“You introduced yourself through the drama Apgu this time around. Since this was your first traditional drama, I think you must have been nervous. How did you feel?”
Hearing journalist Lim’s words, Kang Giwoo waited for a moment before speaking.
“I am always tense when I shoot a drama. I’m actually rather worried since although this is my fourth drama, I feel like my nervousness is rising instead of falling. Moreover, since it’s a traditional drama where I have to watch out for my intonation and pronunciations, I had to prepare more than usual, and the longer I prepared, the more nervous I became. Due to that, I ended up inconveniencing a lot of people around me including the director.”
“I see. But the reaction of the audience was quite good when it was broadcasted. Some netizens are saying that they would be rather disappointed to see Han Myunghoe turn into an adult.”
“Whenever I hear those words, I feel thankful and also responsible to do better in the future. The best reply an actor can give to repay the audience is better acting after all.”
Manager Cha nodded as he heard Giwoo’s words. He wasn’t wrong from one to ten. He could clearly see that this guy knew nothing but acting. From the way the company was giving him full support, it seemed that the president was aware of his good personality and skills.
“I heard that you were close to the actor Yoo Sooil. Is there something in common between actors around the same age?”
“Sooil is a splendid actor and a splendid friend. People that know him, know him for his good acting as well. If the opportunity arises, I’d love to work with him on the same work, but I’m still waiting right now since I’m not up to par yet.”
“Does that mean that the actor Yoo Sooil is better than you at acting?”
Hearing the provocation within the journalist’s words, manager Cha frowned.
“Of course. When it comes to acting, Sooil is better than me. That’s why I’m trying my best to chase him.”
“No way, is that how you actually feel?”
When Giwoo replied with a smile, the journalist found no fun in it and went on to the next question. They also took photos from time to time with some props in the background. Since it was an interview that would go on a movie magazine, they put some effort into choosing the right place.
“Lastly, I heard that you were recently cast in ‘New Semester’, a drama about the growth of young people created by YBS.”
“Did the news already spread that fast?”
“Why of course.”
The journalist smiled before continuing.
“Since Youth Generation from RBS didn’t do as well as they expected, YBS is trying their hand at their own youth drama, right? Moreover, you are one of the main characters as well. Do you have any resolutions when doing the drama?”
“You’re giving me too much pressure, so I don’t really know what to say. Hmm, I will try my best to make sure the drama is worth watching so please watch the first episode. You’re going to watch it too, right?”
The interview ended on a good note. Manager Cha saw out the journalist and the photographer before returning.
“There’s a lot of snow outside. It looks like it’ll be snowing all week.”
“Has it piled up?”
“You must have a hard time driving then.”
“This is nothing. Rather than that, you finished your schedule for the day. What are you going to do now?”
“You can go back first. I’ll visit a few places before going back home to rest.”
“If you want a ride, I can give you one.”
“It’s fine. Oh, yeah. Hyung.”
“Do you know someone called Han Maru?”
“Han Maru? Oh, isn’t that the minor actor back at the shoot? I do remember his name since he has a rare name.”
“Apparently he belongs to JA.”
“JA? You mean JA Production?”
“Really? I thought he was just someone from an acting school or something. Well, I guess he was good at acting.”
Manager Cha thought back to Apgu’s shoot. That night was particularly hot. Giwoo’s acting had hit a block towards the end of the shoot, and according to his memory, that boy named Maru did a demonstration for him.
‘Giwoo asked him to do it.’
Manager Cha looked at Giwoo with pride. Boys at his age were filled with arrogance and did not easily make a request to others, and yet he asked an actor around his age to teach him acting.
Giwoo had what it took to become big.
“But what about him?”
“You gave me a magazine with my interview in it, right? Right after mine, there was an interview with Sooil and that Han Maru. It seems like the interviewer wrote a good note for him.”
Giwoo handed him the magazine. Manager Cha read the interview on the spot. It was easy to see that the main character of the interview was Sooil whether it was from the photo or the length of the interview, but considering the depth of each question, it was also easily noticeable that the interviewer took good care of Maru.
“He did do well. Looks like the interviewer knew that.”
“Right? Han Maru did do well.”
“Yeah. He was great that day. I was a little startled since he looked like he had practiced your lines.”
