Chapter 285

“We’ll move over to the next shooting location!”

Along with the assistant director’s shout, everyone started moving. The next shooting location was a street filled with shops and was located ten minutes away from where they were by foot. As the street was small, vehicles couldn’t get in and all equipment had to be carried by hand. Hand carts started appearing from nowhere, before they were filled with all sorts of equipment. Even shopping carts were used to carry things.

“It feels like a military march all over again,” Maru spoke at the back of the trail. It was past 11 at night. When he looked up into the sky, he could see stars everywhere unlike in Seoul. He suddenly remembered seeing the Milky Way while doing a night march during his military service.

“Camera director, over here!”

Equipment started finding their spots according to the chubby director’s instructions. The lights that had been turned off started lighting up again one by one, and brightened up the street that was absorbed in darkness. People from the PR team started going around talking to the local residents that came to have a look. 

“Is someone shooting a movie here or somethin’?”

“Dunno.”

Due to all the commotion, the locals started flocking towards the filming scene. Some of the staff members started approaching them and told them not to approach the shooting set.

“We can’t take pictures, right?”

“You can’t.”

One girl, who seemed to be in middle school, put her phone inside her pocket with pity. While the staff asked the locals for their understanding, more people started appearing and started peeking into the set. The staff had more work to do now. Although the night wind was chilly, the staff members’ necks were filled with droplets of sweat.

Maru passed a bottle of water he was holding to a staff member. The staff member thanked him before going around restricting access to this place again.

“Security is one thing, but we can’t have any accidents happen,” Geunsoo spoke.

Maru nodded his head. As most of the equipment here ran on electricity, there were all sorts of cables on the ground. It was highly likely that some equipment might fall over if someone got their feet caught up, consequently collapsing on a person standing nearby. As such, there were even some staff members specifically tasked to look over the cables.

“Are the lights ready?”

“Yes they are.”

“Recorder?”

“He went to the bathroom.”

“Dammit, does this guy have a hole on his ass? Who’s the youngest member there? Go get him.”

Maru looked at the assistant director that was giving instructions. While the director was organizing his thoughts while looking at the scene, the assistant director was giving out instructions.

“Looks like the assistant director is the busiest one here.”

“Well, that’s how it is most of the time, the person right under the megaphone has it the busiest. If the director is the artist, then the assistant director is something like the person that readies the paint, brush, canvas and the like. There are times where the director handles everything, but that’s just not efficient.”

The assistant director, who was calling someone over the phone, suddenly started frowning and walked up to a man wearing a red baseball cap. He seemed very agitated.

“Doesn’t it look like they’re about to fight?”

“Maybe. Producing a movie requires the cooperation of many people, right? As there are many people, there are just as many opinions and conflicts as well. As everyone here is an expert in their own area, there are many times where they get into conflict. For example, the audio engineer and the generator engineer. The generator is quite noisy, while the audio engineer is sensitive to sound. For the audio engineer, it is excruciating to pick up the generator sound all the time.

“That sounds like how departments within the same company aren’t necessarily on good terms.”

“That’s a good analogy. Yes, a movie is like a company. It’s one that uses a huge amount of money. The people gathered here will all do their best to earn a salary from that money. Everyone wants the company to do well, but there will always be conflicts between different departments. That’s why the director and the assistant director have important jobs. They’re the people that have to lead the whole company.”

“Conflicts between departments, huh.”

After talking with the red-capped man, the assistant director raised up his thumb. His agitated face had disappeared.

“Rehearsal is starting!” The assistant director shouted.

Geunsoo pushed Maru’s back, telling him to do well.

Maru walked towards the assistant director along with Jiseok.

‘It’s hot.’

The heat from the lighting right next to him was immense. Next to the assistant director were many people. They were people that had tired looks on their faces. They were the extras.

