Life, Once Again! - Chapter 560
When eating, one acted before the will to ‘pick up the spoon’. Drinking water was similar. There was no one who put thought into the movement of the shoulders, the angle of the elbow, the gap between the fingers, and the gripping strength. Action occurred before the will to ‘grab the cup’. There should probably be no one who worries about every minor detail when taking actions that happen in everyday life. However, actors had to get used to seeing the obvious as not so obvious.
Maru had his eyes closed. He was acting sleeping. If he was actually asleep, there would be no need to worry about his action. The height of the pillow might be a point of consideration, but the angle of his face, the curling of his body, and the number of breaths per minute would not be something to worry about. However, since he was acting, he had to put thought into everything.
‘Maybe it’s better if I move a little?’
He slightly twisted his right arm, which was between his body and the floor. He pictured what an organic movement would look like in his head and opened his ċhėst as naturally as possible. Being conscious of his every action was an incredibly tiring thing, but as his bodily actions were what transmitted the message to the audience in this scene, he had to concentrate on everything.
Sometimes, actors would get told to ‘relax’ when they’re shooting. This was usually said because the stiff movements looked unnatural and that the actor should loosen the tension and act naturally. The director might say it as though it was something simple, but the actor who receives those instructions would probably have their head go blank. Just relax which part and how?
Maru also did not know what a completely ‘relaxed’ acting was like yet. He just had a vague grasp of it as he watched the elder and other senior actors do their work. They made up his thoughts of was what a ‘relaxed’ acting was like. How do those seniors act naturally? Was there a formula for ‘being natural’ and he just had to follow those guidelines? Or did he have to immerse himself to the point that he forgot that he was acting?
There was probably no correct answer for this. He had never heard someone say that there was an answer to acting theory. The people that say that one path was the true way were probably fraudsters.
The actors who looked natural when acting probably gained that naturalness through hard effort and/or the accumulation of time. Just listening to them describe what being natural was would not let a new actor gain that naturalness. It might help out somewhat, but in order to truly make it their own, they would have to find their own unique ways.
This was a topic thrown to all those that aspired to be actors: imitate being natural.
Acting and being natural. These were two contrasting concepts. Acting was an artificial art of becoming a certain target with a specific purpose. The moment ‘acting’ was added into the mix, it would move further away from being natural. How could there be any naturalness in abandoning oneself and becoming someone else? The life of actors was perhaps the path to resolving the contradiction that ‘natural acting’ contained.
“Okay. Maru-seonbae. We’re done,” Sora said.
Maru slowly opened his eyes. His body, consciously drained of energy, was telling him that he was tired. He felt that he might actually fall asleep if he kept lying down.
“Come and check it out.”
Maru stood up and walked over to Sora and Ando. The video that was shot just now was being replayed on the ŀȧptop.
“Ando had it hard, huh.”
Ando controlled the camera for a long time while crouching down in order to shoot a person lying down. He was holding a heavy camera in a fixed posture for a long time, so the pain in his arms had to be substantial.
Maru looked at Sora and said that he liked it. Sora also didn’t have any complaints. It seemed that she quite liked it as well.
“Let’s do the long-take now. Please get ready.”
Maru sat down on the electric heater mat and read through his script again. As they did a rehearsal, he knew what to do. What was left was to express the emotions requested by the director in detail and as naturally as possible.
He slowly closed his eyes and controlled his breathing. He felt his thought processes separating. He had the funny thought that he might be able to hold a discussion with himself later.
‘2nd year of high school. Ordinary family, both parents working, cheap house, the damp and moldy smell of a semi-basement, mold strewed throughout the home. The home might not be much, but to me, it’s my only shelter. Once I leave this 40 or so square meter area, I would start breathing heavily. This place is my shelter. Leaving it is worse than death for me.’
Powerlessness overwhelmed him. He also felt like he had a stomachache. He could hear a mocking laugh from somewhere. His instinctive self, which was thrown into the role of the main character, was dissolving into the character quite well. While the grey-colored inner state of the main character surfaced, Maru’s other self took a step back and watched and evaluated the other one in a rational sense.
A tired high school boy. A student who found no joy in life and was afraid of the school. He was pained with diarrhea and stomach aches every Monday morning, yet could not tell his parents that he was being bullied at school. It was a depressing character background, but this place was his shelter. It would be better if the unease inside him slowly leaked throughout in a progressive manner. It would keep increasing as he opens his eyes and goes to the kitchen to eat breakfast then reach its peak when he leaves through the front door.
A self that was trying to understand the psychology of a cornered student and a self that had turned into that student. The important point was to pick out just the advantages of each.
Maru did not know how other actors did their acting. To be exact, he did not want to. Having another, recognizable self was probably not a typical case. It was clear that no one’s acting theory could explain his current situation. Maru intuitively realized that this gift was from god. As the woman in white said, it wasn’t a superhuman power or anything, but it was definitely useful.
