Life, Once Again! - Chapter 375
The method was very different from how she taught at school. At school, Miso just gave instructions. The only thing that awaited those that were not able to follow instructions was cruel leg stretching. She put importance on unified acting rather than independent thought and tried to put all the students into a standardized mold like the military. It was Miso’s way of building the foundation.
However, the people gathered here were either pros or aspiring pros. There was no reason to follow a forced and unified education style. Miso’s way of doing lessons was to first talk about the theoretical stuff, and then bring up examples to explain. After building the founding knowledge, she immediately had her students practice.
Most of the acting was free acting. There were times where she would give context, but most of the time, she induced the actors to create a situation for themself. After the act, the actor would then explain the theoretical stuff themself: what the surface and inner emotions were; whether they matched or not and if they matched, why they matched or if they did not, why they did not.
Miso asked questions until the answerer couldn’t say anything anymore. Although Maru was just watching, he felt his strength draining. When Gyunglim said that she was scary, he thought of an instructor that shouted at the students, but this was on a completely different level. Shouting, they could just ignore. They might feel bad while they were being scolded, but they would be able to forget about it after some time. Moreover, it was easier on the mind as well since it didn’t require any action on the student’s part.
However, these kinds of lessons where they had to devise their own acts required the students to think about their actions endlessly. Miso did not scold people, but she persistently asked questions about their acting until they could not answer anymore. It would end only when they were at a loss for words.
“Haa, it’s so hard.”
Gyunglim became utterly exhausted as she collapsed on the ground. She looked like she didn’t have the strength to sit on her seat. She fell sideways and started sighing. Sungjae approached Maru.
“What do you think?”
“It’s terrible. Shouldn’t you report her to the police for human rights violation?”
When he said that, Miso, who was drinking water in front of the beam projector screen said that she could hear everything.
“It’s hard, but it’s worth it. I feel like I’ve returned to my younger days.”
“Your younger days?”
“Before I entered TTO, I was going to an acting school. That was during high school so whew, that’s nearly 10 years ago.”
“Your dream was to become an actor when you were young, huh.”
“It still is. Becoming an idol is well, a strategy of sorts. When I think about it now, I must have not been confident in myself. That’s why I followed the president’s words. If I really had the confidence that I would do well, I would have probably stuck with that path and not become an idol.”
“Do you regret it?”
Hearing that question, Sungjae smiled and didn’t say anything. Maru sipped some water before speaking.
“I think it was a splendid decision.”
“Yes. If you become successful after walking down a path filled with hardsh.i.p.s, you might look cool, but there is no difference in success, is there? As long as you’re doing good, then that’s good enough. If someone gave me the same offer, I would take it without hesitation. No, wait. Being an idol isn’t easy, right? If you think about it, those that will become successful will become successful no matter what. They just take detours.”
Did Sungjae win the title of the ‘best idol in Korea’ through gambling? Did he pick it up from the side of the road? With the rise in popularity of idols, there was a rise in the number of idol-related TV programs as well, and Maru got to watch a doc.u.mentary of trainees that wished to become idols. They staked everything into their agencies in order to become idols. Junmin once said that the actor market was a red ocean. In Maru’s opinion, the idol market was a blood ocean. Sungjae said that he was not confident, but with that tenacity and passion of his that put him in his spot right now, he would probably have done well no matter what it was.
“If you put it like that, I feel thankful and a little embarrassed.”
“If you appreciate it, then give me another autograph. My sister is starting to become defiant so I need a carrot for her.”
“Haha, sure. But looks like you’re on good terms with your sister, huh? One of our members would just shudder at the mention of his little sister.”
“Well, she’s a piece of luggage. I heard that Gwangseok-hyung was in this class as well.”
“He says he’s taking the day off because he has an appointment today. You know him as well?”
“The three of us, including Gyunglim-noona, met during a shoot before. All three of us as minor actors.”
“I see. A movie shoot?”
“No, it was for a drama.”
“You haven’t shot a movie since Twilight Struggles?”
“I haven’t shot one yet, but I am training in order to shoot one.”
“That’s good. Sir Moonjoong told me that it would be bad to have a long rest period. Looks like you don’t need to worry about that.”
“I have it rather lucky.”
Practice was important, but not losing a sense of the real deal was just as important. It was a very good fortune that Maru was able to keep acting without a long break.
“Looks like the elder has told you a lot of good things.”
“The elder? Oh, sir Moonjoong, huh. Hm, actually, I was scolded a lot instead. The day I met you was my first day on the set, and I was scolded big time from the get go.”
“By the elder?”
“Yes. Looks like I had something like an inferiority complex. That’s why I became nervous by myself when I first arrived at the set. I believed that the actors would not see me in a good light. After all, I hear quite frequently that idols are trying to steal the places of actors.”
Sungjae smiled in embarrassment.
“But I realized the next day that I was horribly misunderstanding. Stealing their places? That was just a delusion. I could never win against them through acting.”
“However, when it comes to popularity, you won’t know what would happen.”
Maru provoked him slightly. How would he try to avoid sensitive topics? There was a need to see what his personality was since they would be taking lessons together in the future. He looked likeable on the surface, but he needed to talk to him in depth to find out for sure.
“You’re right. That’s right as well. In entertainment programs, that works. The same goes for dramas. After all, it’s easy to access. You can see idols as long as you have electrical power and a TV, so in the perspective of TV stations, featuring idols to raise viewing rates must be a convenient method for them. I admit that going on TV programs using popularity is easy. Also, I thought that the same formula would work on movies as well. Until just a while ago, that is.”
Sungjae took out a movie poster that was folded in half from the sports bag that his manager brought him. It was a thriller that was released during the summer holidays. Two men were glaring at each other, and one of them looked to be in the forties, while the other looked to be in the early 20s.