“Okay then, listen. We’re now going to do the shoot. As notified before, you just need to walk the streets as naturally as possible. Also, please, I beg you to not look at the camera directly and don’t be stiff. I know everyone’s tired, so I hope you can cooperate so that we can end this quickly. The five of you can start walking from that side of the street, and the couple should stand in front of the standing signboard. Let’s get moving for now.”

The assistant director started placing the extras according to the director’s instructions. The camera director had a look at the video feed and signalled an okay sign. Following that, Moonjoong appeared. It seemed that he had been taking a rest until now.

A trash can was put next to the bench in the alleyway and some trash was littered around. When a messy-looking alleyway was complete, Moonjoong laid down on the bench.

“It looks good. Senior, should we proceed?”

The director crouched in front of Moonjoong and started explaining the scene to him. Maru and Jiseok followed the assistant director until they reached half way through the alley.

“You see the director over there?”

“Yes.”

“You walk up to that spot and do your lines. Don’t mind the camera and just focus on actor Yoon as you act. The three of you without lines can just follow these two here. As long as your eyes don’t look somewhere weird, it won’t look that bad so watch out for that, okay?”

The assistant director patted the two’s shoulders before going over to the next set of extras. Maru greeted the three people he hadn’t seen before today. They talked a little as they waited, and they turned out to be students from around the area. They weren’t professional actors, but were just here because some of their elders introduced them to jobs here.

“Do you two have lines?”

“I have a couple.”

“Okay.”

The three nodded with an expression that said ‘that’s not much’. The director, who was talking to Moonjoong at the bench, slowly walked up to them.

“Listen, we’re gonna go with two cuts. You guys will walk to that side while talking about something non-productive, and start probing around the elder lying down on the bench while watching out for other people. Here, follow me and try acting.”

The director started walking backwards and signalled the two to walk towards him. Maru glanced at Jiseok. Jiseok smiled and looked back at him.

‘Well, it’s the rehearsal now.’

They started walking as they said the lines that they decided to do before. The three behind him just had to walk with their hands in their pockets without saying anything, so they didn’t really need a rehearsal. When Maru said his line, Jiseok replied with his. Jiseok’s overly arrogant attitude was put on full display.

It wasn’t a conversation that would be picked up on camera, so they were at ease when they said those lines. It was like talking to a friend. They even used some indecent words as they walked up to the bench.

There, Jiseok walked up front. He gave Maru a glance before pointing at Moonjoong. Maru signalled the three to keep watch and started to rummage through Moonjoong’s pockets.

“Good. That was good just now. Did you two make that up?”

“Yes.”

“Do the exact same thing during the actual shoot. Also, once you find the wallet, the camera will point at the elder once before pointing at you. That’s when you do your lines. Who’s delinquent 2 again?”

“I am,” Maru spoke.

“Ah, that’s right! You! Your name was… Maru! That’s right, you’re Han Maru, aren’t you? The director has high hopes for you so keep up your act from last time. Well then, get ready! Let’s finish this quickly and get some sleep!”

The assistant director was told to go back to his position.

“Phew, it starts now,” Jiseok spoke as he smiled excitedly.

Maru also shook off his hands as he smiled. With the camera in front of him, all of his nervousness suddenly disappeared. He didn’t shake at all compared to how he imagined he would do in front of the camera.

“Don’t screw up.”

“Don’t worry about me,” Jiseok said confidently.

Eventually, they heard the word ‘ready?’ from afar. ‘Roll’ followed up before ‘action’. Moonjoong, who had been wailing merely thirty minutes ago, was now a feeble man without any energy inside him. After staggering his way to the bench, drunk, he fell on top of the bench. A self-loathing laugh could be heard time to time. The camera, which was shooting Moonjoong’s whole figure, closed up on Moonjoong’s torso. It was probably closing in on his face.

“Cut! That was good.”

An okay sign fell on the first shot. The camera started approaching them. The camera director, the assistant cameraman, as well as the assistant director and some staff members stood side by side. The director was looking into the main monitor from afar.

