Life, Once Again! - Chapter 302
Unlike the morning, the atmosphere at the set was looking bad. Some of the staff members expressed their discomfort very openly. The guy named director Choi from the TV station was just talking to director Lee regardless of what everyone else was thinking.
“We’ll take a short break,” the woman with the red cone glanced at the director before speaking. Her eyes looked scary.
Everyone seemed to be at the mercy of director Choi. Regardless of whether they had an employee card hanging around their neck or not, everyone seemed to be wary of this director Choi. The difference was that the people with the employee cards were expressing their annoyance at their boss, while the ones without were clearly hostile.
A weak-hearted person would’ve gone crazy due to all the attention, but this director Choi didn’t seem affected at all. He was like a lion being surrounded by rabbits. Even if the others bare their teeth, they were, in the end, just rabbits. They weren’t capable of hurting a lion.
“Oh my, my dear actors. Have you all had a good meal?”
Director Choi delightfully greeted the idols that came back from lunch. Even though he had slight disdain in his words when he talked to the staff, he was very servile towards the idols. Is it uncomfortable in any way? Is acting going well? I’ll treat you to something later – kind words such as those were spoken. It looked like the atmosphere was becoming warmer at a first glance, but it was warmer only around that area. The other places were still as cold as ice.
Maru saw that Woomin had an awkward smile on his face as he talked to director Choi. From how he was giving glances to other people, it seemed that he realized that the mood wasn’t good here.
“I can’t keep you tied with me any longer. Let’s get to the shoot.”
Director Choi was especially mindful about the girl idol with short hair. Perhaps he was asked to take care of her specifically by someone else, or perhaps he had other intentions towards her, what he had in his mind was unknown. The girl with the short hair greeted director Choi with a smile.
“I’ll take my leave now. Director Lee, have a drink with me after the shoot. I’ll treat you.”
“Uhm, director Choi.”
Director Lee stopped director Choi from leaving. He dragged director Choi by the arm to a corner, and he looked very desperate. The gazes of the staff followed him. Director Lee started explaining something desperately with gestures involved, and director Choi firmly shook his head to express his rejection.
Director Lee clearly seemed to be in the weaker position, and that quarrel ended in a brief time. Director Choi pulled on his suit jacket and twitched his nose to replace his greeting.
Maru tapped on his chin with his finger as he watched the two people. What made director Lee so desperate? Why is the staff looking at the two directors? The tense atmosphere on the set started loosening. It wasn’t the problem-solved kind of loosening, but the I-have-no-energy-anymore kind of loosening.
“It feels heavy.”
The air was filled with frustration. No one had the motivation to create something. Director Lee put a cigarette in his mouth before he snapped the cigarette in half. It was forbidden to smoke at school.
“It looks like the shoot will get longer.”
“No, it probably won’t,” Woojoo replied to him.
How were they supposed to continue shooting in this atmosphere? The results were clear. Director Lee gestured with his hands. The staff started moving all the equipment outside the gym. He said that they’ll be moving over to the cafeteria for the next scene.
“Because they need to pay more if the shoot gets longer,” Woojoo said as he stood up.
Maru understood it instantly. Just like with movies, time was money when it came to shooting dramas as well. Just the human resources fee was considerable if they were mobilizing this many people. Also, there was the equipment as well.
“This drama is outsourced, isn’t it?”
“But I see that the people holding cameras or lights all have employee IDs on their necks. Their logo is from the TV station as well.”
“It is indeed the subcontractor that produces the drama, but the expensive equipment is all rented from the TV station. I mean, they cost quite a lot. Also, it’s not easy finding people that can actually use them. The TV stations supply the subcontractor with the production budget and the equipment.”
“That makes it easier to understand.”
The TV station provided the budget, the equipment, as well as the human resources. No wonder the subcontractor was in a servile position.
“You’re quite knowledgeable.”
“This is my third year working in this field now. Three years is enough to find out about most things.”
The supplementary actors also headed towards the school cafeteria upon the leader’s instructions. The cafeteria was not that far away from the gym, which was to the west of the main school building.
