Chapter 380

“Well done.”

The child took a bow before going back. Her name was Kim Bitna. She was the best among the girls he saw today. First, she didn’t cry and smiled a lot. Above all, her mom just watched her from beginning to end without doing anything. Whether it was trust or giving her free rein, he wanted to give her the pass just for the fact that she just watched obediently.

“I think the girl named Bitna is the most decent.”

“Me too.”

“Really? Looks like I have an eye for discerning acting.”

Jinhyuk smiled in satisfaction as he drank coffee.

“You’re just picking the child actors and outsource everything else right?”

“Yeah. They’ll use their connections, whether it’s blood relations, school relations, or whatever relations they have and bring people, so there’s no need for me to interfere, right? I have enough headaches as it is creating non-existent roles since people come in sets.”

“Sets? Oh, that set. Which one? Yellow? NL? Or Jewel?”

“All three of them.”

“I had a hunch something like this would happen when you went around scouting various people, and it did happen, huh. Are you sure the writer didn’t receive anything behind the back?”

“So what if he did? Would you refuse free money?”

“I’ll refuse at least once.”

“What if they come to you again?”

“Of course I’ll receive it. We don’t call ourselves courteous people for nothing. Refusing twice is just rude. So who are the ones that latched onto the superstars and managed to step into our drama?”

“Choi Jaehoon, Kim Jinsook, and Go Youngji, I think. I’ve placed them in the corners so I don’t see them.”

“I haven’t heard of any of them.”

“They’re probably receiving full support from their agencies. The popular actors have their pains as well. Even if they don’t want to be lumped with someone, everyone else is doing it so it’s not like they could just refuse.”

“They’re probably continuing that tradition because it works. Well, isn’t it good for us anyway? If the agencies are supporting them, then they should have decent manners at least, and they should have received some sort of training as well. They should know a lot of things as well, so they should be able to read the mood.”

“That’s true.”

Changsung put down the list of names he was holding on the floor. Now that he had some rest, he had to start working. He signalled the new member of the production team.

“By the way, have you heard any news from the writer? I heard that he rejoiced for a bit after this became a 50-episode one and was having a bad time recently.”

“The important outline is finished, so we have some leeway, but it’d be better if he could hurry. Receiving the script at the last minute when we’re shooting a historical drama is just crazy.”

“Have you visited him?”

“I was planning to even if you didn’t tell me. Since we’re at it, you can drive for me.”

“If I can leave the editing room, I’ll be a driver for you any time.”

“But Jinhyuk, you need to know this, okay? Just because you leave the editing room doesn’t mean that the piles of work in the editing room will decrease. All of it is assigned so you have to read them all. Oh, have you read the preview?”

“What do you think this is in my left hand?”

Changsung peeked and looked at the lump of papers that Jinhyuk was holding. He thought it was a list of names at first, but it wasn’t. They were the previews of the items that came up during the meeting. It was the culture department’s.

“Read it over and over until you reach a level where you can think of a scene when you read the texts.”

“You can imagine a scene when you read this, senior?”

“No.”

“Eh? Then why….”

“They say the student will surpass the master. You should be able to do better than me at least.”

Just as he was about to smack the dumbfounded Jinhyuk on the forehead, the child actors that he called for had come into the studio. They were boys in middle school and high school. It felt much better now that the glares of moms weren’t present.

Changsung crossed his legs and leaned back against his chair.

“You’re all good-looking. I like it. Well then, neither you nor I want to drag things out so let’s get going. Those of you that want to stand next to the main character, raise your hands.”

The nine people that entered the studio all raised their hands.

“Good. Then put some distance between you. Around a meter.”

The boys looked at each other and spread out.

“I’m going to be looking at you all at once. Anyone that tries to pop out from the rest will not be picked. If you stand there awkwardly, you won’t get picked. If you can’t hear me, you won’t get picked. Understood?”

“Yes.”

“Good. You are aware that the audition you applied for is one for a historical drama, right? I believe that you should’ve done some studying at least. Well, I won’t ask you to act like a lofty official or use difficult speech, so don’t worry about that. You just need to start acting when I give you some instructions.”

Changsung looked at the faces of all the kids through the camera before continuing.

“Okay, you are the children of wealthy families. The current situation is that you’re in the bustling streets with a servant. Try walking.”

After saying that, Changsung looked at the boy standing on the far left. When the two met eyes, the boy coughed awkwardly before starting to walk. The eight others also started walking. One of the boys locked his hands behind his back and raised his chin. At that moment the others all followed suit. Changsung checked the first boy that did that in detail before looking at the others. Since they were all about the same level, he gave the highest points to the one that did it first.

Just as he was about to stop them since he didn’t have any expectations, he saw a boy that was walking very calmly on the right. The boy walked slowly but suddenly stepped sideways. It felt as though something invisible passed by in front of him. After that, the boy looked back with just his head and said something before starting to walk again.

“Senior.”

“Yeah, I’m looking at him right now.”

Jinhyuk seemed to have found him as well. The quick-witted ones followed the producer’s eyes and looked at the boy, and started context-acting just like him. However, they were lacking in detail. It was natural. The one that did it first, did it after thinking about the situation, and the ones that followed up shouldn’t have anything in mind.

