“Why won’t you do your work properly!”
Maru turned his head around when he heard producer Park Hoon shout. He saw the assistant director, Kim Minjoong, standing stiffly. He wondered what the guy did wrong this time as he sipped on some coffee and switched locations. Park Hoon didn’t shout at the actors, but he didn’t want to be present when someone was being scolded. That would make things awkward.
“What’s up today?” Seong Dongho approached him and asked.
“Something probably happened,” Maru replied lightly.
Whenever Park Hoon raised his voice, it was always the assistant director, Kim Minjoong, being scolded. He wasn’t doing that out of malice, since the two were on pretty good terms usually, as seen by how they acted after the shoot. The two looked like two brothers, where the younger brother followed the older one, despite him being quite a lot older and very difficult.
“He should treat him better. But hey, what are you drinking?”
Maru pointed at the vending machine before giving Dongho a 100 won coin. Dongho walked towards the vending machine by the right entrance.
“It’s so cold.”
Joomin came up to him this time, with her arms crossed.
“It’s still pretty chilly, isn’t it?”
“It was quite warm yesterday, but I guess we’re back to winter today.”
“That’s just how March is usually. Why don’t you drink coffee as well? I think there’s still some time until the shoot begins.”
“Do you want a coin?”
“I’ll gladly take it.”
Taking the coin from him, Joomin walked towards the vending machine. After seeing her greet Dongho and talk to him, Maru turned his head around. It was now the third month since the shoot for the drama ‘New Semester’ had begun. Thanks to his early efforts, his relationships with the other child actors weren’t that bad. He didn’t have any trouble greeting them or making jokes. He didn’t want a close friendship-kind of relationship, so he was completely happy how things were now.
7 a.m. He was now used to coming to this middle school every Sunday. He got used to the looks of the corridor, the classroom, and even the faculty office, as well as the scenery outside.
“Bring the crane over here! The rails should be starting here and ending here.”
The assistant director said that the shoot would begin at 7:30, but from the way things were now, it seemed like it was going to start around 8. Maru bit on the cup of coffee that he finished as he rolled his feet. The wind was pretty chilly, so he would lose body heat pretty quickly if he stood still.
“I think this place is colder than the others.”
Kang Giwoo, Park Jichan, and Ahn Yeseul came. All three of them were wearing padded coats that reached their knees. Maru waved at the three instead of greeting them.
“Where’s Okseon?” Yeseul asked.
Maru just shrugged. Currently, the child actors were split into two factions. The main characters and the supporting characters. Okseon was classified into the latter, but she did not hang out with anyone. She walked around where the actors waited when the shoot wasn’t happening, and would only gather round when she was called by the assistant director.
“Don’t you think she’s too detached from all of us?” Yeseul asked.
Jichan agreed while Giwoo tried to switch the topic by saying that anything can happen.
Maru did not join their conversation. The coffee cup in his mouth helped out at a time like this.
During the pre-shoot get-together, Maru saw Yeseul as a very cautious girl. A month into the shoot, she exchanged smiles with the others but clearly kept her distance. But now, she seemed to have differentiated enemies from allies perfectly and did not hesitate when she talked. Okseon was her main target. She sneakily said words that would exclude Okseon from the group. Maru could see that she was someone who would become the leader if a faction formed among the girls.
“Okseon doesn’t hang out with you guys either, does she?”
“There are people who are more comfortable being alone.”
Maru made up an excuse since she was so tenacious with that question. It was an answer that stood up for Okseon yet did not go against what Yeseul said, so there should be no complaints.
“I should plan an event or something. Let’s hold a get-together party by ourselves,” said Jichan.
Giwoo agreed, saying that it was a good idea. Giwoo was someone who never disagreed with anyone when he talked to them. He was a smart kid. Giwoo faintly smiled when he met eyes with Maru. Maru smiled back. Two crocodiles had something in common.
Jichan seemed to feel better and talked about when they should gather in a loud voice. At that time, Dongho and Joomin came back from the vending machine.
“We haven’t met outside even once during these three months. Why don’t we meet up and eat something together as fellow actors?”
