There were three taboo topics to talk about while drinking: politics, religion, and favorite baseball teams. The moment any one of them became the topic of the conversation, food would start flying everywhere, and drinks would start rising into the sky.
“This is why the ruling party is shit. Just look at what happened today! Just look at those bastards! Is the National Assembly a wrestling ring? Why do I have to see a shoulder throw in the National Assembly?”
“Is the opposing party any better? The Lee Joongho you liked so much did a flying kick.”
“Hey, we’re talking about defeating enemies. A flying kick? I’m disappointed they didn’t go further.”
“For someone who was just talking about wrestling rings, you sure are infinitely forgiving when it comes to your party.”
Writer Bae Chulho and writer Ahn Pilhyun looked like they were about to grab each other’s collars.
Changsung, who was stuck in the middle, shook his head as he drank the rice wine. Those two were going at this for two hours now. Around an hour ago, they were fighting about which baseball players were good or bad. It seemed that they supported different baseball teams. They started pointing at each other with displeased faces, so Changsung was worried that a fight would break out.
However, they started laughing and drinking together in a friendly fashion as though they didn’t fight at all, but they soon started fighting again after 10 minutes, this time, about religion. They talked about such sensitive topics without rest for the past couple of hours. Even Changsung, who had been cautious at first, became used to it. They would probably start laughing again soon.
“These two are very… dynamic, in a way,” Jinhyuk spoke in a small voice.
Since two men that were nearing fifty were fighting like they were teens, ‘dynamic’ seemed to be fitting.
“But was writer Bae always like that?”
“No. He was a calm person. He looks like a professor no matter how you look at him, right?”
“That’s true. Then that must be because he’s at ease with writer Ahn next to him, right?”
“They’re probably friends. It’s the first time I saw writer Bae laugh like that as well. I’ve known him for two years, but I feel like I finally got to know the real him.”
Writer Ahn waved the bottle of rice wine, gesturing for Changsung to drink. Changsung immediately brought his cup.
“We were too loud, weren’t we? We did that because drinking quietly is no good. I learned that drinking quietly is only for sending away unwelcome guests.”
When his cup was filled, writer Ahn poured some for Jinhyuk as well. Changsung drank it in one gulp. This was his ninth year as a producer. The only things he managed to gain were chronic fatigue, as well as a bloated liver due to all the alcohol. He never lost in drinking when drinking with celebrities that were known to drink well.
“This fella’s good at drinking. Oi, Bae. You met a good man.”
“The producer is decent.”
Decent just because he could drink huh. Changsung laughed in a small voice before putting the cup down.
“Since we drank enough, we should get to work.”
Writer Bae and writer Ahn stood up and started cleaning up. Changsung and Jinhyuk also helped out. The living room was cleaned up not long later.
“Oh, it’s somewhat funny to say this at this point, but this friend of mine decided to help me out. You’ll see him frequently in the future,” writer Bae spoke.
Changsung looked at writer Ahn and made a formal greeting again.
“I’m just helping out personally, so you don’t need to worry about payment. I’m just paying him back for the things I owe him,” writer Ahn spoke.
“Yes, okay. Then I’ll start talking about the script now. We don’t have that much time until we start shooting.”
“Yes, of course. We should talk about that.”
Changsung gave a glance to Jinhyuk. Jinhyuk took out the script for the first and second episodes that writer Bae sent them, as well as the outline of the plot that they discussed with writer Bae.
“Since this became a fifty-episode drama, I think there’s a need to look at the plot again. Of course, it’s good as it is, but I want to listen to your valued opinion.”
“My valued opinion, huh.”
“First, I’ll tell you about the first episode since it’s right upon us.”
“Okay, go ahead.”
This was his second time working together with writer Bae. Writer Bae wrote the script for the fantasy-esque historical drama two years ago. Their meetings together had continued until now.
Changsung respected writer Bae. At first, he thought that the writer was a stuck-up person from how he refused to drop the honorifics even in meetings outside of work, but the moment he realized that it was for mutual respect, he treated the writer as the teacher of his life. He always listened carefully to every word when talking about work-related things, and did not ignore anything just because someone younger than him said it. This was why Changsung was able to get straight to the topic without any formalities.
“In the first scene, the main character goes to the Ming Dynasty and receives an award for his loyalty, right?”
“I think we should change it.”
“I want to make it so that the main character wants to resign, but his resignation is refused by the King. The character we’re trying to express is ultimately a rational and cold-headed politician, but since it’s a drama that we’re doing, the audience needs to be able to put themselves in the main character’s shoes. In that perspective, it should be an honor for him to receive praises from the Emperor of Ming, but it might cause a sense of repulsion from the audience since it’s the first episode. It looks okay on text, but it will feel different once it becomes a video. Of course, we’re willing to follow your will. This work is entirely yours after all.”
“Hm. The first sentence is the most important regardless of which work it is. Including indentation, the first words will decide the world of the writing. I thought that bowing his head to the Emperor of Ming would portray the figure of a politician that’s hypocritical yet successful. I wanted the audience to decide whether the character is splendid or underhanded.”
Writer Bae stroked his chin and stopped speaking. That was a habit of his when he fell in thought. Changsung cautiously waited with his breath abated. The producer and the writer. The relationship between the two was very peculiar. They had the same objective of creating a work, but there were many times where they differed in the direction.
A long time ago, when he was put in charge of production as the assistant director in the B team, he saw a famous writer quarrel with his senior in the meeting room. He understood from that why they just exchanged scripts with emails.
Producers had their own ideals, and writers had their own ideals. If the producer was able to take responsibility for the script as well, there wouldn’t be any noise, but that was realistically impossible. It would be possible if the entire script until the final episode was written before shooting, but the drama production system in Korea was not that easy. Even if they spent several years writing the script, it was unknown if the script would get the final stamp. On top of that, they had to reflect on the real-time feedback as well as reflect on the social issues of the time.
