Life, Once Again! - Chapter 742
Choi Haesoo nervously nibbled on her pen. Teeth marks could be seen on the blunt end.
“You must be tired, right?” Park Hoon said, sitting on the other side.
“You must be even more tired since you just finished a shoot, producer. I’m fine. Rather than that, this ‘Park Gwangsoo’ character, I think we should make him a little more daring.”
“Park Gwangsoo, huh. Do you think that would be better?”
“It’s a romantic thriller. I think a supporting character can be a little more extreme.”
“This scene where he’s waiting for Chaeyeon in the alley. I think we should make him a little more gloomy. Park Gwangsoo is a dandy character, right? We should give him a little twist and show a little lunacy. For example, gifting a doll with a red thread around the neck or a pair of dolls connected with handcuffs.”
“So you’re saying that Park Gwangsoo will appear all of a sudden with a smile on his face and gift a strange doll, am I right?”
“Then I’ll try fixing that part up a little. What do you think of the other parts?”
After flipping through the pages, Park Hoon smiled, seemingly satisfied.
“It’s so good that it makes me wonder if this really is your first time writing a scenario for a drama. There’s nothing for me to say.”
“Stop putting me on a pedestal and tell me if you don’t like any of the parts. This is also my first attempt, so there are a lot of parts that I’m lacking. It really is different from a novel. There are the directions to consider, and I have to consider that it’s going to be adapted into a video.”
“That’s the hardest part. A writer I know of even decides how much time is allocated to each scene. She writes every single cut with a specific duration in mind. That’s no longer a script; it’s just an instruction manual.”
“I have a lot to learn.”
“You’re doing plenty well, so don’t worry too much. I’ll help you as much as possible.”
After saying those words, Park Hoon took out his phone.
“Please, give me a sec.”
His phone made a sound.
“What are you looking at?”
“The debut piece of a junior of mine is airing for the first time today. I wanted to watch it from the beginning, but this meeting is more important.”
“Is it a drama?”
“Yes, she’s the first female producer of the YBS drama department. She’s so strong-headed that even the seniors don’t want to go against her.”
“I’m not sure about the details, but I heard that it’s really hard to see female producers in the drama department, am I right?”
“It is. Not to mention the work environment, there are many people among the staff who are rough around the edges, so it’s hard to have everyone harmonize. But this girl is literally a female general, so people follow her well. Even I have to watch two episodes in advance to not get an earful from her.”
Haesoo raised her head slightly. She was slightly concerned by the title of ‘first female producer in the drama department’. Park Hoon put the phone in the middle.
“It’s a late-night mini-series, and she used a pojang-macha as the subject. I’m not sure if that’s a good idea or not, but she sounded pretty confident, so I should watch at least.”
As she was looking at the phone, a familiar boy appeared. Haesoo said ‘excuse me’ and put her face closer to the screen. It was definitely Maru acting inside that small screen.
“What is it?”
“I just saw someone I know.”
“Here, the one in a daze. He’s called Han Maru and….”
Just as she said up to those words, she was reminded of the drama that Park Hoon was shooting.
“You know him, don’t you?”
“Of course, I see him every week. But how do you know him?”
“He’s on good terms with my daughter. That’s how I know him.”
“Really? That’s a coincidence. Do you remember how I told you there was a person I want to use as a supporting character?”
She recalled the words Park Hoon said when they started fleshing out the drama. He told her that there was a boy that could perfectly act out the character that she was thinking of. Haesoo looked at Maru, who was acting inside the screen, and spoke,
“That was Maru?”
“Yes. There’s no one better than him around his age. His skills are one thing, but he also has a really good atmosphere around him. He has good comprehension, and it’s easy to get along with him when working with him. That was why I was planning to cast him for this one.”
“I see. Were you planning on having him play the role of ‘Lee Minsung’?”
“That was the plan. What do you think, writer? I was originally going to talk to you about the cast after we finished editing the scripts up to episode four, but since we’re at it, I might as well ask.”
“Lee Minsung, huh. Lee Minsung.”
Lee Minsung was a college student with a twisted view of romantic relationships. Haesoo thought about a prankster when she came up with Minsung. Someone who was very popular thanks to his talents but was incredibly sharp when it came to his views on love.
“Well, I actually wanted a more round image. So that the inner nature stands out when it’s revealed.”
“Maru might look cold at first glance, but he’s someone who can do gentle acts as long as you ask him to.”
“I know how well he does. I even wrote something after I watched Twilight Struggles. What I want though, is not some light violence like that of a street thug; I want something heavy – or even cruel – to the point that people who see him get stricken with fear and wouldn’t be able to even think about resisting.”
Park Hoon opened his laptop.
“Have you watched a drama called ‘The Witness’?”
“I’ve heard about it.”
“Maru is in that drama as well. That drama is the reason I set my eyes on him.”
Park Hoon turned the laptop to the side and pressed enter to play the video. After pressing some arrow keys to skip back and forth, he let go. A boy was sitting face to face with the popular actress Ahn Joohyun in a room that looked like an interrogation room.
It took around ten seconds for Haejoo to realize that the boy was Maru. He gave off such a different impression. It was hard to come up with a relation to Maru after seeing that sharp, nay, violent-looking, face. The Maru that showed her daughter a gentle smile overlapped with the Maru in the video. They really didn’t look alike at all.