“Right. I was also surprised.”
Giwoo smiled and told him to give him back the magazine. After receiving the magazine, Giwoo looked at the column with a smile on his face. Manager Cha looked at him for a while before speaking,
“Then I’ll take my leave first.”
“Okay, watch out, the road must be slippery.”
Manager Cha returned to the company with his car. Snow from a week ago still hadn’t melted completely and remained in the corners of the road. He parked the car before going up to his office.
He was called by the head manager as soon as he went in.
“I’m sorry to tell you this, but you’re out of a job.”
He stared at the head manager for quite a while since that came out of nowhere. The head manager frowned and scratched his head.
“We’re going through a restructuring because the company is lacking money, and we didn’t have anyone else we could lay off.”
“Head manager, no, hyung-nim. You can’t do this to me. You know I moved houses to come here.”
“Hey, do you think I’m doing this because I want to?”
“Hyung-nim. Say it while looking me in the eyes.”
Manager Cha grabbed the head manager who turned his head away, but the head manager just sighed and no longer spoke.
“I didn’t do anything wrong though.”
“I know, I really do. I know that you work well. And also, I’m not looking down on you at all. We’ve been working together for a long time after all. I’ll look for a job for you. Go to a company much better than ours and work there.”
“Sorry. You know the rules. That’s just the kind of field we work in.”
The head manager opened his wallet and took out all the bills inside.
“Here, take this. You should be able to pay this month’s rent at least.”
“Don’t do this to me, hyung-nim. Please. You told me I was going to be promoted to a schedule manager. Also, what is going to happen to Giwoo? There’s no one here that knows him better than me.”
“Hey, let’s leave things on a good note. If you act like this, I won’t be able to do anything for you. You know that this field is not that wide, right? If we end things with a smile, we will be able to meet again with a smile. The opposite is true as well. If we end things while swearing at each other, we’ll start off swearing at each other the next time we meet.”
The head manager then stood up from his seat. His face looked very apologetic and full of pity. Manager Cha looked at his face and swallowed his anger. The head manager was the one that brought him his current job when he was out of work.
‘He’s not to blame.’
That was obvious from his face. This wasn’t the head manager’s fault.
“You really can’t abandon me, okay? I’m not quitting everything just like this.”
“I know. How many years do you think we’ve known each other? Just wait a bit. I’ll look into another agency. You’re known to do good work. As long as I give them a little push, people will ask you to work for them. Who knows? You might start working for a busty actress instead of a kid. People need to switch their jobs once in a while to gain more experience and grow up. Let’s raise your value this time. You know that being a road manager counts as work experience, right?”
The head manager put the stack of bills into manager Cha’s chest pocket as he patted his shoulders.
Manager Cha nodded before leaving the office. The image of the head manager’s face as he grabbed his hand until the last moment still lingered in front of him. Yes, he should definitely get a call as long as he waited for a while.
“Oh, I guess I should text him at least.”
Manager Cha sent Giwoo a text message saying that he was sorry for quitting so suddenly. The weak-hearted Giwoo would probably feel uneasy as soon as he receives the text, but he sent a message anyway since he thought that it wasn’t right to quit without saying goodbye.
After leaving the company, manager Cha stared up at the building. He lived a cheap life of 900 thousand won per month without any insurance, but he still had a dream of his own.
“Right, it’s not over yet.”
Manager Cha gripped his fists before turning around. The head manager - no, it was just hyung-nim now - wasn’t someone that would betray him. He would probably provide him with a better opportunity soon.
As he walked while thinking about that, manager Cha took out his phone in his pocket.
‘Looks like he hasn’t seen the message yet.’
Normally, he would’ve gotten a reply as soon as he sent it, but he didn’t get one back even though ten minutes had passed. Was he busy right now?
“Well, he’ll probably call me with shock once he finds out I’m no longer working.”
Perhaps he might beg the president to get him working again. Giwoo was just that affectionate and kind after all. He felt better after thinking that. Manager Cha thought that he should have a fulfilling meal precisely at a time like this and went into the nearby supermarket.
He’ll probably get a call tomorrow.
* * *
“Yeah, New Semester.”
Byungchan spoke in a happy mood.
