Thump! A violent shake woke Maru up. He stared at the golden-colored skies for a while before turning his head to the right. He saw children holding their mothers’ hands as they were going home. They were also holding a balloon each as though today was a special day. It seemed that they had exited the highway.
“You woke up?”
“Yes. Where are we? Have we arrived?”
“We’re in Yeongdeok. We’re almost there.”
Maru had a look at the clock. It was 5:12 p.m. He stretched his neck out.
“You’re hungry, aren’t you?”
“Yeah. I just woke up after all.”
“You’ll be able to eat something once we arrive. The contracted food company this time makes some good food.”
Geunsoo smiled as he opened the window.
“You said Yeongdeok, right? Are we near the sea then?”
“Cross that mountain then you’ll see the sea.”
“Then I guess the scene at the sea will be taken here too, right?”
“We can’t keep switching filming locations so they’ll probably shoot that scene here. Guess the elder will kill me in two days time with a hammer.”
Geunsoo grabbed the wheel with one hand and started massaging his own shoulder with the other. He had been driving for more than five hours. It was natural for him to get tired.
“Should I drive?”
“Do you want to?” Geunsoo asked as he took his hands off the wheel.
Maru grabbed the wheel with his left hand. It had been a long time since he felt the touch of leather from the driving wheel. As they were not in an area where people lived, they didn’t have to worry about sudden appearances of people. The only thing in front of them was the endless expanse of fields as well as street lights. It was a straight road ahead, so Maru just had to adjust the wheel straight.
“Are you crazy! What the hell are you two doing?” Suyeon woke up from sleep and screamed with a tired face.
“Well, driving, of course.”
“I was getting a little tired, so Maru’s been driving in my stead.”
Suyeon signed in forfeit because the two men sounded so calm about it.
The car slowed down. The road was narrowing due to the fields getting closer. It was barely enough for a single car to go through. Maru had a look at Geunsoo. Until now, the road was straight, and he pretty much didn’t have to do anything to the wheel, but narrow roads like this required him to put in more effort. He thought that Geunsoo would naturally take over the wheel, but Geunsoo instead just locked his fingers, put his hands behind his head and started whistling.
“What are you going to do if we fall off?”
“If we fall off, then we fall off. That’s nothing bad. In fact, I’m kinda looking forward to it because I feel like something fun is about to happen.”
Hearing those words, Suyeon started screaming at Geunsoo, saying that he should take over the wheel immediately. Meanwhile, the car had not stopped and they entered the narrow road. Geunsoo smiled and just controlled the pedals.
“Can I really do it?”
Hearing such a calm answer, Maru just chuckled and made minute adjustments with his left hand. He had literally driven until he died in his previous life. He watched the roads as he controlled the wheel. Meanwhile, his foot was pedalling on virtual accelerator and brake pedals. In about five minutes, the road widened again.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have to call the tow truck,” Geunsoo grabbed the wheel as he spoke.
Suyeon, who looked worried all this time while looking outside the window, had become pale and was silent. Maru remembered Miso calling Geunsoo a lunatic before. She said something about how he did incomprehensible stuff from time to time, and he had to agree after seeing this. They say geniuses have a screw loose inside their heads, and it seems that Geunsoo, who is supposed to take over the movie industry by storm, wasn’t a normal person either.
“Looks like they’re gathered over there.”
They were now in a countryside village where they could see a row of old houses. Most of them seemed ghosted, but one of them had lights on. Underneath the light were a lot of people gathered round, and most of them were eating. They didn’t seem to care about a car approaching them and just busily moved their spoons without giving the car a single glance.
Geunsoo parked the car a little away from the vehicle holding the props. Maru opened the door and left the car. Although he couldn’t see the sea, he felt like he could smell the sea in the air. He looked to the opposite side of the setting sun and walked towards the film set.
The staff welcomed Geunsoo. Some of them seemed close enough to stand up and give him a high five. Meanwhile, Suyeon smiled at them and just brushed past. The staff also just greeted Suyeon with nods.
“Aren’t you supposed to be here in two days?”
“I should come early. I’m bad at acting, so I’ll be hated if I’m late as well.”
“Who says our dear actor Hong has bad acting?”
“The director does. Are you speaking to him on my behalf now?”
“Uhm, I need to keep earning money, so….”
As they laughed, Geunsoo waved at Maru. Maru walked and stood next to Geunsoo.
“He’s a new member at my company. He’s a smart kid, so please look after him. It’s his first day here today, so do forgive him for any mistakes. Maru, these are people from the lighting team. They’re from a company called Illumination and they’re quite well known in this area.”
“Hello, everyone. My name is Han Maru.”
Maru greeted the three men. Among them, the oldest-looking man offered a handshake.
“Nice to meet you. From how Geunsoo is taking care of you, it seems like you’re a promising rookie. I hope to see you more on sets. I’m Kim Jinhwan.”
“Hwang Junggoo here.”
“And I’m Oh Jihoon.”
Maru remembered the three people from the lighting team. Every relationship started with remembering the other party’s name. Not remembering their names the next time he met any of them would give him a bad image so he had to be cautious about that.
“How about dinner?”
“We haven’t had any since we were planning to eat here. The food truck this time is from Flourish Food Truck, isn’t it?”
“Yeah it is.”
There were people gathered where the middle-aged man was pointing at.
“Let’s go, Maru.”
Maru followed Geunsoo to the food truck. Suyeon, who had been following them all this time, had disappeared from sight. As she wasn’t someone that he missed, Maru did not look for her.
