Maru thought that something was strange when he crossed the pedestrian overpass with her.
“Is the place you’re going to Film?”
Maru laughed in vain as he walked into the building's elevator and saw it close. Soon, they were on the 5th floor.
“Wait, you too?”
“Do you commute here as well?”
Gyunglim asked in the corridor of the 5th floor.
“No, I came here to visit because someone I know is here.”
“Someone you know?”
“Yes. She works as an instructor.”
“That’s a strange coincidence. Hey, I told you that I wasn’t following you, okay?”
Gyunglim snorted before opening the door to the academy.
“Then Ahn Sungjae must be here as well?”
“It’s not just him. There are tons of famous people here. Just the actors that are here as instructors are super popular people.”
Gyunglim went to the 3rd lecture room. Maru stood in the corridor and called Miso.
“I’ve arrived at Film. I’m at the entrance right now.”
-Then wait there a minute. I’m going in right now as well.
It seemed that she went outside for lunch. He sat down on a seat in front of the information desk. The floor and ceilings were tiled in red. Next to the entrance which gave a strong impression were the signs and photos of various stars. It didn’t look like the academy was trying to boast, but rather was just calmly telling the visitors that they had such people.
“Are you here to consult about taking lessons?”
A lady holding a cup of coffee approached him and asked.
“No, I have an appointment with one of the instructors here so I’m waiting a little.”
“An instructor? Who?”
“Instructor Yang Miso.”
“Instructor Yang Miso?”
The lady seemed a little surprised. Just then, the door opened and Miso entered. She was holding a paper bag with a sandwich franchise logo in both of her hands.
“Yes, I’m here.”
“Then take this for a sec. It’s rather heavy.”
“I know you’re strong.”
He received the paper bag that Miso gave him. In one bag were six cups of coffee, and in the other were various sandwiches.
Miso looked at the coffee in the staff’s hands and spoke,
“Oh, you had lunch already?”
“Yes. We had a light meal.”
“What a pity, I should’ve been quicker. Then take this as dessert. You can take the coffee as well.”
Miso handed her a coffee and a sandwich despite the lady refusing.
They switched places after the lady thanked Miso. The place Miso headed towards was the 3rd lecture room.
“This is the place?”
Miso opened the door. Maru saw Gyunglim abruptly stand up from her seat. So the scary instructor was Miso? Maru barely held himself back from laughing and followed her in.
Gyunglim greeted Miso and discovered Maru, which made her confused.
“I’ll be in the faculty office for a bit. You two should get to know each other. You’re going to receive lessons together from tomorrow onwards. Oh, you can eat those as well.”
Miso took some coffees and sandwiches before leaving the lecture room.
“So the instructor you knew was instructor Miso?”
“Yes. What a coincidence.”
“Why are you so scared? Are you afraid that I’ll tell senior Miso what you said about her? That she’s scary, easily pissed, evil, and is total human trash?”
“I never said she was human trash!”
“Really? Then let me leave that out.”
Maru placed the two coffee cups in front of him and spoke.
“It looks like one’s black coffee and one’s a latte. Which one do you want?”
“I want the latte.”
He handed her the latte and sipped on the black coffee. When he was young, he wondered why people bothered drinking this bitter stuff. The coffee-lovers apparently looked for the hidden acidic and sweet taste, but Maru drank it for the bitter and ‘cheap’ taste. Oh, and for health reasons. After hearing that sugar was the source of all diseases, he always drank black. Though, he wouldn’t do that now.
“But why do you call the instructor senior?”
“Because she’s a graduate of my school.”
“This is why people call our country small.”
Gyunglim pouted as she drank the coffee.
“It’s really hot today, isn’t it?”
The door abruptly opened and Miso entered. In her hand was a fan. From how there was a photo of an apartment complex on it, it seemed that she received it from a nearby estate agent.
“Have you introduced yourselves?”
“We know each other, so we skipped that part.”
“Really? Miss Gyunglim, you know this guy?”
Gyunglim nodded shyly. She said she was scared of her, and it seemed like she didn’t know what to do.
