Life, Once Again! - Chapter 328
The moon was blue. Even though the sun hadn’t set when the shoot began, the moon was high up already. They were in the streets a little away from Hongdae. The dark hillside road was the location of the next shoot. The two boys were going to quarrel over Yu-ri under the moonlight. A cliché of clichés.
“Today’s the last day, right?”
Director Kim, the action director, spoke as he put a cigarette in his mouth. After taking a deep puff, he threw it on the ground and put it out with his foot, even though the cigarette hadn’t burned that much.
“Quitting this thing is quite tough. Do you smoke?”
“I’m a student.”
“When I was your age, we all smoked.”
“I want to live a long life, so I don’t plan to.”
“Alright. I’m not sure about drinking, but don’t smoke. It’s frustrating.”
This director Kim, named Kim Choongho, was someone Maru conversed with quite often during breaks. He seemed to have taken a liking to Maru ever since his falling action during Maru’s first shoot here, and came to talk to him. He also told Maru to come under his wing if he had any thoughts, that is:
“Do you really have no intention to work under me? Although stunt actors are given the cold shoulder right now, I’m very sure that their treatment will change in a while. This area will gain its own expertise. I’m going to make my kind, who are suffering from pain and hunger right now, full and satisfied. Though, it is a stunt we’re talking about, so you can’t help the pain.”
“I’m an aspiring actor, so I’ll have to refuse.”
“You can be an action actor. You know how to use your body well. If you learn just a little, you’ll be able to get hit or hit someone else in a grand fashion. Don’t you think that a man’s dream is to let his back do the talking? An action actor does not need words. He speaks with his fist and back.”
Choongho clenched his fist.
“Well, if you don’t have any intentions, then I guess that’s that.”
“Thanks for the offer.”
“You really are good at sneaking your way out. I attracted quite a few people with my words, too.”
While they talked, the shoot went on. The two main characters played out an action scene that they practiced beforehand. Since it was a difficult action scene, they didn’t take a long-take shot but split the scene up into different cuts. One punch was one cut. They would switch the camera angle and then shoot again. Choongho told Maru that it would look quite decent once those cuts were joined together in editing.
“Do you have anything after this? Like a drama or a movie.”
“No, not yet.”
“Then do you want to exercise your body with me after this? There’s a noir film that’s starting soon, and there are quite a few scenes that use the main character’s younger days.”
“A film noir?”
“It’s a movie with a mixture of crime, police, and thug-themes that’s popular in the country, and I’m in charge of combat in that movie. I need someone young that’s good at using his body, but this is quite hard. The director doesn’t want an a.d.u.l.t that looks young, but an actual high school student-like high school student. He talked about immature and unfiltered pure violence and whatnot, but the point is that he needs someone that’s young yet capable of enduring rough actions.”
“I’m thankful for your words, but are you really okay with me? I’m not that good at acting.”
“Hey! You’re more than enough. So how about it? Do you wanna do it?”
“Of course I do. It’s an opportunity for me.”
“Then we’re doing it, okay? The shoot begins late August.”
“That’s quite early.”
“Everything’s planned out already.”
“What kind of role am I?”
“You’ll either be the one that gets hit by the main character, or someone at his side.”
“I don’t get to hit anyone?”
Maru chuckled. At that moment, he remembered Bangjoo.
“Uhm, there’s a junior of mine that dreams to become an action actor, and he’s quite well-built. He’s a little short, but he’s definitely sturdy. He exercises regularly and I heard that he’s been doing Judo for five years. If you’re looking for a lot of extras, can I take him with me?”
“Well, that’s not bad on my part. I was planning to go to a gym I know and get some people there if I lacked people. However, there’s no guarantee that I’ll use him just because you bring him. I don’t believe in stuff like ‘someone’s recommendation’. I only believe what I see. You know what I mean, right?”
He’s the actress Ahn Joohyun’s little brother – he almost said those words but decided not to. There were people that took into account connections, and there were those that did not, and Choongho was clearly the latter.
“But hey, is the girl you came with in the morning a friend of yours?”
