Life, Once Again! - Chapter 737
Jayeon looked at the monitor while covering her mouth. This was the last cut, and it needed tears in the act. She was blessed with luck as there was snow, so she wouldn’t ask for anything else if the act was good.
The two actors were captured in the angle. The faint steam that rose up from the bowl was tickling Maru’s face, and Ganghwan, who was indifferently cleaning his cooking tools, was showing his affectionate side by giving Maru glances from time to time.
Although there was not a single well-known actor or even a beautiful spectacle for that matter, Jayeon had confidence in this drama. This drama would definitely be the talk of the people. The basis of her confidence was the two people acting right now. Ha Byungjae, Choi Mira, Kim Yuna. While these three showed their skills to their fullest extent, they paled in comparison to the two people in front of her. Ganghwan’s act had reached a state of perfection when he was still a college student, and now it had reached a stage of maturity and was just before establishing his own brand. As for Maru, he didn’t lose out to any of the adult actors despite his young age, and he even stood out from time to time.
A good man who himself was an unfortunate writer with an uncertain future, but also someone who could not ignore other people’s pains; and a student who changed his personality in pursuit of the girl he liked, but resultantly ended up crossing paths with her. The characters that had formed over the course of four episodes were now rushing towards their own endings.
Maru lowered his head as though he was about to stick his nose into the udon bowl. What Jayeon had in mind was to do a master shot with everyone and everything in it first before getting a close-up of Maru’s sad face. She judged that it would be hard to capture the details of his emotions with the side angle that they were shooting now.
“I think this might be better,” she said in a small voice.
Although she couldn’t clearly make out Maru’s facial features because the camera shot from far away, it was surprisingly incredibly clear that Maru was crying in sadness. The two hands that clutched the udon bowl; the trainers that stuck to the ground before being lifted off slightly; the shrunk shoulders; the breath that was mixed with the steam from the udon; and last but not least, the intermittent crying noises. The crying noise was not that big. In fact, it was barely audible to the point that it might as well be have been drowned out by the other sounds. The crying sound was mixed with the wind, which would disappear during the post-processing. It was the cry of a boy who could not cry out loud.
Ganghwan, who was sitting on the other side, opened the steamer. This wasn’t in the script. Jayeon kept watching. When actors got into the flow of acting, they started doing things that were above and beyond what the script could tell.
He took out some soondae from the steamer and put it in a bowl. He put it down next to Maru, who was crying silently, and started chopping up radishes to put into the fish cake container. It was the consolation method of a man who was awkward at expressing his emotions. The pojang-macha he started in order to avoid the problems of reality ironically ended up being a place for him to console other people. It befitted the character ‘Lee Jaewoo’ that Ganghwan interpreted, who felt more pain when it came to other people’s pain than his own hardships.
Jayeon looked at Maru again. Until now, the emotions followed through quite well. She wondered how he was going to react to the improvisation of the soondae. Jayeon would feel satisfied even if he burst out laughing due to the absurdity of the situation. After all, everything just looked too good until now.
She got ready to shout cut. Now that she got her hands on some good footage, it was a good idea to cut off their emotions now and consult with the actors about changing the next part. The word ‘cut’ climbed up to the back of her tongue.
After staying silent for a while, Maru started moving. He swallowed the noodles that were about to fall through his teeth. It seemed that the two actors still had something they wanted to do.
He stared at the soondae for a while before raising his head. His face, which couldn’t be seen clearly until now as he was looking down, was revealed. Above the neck that had veins all over it from trying to hold back his voice, was a face filled with complex emotions. He sniffed before wiping his tears with his sleeve. He spat out a deep breath and Jayeon could feel a heart-thumping something from his actions.
“I only have 1,000 won.”
He repeated what he said before, but his expression looked different. He forced himself to smile. The boy who felt embarrassed about crying in front of a man who was much older than him looked young and immature at most, even if he wanted to look like nothing had happened. He looked like he was about to return to the times before he tried to change himself to imitate the girl he liked.
Although the bitter breakup was still there, it didn’t hurt. Jayeon started contemplating as she watched the act of the two that went one step beyond the breakup of youths that she wanted to picture originally. If she decided to keep the improvised bit at the end, the story between the student couple would turn from a cup of black coffee into bittersweet dark chocolate.
“Cut!” Jayeon shouted loudly before walking over to the two people.
“Let me ask you something, hyung. What do you think love is?”
“What the hell is this about all of a sudden?”
“Just tell me. Do you think love is closer to a cup of black coffee or a bar of dark chocolate?”
“I’m not sure what this is about, but I’ll go with dark chocolate. I could never bring myself to like coffee.”
“What about you, Maru?”
Jayeon looked at Maru. Maru faintly smiled, his eyes still red.
“I also don’t like things that are only bitter.”
“Good. That’s fine.”
“Should I get ready for the next cut?”
“No, you’re done.”
“I said you’re done. There’s no more shoot for you.”
Maru stood up in a daze.
“Hyung. Boil some more water and make another bowl of udon. Also, chop up some more soondae. We need to get a close-up shot of those. No wait, both of you, just follow me. I’ll show you what we got just now. Tell me if you don’t like any of it. Hey, little one! Boil some water and set up the bowls, will you?”
