Chapter 186

Moonjoong let out a small sigh after taking a sip from the tea.

“I was a little bit lost since I’ve never acted out a role like this one, but preparing for it is still as fun as ever.”

“Did you go to the lake again, sir?”

Moonjoong shook his head at Gwak Joon’s question.

“No, I went to a better place. It helps me focus. There isn’t anyone around either.”

“It’d be troublesome if someone was there. You’d get reported for sure.”

“That’s true.”

It was difficult to grasp what the conversation was about. Maru opened his mouth silently.

“...A report?”

“I get a little bit loud.”

“You’re not just loud. It’s spine-chilling. Watching you act makes me reach for the phone almost instinctively, sir. I almost dialled 119 yesterday.”

Gwak Joon sounded like he was joking, but his words weren’t light at all. Moonjoong waved his hand with a laugh.

“What about you, then? You sound like you’re having a tantrum when you write in your room. It honestly made me wonder if you were crazy.”

“My tantrums are nothing compared to you, sir.”

It seemed the two men already formed a deep bond, that was unexpected. Gwak Joon seemed like an incredibly logical and judgemental person to Maru, someone who was as far away from jokes as one could ever be. The way he was talking to Moonjoong seemed to Maru like that of two old friends, he even had a light smile on his face.

That wasn’t all. The man was speaking lightly, but still maintaining his politeness. Maru felt like he was looking at two very experienced, very skilled giants from the way they treated each other. Two titans of their respective field who recognized each other.

“You must have something to say to Maru, sir.”

Gwak Joon got up from his seat.

“I’ll take this away.”

He opened the door with the teacup in his hand.

“Goodnight.”

“Yes, good night.”

Gwak Joon left, only then did Moonjoong finally take off his coat.

“Joon is an incredible person. It’s difficult for someone his age to have such a mindset. He feels like a very mature, full person on the inside.”

“I think so as well.”

“Did you talk with him for a bit?”

“Yes. I learned a lot from him. He changed the way I thought about things a lot as well. He’s a bit sharp around the edges, but that only adds to his charm.”

“He’s very sharp indeed. That’s what makes him who he is. He doesn’t look at things the way most others look at it. Rather cutting it vertically, horizontally, and even disassembles it completely in the end. Thanks to it, he often brings a new perspective to the table that others haven’t considered before. I’ve worked with many authors, but there weren’t many I could really address as such... Joon is a great author for sure.”

“He seemed very embarrassed by that title.”

“I like that part of him too.”

Moonjoong sat back down.

“Right, didn’t you tired getting here?”

“Geunsoo treated me well.”

“He’s working very hard as a driver.”

It was a six hours long round trip. By the sounds of it, this certainly wasn’t Geunsoo’s first trip. Knowing how difficult long-distance driving was, Maru felt pretty bad for Geunsoo. The man said he was fine with it, but the accumulated fatigue must’ve been immense. It was obvious from how he was sleeping in the living room.

“I have to ask him to drive me up again tomorrow. I feel very bad about it.”

“Massage his shoulders some time.”

“Yes. I really should.”

“Anyway, did you read the book?”

“Over ten times, yes. It’s a problem. I can’t let go of it once I put it in my hands.”

“Joon’s book is an amazing piece of work. You get sucked in as you read it.”

“I think so as well.”

“That’s what worries me more. We’re going to have to surpass the original work without hurting it. There are numerous writers and sub-writers working on the scenario still, but they still don’t like the latter part of the movie. We can’t even properly work on the storyboard without the script and the scenario either.”

“I heard the term in the morning as well, but what is a storyboard?”

“Ah, yes. You haven’t seen it before. I keep talking to you as if you already know everything about the industry. How odd.”

“I’ve only started acting half a year ago. I have a lot to learn.”

Moonjoong nodded and started looking around the drawers next to him, he grabbed one of the papers in front of the stand and gave it to Maru.

“This is a storyboard. It’s a little bit different for every author, but generally, it looks like this.”

Maru started turning the pages one by one. There were drawings inside little rectangles on the paper, almost like 4-cut comics in newspapers. Outside the rectangles were a bunch of words he didn’t recognize.

“Industry terms. Mostly regarding camera work. The director uses this to plan out the angle and the position of the camera before actually filming. A good storyboard is a movie of its own.”

Maru flipped through as he listened to the man’s explanations, there were a few pages with very detailed cuts and few pages with more words than pictures. It wasn’t difficult figuring out the overall plot of the movie despite not knowing all the words.

“There wasn’t anything like this back in my days. It’s rather new to the industry. It lets the director see their final product before filming and it reduces having to travel so much for filming.”

“So it’s like a manual.”

“That’s right. A very kind manual for a good movie.”

“So the filming will start once the storyboard for ‘Twilight Struggles’ is complete?”

“Correct. I heard we finished the introduction and most of the main plot. Once the screenwriter finishes the latter parts, we can go straight into filming.”

“And the auditions would happen before that. I heard it was next month.”

