Chapter 255

“Phew, nice building,” Dongwook spoke as he looked up at the building. It was a skyscraper. He wondered how much it would cost to build a building here.

‘Hundreds of millions? Easy to say, hard to do.’

In dramas, the protagonists were scammed of hundreds of millions of won whenever it happened. However, how was it like in reality? Hundreds of millions was just a number in dreams and just a few million was enough to ruin someone’s life. Dongwook wondered if the building with ‘JA’ engraved on it was real even when he was standing right in front of it. It was too unrealistic. As his life consisted of having to juggle between thousands of won when buying lunch, this building was at the extremes of his fantasy.

Although he walked around in front of the building with the notepad he had been carrying since he first started working, he came across nothing.

The big 3 entertainment companies were causing quite a scene in the industry in the recent days. Especially NL Company and their TTO. Journalists could be seen flocking outside the NL Company building even now. They had their meals in their cars and observed who came to and from the company. If they found a trace of TTO, then they would immediately start following in secret. It was a secret investigation of sorts. Some said that entertainment journalists did more undercover missions than the police.

Dongwook was also aware that camping outside NL Company was the best when it came to writing articles, but he was also aware that he had to take action if he wanted anything big.

‘JA is quite suspicious these days.’

Lee Junmin was someone who everyone knew of in this area, but the same didn’t apply to JA Production. It was mostly seen as a company Lee Junmin created to handle his tax. However, it started investing in movie production from the beginning of the year. Even the financial district had rumors about Lee Junmin beginning to move for real.

The most well-known actor belonging to JA Production was currently Kim Suyeon. According to her profile, she was 26 this year. Although she was a young and relatively new actress, she made her name known through continuous appearances on several short drama series. However, she was only relatively well known compared to other actors of JA Production, and she was lacking compared to other well-known actors and their filmographies. She was never cast as a main role as well. Although the career of actresses was becoming longer and most actresses continued their careers into their late 30s, considering that the mid twenties were their prime time, the lifespan of actresses wasn’t that long.

Moreover, there were all sorts of bad rumors about her. Although there was nothing confirmed, she seemed to have relationship problems, so it seemed difficult for her to become mainstream.

As such, JA Production wasn’t that well-known to the public. Lee Junmin was also just a famous figure within the industry and was never introduced to the public, so both the company and its CEO were not well known.

Although it seemed somewhat lacking compared to the achievements that Lee Junmin had made, Dongwook came across an interesting fact while hunting down Lee Junmin recently.

Lee Junmin was known as the maestro of finding new talented trainees. There were many instances where a child actor or actress became a youth star through his hands. However, what was strange was that none of those stars belonged to JA Production. It would be understandable if it was five years ago since Lee Junmin hadn’t created the company back then, but he easily gave away the stars that he recruited and raised to other companies even after founding JA Production. As a result, the only actors that belonged to JA were Kim Suyeon and some new actors.

What was interesting was that JA Production did not accept Lee Hyuk. Who was Lee Hyuk? He was a rising star that shot numerous commercials and caught the hearts of many ladies. The story that the shampoo Lee Hyuk modelled for doubled in sales was quite well-known in this industry. It was surprising that Lee Hyuk, who many companies were paying attention to, went to JA Production with his own two feet, but what was even more surprising was that JA Production rejected him.

After that story spread out within the industry, people started taking interest in JA Production. The majority thought that Lee Junmin was neither intending to make the company big nor planning to form the company with a small group of elites. They thought that he was focusing on raising new actors.

Companies without any issues meant that the journalists had nothing to write about them. It was a waste of time to hold a camera towards the companies without actors that caused trouble. However, Dongwook was suspicious. This was why he followed Junmin and found out that there were actually many actors that were not well known to the public that Junmin frequently met up with. Dongwook, who knew nothing about the industry, started investigating and found out that the actors in their 20s and 30s that Junmin frequently met with were actually quite well-known in the theatrical world.

Actually, the theatrical world in Korea was very small. He found out during his investigation that even in Daehak-ro, known as the holy land of actors, there were many theaters that were going out of business. Junmin was going around meeting actors from such places?

Dongwook investigated even deeper regarding Hong Geunsoo, Yang Ganghwan and Yang Miso, who Junmin frequently met with. Although all three of them were in their early 30s, their career was different from the rest.