“Ah, yes. She’s my girlfriend.”
“Good. Good times.”
“Have you married?”
“I have. When I go home, there’s a middle school student that wants to go to a cram school, and there’s an elementary school student that wants the new game console. I have it tough feeding all of them. Don’t you get married early. You’re still a kid, but listen to me. I mean it.”
“But don’t you feel happy when you see your kids?”
“I do. That’s precisely why I’m working. Rather than that, I think the writer is looking for you.”
Maru saw the writer waving from afar. He nodded and stood up. Today was his last day of Youth Generation. The drama would continue being aired, but there was no more ‘class president’ role. That was because the years changed. They told him that he might be called later as a passerby, but the probability of that seemed slim.
The class president appeared as an underhanded and submissive character until the end. He just exited the drama after hearing from the main protagonist to not live a cowardly life after he found out that the main heroine was plotted against. He shot this final scene, which would appear after the scene they were shooting now plot-wise, at the school already. The class president would then get along with the rest of the class thanks to the warm-hearted main heroine. He was the typical antagonist character that had a change of heart. The mid-boss of the beginning of the drama would exit the scene there.
“Please take care of me.”
He greeted Woomin and Yu-ri, the two main characters of the drama. Since he had no opportunities to talk or even see them, he wasn’t close to them. However, Woomin kept approaching him to see if he was okay ever since he pushed Maru down during the first shoot. Meanwhile, he had never even exchanged greetings with Yu-ri properly.
“Please take care of me too.”
Woomin replied and Yu-ri focused on the script as though she had no interest. As this was a common thing for him, Maru just nodded before standing in front of the director. After the rehearsal, they started shooting immediately. Yu-ri made a mistake once because there was a moth flying in front of the lights, and Woomin made a mistake once in speech. The shoot ended after three takes.
“Thanks for all your work.”
He greeted the director and the nearby staff before walking out. The drama which he started as a substitute, and ended as a minor role, ended like this. There was no ‘audience taking notice of him and gaining popularity’ that Daemyung had talked about before. Of course, he didn’t even expect such a thing. Bada had searched him up online a few times as a joke, and there wasn’t a single article about him. That was how minor roles worked.
“You did well. I’ll treat you to a meal later.”
After exchanging greetings with the camera director Kim Jangsoo, he left the scene.
There was no pressure that he had to portray the character well, nor fierce atmosphere at the scene, so he felt neither satisfied nor disappointed. He was just thankful that another day was over without any accidents.
His shadow stretched out since there was a light behind him. He wondered if his acting skills became as large as his stretched-out shadow. The work he did with elder Moonjoong was suffocating and heavy, but he definitely felt that he had walked up a level once that was over.
A child that did not know anything learned from his or her parents. A newbie was the same. If they didn’t know something, they gained experience and knowledge from the masters by watching them. A drama shoot was more like everyday life, but he enjoyed something that he could feel proud of better. Because he was at the age where it was okay for him to fall down while learning things, he wanted to taste a variety of things and more passionate moments.
After all, he would have to choose stability over challenge once he grew up more.
“See you next Wednesday. Bring that friend of yours as well,” Choongho spoke.
Since practice was short because of the festival, there didn’t seem to be any problem. There was a meeting on the fourth, and the preliminaries of the competition on the 8th. It was quite a full week.
“I’ll take my leave then.”
“Alright, thanks for your work.”
Maru quietly bid farewell before leaving the shooting scene. He messaged his manager on his way. The reply came back soon. Byungchan told him to send a message once it was set in stone.
* * *
The next day, when Maru went to school, it felt much more real to him that the festival was the day after tomorrow. There was a large banner on top of the school gates that said Woosung Festival. The white had turned yellow due to time, but the students cheered as soon as they saw that.
“Sit down. Over there, wake up. You played games the whole night, didn’t you? Look at your eyes. Do things moderately and sleep early. You’ll suffer when you grow up.”
“We’re still young though.”
“Youth is short. I’m telling you this as a senior who experienced youth already. Oh, there’s something I need to mention regarding the festival.”