“That sounds good. Let’s hold one if we have the time.”
Maru made an escape route early on. It tired him out just by thinking that he would have to laugh and talk to people he met through work. It might be different if Dongho and Joomin were the only people, but eating with the other three would be very annoying for him. There was no trouble getting along with them during shoots, so there was no reason to make some time to meet them either.
He suddenly remembered Junmin’s words that he drew the line too clearly, but laughing and chatting with kids as a forty-five year old adult without any alcohol was actually quite painful for him.
“Director Park! When are we starting?”
Hwang Joonghoon, who played the role of the teacher, peeked out of the first floor classroom and shouted. That was the place where the adult actors waited. There was a warm heater and tea there, and everyone classified as actors could go inside and rest, but the new actors were all waiting outside. That was because it was much better to talk with their peers in the cold rather than staying awkwardly with the great seniors in warmth.
“Please wait a little more.”
“Hey, you told me we were starting early today. That’s why I drove my car so early in the morning.”
“Senior Hwang. This isn’t the first time. Please let me go this time.”
Park Hoon made a soft smile which made him look nothing like the angry man he was in front of the assistant director. Joonghoon made a prankful smile before closing the window. It didn’t look like he was serious when he said those words.
“Let’s get things done quickly! Also, Sanghoon-hyung, about that key light....”
Behind the shouting Park Hoon, the crane was moving up and down. On top of it was the camera director. He kept rubbing his hands as though he was cold.
“Hoon, let’s start already. I’m freezing.”
“Seniors! Just wait a little more. The sun needs to rise a little more.”
The two people’s voices resonated loudly.
Maru would walk between the staff members from time to time, and the opinion they had of Park Hoon didn’t seem to be bad. No, it was on the good side. He was a little picky when it came to choosing a good picture, but everything else about him was decent. That was what he got from summing up their opinions.
“We’re starting the rehearsal!”
The assistant director shouted. The classroom windows opened and the adult actors all peeked out.
Maru took off his coat and moved in front of the producer. The scenes taken in the school field were mostly centered around the students. Although New Semester was supposed to have a different story every episode, the 8th episode broke that trend by being a continuation of the 7th episode. The title was ‘Prank and Apology’.
In episode 7, Dongho played a light prank on the teacher-in-training, Suyeon. He asked a rather offensive, or perhaps childish question - when was her first kiss. As Dongho always played jokes like that on the female teachers, the other kids in the class didn’t think much of it, but Suyeon, the teacher-in-training, would look severely hurt by his words. The 7th episode centered around Suyeon, with Dongho giving off the bad image, and Maru would be portrayed as the onlooker, slowly turning into the character that urged Dongho to do it.
In the 8th episode, what was supposed to be a small prank actually made Suyeon cry, startling Dongho and Maru and making them feel responsible. They would get the help of the others in the class to find out about the reason and apologizing in the end.
“So her boyfriend passed away.”
“What’s so pitiful? She’s just a fictional character.”
The kids talked about it as they looked at the script for the 8th episode in front of the camera. Suyeon, who played the role of Park Chaeyeon, the one kids pitied just now, was smiling from ear to ear while peeking out of the classroom. Thinking about how she would immediately start crying even if she looked like she was smiling right now, Maru thought that actors were incredible people, once again.
“I’m going to take a full shot of Maru and Dongho walking out together. You see the camera director on the crane, right? Walk below it slowly. The others should follow while chatting.”
They started the rehearsal after listening to Park Hoon’s instructions. Maru walked with Dongho towards the point right underneath the crane. His lines were about how to play a prank on the teacher-in-training.
“Okay, let’s go just like that.”
After Park Hoon called out to the camera director once and talked to him about a few things, he walked towards the monitor again. The assistant director’s stand-by sign appeared again.
The season in the drama was March just like reality. Maru shrunk his shoulders a little. There was no need to act like it was cold. It was actually cold, so he just needed to show it.
“Lee Chan. You saw how teacher Chaeyeon was at a loss for words yesterday in embarrassment, right?”
Dongho laughed. Dongho had adjusted quite a lot to fit the role of Dongwook during the past three months.