Maru tilted his head. He did hear Byungchan tell him that he should look forward to some good news, but a new semester all of a sudden?
“You’re going back to college again?” He asked as a joke.
Byungchan shook his head saying that that wasn’t it. Just then, they got the udon they ordered. After putting down two iron pots with boiling udon, the owner gave them a small plate of soondae as a service. It seemed that Byungchan was a regular here.
“It’s a drama that is starting soon. Don’t you know about it?”
“You know that I don’t know things like that.”
“Hey, you should really watch TV. You’re on it, so how can you not watch it?”
“I was going to even if you didn’t tell me. I felt a little awkward when I did the interview last time.”
“Right, you should watch more TV and more variety shows. You should learn what they’re about when you can so that you can take the opportunity when it rises.”
“I will. But what about the drama?”
“There’s an audition for a supporting role. The main characters are already decided, and when I had a look at their schedule, the first episode is set to air in January next year.”
“So there are around two months left.”
“Yes. Since they started doing promotions after casting the main characters, they’re looking for supporting roles now. RBS didn’t do well with Youth Generation, right? It seems like YBS is trying to take a portion of the pie.”
“Didn’t Youth Generation do pretty well? I know it did when I appeared in it.”
“It was good in the beginning but went downhill towards the end. You know, one of the main characters belonged to Blue. The reactions became quite drastic when rumors about how Blue was over started circulating around, and perhaps due to that, some of the fan cafés forbid their members from watching it.”
“Fan cafés do something like that?”
“Hey, you don’t know how scary idol fans can become. If you meet any boy or girl idols at a TV station, you should keep your distance. If some of the extreme fans got a photo of that, it would be total chaos. If someone at a certain level hangs out with them, they might start shipping the two saying it’s a god-sent relationship, but if someone awkward hangs around them, they will attack with all their power in the comments.”
“That sounds scary,” said Maru as he raised some noodles.
He thought that he should just greet Chaerim with his eyes if he met Chaerim later.
“All the popular kids are in it, so you should do your best in the audition and get a spot.”
“If I have the skills, I will, and if I don’t, I won’t. But is it a public audition?”
“These kinds of dramas don’t hold public auditions. First, they’ll hold one for agencies like us, and then the acting schools, then personal connections, and if they don’t have anyone even after that, they’ll turn to public auditions.”
“So being in an agency is a huge advantage huh.”
“It is, especially if it’s something like JA.”
Byungchan told him that he should intake a lot of iron and put a piece of boiled liver in his bowl. Maru smiled and ate it.
“Anyway, do your best. You know that the child actors that became popular all did so through youth dramas, right? You should be able to become big if you take advantage of the opportunity this time. You’re good at acting, good with words and… anyway!”
“Why? Is my face bad?” Maru asked with a smile.
“Hey, face isn’t everything when it comes to actors. Of course, you aren’t bad-looking. In fact, you look manly. You’re decently tall and decently sized as well. You must be popular with girls.”
“Thanks for the flattery. Geez, I should really undergo cosmetic surgery or something.”
“Hey hey. Don’t say something like that. An idol that was found out to have had cosmetic surgery had to retire recently. You should watch out for things like that. No matter how much the entertainment industry changes, there won’t be a change to the perception that cosmetic surgery is unforgivable.”
“Will that really be the case?”
“Just you wait. Korean people despise people who have put knives on their faces. Just look at the TV. How many celebrities have had cosmetic surgery? At most, it’s double eyelids, or maybe corrective surgery. Anyway, even if you do have cosmetic surgery later, don’t ever admit to it. The best answer is to say that you became like that after going on a diet.”
“Okay,” Maru replied with a nod.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Five bucks says Giwoo was the one that fired manager Cha. What do you think?
"You dare suck up to someone other than me? You're fired!" (Chamber's imagination)
There's also the fact that he is very poor (salary is way too little), which is also a criterion that Giwoo looks for.
I hope Maru outshines Giwoo to propel their enmity.
Also, Korea is full of hypocrites considering that they have the highest rate of plastic surgeries per capita in the world. It won't be so bad for Maru since he's a guy, but if Maru was a girl (s)he'd be destroyed by the toxic 'fan' culture.