“It got delayed a little bit. It’ll probably be the first week of May.”

“A little more than a month, then.”

Maru responded as he stared into the storyboard, the paper had a very detailed description of how the director wanted to see each scene. There was probably no better piece of work than this in trying to see what was going on inside a director’s head. Maru’s hand came to a stop after flipping through a few more pages, they were blank like Moonjoong had said.

“Movies are pieces of art that take a truly large number of people to create. That’s why you have to act with even more care and focus. Being unable to act adequately in a movie is rude towards everyone else who’s worked with you on it.”

Heavy words. The plays performed by school clubs were created by the pitiful few members of the club, that made it much less pressuring as a result. It would feel bad if the play failed, but at least you weren’t hurting other people as a result. The story was different in a movie though, hundreds of people worked together to make a movie. Filming, sounds, lighting, editing, special effects, action scenes, location scouting, sets, food… Even Maru knew that a single movie would cost an incredible amount of money.

“The scary thing about films is that the actor is the only person who’s going to be on screen.”

Moonjoong spoke with a very scary look. He didn’t seem to be explaining the movie industry to a student, it looked like he was warning a fellow actor of the industry.

“Hundreds of people gather to complete a single movie. But in the end, the deciding factor of success largely lies in the actor’s ability. No matter how good the story is and no matter how fancy the special effects are, if the actor on the screen is just a wooden doll, it can never succeed. That’s why you always need to stay nervous.”

There are times when high budget films crash and burn while low budget films rake in an incredible amount of cash. Most of the time, the amount of cash invested directly correlated with the amount of money the movie was going to make, but the complete opposite could happen very easily as well. As Moonjoong said, everything was up to the actor in the end. There were directors who could overcome an actor’s shortcomings for sure, but in the end, they too liked to work with skilled actors.

“It makes me feel like I’m choking sometimes. Whenever the staff tell me that we need to succeed and tell me how much money went into the project, I want to run away. The director keeps asking for more retakes, the whole set gets filled with a nasty, cold air… It’s a horrid combination, especially coupled with the fact that I can’t act to their satisfaction.”

“How did that movie go?”

“We managed to turn up a profit, thankfully. Back in my day, we used to have hundreds of movies coming out yearly.”

“Hundreds?”

Moonjoong nodded.

“Because there weren’t any other forms of entertainment back then. It was shortly after our liberation as well, so many of us wanted to jump in with the intent to revive our culture. Many of us became odd by the end because of money though. That’s why I moved back into the playwriting business.”

Moonjoong’s story was rich with history. Then again, the man was there from the very beginning. Just listening to his story gave Maru valuable knowledge.

“You must’ve felt very odd thinking about standing in front of the crowd again.”

“To be honest, I’m nervous. Almost as if I was back shooting my first film. I’m also a little amazed that so many people are willing to risk their money on an old man like me.”

“Please don’t say that. There were so many people who came to the Myungdong Art Theater just to see you.”

“You’re only getting better at complimenting people by the day, aren’t you?”

“I might as well be the tongue in your mouth, sir.”

Moonjoong raised his eyebrows a little bit with a mock frown before smiling again.

“I hope you don’t lose that confidence. Please succeed in the audition.”

“I’ll try my best. But there’s no way good actors won’t come to audition for a project like this one. I’m a little scared that I might not come through in the end.”

“Regardless, try your best. At least try for the delinquent. The more time you spend in the industry, the better you’ll get.”

“I understand.”

“Ah, by the way, the time...”

“It’s 2:33am.”

“Time for bed, I see. You should go to sleep. We have somewhere to be tomorrow morning.”

“Somewhere to be?”

“I didn’t call you here just to talk to you. I wanted to show you something. Something that could help you with your acting.”

“Is it the lake, by any chance?”

Moonjoong nodded slowly.

“Geunsoo will be joining us as well since he has a role he’s trying to get.”

“Which role is it?”

“The third son. The one that dies first.”

“Isn’t there a fight scene? I recall the old man wasn’t able to take the son on his first blow in the book.”

“That’s right. We’ll have to roll on the ground several times. I’m exercising again because of it. I’m going to have to lose more weight as well.”

Only then did Maru realize that the man looked much skinnier than last time.

“An old man who lives by picking up scrap pieces of paper can’t afford to be this fat.”

“You aren’t going to become unhealthy by doing this, are you sir?”

“I spent half of my life acting. If I can’t even control my body, I might as well give up my title as an actor.”

He seemed to have slowly lost weight over time through maintenance. Perhaps Moonjoong had an idea of what the ‘old man’ was going to look like by the time he got the book and started modifying his body accordingly. In any case, the man was amazing.

“I’ll be taking off then, sir.”

“Right. Close the windows before you sleep. The air gets very cold at night.”

“I understand.”

“Be sure to cover up your belly as well.”

“Yes, sir.”

Moonjoong sounded like a worried grandfather. Maru stepped outside, his chest feeling a lot warmer than before.

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