Exams ended, and it became a new month. It was June now. The grade card, which some had been anticipating, and most had been dreading, came out. Maru was 10th in his class. He was satisfied. After all, he was above average.
“Don’t forget to get your parents’ signatures.”
The homeroom teacher ended homeroom after that. As soon as he left, everyone started sighing.
“Haa, I’m doomed,” Dojin sighed as he put down his grade card.
He skimmed through it and saw that he was 27th in his class.
“Like I told you last time, you won’t get into culinary arts college without good grades.”
“Apparently, I can go to one with the interview and a practical skill test for junior colleges.”
It seemed that he had done a bit of research.
“Or, I’ll just forget university and just start from the bottom in a random restaurant.”
“You mean Iseul’s store?”
“No, that’s the place I have to take care of in the future.”
“Oh? I’m kinda confused because you sound so serious.”
Dojin was commuting to his girlfriend’s, Iseul’s, family store to do a part time job. Although he started off with helping out with menial chores, it seemed as though he was learning how to cook from Iseul’s mother. Maru jokingly said that he’ll marry into her family, and the joke was no longer becoming a joke.
“Cooking was fun. It’s hard peeling onions and mashing garlic, but the satisfaction I feel when I finish a dish and put it out is considerable. If the customers say that it was delicious then that’s the cherry on top,” Dojin grinned.
It seemed that he had found his calling.
The general outline of the education system in South Korea went like this: elementary school focused on building humanism within the children; middle school focused on educating career paths, intended to induce them to think about what they want to do in the future; while high school focused on the specialized education according to their career path. Though, this logic didn’t apply in the current era.
There was one and only one objective upon entering elementary school. That was college. The question ‘what is your dream?’ had long been lost, and students wrestled with their pens and papers all the time in order to get into a better university. Middle school and high school were no different. None of those places taught about what life was.
Even teachers always said that ‘you can do that in college’. Everything had to be delayed until after entering college. They did not teach the students anything about the world. Like that, the students would spend 12 years of studying to get into college and suddenly become adults. By then, they would be 20 years old. Even though 20 wasn’t that young, the only thing students knew by that time was the ranking of universities within the country due to the 9 years of compulsory education and 3 years of semi-compulsory education.
They were supposed to think about what they want to do for a living, and find what they were good at, but due to the lack of care from the older generation, as well as the incompetence of education, students would have just become a machine that solves questions, with ‘dream’ something being out of sight.
In that sense, Dojin could be considered a lucky guy. He already found what he found enjoyable. He also had a place he could show his talents, so it was all the more better.
“Good luck with that.”
“But have you told your parents about it?”
“I tried bringing up that topic indirectly, but they don’t seem to hate it that much. My dad liked it. He said cooking was also a skill set, and that there won’t be any problem with living in this country with a good skill set.”
“Your father is 100% right on that. If you don’t find any hope in studying, you’d better start focusing on cooking instead. Look into cooking classes and the like. You should learn the basics at least.”
“I’ll think about it.”
His friend, who had once been wondering about what to do with his life, had decided on a direction and was going forward. Maru felt proud for some reason. At the same time, he felt a sense of warning that he could not stay lazy. Today was the 3rd of June. It had been three days since the shooting of the movie began. He did not know how much of the story they filmed already, or whether or not there were any problems, or what it was like during the shooting, but he believed that no news was good news.
The shooting of the movie was scheduled to take two months. According to what he heard, the finalized movie was going to be released at the end of this year or at the beginning of next year after all the editing was finished. When he first heard about the schedule, he wondered if 6 months was all it took to produce a movie. That was because most movies had the tag ‘5 years of production’ or even ‘10 years of production’ when they were being talked about.
Geunsoo filled his curiosity on that matter.
-That’s because the planning stage is included in the production time.
Aptly named ‘pre-production’, the stage that decides the general direction of the movie took the longest period of time. The movies with long ‘production times’ were apparently those that had a lot of effort put in in the pre-production phase or experienced trouble during that phase.
The production of the direction, the script as well as the research into the world-building of the movie had to decide everything about the movie, so it had to be done to perfection. Naturally, that took a long time.
After that was the crank-in, which was the actual filming phase, also called the production phase, followed by the post-production phase, where all the editing would happen.
-The filming period itself is not that long unless it’s a blockbuster-level movie where each scene has to be created from scratch. In Korea, it’s mostly around two to four months. With a good rhythm, it can take as short as a month. After taking all the video footage comes the editing part. I mean, the film rolls cannot be called a movie themselves. The quality of the footage before editing is not that good.
As this work involved the best staff and the best actors within the country, perhaps two months was a generous amount of time.
‘18th of June,’ Maru reminded himself of the date he would be shooting his scene.
Fortunately, it took place on a weekend, so he didn’t have to miss out on school. Although it was a night shoot, he had to be there at the scene beforehand, so things would have gotten a lot more complex if it took place on a weekday.
‘Is it about time I make a decision?’
Junmin had told him that he would become busy once he started working. What he meant is that his school attendance record might be affected. He would have to repeat a year if he missed out a third of the total academic year, so he had to take care of that as well. Of course, an actor who has not made a name for himself like him would never become that busy, but it was always good to prepare beforehand.
“Oh, yeah. Maru. I heard that the instructor isn’t coming today.”
“Yeah, I heard as well.”
Daemyung spoke to him. The reason she couldn’t come was probably because of the movie shoot. She had mentioned that she might be doing a new drama soon. She would do her instructor work on a level that does not hinder her career, and Junmin should have allowed that as well.
“We might have to do this by ourselves.”
“Really? Then I guess I should put more consideration into it.”