A man wearing a chef hat for hygiene purposes greeted them with a smile. In front of him were various delicious-looking foods. Maru picked up a round plate and started putting stuff onto it. They definitely looked and smelled good.
As there wasn’t an empty table, Maru sat down on the floor like many others. He leaned against a big tree and waited for Geunsoo to come.
“Nice spot,” Geunsoo sat down on the floor as he spoke.
“Have a nice meal.”
Maru took a bite off the sausage buchim before looking around. It seemed that the actors were eating somewhere else as he couldn’t find any of them around. There was a blue tent on his left, and he predicted that the actors were in there.
“Are the three people from last time all there is in the lighting team?” He asked as he continued to eat.
There were many heavy-looking lighting devices gathered around. The three of them wheeld all of those lighting devices?
“No way. Those three from just now were the A team, and the B team is over there. You see that car over there? That’s the generator car, and the one next to it is the crane truck that holds the lights up in the air. The car next to that holds the equipment. All of that combined is called the lighting department.”
“So that’s how it works.”
“But while they’re called ‘teams’, they’re just hired part-time workers most of the time. The three that you saw last time will hire people for shooting a movie and they’ll scatter once the movie is over. It’s a hard job, so many people quit midway. It’s rare to see someone you see on one set appear again on another set.”
After speaking, Geunsoo started eating his meal with a happy expression.
“So many people for just one movie.”
At a glance, more than a hundred people seemed to be having dinner right now. There were people who were laughing and talking, and there were also those that just ate quietly. They had all gathered here to finish a movie that would be around an hour and 20 minutes long, or at most 2 hours long.
“Well, with screens, more people work in the background than in the foreground.” Geunsoo put down his spoon as he spoke.
“The first thing that people do before every movie is to have a meal together with the staff like this. Only then do they realize that there may be 30 to 40 people appearing on camera, but there are at least 10 times as many people working in the background.”
Geunsoo had a serious expression. It was even disconcerting how he was so different from the prankster Geunsoo that let Maru have the wheel on the road.
“Looks like screwing the movie up will have consequences.”
“Hmm, no. Normally, the staff isn’t in a bad position even if the movie fails. They get their pay regardless of the success or failure of the movie. But sometimes, like what you just said, there are producers that screw up so hard. They’re trash who shoot movies without any budget. Because of those kinds of bastards, there are many people who get into debts unwillingly,” after saying those words, Geunsoo made a bitter smile.
“That’s why we have to do our best to make this movie successful. To do that, we need to put our best effort in… no, we need to do the best act possible so that the stage these people created for us doesn’t go down the drain. That’s the duty of those that live on guarantees.”
Maru nodded his head. If he did a half-assed job just because he had a minor role, it would be the equivalent of being impolite to all these people. Rather than the best he could, he had to do the absolute best. This wasn’t a high-school acting club, but a proper movie where actual money was involved. People valued results more than the process, and fruits more than effort.
Just as he was about to finish his meal off with some cherry tomatoes, he saw people leaving the tent. The staff checked the time on their phones before starting to clean up.
“It looks like the filming is about to resume. It’ll be your scene once this scene’s over.”
“I should have one more look at the script then.”
“Rather than the script, you should look at the storyboard. Those have the camera angles, so it’ll be easier for you to draw the picture. Although the director will explain it to you during the shooting, not knowing and knowing is worlds apart even when you do listen to the explanation.”
Maru started flipping through the storyboard that Geunsoo handed to him. The shooting location started becoming noisy.
“Hey! We need to readjust the level!”
“The jimmy jib is shaking though.”
“Get the wireless mic.”
“Check up on everyone’s clothing!”
Although noises could be heard from everywhere, it didn’t look that messy. After a short while, the noises died down. Then, the lights started coming on one by one. The surroundings became brighter a bit.
“You should make your greetings before it starts.”
Geunsoo dusted his pants as he stood up. It was obvious who he had to greet so he didn’t ask. He walked towards the tent along with Geunsoo. He avoided the people moving busily and poked his head inside the tent.
Moonjoong was sitting next to a gas heater with a pot on top of it. There were many actors around him.
“I’m here, sir.”
“Oh, you’re here.”
Moonjoong closed his script and welcomed him. Maru bowed to greet him back.
“I’m also here, elder.”
“Yes, yes. So I finally get to see you on the scene. Wasn’t it tiring getting here?”
“Sir, I’m really sad. I’m the one who drove him here,” Geunsoo shook his head as he spoke.
“Haha, that’s right. You must be tired, Geunsoo. Did both of you have dinner?”
Maru greeted the actors sitting behind Moonjoong as well. There were actors he hadn’t seen before as well. He presumed that they either had minor roles or were just extras like he was.
“Please get ready for the rehearsal.”
Someone entered the tent and spoke in a small voice. The actors all stood up.
“Well then, Maru. See you later.”
“Geunsoo, if I remember correctly, you appear the day after tomorrow, right?”
“Yup. In two days, I’ll be beaten to death by you. Please go easy on me.”
“Oh no, I can’t do that. I’ll have to put all my strength into it. Please die realistically, haha.”
“You’re so cruel. I’m your son, you know?”
Moonjoong left the tent with laughter. Maru carefully followed him. He greeted some of the staff that he met on his way and soon, the shooting began.
Seeing Moonjoong under the light, Maru became silent. He heard the cue sign from the director amidst the faint sounds of machinery.
“Pathetic, how pathetic.”
A depressed voice filled the surroundings.
Maru started focusing on Moonjoong’s acting as he embraced the air of the location.
 Another way of saying ‘jeon’, which is a Korean-style pancake… or sorts.
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