The actor known as Hong Geunsoo was a talent well-known in the independent movies scene, and there were rumors about some companies giving him offers in secret since the talent he showed in the movie that won the Mise en scène Movie Award was incredible.

Yang Ganghwan was amazing as well. He left the Seoul Metropolitan Theater and went to Daehak-ro to do the acting he wanted to. Although his boldness in giving up a stable income and risking his life was surprising, he even participated in the production of many stages as well as acting in them, leading them to success. Although he was quite a minor actor since most of his acts were about social satire, there seemed to be many of his fans who went to watch his acts.

Next was Yang Miso. Although her acting career was quite lacking compared to the other two, her position as a trainer was very high. She used to be an instructor in Film Academy, which was one of the biggest actor education facilities around. Recently, she was discovered to be coaching some theater companies or college-level clubs after having left Film.

Dongwook witnessed Lee Junmin meeting other actors that were not introduced to the mainstream media. Was Junmin going to let go of those people as well? From his investigation, he judged that that wasn’t the case. They seemed to be really close and it seemed like they would continue to be so in the future.

Then why did he not take those actors under JA Production’s wings? Dongwook was very curious but he couldn’t pry open Junmin’s mind.

In such a situation, he finally saw a movement. He saw that Hong Geunsoo was participating in the movie produced by JA Production.

Hong Geunsoo was a minor character in the movie everyone was talking about in the movie world, ‘Who Gave the Elder His Hammer’. Dongwook believed that this wasn’t a coincidence. He couldn’t erase the thought that Junmin was trying to bring the actors under his personal wings onto the surface from his mind. He still remembered what Lee Junmin said in a prior interview.

-My dream is to meet an actor or an actress that I can only look up to.

He used the word ‘meet’, not ‘raise’. From those words, it seemed that the actors he raised and sent to other companies were not those that he could only look up to.

Then what of the three that he maintained a close relationship with? What was the reason Hong Geunsoo and Yang Ganghwan still did not belong to a company yet?

Dongwook believed that the actors that Lee Junmin kept under his personal wings were the ace up Lee Junmin’s sleeves.

Of course, up to this point, nothing seemed to be of value as a journalist. It was more of a ‘there’s a rumor that such and such is happening’. However, the story changes when considering that JA Production is still an unlisted company.

Dongwook had seen several instances of the stocks shooting through the roof due to a name value of a celebrity. The stock price would skyrocket during an M&A just with the fact that there was a famous celebrity among their ranks. This was a flow of money that was already proven.

Lee Junmin was an excellent businessman at the same time he was a capable teacher. He raised several buildings like the one in front of Dongwook in the past two decades. He should be aware of the power of money, and should also be aware of how to make even more.

If Lee Junmin decided to make a move, then the first task at hand would be to prove the skills of the stars he raised that ‘still haven’t received the spotlight’. Dongwook believed that this movie would be the start of it.

‘If this is what I think it is, then this is huge news.’

Dongwook bought a cup of coffee from the vending machine in front of the building when he saw a youth coming out of the building. He was holding an envelope in his hand. Although he seemed quite old from afar, Dongwook found that he looked quite young when he looked up close. He was a little short as well.

‘Why would a kid like that be here?’

Dongwook had a glance at the kid passing next to him while drinking coffee. Due to his attention being focused on the kid, he tilted the coffee cup too far away from him, and thanks to that, he ended up spilling the coffee onto his shirt.

“Ouch, that’s hot!”

He let go of the cup and swung his arms. The child passing next to him quickly got out of the way, but Dongwook’s fingertips hit the envelope. The opening of the envelope was ripped as it fell down on the floor.

“Oops, I’m sorry,” Dongwook shook his hands that became red from the heat as he spoke.

“Not at all. Is your hand alright?”

“It’s a little hot, but I’m fine. How about you? Aren’t you hurt anywhere?”

“I’m fine.”

Dongwook nodded his head and reached out for the envelope since it fell in front of him. He was about to give the envelope to the kid when he saw the words ‘JA Production’ at the top. Dongwook flinched and quickly read what followed after it. It was an exclusive contract.

‘This is….’

Dongwook looked at the kid in front of him while holding the envelope.

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KTLChamber's Thoughts

I want the fluff! Give me fluff!

For some reason, I find this episode really disturbing. Dongwook spilt his coffee all on his own, but the kid is apologizing...? How the hell did he end up 'swinging his hand outwards' from a coffee spill and 'hit the envelope right at the opening' that it was 'ripped open'...?