“You know who this is, right?”
Sungjae pointed at the younger guy. Maru shook his head.
“I don’t know idols that well.”
“Really? Well, I guess you wouldn’t be that knowledgeable if it’s not girl idols.”
In truth, Maru didn’t know a lot about girl idols either. Maru smiled awkwardly and waited for him to continue.
“He belongs to a group called Change, and he’s a rather popular guy. They placed 1st in the rankings not too long ago as well. There was a bit of acting skill controversy when he appeared as a minor character in a drama, but it soon disappeared. In my eyes too, he wasn’t that awkward at acting. Like that, this movie was released. I heard that the agency stretched its investment in this. It was all the rage on the internet prior to its release. There were many fans that said that they were going to watch it five times.”
“Didn’t this disappear after around a week or so? I heard that the acting was shit.”
Gyunglim, who had been watching from the side, suddenly spoke. She immediately became startled and looked at Sungjae’s face. It seemed that she was never going to get rid of her habit for a lifetime.
“I-I didn’t mean that, but.”
“You’re right. It did horribly. I went to watch it last week. I mean, it’s a movie with an idol as the main character. I wanted to see how it was as well as the atmosphere at the cinema. Also, on how well it would do. The movie itself was not that bad. The story was interesting, and the acting skills of the prosecutor character, actor Choi Jaechul, were good as well. But this guy, this guy made it look bad.”
Sungjae folded the poster again. He had a relaxing smile on, but it looked like he was seeing far into the future.
“There were definitely many girls. The internet was still hot about it as well. But that was it. There was nothing other than that. At the start of the year, the movie Silmido was released, right? And it received over 10 million views. In that movie, there were no actors that had lacking acting skills. Even the actors that I don’t know the name of, contributed to the movie with heavy acting skills. Back then, I thought that it would be fine to replace one of them with an idol. I believed that even if one of the minor actors was lacking, the power of popularity would make up for it. But I found out that I was too narrow-sighted through the movie shoot this time. On TV, popularity does work. But it doesn’t work for movies. I forgot about the obvious fact that you need to go and pay for tickets to watch a movie. I was mistaken just because I was a little drunk on momentary popularity. I forgot that the public was frighteningly sensitive to ‘fun’. The ‘fun’ that can be satisfied by idols and the ‘fun’ that can be satisfied by movies is different.”
He nodded his head before putting the poster back in his bag.
“Sorry for stepping over the line.”
Maru apologized to Sungjae. He felt sorry that he tried to probe him out. What he found out through this conversation was that the person named Ahn Sungjae was not light at all. Only those that think deeply can introspect themselves. Sungjae was a person that had already finished looking back on himself and was making progress. Meeting people like him as a junior at a company would make the senior both happy and afraid. That was because they knew that that junior would soon rise in ranks.
“No, I feel good since you were just as I expected.”
“Just as you expected?”
“When I shot Twilight Struggles, I kinda became insistent on staying there. I delayed my entire schedule and begged the president so I could stay there. My part of the movie was finished already, so in order to find an excuse to stay there, I did some menial work for the staff and drank together with them at night. The fact that I can drink a lot helped quite a lot back then.”
“Drinking? Did you perhaps drink with the elder as well?”
“Yeah, as well as the other actors. Back then, sir Moonjoong talked about you a lot. He said that you’re quite bold and unexpected and that I will never be bored when I’m with you. Now that I met you in person, I think I know what he was trying to say.”
“I’m not that bold. I’m a quiet guy.”
“This guy says whatever he wants and is so c.o.c.ky.”
Gyunglim suddenly interfered and said a line.
Sungjae laughed. Maru just watched as Sungjae laughed heartily.
‘He’s a decent guy.’
He might really be a good guy. Maru always had a bad image of idols, he thought that Sungjae might change his mindset.
“Looks like the lesson was too easy for you from how you’re laughing and chatting. Well, then. Let’s resume, shall we? Let’s start with light acrobatics to remove those smiles on your faces.”
Miso clapped as she walked forward. Maru wished them luck before walking backwards. Today, he was just watching after all.
“Mr. Han Maru.”
“Where are you going?”
“Going back to my seat and watching?”
“You don’t need to. Come here and stand against the wall. If you’ve been keeping in shape, you should be able to stretch your legs out like last year.”
“I thought I was just watching for today….”
“Do you want to do it moderately today? Or do you want to do twice as much, tomorrow?”
Maru walked to the wall as he watched Miso’s twitching smile, thinking that there were enemies he could not win against in this world.
* * *
“Then see you tomorrow, everyone.”
Miso left the lecture room with a refreshed expression. Maru clenched his teeth as he fell to the floor. This class was even harder than his action classes.
“You still alive?”
Sungjae spoke from the side. Maru replied yes in a small voice.
“Looks like Gyunglim-noona died.”
“It seems so.”
“Should we hold a funeral for her?”
“I’m too exhausted to do that.”
“I guess we can’t help it then. Let’s just go by ourselves.”
“Alright. Oh, Maru. Do you want to eat together? There’s a good bossam restaurant nearby.”
“Are you buying?”
“I wouldn’t have someone younger than me buy.”
“I’ll treat you like a big brother for a lifetime. Are you going too, Gyunglim-noona?”
Gyunglim stood up like a zombie and slowly nodded.
“Ah, right. Sungjae-hyung.”
“What is it?”
“You know what?”
“Apparently, you like someone.”
“What the heck does that mean?”
Sungjae tilted his head, and Gyunglim screamed as she stood up.
Seeing her, Maru giggled for a while. He really liked this class.
 An actual movie released in 2003. Wikipedia link for more details