Life, Once Again! - Chapter 398
“Let’s eat dinner before we continue.”
Changsung said as he saw the sunset. The time on the set was managed by the skies. Even if a digital clock indicated that it was 8 p.m., it would still be ‘noon’ if the sun was still up. Although cutting-edge technology was being used on the set, time was still ruled by analog means.
“The start is good. There were no accidents, and we’ve shot all the day scenes that we planned,” Jinhyuk spoke as he raised the walkie-talkie volume. He told the staff members that were scattered throughout that it was dinner time.
“It might be just beginner’s luck, so don’t let your guard down. Oh, where’s the leader right now?”
“He’s over there. Should I call him?”
“No, I’ll go there.”
Changsung told Jinhyuk to eat first before walking to where the leader was. He could see the leader who was gathering the background actors.
“Thanks for your work.”
The leader smiled back at him.
“I think I’ll be fine with twenty people for the evening shoot. Let’s send off one of the coaches and shoot with just the rest.”
“What kind of people should I leave behind?”
“Five women in their forties to fifties, and the rest should be men of equal ratio across different ages.”
“Okay, I’ll do that.”
“Have you had dinner yet?”
“No, I’m about to though. How about you, producer?”
“I was about to eat as well.”
After telling him to have a nice meal, he then greeted the background actors.
Just as he yawned and was about to go to where the staff was eating, he saw Moonjoong passing by.
“Sir, are you going to have dinner?”
“No, I was going to do some greetings.”
“Do some greetings?”
“Don’t mind me and eat first.”
Moonjoong smiled and walked by. Changsung turned around and followed where Moonjoong was going with his eyes. Who was he going to greet? He became slightly curious and followed with a bit of distance between them. When Moonjoong stopped, he was standing in front of the background actors who were getting ready to go home.
“Have you had dinner?”
Hearing that, most of the background actors shook their heads. Food was only provided to those that had shoots in the evening, so most of those people would have to get on the coach without being able to eat.
“You should have dinner before you go. Uhm, leader. Can I take these people to that restaurant over there?”
“Ah, sure. Please do.”
The leader, who always had his eyes wide open and had meticulous control over people, smiled back at Moonjoong as he replied. Moonjoong thanked the leader.
“Thank you for all your work. You should eat your dinners over there.”
Moonjoong took the fifty-or-so background actors to the home-style food restaurant right in front of the tourist district.
Changsung took out his walkie-talkie as he saw the restaurant’s door close.
-Yes, please speak.
“The coach departs in 30 minutes.”
Changsung smiled and put away his walkie-talkie. It had been almost 10 years since he started his job. He had come across numerous veteran actors. They were veterans of war who had survived this fiercely competitive entertainment industry. Most of them did not care about what was around them. They just came on time and left once their job was done without any flaws.
Among them, there were some that only looked after themself, scolded the staff for not giving them high-class outfits, and even treated the staff like servants. However, most of the time, they explained in words what they needed and checked on the results themselves.
Such people had formed a nearly perfect action mechanism as an individual so they did not require nor want help from others. Even when an accident happened on the set, they would either solve it quickly or quickly step back. Watching them gave Changsung the feeling that they were like machines in a way.
When he was still a newbie producer, he always got angry when seeing leaders who treated background actors without any respect. The leaders did not speak with polite speech even to those older than them, pointed fingers, and raised their voices whenever they felt like it. He didn’t say anything since his senior producer did not say a word about it, but inside, he was burning up with passion that he should right this wrong.
In one such moment, there was a veteran actor who watched the scene with him, and that actor called him to some place quiet to have a talk.
“If it’s not related to you, don’t mind it. This place is a complicated place.”
Changsung became very angry when he heard those words. One of the leaders of the entertainment industry had said such a thing. He avoided those incidents with excuses, much less step up and prevent such matters.
The figure of that actor, as well as the mechanical image of veteran actors in Changsung’s mind, overlapped and he started seeing all the veteran actors as hypocrites who acted like they didn’t see anything when they saw injustice as long as they weren’t involved.
He inwardly thought that that was why people said that the entertainment industry was corrupt, and thought about what he could do to fix it. Just then, he saw the leader in front of his eyes.
Changsung scolded the leader with his position as the producer and told him to respect the background actors and not shout at them. He expected the leader to make a sorry expression and apologize, but the leader just said okay before saying to him just this:
“The responsibility is on you then, okay?”
After that, break time was over and the shoot resumed. They had to put the background actors on wait and call for the lead actors, but he couldn’t see the background actors that were supposed to be prepared. They were in a rush as well. The skies had turned dark, and there were signs of a coming rain so they had to be quick with the shoot.
Changsung quickly looked for the leader. That was because the leader was in charge of managing the personnel. When he asked the leader where the actors wearing the palace outfits were, the leader shrugged and said that he told them to wait in this place.