This was his eighth year in the drama department. Originally, he wanted to apply for the broadcasting department. It wasn’t that he had a big dream to bring evil to justice or to pursue a fair society, but because he felt that creating news was the easiest. However, he became attached to the drama department after spending his time here as an assistant director, and he ended up applying for the drama department.

Although he always said that he ‘couldn’t deal with this anymore’, he worked on dramas for 8 years. If he spent another two, it would be a whole decade. Since he didn’t spend all this time loitering around, he had developed a good eye for people. He was past the stage where he had to try something out to discern whether it was useful or not.

Changsung gave the boy on the right a check in his mind. He didn’t know the boy’s name. He just looked at his looks: the clothes he was wearing. Since he was wearing a brown shirt, he just decided to call him ‘Brownie’ in his mind.

“Good, you can stop. Everyone, well done. You’re so good that I don’t have anything to find. If you can continue that, you’ll be able to become good actors.”

It was the same regardless of occupation, but flattery didn’t cost money. Flattery could be overused without preparing for the consequences. Scolding the kids would have a negative effect on their acting. Changsung always said compliments to the ones that were trash at acting. If they actually believed his words and continued acting like that, they would become real trash, and if they were smart enough to think that something was up, they would eventually fix their mistakes.

The kids smiled after listening to his compliments. They were happy. The acting just now had no points to compliment on, nor any points to point out. Well, they would only be able to judge themselves if they knew something. He just said those words out of lip service so that they wouldn’t stay nervous.

‘Oh, look at that kid.’

The boy on the right, ‘Brownie’, caught his eyes. He was just looking ahead of him without any emotions on his face in this good atmosphere. It didn’t look like he was stiff from nervousness. Was he one of the arrogant ones that thought himself to be above others? Or was he someone that was unshakable with just this?

“Let’s continue on then. Since you tried playing a wealthy kid, let’s go with a beggar this time. Let’s say I’m the Minister of War for the country.”

Changsung stood up and reached out with his hands.

“I’m going to give you dumplings. Try acting like beggars who received dumplings after a long time.”

He pretended to throw the dumplings. When he did, the boys all reached out into the air in an attempt to receive the dumplings. One kid prostrated on the ground as though a dumpling fell. Like that, the boys started eating the dumplings in a hurry. Their expressions were all different as well. Some had smiles and some were crying. Some acted like they were moved to tears while eating non-existent dumplings.

‘They’re exaggerating too much.’

If they appeared like that on screen, they would get cut immediately. It was bad for minor actors to receive too much attention on the screen. If they caught the eye of the audience purely through their acting skills, that was something that the producer would welcome, but such exaggerated acting would make the producer go ‘what the heck is that’ instead.

The scary acting skills of the actors that have decades of experience came from their ‘everyday’ movement. Their acting was natural, yet on point. If the audience could feel various emotions from an actor just by looking from afar while sitting on a bench, that actor could be considered to have entered the ranks of experts.

The kid that first put his hands behind his back and raised his chin was eating obediently. That was much better than the rest. He wouldn’t stand out even if he was put in a crowd. He was someone who knew what broadcasting media was. Check. He passed.

Changsung looked for the other kid that he checked before.

‘Where’s he now?’

The boy in the brown shirt that stood on the right couldn’t be seen anywhere. When he looked away from the rest, he saw the kid curled up behind the rest of the kids. He was sitting down, putting his face against his hands and was eating very cautiously. He sometimes raised his head and looked around him before quickly munching away. He didn’t exaggerate that it was tasty, but it looked like he was swallowing everything in a hurry as though he was chased by something.

Changsung groaned. It seemed that a really smart kid just entered the audition.

“Okay. Looks like everyone’s eating as though you’ve been starving. Good, very good. If we had enough spots, I’d be picking all of you,” he said as he sat down.

“Thanks for participating, and before we finish things off, can you sum up what kind of acting you were doing and tell me? I’ll give you thirty seconds. We’re going to start from the left.”

The kid standing on the left fidgeted and started mumbling. It seemed that he was summarizing what was on his mind.

“3, 2, 1. Don’t think too hard about it and just say what you were trying to express. Starting from the left.”

“Uhm, I thought about a beggar that had starved for a long time. That’s why I started eating it deliciously as soon as I received it. I hit my chest several times in the middle because some pieces got into my throat. 

“Good. Nice analysis. That’s what I wanted. You did well even though you were the first one.”

The first kid smiled brightly. Changsung then looked at the next kid. Everyone gave similar answers. It was smooth up to the third kid, but the fourth one started stuttering. He had nothing to say since his acting was the same as the three before him. That continued until the eighth one. Changsung wasn’t even surprised since he was expecting this kind of result. If they were lead or supporting roles, he would’ve reconsidered casting them, but he didn’t want to think that deeply about picking out minor actors that didn’t have much weight in the story.

Finally, the ninth one, ‘Brownie’, opened his mouth.

“If a high official gave out dumplings, then the scene would attract attention, so I was afraid that other beggars would come and steal mine. That’s why I hid and ate by myself.”

He blurted that out in an instant and took a bow as well in that short moment.

Changsung subconsciously clicked his fingers.

This guy was good.

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KTLChamber's Thoughts

Hm. I didn't realize there's a 'Kim Bitna' (the young girl at the beginning of the chapter, and 'Lim Bit(ch)na'...  Little girl, don't grow up like the other Bitna, okay?

Maru's cheat this time: he had insider information.