A moment later, a violent act began. He began smashing his head against the metallic table to the point that it made her worry that he might get injured. Ahn Joohyun rushed to him and grabbed him by the hair. Maru screamed as his eyes rolled backwards, struggling for life. No, rather than ‘screaming’, ‘roaring’ seemed to suit him better. His eyes were bloodshot and were full of killing intent. It was such a cruel scene that it made her hold her breath.
“What do you think?”
“I knew he was good, but I never guessed he could give off such a feeling.”
“I think that he will be able to digest a nonchalant act all the way to a violent murderer. Just look at this drama. He looks nothing like the murderer I just showed you. He looks like nothing but a clumsy student. Yet, he doesn’t look awkward. I think that he’s a good actor whose image does not stick to him.”
Haesoo nodded. She just watched a tempting act. There was no reason to object.
“Looks like I should keep Maru in mind when I write the next episode. It’ll become much easier to flesh out the character.”
“Sure, go ahead.”
“But you have to cast him, okay? It’ll be troublesome if he doesn’t end up joining us even though I wrote something with him in mind.”
“Of course, I was about to talk him into it anyway. We got the main scenario, and the script for the first two episodes, so it doesn’t matter even if we proceed with it now.”
“Since we’re at it, what are you planning to do about the other actors?”
“I wish to listen to your decisions as much as possible, but it’s quite difficult to use a top-tier actor for a new writer’s drama. We have to think about the budget as well as our circumstances. Well, if the scenario is good, you’d find actors who are willing to get lower pay but honestly speaking, that’s quite rare.”
That was something she was expecting, so she wasn’t that disappointed. This was her first-ever drama. It was the change of the novelist Choi Haejoo, who had been living off of novels, essays, and magazine articles, to the drama writer Choi Haejoo. It would instead be strange to expect a big investment in a little chickling like her. She was planning to do her best within the environment she was given.
“I actually don’t know any actors, so I’ll leave you to do the casting, producer.”
“But you should still see the main actors. The thing about dramas is that it feels different when it’s in script form and when it’s actually acted out.”
“Then please come up with a schedule and tell me about it later.”
“Yes. I’ll do that.”
Haejoo looked at the clock. It was 11:40. The meeting ended late at night once again. This café, which was open until 1 a.m., had now become something like her secret hideout.
“Thanks for your work today.”
“Don’t mention it. It’s you who’s doing the work, producer. It must be quite a hassle to lead a beginner like me, isn’t it?”
“You’re doing plenty well, so don’t think like that. Also, we have a reliable ally. If it comes down to it, we can always call for an SOS.”
A reliable ally. Haejoo thought about Lee Hanmi, who should be dazing out in front of a monitor right now. She, a veteran scenario writer, helped her out a lot with completing this scenario. She encountered much less hassle thanks to a junior who was famous.
“Then I’ll see you next time. Please keep up the good work until then,” Park Hoon said as he stood up.
“I’ll try my best.”
Haesoo also stood up with her bag.
* * *
She powered on her laptop as she listened to the drama’s ending song. She opened an internet browser and entered a café that she usually visited. It was a café that mainly talked about ladies’ fashion for people in their 20s. She moved the mouse cursor and clicked on the free bulletin board.
-Did anyone watch the late-night drama that just ended?
As for the content, she only put a single dot. Five minutes after she posted that, there were no comments to be seen. It seemed like no one had watched since late-night YBS dramas weren’t that popular. She found it quite a pity. She wanted to chat about the drama because she found it quite decent, but the internet was tranquil.
She refreshed the page a few times before browsing through the funny stories section. She browsed for about 30 minutes and thought that she should go to sleep when she found a red dot on her status bar. It was a notification that a comment was added to her post. She quickly clicked on it. There was a comment at the bottom.
-I watched it too. I had nothing else to watch, and it turned out to be pretty decent.
She found a colleague. She quickly tapped away with her fingers. The vivid colors, the food that made her drool, as well as the ordinary love story that she felt like she could relate with. She added a comment that it was quite refreshing to see a drama that talked about something more relatable than the Cinderella stories that usually aired around this time.
The other person agreed with her. The two of them got along pretty well. She started adding comments while fidgeting with her toes. Then, she found another person commenting on her post. One person, then two, then three… more and more people joined the conversation.
Some of them asked if that drama was really interesting. The woman typed without hesitation: You must watch it.
The moment she noticed that other people were getting slow at posting their replies, she realized that this was over. Usually, posts like this burn up for an incredibly short time before cooling down. She clicked on the free bulletin board for one last time, thinking that she should turn it off.
“What the, there’s quite a lot of people.”
The entire bulletin board was filled with people talking about that drama. Half of them were talking about how they ordered some food while watching the drama, while the other half said that they chuckled as it reminded them of their first love. She looked at the clock. Although she had to sleep in order to go to work tomorrow, she found it a pity to close the laptop now. She remembered the high school boy that shyly confessed at the end of the first episode. A ticklish sensation made her want to talk about it even more.
She decided to open a chat room. It was 12:20. 27 ladies without sleep started chatting.