department is nagging me to support you from the side.”
“Haha… is that so?”
After talking up to that point, the two of them looked around before walking towards a corner. No, to be exact, from what Maru saw, the person not at ease between the two was the producer, also known as ‘director Lee’. This new ‘director Choi’ looked like he was at home.
An axe was thrown into the shoot schedule just as they thought that they were going to switch places. The supplementary actors were put in waiting again. When he approached the supplementary actors, they greeted him with smiles.
“You got hit quite hard back there.”
“I saw you talking to the producer. Do you know him?”
Hearing the sudden question, Maru replied to him that he was here because of someone he knew. The man who said that he was an aspiring actor opened his mouth.
“Didn’t you get hurt? It looked like you fell on your tailbone.”
“I’m fine because I twisted my body slightly.”
“That’s good. It won’t do you any good if you get injured. You should be more careful.”
“You’re right. But do you know who that man is?” Maru asked as he pointed at director Choi. The man nodded his head.
“He’s probably the producer from the TV station. He’s probably here to interfere.”
“Interfere, you say?”
“This drama is an outsourced drama. Although it’s called an ‘outsourced’ drama, the TV station is lending its staff as well as its equipment, so he can’t entirely ignore people from the TV station. That’s why it’s common for people from the TV stations to interfere. I’m not entirely sure, though. I just heard bits and pieces from around.”
So they were like the super colossal company that outsourced its work and the primary subcontractor company?
Maru understood immediately why director Lee, who had the title ‘director’ just like director Choi, was acting submissive to him.