Maru said that without a care. However, he kept giving him glances, nuancing that he wasn’t entirely disinterested. He followed the instructions on the script quite closely.
“Cut! Let’s follow after that.”
The camera director climbed down from the crane and grabbed the camera placed on the rail. Maru heard that he was going to get a bust shot. His hands should be more free here. After getting the start sign, he started moving again.
Dongho spoke first.
“I told you. She was really cute.”
“What are you planning to do now?”
“I’m thinking about it. I think we might be able to see her cry if I push her a little more.”
“You’re really going to make her cry?”
“You think? Duh. Also, does it even make sense that teachers can’t take a little joke like that? Teacher Chaeyeon should understand. Isn’t this what memories are about?”
Then cut again. The camera director, holding an ENG camera, stood behind Dongho.
Park Hoon did not comment about their acting method just like what he said on the first day. If he really didn’t like a cut, he would look at the monitor and talk to them, but most of the time, he did not give them specific directions so that the actors could set a direction for themselves.
Maru ignored the lens behind Dongho’s shoulders and looked at Dongho. In dramas, looking directly at the lens did not occur except in some extremely special cases.
Cue - he heard Park Hoon’s voice and started speaking,
“I guess it is.”
“And that’s where you come in. Don’t you have anything good? You were awesome during our first year. You completely fooled the homeroom teacher on April Fools. I think you need to be the one to come up with a scenario since you’re good at it.”
“A scenario? Well, it’s not like I don’t have one…..”
Not interested yet interested - the directions written on the script by the writer always required him to express two conflicting emotions at once. Maru had to look in the mirror several times in order to create his current expression. He faintly curled up his lips on one end, while his gaze was directed at the school. He also slightly pulled his chin inwards, with his upper and lower teeth slightly apart. He practiced to the point that his facial muscles started aching so that he could express that conflicting emotion.
“Cut, okay. Let’s move.”
Maru looked at Dongho while loosening the tension in his face. Dongho was blinking in a daze as he looked at producer Park Hoon.
“I think it is.”
One take, and an immediate okay. Usually, they would take another shot even if there was no NG to take different approaches, but there was none of that this time.
“Good. That was very good.”
Maru heard Park Hoon say those words as he looked their way. Maru shrugged and looked at Dongho. Dongho was grinning as he clenched his fist.
‘That was very good’ - he felt good since he contributed to finishing the shoot early. He moved inside the school with Dongho, who was now able to hang his arm around Maru’s shoulders with ease.
“I guess they’re shooting senior Suyeon now,” said Yeseul as she tip-toed.
The camera was moving towards the faculty office. The adult actors and background actors that were waiting also moved into the faculty office. According to the order on the script, Dongho and Maru would continue talking about their scheme in their class on the 2nd floor, but they couldn’t move around the equipment too much, so it seemed that they were going to start with shooting the lower floor scenes.
The director already had his plans so it should be fine even if they didn’t shoot in order.
“Rather than that, this writer is just… geez.”
Maru clicked his tongue and opened the script to his lines.
‘Feeling slight pity and heartbroken yet not bursting out in anger.’
He knew that different writers had different writing styles, but this writer was very abstract. There was a series of emotional expressions that he would never understand without getting deeply into it, and every one of them gave him a headache.
Dongho and Joomin, who sat next to him, were also staring at the script with their mouths shut. The emotional detail was increasing with the episode. Maybe that was what made this person a big-time writer. He now missed the scripts for ‘Youth Generation’ that clearly stated ‘sad’, ‘laughing’, ‘angry’, and simple things like that.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
These drama-related terms, as well as emotion-related terms are really getting hard to translate now. Since there aren't exact one-to-one translations for some of the words...
I hope it didn't sound too awkward.
Giwoo, Yeseul, Jichan: these three have their real names as their character in the drama.
Maru: Lee Chan
Dongho: Dongwook (same name as the journalist)
(I forgot the name for Okseon's character....)
P sure Okseon is Kim Seri. Joomin is Yeonjeong.
Also if you were curious:
ENG camera = electronic news gathering video camera. Cameras that are lighter and have remote lense/zoom features.