“That’s good. You are going to take the same lessons in the future. Maru, how’s your time? I thought you were going to practice because you’re preparing for a movie.”
“I’m going there twice a week. On Thursdays and Fridays.”
“That’s good. Lessons are on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.”
“It’s held three times a week?”
“Well, yeah. They’re paying expensive fees for it after all.”
Maru subconsciously looked at Gyunglim. Gyunglim, who was biting a sandwich, looked at him with a questioning expression.
Maru looked at Miso and asked in a small voice.
“How much is it?”
“Three times a week, two hours per session. How much do you think it is per month, then?”
“Hm, if it’s that much… 300 thousand? No. It’s Gangnam here, so 500 thousand maybe?”
“Wow, 500 thousand?”
“It’s five million.”
After hearing that, Maru almost dropped his coffee.
“Kidding? No, it’s my class, so I should get that much at least.”
“How many are there in the class?”
“Four including you.”
“...That’s not a lot.”
“I’m teaching only so many members in Film, so there’s no way a couple hundred thousand is enough.”
“Gangnam sure is scary.”
“This isn’t that much. My lessons are cheap. The children of the so-called ‘prestigious’ families don’t come to acting schools like this. The super rich people are all at the college entrance preparation academies. I got to know a maths teacher through work, and apparently, that person received a watch after CSAT last year. One that cost 15 million won. Compared to that, this place is chump change.”
“Should I quit being an actor and start digging into maths?”
“I thought your grades weren’t good.”
“I’m solidly in the middle. Looks like I should focus on acting.”
“You really know your stuff, concerned about money at your age. But you’re good at acting as well. Man, the world is so unfair.”
Miso smacked Maru’s forehead. At that moment, a coughing sound could be heard. Gyunglim had a very surprised expression on her face.
“Anyway, you should come here by 10 in the future. As for what you need to bring, it’s a healthy body, undying mentality, as well as….”
“Willpower and tenacity, probably.”
“There you go. You’ve been keeping in shape, right?”
“Unintentionally, yes. Action acting was harder than I expected.”
“What’s not hard these days? If it’s an action school in Seoul, then it must be director Kim Choongho, huh. You should learn a lot from him. There’s no one better than him in our country.”
“Well, I’m trying my best to do exactly that.”
“Oh yeah. The movie. It’s the one by director Park Joongjin, isn’t it?”
“Then I guess I’ll see you there too.”
“At the set.”
“Wait, you were cast as well?”
“No, he asked me to advise on acting on the set.”
“Acting advice? On the set? I thought that’s what directors did.”
“Right? I was going to refuse because it was so sudden, but it’s director Park Joongjin, isn’t it? The legendary Park Joongjin of ‘Spring Calendar’. That’s why I gave it a shot. Perhaps I’ll get to learn something from him. Even that picky senior Junmin gave me permission as well.”
“So you’re doing it?”
“As experience, yes.”
“He’s not your everyday eccentric… I think putting the two of you together might cause problems.”
“I’m a calm and obedient person, so it’s fine.”
“Haha, that’s the funniest joke I’ve heard this year.”
Maru quickly continued when he saw Miso’s hand up in the air.
“So, when do I get to eat the celebratory noodles?”
“...W-wait a little more.”
“So that means there was some progress?”
“I did greet his parents.”
Miso raised her thumb and spoke.
“But why do I need to report to you about it?”
“Because I was the wingman. Am I wrong?”
“I guess you’re right.”
“They say owing someone will make you regret it.”
“Can’t you just come and eat food without paying congratulatory gift money?”
Miso stood up after messing up Maru’s hair.
“Do you have any message from Mr. Sungjae?”
“He’s usually here 10 minutes before class….”
As soon as Miso said that, the door to the lecture room opened. Sungjae appeared wearing a trench coat. A trench coat in the summer, huh. He even had makeup on.
“Sorry for being late.”
“Not at all. We haven’t started yet. Rather than that, were you at a photoshoot or something?”
Sungjae came in with an awkward smile and discovered Maru.
“Oh, it’s you.”
“We’ve met before, haven’t we? Hello.”
“You’re the one I saw when I was going to the set, right?”