They stepped into the building while stepping on the shiny marble floor. Wooden tables greeted them just like a high-class restaurant. The cafeteria consisted of two floors, and it was large enough to host the entire school. The back mountain could be seen outside the glass window. Maru’s mind was not filled with the scenery of the school, but questions about how much the tuition was here. It was an independent school, so it was probably at least a million won per quarter.
“This is one nice school.”
“So this is what money gets you. How nice.”
The supplementary actors all commented as they looked around.
They understood why they picked this school as the set for the drama. The view was very good no matter where you went. It wasn’t the ‘square and boring’ school like ordinary schools after all. They could see students doing sports through the glass window. They were running freely around the sports field covered with natural grass. A camera was capturing that scene. This was supposed to be a youth drama featuring ‘ordinary high school students’, but the very environment screamed ‘fantasy’.
“You sit here. You two walk around with food trays in your hand at the back there. Sit down and talk about whatever. If you really don’t have anything to say, sing the national anthem or something.”
They sat down according to the leader’s instructions. The camera director adjusted the positions after glancing around. He seemed to be pushing the supplementary actors to the outside more so that the faces of the main actors could be emphasized more.
They spent around 10 minutes sitting. The shoot was just about to begin when director Lee walked towards the supplementary actors. The leader immediately approached the director.
“Uhm, leader. Is there someone with experience? I need someone that can make a servile face. This scene wasn’t originally in the script, but we got an extra script just now.”
“If that’s the case… Woojoo. You can do that, can’t you?”
“Yes, you. You can do it. Producer, this kid is quite good.”
Director Lee looked at Woojoo’s face before nodding. Maru raised his thumbs up and told him ‘good luck’. Around twenty minutes after he was called away, one of the staff entered the cafeteria. In his hand was a cardboard box. What came out of the box was a pair of trainers. The short-haired idol wore those shoes. Director Lee mentioned something about an extra script, but it seemed that they fixed the script so they could put the trainers as product placement.
In the end, it all came down to money.
The rehearsal began. When the short-haired girl put her foot forward, Woojoo bowed and apologized. He had a line, and his face was on camera as well. He had much more weight compared to extras.
Director Lee seemed to have taken a liking to Woojoo. The cameras were placed and the staff started preparing for the shoot as well. Maru started talking with the actor in front of him as he picked up his spoon. He didn’t talk about anything serious though.
“That restaurant we went to for lunch was quite good, wasn’t it?”
“Yeah, it was decent. There were celebrity autographs as well. It looks like it’s quite famous.”
Just as they were talking about things not related to drama, the cue sign fell. Woojoo started walking from Maru’s opposite side and collided with the actress. The actress, who was having a good time showing off her new shoes got angry at him and Woojoo took steps back, flinching away. Minor actors started attacking Woojoo with words after gathering around. Then cut.
“Hey! You were doing well last time. What happened to you?” Director Lee shouted. It seemed that Woojoo was the problem. Woojoo apologized to the staff and the other actors.
“Let’s do that one more time. Do it properly this time.”
That was followed up with a small ‘cue’ sound. The moment Woojoo started acting though, the director shouted cut again. The actress, who was wearing the trainers sat down in annoyance. Director Lee approached Woojoo.
“What are you doing. Do you think we’re playing around?”
Woojoo lowered his head like a sinner.
He seemed nervous. Maru sighed. Just like how it still rained, despite rarely, in the desert, opportunity found its way to everyone. Skill referred to being able to take that opportunity or not. Perhaps it could be called luck. One might sigh and complain about the opportunity not coming at the right time. However, a missed opportunity would never come back. There was only one thing that people could do, and that was to grab the opportunity if it came their way.
The entertainment industry was something where that brief appearance on TV might make or break a person. This was a world where a nameless actor became famous through just one appearance on TV. Woojoo probably knew himself that this was an opportunity of his lifetime.
The third shoot began, and Woojoo made a mistake this time as well. He screwed up his steps. Seeing Woojoo misstep and look like he was about to fall over, the director just laughed in vain. The leader took Woojoo away. Having returned, Woojoo just sighed and sat back down.
“This isn’t going well.”
