Life, Once Again! - Chapter 383
“That’s right. Do it like you are not hitting but pushing strongly.”
Instructor Yoo then shouted ‘focus’. Maru exchanged glances with Bangjoo, who was in front of him before getting into position again. It had been two weeks since they started practicing. Although quick movements were still awkward and dangerous at times, they were able to bring the moves they practiced together to a considerable level.
He pushed away Bangjoo’s right arm to his left before sending a knee kick his way. Switching to defense, Bangjoo pushed his knee and bashed his head. Maru flicked his head back as though he got hit and swayed his arm around.
“Oh, seonbae-nim. Wasn’t that quite good just now?”
“Yeah, we were in perfect sync.”
“So practice does make perfect. It was really hard at first too.”
“How many times have we bashed each other on the head?”
“Probably more than ten times at least,” Bangjoo giggled.
“Let’s do that once more.”
“This time, we’ll start from part A and go all the way to part C.”
Their hands and feet reached out and were taken back according to a previous agreement. Although their movements were very dynamic, Maru’s head was calmly thinking about the next move. Due to repeated practice, his body was subconsciously preparing for the next move by itself, but just relying on that would cause accidents. Keep tense – action director Kim Choongho always said those words.
He shut his mouth and just thought about his next move. If he was supposed to add emotions into the acting, their movements had to be even more flawless. If the actors that were fighting together did not have trust in each other, they would become worried about accidents, and it would be impossible for the acting to look natural. He punched out towards Bangjoo’s chin in a straight line. A few days ago, they made a mistake on this part and the punch hit Bangjoo’s face. He was slightly worried when he remembered that, but he trusted Bangjoo and punched out without restraint. A ‘restrained’ action scene was worse than nothing.
Bangjoo crossed his arms and blocked his face. Maru kept extending his fist out with the feeling that he was going to push the center of Bangjoo’s guard. Bangjoo’s body was pushed back and he fell down.
Right as Maru was about to think that he perhaps went a little too far, Bangjoo did a backflip and stood up again. Maru raised his thumb at Bangjoo who was grinning.
“Geez, you guys are doing unnecessary things. Both of you, come here.”
Instructor Yoo looked at the two and gestured at the two to come.
* * *
“Let’s organize these by date.”
Daemyung received the Joseon Wangjo Sillok (Annals of the Joseon Dynasty). It was quite a thick book this time. The name of the author was different once again. Daemyung had a look at the books piled up neatly on the side. They were all Joseon Wangjo Sillok. The publisher and the author were different for all of them. Above all of them, were revised versions as well. In front of that pile were books that talked about art galleries, clothes stores, etiquettes, and large events of that era.
“It’s hard, isn’t it?” Gwak Joon sat down next to him as he spoke.
Daemyung shook his head.
“No, it’s actually quite fun.”
He opened a notebook and pressed down on the spine and started writing on the right side of the notebook. The things he was about to do were simple. Once writer Bae Chulho gave them a topic, he would have to investigate that topic by looking through books and the internet and then write the information down in the notebook. There was no need to summarize or make it easier to read and since he could write it down as it was, it wasn’t that hard.
If he gave the organized notes to Gwak Joon, he would add and remove the necessary parts and then give them to writer Bae. After a while, writer Bae would give them another topic and the same process would repeat.
“It’s not easy to write a drama script.”
He spoke as he pressed down on the pen so that he could write neatly. He thought that writing was done sitting down. He considered writing as something that he could complete by sitting down and focusing on writing each and every letter, but the actual writing of a drama script wasn’t something that could be accomplished by just sitting down.
“It’s not easy, especially in the case of historical dramas. If it was just ordinary fiction, you could just write it within the realm of common sense, but in the case of historical dramas, research is very important. Even if it has fantasy elements mixed into it, it would cause the ire of the audience if it’s completely different from what it was really like in that era.”
Daemyung nodded his head. They were adapting real events into a drama. They weren’t creating a completely new world, so it would be difficult to ignore history entirely.
‘He probably bought all these books for that.’
It had been around a week since he started helping out here. The work he had a hard time with at first gradually became better and he could do it quite quickly now. When he first heard about this work, he wondered if a student like him who knew nothing about professional writing should participate, but he was fortunate enough to just do the research without doing anything important. He had no desire to participate in the script meeting or do something with the writers. That was because he would feel pressure if he did. He didn’t like the saying ‘a caterpillar should be satisfied with eating leaves’, but he could sympathize with that saying right now.
He stretched his arms out and went to the next book. Just one volume of the historical relic had several books written about it. The authors of those books had different interpretations of the relic, so Daemyung wrote them all down in the notebook.
“But the people we saw before, they were producers right?”
“Yeah. They’re the producers in charge of this drama.”
“Wow, this is the first time I saw a real producer from a TV station. But they’re different from what I imagined.”
“What you imagined?”
“I thought that directors would look chubby, sturdily built, and have a beard, looking like someone who does art for a living. Though, I might be rude for thinking like that.”
“There are many such people among movie directors, but the people working for TV media are generally thin. I heard that they can’t gain weight because of all the activities they do. I heard that some people get reflux esophagitis because of all the stress they receive.”
“…Direction must be a hard job.”
He was now slightly worried if he could be a director.
“You’re having a hard time.”
The door opened and writer Bae entered. He was holding a tray, and on top of that were some delicious-looking watermelon slices. Daemyung stood up and received the tray from him.