“We’re starting the shoot. Please get ready. The camera will keep moving, so bear in mind the camera angle when you take action.”
Hearing Sora’s voice, Maru got his emotions ready. He lied on the mat and watched himself as a 3rd person.
He pushed back Han Maru’s consciousness and put forth the ego that had turned into the main character of the film. Unpleasant emotions stormed inside his body. He extracted the negative emotions from the numerous events in his life. The depressing consciousness soon took over his body.
He then slowly opened his eyes. He looked at the alarm clock placed next to his head. 7:30 a.m. What a painful number.
Being conscious of the camera was the job of the rational self. The instinctive self, which had practically become the main character with method acting, probably could not recognize the camera even if it was within his vision. The instinctive self was really thrown into another world. This was why the directing part had to be done by the self that was aware of everything going on around him.
He sighed as he stood up. The fact that he had to go to school tightly wrapped around his heart. His body became heavy regardless of his will, and an unpleasant burp kept escaping his mouth. He blankly stared at the clock before standing up. He didn’t want to go, but he had to. He didn’t have the courage to pick the choice of not going.
‘Think about the distance between the camera when walking outside.’
‘Don’t do any exaggerated actions. Eating is what’s important, not showing that I’m eating. Seeing is the worth of the audience. I just have to eat.’
He scooped out a bit of the cooled rice and put it in his mouth. He looked at the family photo placed at the tip of the table as he stuffed his mouth. He was suddenly reminded of his middle school days. Back then, he got along well with his friends. But what led him to his current state? Once he finished eating, he had to get washed, change his clothes and go to school. Ah, twenty thousand won. He just remembered that he had to bring twenty thousand won today.
Maru calmed his agitated emotions down. The main character of the film was someone who had never expressed any distress in his life. Swearing at the table was the only relief he was allowed. He couldn’t get emotional and smack on the table with the spoon or anything like that. An extremely shy boy – that was the impression he had to show the audience.
‘I guess it’s not that bad until this part.’
The absorbed self ate slowly as though this was the last meal of his life. He felt that it was too artificial and sped up a little. Until last year, he had the tendency to break the immersion when the rational self directly interfered with the instinctive self, but he had now gotten used to it so his emotions did not waver.
As planned, he ate around a third of the rice before putting down his chopsticks. He covered the food with the tablecloth again before slowly standing up. There was a camera right in front of him. At this moment, he had to leave everything to the self immersed in the main character.
I don’t want to go. I don’t want to get washed. I want to say here. This is bad. I feel like what I just ate is coming back up. What can I do?
“I need to go. I need to go.”
* * *
Ando clenched his teeth. He even held his breath. He instinctively realized that his scene was the best one. Even if they took another shot at this, Maru might not be able to produce this level of quality.
Looking at Maru’s face through the LCD screen of the camera, Ando swallowed his groan. There was no dark makeup on his face, and it wasn’t like the lights were off either. There were fluorescent lights on the ceiling, and Maru’s face had a good color thanks to the light from them. His complexion looked good. However, his expression – those eyes – looked devastatingly depressing. Ando could feel with his body why they called the eyes the window into the soul. It did look a little over the top, but he didn’t think that it was a flaw.
Maru acted as though there was no camera in front of him. But it wasn’t that he wasn’t entirely unaware of it. He moved his head and body slightly so that the contours of his face could be captured on the camera. It was curious. Actors were really different. Ando was realizing the wonders of someone who got paid for acting.
‘That’s right, come slowly. Just a little more, just one more.’
He matched his steps with Maru backwards to the bathroom. His left wrist was screaming at him to rest for quite a while now, but this wasn’t the time for that. He had to capture this fellow. He closed up on the face so that it was at the center, and slowed his breathing down so that the camera did not shake when he was trying to capture Maru, who was looking at the lens with disinterest.
This was one of the things that Sora requested. Maru was not looking at the camera right now. He was looking at the audience that would see this film. Sora intended to throw a question at the audience with this scene by having a similar one right at the end.
As this was the most important cut, he didn’t want to make mistakes. He stepped backwards so slowly that his feet had cramps. When Maru’s feet finally touched the doorsill of the bathroom, Sora said ‘cut’ in an extremely small voice, so small that he would not have heard it if he didn’t focus, even in this silent situation.
Ando definitely heard her voice, but he did not put the camera down.
When he breathed about two times, Maru, standing in front of him, suddenly frowned and violently breathed out. From that moment, various noises could be heard as though the silence was broken with a hammer. Ando also spat out his breath as he put down the camera.
No one spoke for quite a while. Even Ando did not. Only after about 10 seconds of silence did Sora say something.
“Hm, I think we finished the shoot, right? Haha.”
Hearing her laugh, Ando finally loosened up his tension. Maru was faintly smiling as well.
“That was awesome! Let’s check the footage for now!” Sora shouted excitedly.
 One used to cover the food, not the table itself. Korean people used to do this a lot when leaving food on the table.