Jayeon felt agitated. She came up with everything for the drama, including the plot and the script, and the drama followed along until the last moment, but there was now a scene that didn’t go according to her intentions. A cut that was not of her intentions, that was what excited her. Perhaps it was the creator’s duality to want the world they built to be sturdy yet also want something or someone to go beyond their expectations.
While she worked as an assistant director in the drama department, she got to know that different producers had different traits in the way they produced. There were directors who minimized their communications with the actors and perfectly implemented the world they wanted, while other people would proactively reach out to the actors in an attempt to create a better picture. What Jayeon ultimately aimed to become someone who directed everything so perfectly that no one would be able to give suggestions to her, but that was clearly impossible right now. Her understanding of videography was shallower than the camera director, and she couldn’t say that she had a deeper understanding of acting than the actors. Her world was still incomplete. That was why, when someone stepped out of her picture, Jayeon chose to ask a question.
The camera director approached her as well when she gestured to him. After checking that their eyes were fixed on the monitor, she played back the footage. No one said anything until the end.
“Director Yoo, didn’t I do a good job?” said the camera director with a smile.
Jayeon raised her thumbs up in response. She then turned around to look at the two actors.
“If you don’t like it, I’ll just shoot again. If you like it, then we should just go with that,” Maru said.
“Are you going to air that completely? I think that was more than a minute. Can you air that much in a drama without changing cuts? I’m asking because I don’t know,” Ganghwan asked.
Jayeon just replied ‘it’s a mini-series’.
“Then there we have the answer. If you like it, director, then you should just push on with it. It’s not me who gets in trouble if it does bad.”
Ganghwan walked over to the pojang-macha with a refreshing laugh. Maru also shrugged before following suit. Jayeon’s lips curved. Those answers helped her make up her mind.
“Senior, get the surrounding scenery. Can you do it while it’s still snowing? I need everything with that lamp post at the center.”
“I can do that. I just need to change the lens.”
“Please take care of that. Also, I need a shot from a bird’s-eye view. Please take an overview shot from the roof of that building.”
“I heard you called for a jimmy jib in the afternoon, though?”
“That’s for a zoom-out shot from the top of the pojang-macha.”
“So you did end up using it. I was wondering when you were going to use it since you were saving up so much of the budget.”
“I should save up when I can. It’s all outsourced after all. Or would you like to do it instead?”
“I don’t have a jimmy jib. You can borrow it from the entertainment program side. I heard they have one there.”
“Sure, if they are willing to lend it to us.”
Jayeon clapped and shouted.
“Let’s eat for now!”
* * *
The end of the shoot came much earlier than he expected. Maru opened the lunchbox in a daze. The scene he thought would take several cuts ended with just one. Although going home early was a present that was always welcome, it was way too early today.
“If you don’t have anything to do, you should just cheer from the sidelines,” Ganghwan said as he sat next to him.
“I’m rather puzzled because it ended so early.”
“You’re going back to the studio after shooting here, right?”
“I think I’m going to have to shoot until early tomorrow. This goes against the contract. I liked it when I got paid by the day, but going past midnight happens way too frequently. When I’m rehearsing for a play, I would start packing up once the sun falls, but there’s nothing like that here.”
“That’s why they say TV work is hard. The actors can go home once they’re done with the shoot, but those people have to clean up afterwards.”
“You’re right. They work even harder than us.”
He stuffed the cold food in his mouth. It was warm when he got it, but it cooled down quickly because of the snowy weather.
“You were good.”
“I mean your acting. There’s nothing more pleasing than someone accepting my act like that, and you were really good too.”
“I did wonder a little when I saw that soondae next to me. Should I eat it? Should I leave it? Should I continue even though it wasn’t in the script? Should I stop?”
“You did pretty well.”
“Please tell me next time. I still lack the skill to keep up with spontaneous changes like that.”
“You did plenty well though. Anyway, it was worth teaching you.”
“Yes, it was worth learning.”
He drank the miso soup from the plastic container. It was still warm.
“You’re still managing your throat well, right?”
“I never ceased to.”
“That’s good then. If you keep up with the basics, I’m happy with that.”
Well done – Ganghwan patted his shoulder before standing up. He finished his lunch box in that short time period.
“Don’t go home first. This hyung-nim is gonna have a hard time, so it’s not right for the little brother to rest easy.”
“Now that makes me want to go home even more.”
“What a mean guy. I hope you fall over while going home.”
“So you’re saying it doesn’t matter what happens to me now that the shoot is over?”
“Of course. Divine retribution will fall on a guy who ditches the actor that he worked with.”
“If it’s divine retribution, I’m receiving one right now.”
“I’m going home early.”
“Why don’t you give that retribution to me?”
Ganghwan waved his hand and walked away. Maru finished his food before standing up. The character he went to many lengths to analyze would close his eyes today. He wondered how he would show up on TV, as well as what kind of reactions the people would have.
“Thanks for your work.”
Maru thanked the actors and the staff who were getting ready to shoot again for one last time.