“Let’s eat before continuing. Only if we get something to eat will our brains work.”
Daemyung picked up a large piece of watermelon and took a bite. The cool and sweet sensation made him refreshed.
“Are you more used to it now? I mean, organizing research materials,” writer Bae asked.
Daemyung put down the watermelon and was about to sit upright, but writer Bae said that he could stay at ease and pushed his shoulders down.
“Yes. I’m more or less used to it now. But I was surprised that you need to know so much. I didn’t do all this when I wrote my script. I’m a little worried that my way of doing it might have been wrong.”
“Hmm, it’s not like that. There is no ‘correct’ or ‘wrong’ way of writing. When you’re young, you can just write the things you want. Doing all this investigation and research is when ‘this’ is on the line,” writer Bae made a circle with his thumb and index fingers with a calm smile.
Daemyung chuckled in a low voice.
“You said your dream was to become a director, right?”
“Do your best. Kids like you, who wholeheartedly focus on your dreams since young are bound to succeed. Do you know why?”
“In truth, many people just leave dreams as dreams. I was like that as well. I worked at a company until my mid-thirties with the excuse that I’m busy. I should get to writing if I get some free time, I should get to writing after this matter is finished – like that. But I was wrong. It was all just an excuse. I should do this at this specific time – the ‘specific time’ they mention never comes to people who think like that. Only people who get to it immediately, so, people like you, become successful.”
Good luck – he added as he patted Daemyung’s shoulders. Daemyung felt courage welling up deep inside him. It was a great fortune that he was able to come to this place during the summer holidays following Gwak Joon.
“Ah, right. I almost forgot.”
Writer Bae, who was smiling in satisfaction, suddenly stood up before leaving. He wondered what it was about, and peeked outside. Writer Bae went into a small room, which was his writing room, and came back out with something in his hand. It was a black bag.
“Take this. It’s payment.”
He tried opening the bag that was closed with velcro and peeked inside. What he saw inside was a laptop. It even looked brand new as the plastic peeling wasn’t taken off yet. The manual was there as well.
“You’re giving this to me?”
“Yes. The publishing company gave it to me for me to use, but I already have one. I did try using it, but it didn’t fit right with me. Rather than having it pile up dust in a corner, it’s better to be used by someone else. Try taking it out.”
Daemyung blinked several times and took out the laptop. It was a Japanese-made one. He did look into buying laptops since typing was much easier than writing with a pencil, but he couldn’t even dream about it since they were so expensive.
After brushing the sleek surface, Daemyung quickly came to himself and put the laptop inside the bag again. Then, he gave the bag back to writer Bae.
“I’m doing this to learn, so I don’t need to receive something like this. It’s really okay, I don’t need payment.”
He was only helping out for a short time during the summer holidays. No, he wasn’t only helping out, he was receiving guidance as well. Actually, just all this research could be considered studying as well, so there was no way he could accept something like an expensive laptop while doing this.
At that moment, writer Bae, who always put on a warm smile made a scary expression for the first time.
“You’re trying to make me into a shameless man.”
“Eh, what? No, I didn’t have that kind of intention at….”
Gwak Joon picked up the laptop on the floor and put it on Daemyung’s legs. Daemyung was unable to do anything and just kept looking at writer Bae.
“People should receive proper compensation for their work. That is something natural. If you refuse compensation despite working, that’s just devaluing yourself. Work is different from charity activities. If you work, then you must receive compensation for it. Especially in this industry.”
Writer Bae looked scary as he said those words. Daemyung felt as though he was being punished.
“Of course, I’m not saying that you’re bad for thinking about it. You’re both humble and kind. I really like you.”
Writer Bae then stayed silent for a while before leaving the room with the tray. Daemyung sighed out in relief. Writer Bae looked really scary right then.
“Startled, are you?”
Gwak Joon spoke in a calm manner.
“Yes. Was I in the wrong?”
“No, you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just that seniors are adamant when it comes to things like that. Once, a junior writer wrote a full-length novel. It really took a long time for that person to edit. To the point that he became ill for it. That junior was thinking that it was still good since it was published, but the royalties kept getting delayed. That junior writer and the CEO of the publishing company were quite close friends, so the president kept telling the writer to wait when he brought up the royalties topic.”
“What happened after that?”
Gwak Joon fell silent for a while. He looked at the ceiling with his eyes cloudy before speaking.
“He committed suicide. That was four years ago. It seemed that his family wasn’t in a good financial situation.”
“Most of the time, death comes due to the most trivial reason. However, it’s a gloomy problem for the person in question. After that, senior became really angry when people didn’t receive what they should. He also looked at people that gave away their talents for free to the ones with money. That publisher actually did a lot of that. I’ll give you an opportunity to get your work published, so try writing. Of course, I can’t give you money, but think of it as an opportunity – just like that. Other times, he held a competition and gave out a small amount of prize money and held the work hostage until it was the right time.”
Gwak Joon was saying all those things calmly, but Daemyung thought that he was even more upset than writer Bae about it. He could imagine the burning rage in his eyes.
“If you’re also going to sell your talents for a living, whether it’s directing or writing, don’t ever do anything that brings you damage. Not only will you bring yourself harm, but it will also end up destroying you. Bear that in mind.”
The laptop on his lap felt very heavy.
 Written across 25 generations (472 years) of the Joseon dynasty kings so there isn’t just one book. Wikipedia for more details.
 It’s written in hanja, so modern publishers should have published translations of the book.