If a murder method in a detective drama was used in real-life before the episode aired, then whatever video they had had to be deleted. If they aired it just like that, it wouldn’t just end with visiting the KCC (Korea Communications Commission).
On top of that, since it was something made by people, they would have to change the script if one of the actors encountered an accident or something, so it was nearly impossible for the producer to do that alone. This was why scriptwriters were needed.
There was a moment of silence. Changsung thought that he should say it - ‘I will do as you say for the first episode’.
The first scene could be considered the face of the drama. Also, the audience was very harsh. Unless there was an actor or actress they liked, many people would change channels after just looking at the general atmosphere. If it was a drama set in modern times, he would need to worry less, since it wouldn’t look out of place. However, in the case of historical dramas, especially in the case of RBS historical dramas, the target audience was the younger generation so it had to be softer. The reason he went with beautiful-looking sorcery and a beautiful lady in the intro of the drama he did two years ago was due to those reasons.
In such a situation, which would look better? The main character bowing down to the Chinese Emperor, or the monarch of one country asking the main character to stay by his side?
Now that hanja education was no longer compulsory, and history education was decreasing, there was no way the audience knew about the background of the characters in detail. Since this was a business that used billions of won in funds, as well as hundreds, if not thousands, of people working on it, he had to take those elements into account. Too much money was at stake to just go with intuition.
He wanted to create a first scene that was friendly towards all.
That was what Changsung wanted.
Despite that, Changsung decided not to change the intro if writer Bae didn’t want to. Although he was creating the drama, the foundation of the drama was the writing that writer Bae wrote. Changsung wanted to create this work together with the writer.
“I think the producer is right on that.”
The one that broke the silence was not writer Bae. Changsung looked at Ahn Pilhyun. Writer Bae’s gaze was also directed at writer Ahn.
“Hey, you have the answer already. If you’re thinking this long about it, you must be shaken, so there’s no need to ponder about it so deeply.”
“The producer’s sounds better. It’s cool, isn’t it? If people do not know what the main character is like, this is much better than bowing his head to a Chinese guy. It’s good to express your philosophy, but dramas aren’t made alone. Isn’t that right, producer Han?”
Writer Ahn winked. Receiving unexpected support, Changsung’s expression visibly brightened and nodded. Actually, there was one more reason he wanted to change the scene to the main character meeting the King alone. It was reducing production costs. Making the introductory scene look fancy would require a huge sum of money. He couldn’t even begin to calculate the money needed to make the set for meeting the emperor in the capital city of the Ming Dynasty.
However, if it was just a personal meeting with the King, they could just use the set in RBS. Since they had a limited budget, they should save where they could.
“Good. Let’s go with what producer Han says. However, I do not plan to remove the capital scene.”
“Of course. I’ll definitely use it when expressing the main character’s later life.”
“That’s good then.”
Changsung sighed in relief. However, it wasn’t over yet. This was just the beginning. Writer Bae wasn’t that picky when it came to direction, but he was stubborn on some parts, especially related to the background. He had to talk about cliffs, lakes, and waterfalls in the script and about what the atmosphere is supposed to be like and start looking for suitable places.
Just as he was about to go to the next topic, the bell rang. It was from the door.
“Looks like they’re here.”
The one that stood up was writer Ahn. He slowly walked towards the entrance. After an unlocking sound, the door opened.
“We’re here, senior.”
The ones that came were two men. One looked to be in his late twenties with sharp eyes hidden behind black glasses, and the other seemed to be a high school boy that had a chubby body and a rather shy-looking pair of eyes.
“This is the first time I have had so many guests. Come inside for now.”
Writer Bae waved at them. The two youths made their greetings as they entered.
“I needed some help doing research. These two are thankful people who decided to help me out. You should greet them as well. These two are producers from RBS.”
Changsung nodded to the two people who awkwardly greeted him.
“It looks like you were in the middle of a conversation, so we’ll go inside the room for now.”
When the man in glasses waved, the chubby boy followed him.
“Then should we continue our talk?” Writer Bae spoke as he pointed at the script.
* * *
“It’s made of sponge, so it won’t hurt even if you get hit.”
Instructor Yoo swung the rod against his own arm. The rod made a loud noise, but the instructor didn’t bat an eyelid.
“Maru, want to get hit?”
“It looks painful though,” Maru smiled as he stood up.
Instructor Yoo swung the rod towards his shoulder. It didn’t hurt immediately, but he felt like it would become painful if he continued to get hit.
“People flinch back if this flies at their faces even if they know that it’s not dangerous.”
After saying that, instructor Yoo suddenly swung the rod. Since he was on watch, Maru dodged it without much difficulty. Instructor Yoo bitterly smiled.
“Hey, you’re supposed to get hit here.”
“It felt like it would hurt if I continued to get hit.”
“Geez, your reflexes are top-notch. Okay, this guy is the weird one. People usually cower subconsciously.”
The rod was suddenly thrown at Bangjoo, who was watching. Bangjoo flinched and raised his hand upwards.
The students laughed in a small voice.
“You need to get used to this now. If you want to not put yourselves in danger during the real deal, you should not dodge it haphazardly, but clearly look at what’s coming at you and dodge it according to the plan. Only then would the action look cooler.”
Instructor Yoo clicked his fingers and told them to stand up.
 I’m not entirely sure but, the ‘King’ ≠ ‘Emperor’.
So Maru and Daemyung's objective has partially become true.
Maru playing under Daemyung's direction.
Will be interesting to see them interact in a very professional setting.