Back when the only form of communication was pagers, the props team had collected the pagers from the background actors, saying that it was a hindrance to the shoot. Having no choice, he and the leader ran around the area looking for people, and he was able to find people wearing palace outfits taking photos with other people.
Changsung was flabbergasted. He asked why they were here and not waiting. When he said that, one of the background actors smiled and replied to his question with another question: ‘Isn’t it fine even if we just go back now?’
Anger rushed up to his head when he heard such complacent words, but just then, it started raining. He could hear through the walkie-talkie that the shoot was over. Changsung shouted at the background actors on the spot – What are you doing? Why can’t you do this properly? Are you here to play around?
After a round of commotion, the background actors just returned while saying that he was making it into a big deal. He had to watch in vain as they walked away. The leader then approached him and spoke in a small voice,
“That’s what you get for stepping into something you can’t even take responsibility for. You asked why I shout at them, right? That’s because they break their promises on a whim, run to somewhere else on another whim, and won’t listen to any word I say if I tell them in a nice way. To us, this is work, it’s our job. We’re people who would die if we can’t do the job. However, among those idiots, there are people who just come to get some pocket money for the day. I also want to be seen in a good light. But can I control them if I ask them nicely? Of course, there are nice people as well. There are many people who listen to every word I say even if I tell them nicely. But there are more people that don’t. This is a workplace, not a place to evaluate their personalities. You should put work first. Anyway, let’s just do our jobs in the future, okay? Don’t butt in.”
He was embarrassed. As a newbie producer, everything in the world seemed unjust, but the people living inside had their own order.
Just as he got an earful from his senior producer, a veteran actor quietly said a word to him.
“I still don’t understand how amazing I would have to be if I am to take care of others in this world where I have a hard time taking care of myself. That’s why I gave up after trying a few times. I get that you’re young and ambitious, but you should do it when you can. If you get yourself fired up for something you can’t even do, people around you will get tired, not you.”
In a world where stars rose and fell, those that witnessed the shine and disappearance of numerous stars had their own means of survival. They weren’t dismissive of the weak from the beginning. It was just that they put in their best efforts to survive.
It was precisely because the world was like this that Moonjoong was amazing. He greeted the staff of his own accord, and looked after the background actors. Many times, he sat with them and listened to their stories, so some of the staff that had never seen him before would sometimes be confused that he was just an elderly man who came to play a background role.
Moonjoong looked after others in unseen places just that much. On top of that, he did it at every single shoot.
It was a harsh world. Overnight shoots couldn’t be counted, and they had to wait indefinitely if the environment didn’t match what they needed. In such a place, looking after others when it was hard to look after oneself was incredibly difficult.
If asked whether he wanted to become a person like Moonjoong, Changsung would reply no. The little duckling that scolded the leader at that time was long gone. What remained was the sense of duty to create good works, as well as the small ambition of being successful.
Changsung took off. He had to finish his meal before it was too late. Just as he was walking on the streets of the Joseon era, he saw the minor actors for the beggars walking towards him from the other side.
“Have you had dinner?”
“Yes. We ate already.”
The one that replied was the 2nd beggar. His name was… yes, Han Maru. It seemed that he really became the leader of the group after spending their time together the whole day as the rest of the children seemed to be following him.
“Alright. See you later. You’ll get to go home after the evening scene, so do your best.”
Changsung walked past him and walked along the fences of the hanok. Just then, he felt a presence behind him and turned around. There, he saw Maru.
“What is it? You have something to tell me?”
“Can I ask you a question?”
“I’m asking this just in case, but are there instances where the actors for the roles are switched from the original decision?”
“Instances where actors change, huh.”
Changsung crossed his arms. Although Maru had a calm expression on his face, perhaps due to the shade over his face, he gave off a sharp impression. He also seemed a little angry.
Actor change. Changsung made a faint smile. There were a few instances where minor actors asked him this question. He couldn’t say for sure that he knew what they were thinking, but they should all be thinking similar things. They probably came across a lead actor or a supporting actor that seemed inferior to them and were asking if they could replace that actor.
Do your best, if you put in the effort, it’s possible, win against them with your skill. Many words flashed by in his mind, and Changsung finally spoke,
“Absolutely not. Dramas are a meticulously-planned market.”
He didn’t even look disappointed. He just took a bow as though he asked that question to get confirmation and turned around.
“But why do you ask?” Changsung asked this time.
Maru turned around again and spoke,
“I don’t have a specific reason. I was just curious.”
“Is that so?”
“Well, I guess that doesn’t matter then.”
Maru turned around once again.
After watching him for a while, Changsung said one more thing.
“The roles can’t change, but their importance might.”
As soon as he finished his words, Maru replied.
“I thought so as well.”
There was a nonchalant smile on his face.