Daemyung accepted that fact without much hassle. Maru thought that Daemyung would complain, but he unexpectedly looked calm. There were people who became lazy when they came into power, while there were also people who became more capable when they became in charge of power. Daemyung seemed to be the latter. He had once said that he did not have any intentions on becoming a respectable senior in front of his juniors. He said that he just wanted to create a stage where everyone could enjoy acting.
He was a fellow that liked acting. He was plenty capable of filling in Suyeon’s absence. Above all, the juniors trusted and followed him, so there wouldn’t be any trouble at all.
“Maru, didn’t you say that you have a shoot as well?”
“Mine’s on the 18th. It’s just one day, so it won’t hinder us that much.”
“That’s a relief. Oh, starting today, we’ll take an hour off every day to create props and practice acting after that until 9. Are you alright with that?”
“Dowook, how about you?”
Dowook, who was sleeping, slowly raised his hand and made a circle with his hands. Daemyung nodded.
“Since exams are over, I guess we can practice with a peaceful mind,” Daemyung stretched his arms out as he said that.
‘Matters outside school are important, but I can’t be negligent about this either.’
As the acting club was quite small, each member had to put a lot of effort in in order to create a play. It wasn’t that Maru was entirely carefree, but after seeing Daemyung, he felt that there wouldn’t be any big problems. Daemyung was just that capable in leading the club.
Just then, the speaker announced the start of the next class. Maru took out a notebook and the textbook from his bag. The exams were over, and it was back to a rather boring everyday life.
* * *
“Phew, thanks for all the work.”
“You too. Thanks for helping.”
“I’m doing this for money, you don’t need to thank me.”
Miso threw a can of beer to Ganghwan. Today was the last day the play ‘The Lottery Dream’ was performed. Throughout the morning, they took out all the props on the stage with their juniors and returned the small theater to the state before they rented it. Although it was only for a short time, standing on stage again was very fun. I wish I had more talent in acting - Miso thought as she drank the foam on top of the beer.
“What happened to the drama you told me?” Ganghwan asked.
He really was dumb-witted at times like these. Miso emptied half of the beer in one gulp before shaking her head. She managed to get her hands on a drama script through Junmin, but she didn’t get the okay from the director. Miso smiled bitterly when she was evaluated as ‘having good acting skills but her looks didn’t fit the character’. When she was twenty, she challenged auditions without taking much damage. She took to heart the old saying ‘failure is the mother of success’ as she took those challenges. However, once she became thirty and she started spending more time teaching other people how to act rather than acting herself, she turned her eyes to reality. She started professionally teaching aspiring actors.
“Aah, I guess there goes my dream of becoming a superstar.”
“You’re talking as though you’ve given up completely.”
“Hello? Mr. Yang Ganghwan? I might have a young-looking face, but I’m thirty-one years old this year. Don’t look down a lady after thirty. It makes me feel like the world is turning stiff.”
“Young-looking, she says, pfft.”
Miso crumpled the empty beer can with her bare hands and threw it towards Ganghwan. The can fell on the floor with a crisp sound after hitting Ganghwan’s forehead.
“I pity the teacher that’s going to marry you. I really do.”
“Do you want me to beat you up for real?”
“No, I’m still too young to part ways with this world, so I’ll politely decline.”
Ganghwan gave her a chicken skewer that was sold on the streets of Daehak-ro. They always used to come out and eat some chicken skewers with beer like this after finishing off a play.
“Have you met senior Junmin?”
“What about the contract?”
“I signed one.”
“So now, you and I, as well as Geunsoo, are eating off of one pot. Goodbye poverty!”
Ganghwan rejoiced. He was the type of person who would spend any money he earned, so he was always short on money despite earning a decent amount. He also spent most of the profits from the play this time paying his juniors, so he had enough to barely get by in his bank account.
“Isn’t it time you make a savings account or something?”
“Nah, there’s no woman to marry me, so I don’t need one. Life is about spending what you earn, you know?”
“Damned lunatic. Why do both you and Geunsoo live life the easy way?”
“Miss Yang Miso, why do you leave out your name from that list?”
“Unlike certain men, I worked hard to become a made-self woman you know? I have a house under my name as well.”
“Now that, I envy you.”
“Do you really not have a girl you’re dating?”
“Well, I guess no one would date a person like you who suddenly loses all contact. I was flabbergasted when you actually cut off all contact to experience homelessness first hand.”
“You’re bringing up old stories again. Don’t worry about me and worry about yourself. That teacher of yours is a saint so don’t let him go, okay?”
Miso punched Ganghwan’s waist since he got on her nerves. Ganghwan grabbed his waist in pain.
“Geunsoo started shooting apparently.”
“Wanna go look?”
“Don’t get in his way and just stay here. If you’re so free, then try getting a girl in Daehak-ro. You’re not gonna live alone forever, right?”
“Please, just let me take care of my own romance, alright? You’re not my mom, nagging me like that.”
Ganghwan grumbled for a moment before standing up abruptly.
“Since I’m free, I should go see my first disciple.”
“Your first disciple?”
“The old-fashioned dude.”
“Oh, you mean Maru.”
Miso looked at Ganghwan and smiled. Maru had told him not to interfere with them too much, but just going to see them was not interfering, so it probably wouldn’t matter.
“Oh, wait. Kim Suyeon is there as their instructor, right? I suddenly don’t want to go.”
Just as Ganghwan was about to sit back down, Miso pulled him up again.
“You’re a man. Why do you change your decisions on a whim like that? Let’s go for now. I want to see my cute juniors.”
She hadn’t even greeted the new first years properly. She thought that she should buy them something nice and cheer for them.
Miso started the car after putting the unwilling Ganghwan in her car.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
I'm so envious of those that decided on what to do with their life. I just finished my third year uni, and I still don't know what I'm going to do with my life... orz