Taesik said they couldn’t bring eggs or flour or it would bring a mess with it. It seemed that someone did so at the last festival.
It wasn’t like there was anything grand just because it was a ‘festival’, but the students in class were all excited because they had no classes the whole day. It was said that the academic high school next to theirs invited a famous singer, but Woosung High did everything within the school without calling any outside people. Maru thought that it was a natural result since calling such individuals would cost money.
“Do you have anything you want to do?”
At Taesik’s question, everyone put on bored faces. Taesik didn’t ask twice. At the Woosung Festival, clubs were the main hosters of activities. There were a few classes that were preparing something, but they were few and far in between. Even those select few were mostly stalls that sold food.
“There aren’t any girls in our class, how are we supposed to make food?”
“Teacher, let’s not do anything for the festival.”
The electrical engineering class. There were zero girls across the two classes. Everyone solidly expressed their refusal since they didn’t want to spend the festival with sweaty boys. At that moment, the laughter of the girls could be heard across the corridor. Departments where there were a lot of girls, like chemical engineering, design, and computer-related departments looked like they were in a festive mood. The kids in class all became depressed when they heard that laughter.
“I should’ve gone to design.”
“Chemical engineering for me.”
“I don’t like this class.”
The class all sighed.
“Then I guess you’re all on your own during the festival. Ah, there’s a talent show event in the gym. There’s a prize, so go there if you want. There’s also a cross-dressing competition. Photos will be taken and will be on the graduation album, so it might be good to leave behind some memories. Don’t doze off during classes today and have fun. That’s it from me.”
Taesik left with the class roster.
“Maru,” Daemyung spoke as he turned around.
“We decided that we’ll hold practice sessions during lunch for the play we’re doing for the festival. Aram said that we might end up ruining things if we don’t prepare anything.”
“Alright, got it.”
Daemyung turned back around and took out his textbook for the first class. Maru wondered what kind of expression Daemyung and Jiyoon would make during the festival. He wondered if he was driving the two too far into a corner, but Aram’s driving force couldn’t be stopped now. It would be for the best if things went well and the two started dating, but it would get very complex if the two just became awkward with each other.
‘Well, things will go one way or the other.’
Maru sighed as he opened his bag.
* * *
“Yes. It’s not confirmed, but you do need to take something like an audition. It looks like they’re looking for young people for the action scenes. How about it, wanna do it?”
“I’ll do it. I definitely want to do it,” Bangjoo widened his eyes as he replied.
Maru nodded. He thought that Bangjoo would hesitate at least, but it didn’t look like that at all.
“Are there things like wire action?”
“No, it’s nothing that grand. I’ve heard that it involves police and mafia, so it should be just fistfights, I think.”
“Aha. The basics of action.”
“Just in case, ask your parents for permission. You’ll need their explicit permission if official shooting begins.”
“They’ll probably allow me. They never objected to anything unless it was serious since I started living by myself.”
“I guess that’s reasonable.”
Since Bangjoo was independent since young, they should have that much faith in him at least.
“Do I need to prepare anything?”
“I’m not sure yet. He said he’ll call me, so he’ll probably tell me then. But I’ll say this for now, if you plan to do it, you can’t do it half-assedly. Also, you’ll have to do this in parallel with preparing for the national competition. If you quit midway because it’s hard for you, you might as well not start at all.”
“I can do it. I’m confident in my stamina.”
Bangjoo looked like he would beg Maru instead if he didn’t take him. Maru smiled and said yes. He didn’t know if Choongho would like him or not, but for now, he was very enthusiastic about it.
“The play we’re doing for the festival. Are we really going with that?”
“…Well, I think so.”
“Then the two will really end up kissing….”
“I don’t know. It depends on what happens that day. We can’t have anyone crying in the middle of the school field.”
“I’ll just do as I’m told.”
“I’m also just doing what Aram tells me to.”
Maru saw Aram who was giving a sermon to Jiyoon and Daemyung. Who could stop her now? He could only send his sympathies to the two sacrificial lambs.
“Seonbae! Practice, practice! Come here quick.”
Maru sighed as he stood up.