-You guys ready?

The director’s voice could be heard from the walkie-talkie that the assistant director was holding. Maru nodded his head while Jiseok cheerfully replied with a ‘yes’.

-You can do the cue sign.

That was the end of the director’s message. The assistant director hung the walkie talkie on the strap on his shoulders. At the same time, the man with the slate stood in front of the camera.

“Ready,” the assistant director signalled.

“35-dash-2-dash-1,” the staff member spoke as he opened the slate.

Following that, the camera director spoke,

“Roll.”

With that, the cameras started rolling.

Maru felt his shoulders tensing. The black camera that did not reflect any light felt as though it was about to suck him whole. The lights on either side of the camera also got on his nerves. Even the cables on the ground made him feel stuffy.

Just when was the ‘action’ coming? He kept staring into the assistant director’s mouth.

“Action.”

The sign finally fell. At that moment, Maru felt as though all the restrictions on him were lifted. His vision suddenly became brighter, and he could see everyone’s expressions. The sound of the camera pleased his ears, and the lights from the reflector felt nice. Jiseok’s breathing sounded affectionate. The cables lining up on the ground seemed adorable.

He felt excited. His heart, no, his entire body started vibrating as though there were little dwarves hopping around inside his heart. It was a shaking that was completely different to something that stemmed from nervousness. That resonance had a beat and it was like a bell that woke up every single cell in his body.

For a brief moment, he couldn’t hear anything. In compensation for the lost sound, every scenery around him seemed much clearer to him. The colors became more vibrant and everything became much sharper, The moment the echoing ‘action’ couldn’t be heard anymore, Maru turned his eyes to Jiseok.

Jiseok started speaking with a confident expression,

“I told you I had dibs on that motorbike.”

He said his line at the perfect time. Maru wouldn’t be human if he couldn’t react to that.

“That’s my line. I found that bike for you.”

They were walking naturally. The assistant director and the camera director were pulling out, but Maru couldn’t see them. He had no recognition of the camera either. His gaze was directed at a place beyond the staff. What he was seeing now was the bench and Moonjoong that he was picturing in his mind.

They started acting with the lines they previously agreed on. Maru shoulder-bumped Jiseok and spoke foul words. He smiled subconsciously and felt excited. So this was what it felt like to act with someone that matched your rhythm.

No, they were doing too good to the point that Maru no longer thought that this was an act. The rehearsal was short, and they didn’t expect great results, yet somehow, they were like cogwheels that were completely in sync like people that had been practicing together for a long period of time.

Jiseok’s face filled his vision. His smiling eyes, his twitching nose, his lips. He was acting like a nonchalant high school boy.

He couldn’t get left behind by his partner. Maru excited himself as he walked. For a brief moment, he had nothing in his mind but Jiseok who he was talking to. Whenever he said something, Maru would naturally reply back to him. While they said the lines that they made beforehand, they arrived at the bench.

The moment he checked that the camera director had finished setting up on his left, Jiseok gave him a glance as though he was waiting for that moment.

“I think he’s wasted.”

They had gone through this part several times. With an evil smirk, Maru gestured at the three people behind him. The three started keeping watch.

Jiseok started probing around Moonjoong’s clothing.

“Hey gramps, you’ll croak if you sleep in a place like this.”

Jiseok grinned as he stood back up. He said that line with a wallet in his hands. Maru also made an expression as though he had found something good. He was really happy. He even thought about what to do with the money inside.

“Cut! Okay!”

He flinched when he heard the cut signal. Ah, it was over for now. The assistant director waved at him to walk away. Maru and Jiseok walked away from the bench.

“We’ll continue just like this.”

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KTLChamber's Thoughts

Yet another cliffhanger! Just when will we get the scene with Maru's proper line!

Also, is the delinquent within Maru waking up? Is he about to become a real delinquent now? xD