Bitterness could be heard from his voice. However, that only lasted a brief moment. He soon returned to his smile. The nearby supplementary actors consoled him saying that it was okay. Woojoo smiled and nodded his head. Meanwhile, the director declared a break time. The staff put down the heavy equipment and stretched out their bodies. The supplementary actors stood up as well. Woojoo was within that group.
“Isn’t this an opportunity for you?” Maru asked Woojoo.
Woojoo blinked several times as he looked back at him.
“Did you tell the producer that you’d like another chance?”
“Opportunity came your way. So you should grab it.”
Maru felt rather annoyed since Woojoo, who looked like he could fight against injustice, was looking so powerless here. Why not bring up that courage here?
“It’s nothing great.”
“Yet, you’re making such a disappointed face. Are you sure you don’t want to try again?”
“Go tell him then. Tell him that you want to try again. If you can’t do it even after that, only then do you give up.”
“I already messed up three times. I’ll be inconveniencing others.”
“If delaying everything by five minutes is an inconvenience, I guess those people who screw up four to five times as much as you must be serial killers. Hyung, you were very brave against that woman before, right? That’s bravery that will make you face losses. Yet you stood up to her. Right now, it’s the opposite. It’s an opportunity you can profit from. It’s fine if you put a thick face on. I heard you got into a fight against a company because of payment delays. Why don’t you talk to him with that kind of resolve?”
“That’s a different situation though.”
“If you keep minding the situation, you’ll eventually be driven out by people that don’t mind the situation. Even a hero of justice needs food to eat. I thought your dream was to become an actor. Yet you want to miss this opportunity where you can have your face go on TV? What about after that? Do you think that picky leader will ever pick you again? Are you going to keep doing part time jobs forever?”
“Hey, watch your words,” Woojoo frowned.
“Good. You won’t be nervous if you get angry. Don’t just face losses and profit where you can. If I look at people like you, it makes me angry, honestly. Why don’t you care about yourself rather than others?”
Woojoo was a naïve and kind man. That could be seen from his attitude, expression, and actions. Maru could sit back and laugh when he was watching trashy people fall into shitholes, but he would become angry if people like Woojoo were not desperate because they were ‘considerate of others’.
At that moment, the director gestured towards the two. He was calling out to ‘the one that fell over’. Woojoo’s eyes shook.
“If the director tells me to take that role, I’m taking it.”
“To be clear, I don’t kick away opportunities that come my way. Right now, it’s right in front of me and once it’s within my reach, I’m definitely grabbing it. So why don’t you try and do something before it comes to me?”
Maru pointed at director Lee with his chin. Woojoo clenched his teeth before walking towards director Lee. The two started conversing. Director Lee scanned Woojoo from top to bottom before putting up his index finger. He probably meant something like ‘just once’.
Director Lee turned around. Maru met eyes with Woojoo. Woojoo nodded slightly. It seemed that the director gave him permission.
The shoot resumed. Woojoo walked in between the main actors. There were no mistakes made this time. He played a person who was pitiful and unjustified. The director gave it an okay this time. He seemed satisfied.
Having returned, Woojoo scratched his head.
“Aren’t you gonna thank me? I went out of my way to help you.”
Seeing Woojoo make a fl.u.s.tered expression, Maru smiled.
“If you feel thankful. Try to get me a place if you get something good next time. Sorry about acting so rudely before. It’s only effective if it sounds rude.”
Hearing those words, Woojoo smiled. At that moment, a commotion erupted on the staff side.
“You said that this month wasn’t a problem. Also, you said today that it will be done by two, didn’t you? Hah! I can’t do this shit anymore. I’m done with it.”
A man, who was standing in front of director Lee violently turned away. At the same time, the majority of the staff followed the man out of the cafeteria. The shooting location became a mess in an instant. The main actors, the idols, were at a loss while looking around, while director Lee and the staff around him sighed as they chased the staff members that left the cafeteria. People that seemed to be the managers came in and started making calls. Only the people with TV station employee cards were calm.
“Looks like something happened.”
The supplementary actors also made a move to find out what this was about.
Maru also left the building for now.