“Yes, that’s me.”
“Nice to meet you. I’ve always wanted to meet you.”
“I’ve heard some stories about you from sir Moonjoong.”
Sungjae reached out and offered a handshake. Maru wiped his hand on his pants and grabbed Sungjae’s hand.
“What’s your name?”
“I’m Han Maru. Oh, my sister is a huge fan of yours. I gave her your autograph back then.”
“Really? That’s good.”
Sungjae smiled as he let go. Maru exclaimed slightly. He looked very handsome and did not lose out to any actors. It seemed that not anyone could become the best in the country.
Maru grinned and looked at Gyunglim. Gyunglim shook her head vigorously.
“What is it?”
“Nothing. Rather than that, please take care of me in the future. I’m going to receive lessons here as well.”
“Really? That’s good for me.”
He was even cooler when he smiled. Maru felt that he might become a fan at this rate. It shouldn’t be bad to go to his concert one time.
“Well then. If you finished introducing yourselves, let’s begin, shall we?”
Miso clapped to gather attention.
“Maru, you should just watch for today. Also, once you officially join, I’m going to call you Mr. Maru, so bear that in mind.”
“Really? That gives me the chills for some reason.”
“Shut up and listen.”
“Okay. Oh, what about the lesson fees?”
“Senior Junmin already paid for it.”
“My backer is quite reassuring.”
“Stop grinning and go sit over there. Well then, let’s begin.”
Maru nodded and sat down on the chair.
* * *
“Even characters without much weight have their own backstory. However, the script will not mention what that character did until now, what kinds of problems he or she has, or what kinds of desires he or she has. That’s because they’re just characters that just flash by. But there are people that grab onto those characters, dig into them, and try to make the character their own. Those are the actors that you need to learn from.”
Sungjae nodded his head. What Miso said was entirely correct.
“Among the top actors and actresses today, there is no one that was suddenly cast as a lead role. Everyone started from nameless minor roles. We get surprised when seeing such actors. How can they act like that? The answer lies in the characters they created. They have one body, but they have several souls. They really become a beggar if they play a beggar role, and when they play a rich role, then they become rich to their bones. They do not stop at imitating that role, but they continue on to understand and dig deeper into the mindset of such people and become the character itself. The thing we call method acting is actually the acting skill that’s focused on the foundation.”
“Is it enough to just get immersed into the role?” Sungjae asked a question.
“No. Oh, bear in mind, what I’m saying might not be the truth. What I’m about to say is just one methodology. You asked a very nice question. Becoming immersed, that’s not easy either. However, if you can do that, no one will tell you that you’re bad at acting. However, the actors that play around with the audience on their palms do not stop there. They add character to that. Let’s take an example. Everyone here knows Park Taeho, right?”
“Of course. Who doesn’t?”
“Actor Park Taeho, winner of the Daejong Awards. In the movie ‘The Road Home’ he shot two years ago, he played a man in his 40s who was forced to voluntarily resign from his company. In order to understand such people, he approached actual people who were forced to resign from their company and talked with them. Some actors have people under them to gather materials and do interviews for them, but like that, they’ll never be fully fledged. First-hand interviews and seeing it on paper are worlds different after all. Like that, he understood their problems, experienced their pains, and perhaps even received insults from such people for doing such a thing. That’s how the main character of that movie came about.”
Sungjae imagined himself going to various people and asking questions. It wasn’t anything good either. Asking people who were forced to resign from their companies about their resignation? He’d probably have to be prepared to get slapped at least.
“Also, Park Taeho donated his guarantee from that movie to a foundation that works for the re-employment of middle-aged people. He also did a campaign with the people that helped him out on the interview. Of course, I’m not telling you all to do this. That’s something that happened because the man named Park Taeho is too great. Normal people can’t do that, whether it’s due to emotional limitations or due to physical limitations.”
Miso looked at the clock before breathing out.
“Let’s stop there for today. I talked too much.”
 I.e. when are Miso & Taesik getting married
Ayy, annoying 1 and 2 seem to be relevant characters now
Finally, another male character who isn't annoying. Maru and Sungjae's dynamic is gonna be great.