Nam Joongyeon had a good memory. His colleagues even called him the memorization king. There were a lot of cases where he benefited from his good memory, and many of the people around him said that they were envious of his innate talent, but in actuality, this memory wasn’t something he was born with. When he was young, he was very forgetful to the point that he was nicknamed a traffic light.
The event that triggered his memory to become good was when he started his work as a reporter. He worked in a limited ecosystem known as the entertainment industry, but there were still an uncountable amount of people who worked in that industry. After trial and error, Joongyeon realized that a good memory was the most important thing when it came to living as a reporter.
There wasn’t a more incompetent interview than one where the same question was repeated. The important questions had to be repeated, but the interviewer’s job was to include other questions so that the interviewee stayed interested in the interview.
Joongyeon studied other people when he started working at this job. At the same time, he always looked at the previous interviews of the person he was about to interview and summarized them. He memorized the things he summarized in the car so that he wouldn’t have to look at the interview sheet during the interview as much as possible, and after repeatedly doing that, he reached a level where he could clearly remember things with a single glance.
As a result of his efforts, he became the main reporter for ‘The Entertainment Show’, one of the most popular programs on YBS, for 13 years.
However, he started losing passion for his work and fell into mannerism lately. The entertainment industry, which he thought to be a wide world, felt like a cramped aquarium after spending 13 years in it. The faces he saw did not change. His corner of the program ‘Star On The Field’, was about showing the figure of professional actors during work, so he rarely had any opportunities to meet a new face. He regained some of his energy when the industry was swept by a ‘wave of change’ and a bunch of child actors became popular, but most of the time, he was talking to close acquaintances about obvious things, so he didn’t feel energetic at all.
He could go about interviewing new actors when they were just gaining popularity with pleasure, but once that repeated itself, the new actors would avoid interviews as well. Interviews did take place during programs so the actors could promote their work, but otherwise, interviews did not happen that much.
Of course, ‘Star On The Field’ was one of the main sub-programs of a program that was really popular, and thanks to that, Joongyeon was able to meet with many of the popular actors and actresses in the country.
Perhaps that was one of the reasons he lost interest.
The so-called ‘high-class actors’ would become experts at interviews whether they liked it or not. When they were asked difficult questions, they would pause the interview on the spot and openly ask that it be edited out. To prevent such events, the interviewer would tell the interviewee beforehand about the questions being asked, and as a result of that, the interview would become bland. Obvious questions and obvious answers. As a reporter, he would try all sorts of things to make the atmosphere more friendly, but the interview itself would feel dry since the questions had zero nutrition. The memorization skills he had painstakingly acquired had recently become useless as well. What good was extra information when the interview questions were known beforehand? He actually had more fun working with fresh actors who made all sorts of mistakes during the interview. Back then, he had a reason to put an effort in, as well as an objective he wanted to achieve, but none of that existed nowadays.
Moreover, actors had gained a lot of power lately, surpassing industry people. This was thanks to the internet. Before, it would mean the end for an actor’s life if an industry personnel cut them off. As the entire TV industry was in cahoots with each other, being abandoned by one place meant being abandoned by all. The TV stations ruled with supreme power over actors and agencies with their right to cast, but the game had changed recently. The moment they tried to control an actor to make them abide by their will, the mass media would rise up. This could be seen from the slave contract incident that happened not too long ago. The celebrity had gained power from the masses through the internet and won against his agency, which was considered impossible until now. We want to watch this person, who are you to stop them? - That was what the masses said.
Actors were the same. On top of that, a whole new market, known as Japan, had appeared, further solidifying the position of the actors. Now, it had become commonplace to delay the entire schedule for a drama in order to scout one actor. There were actors that the director and the writer would have to look good in front of. That was enough to see how high actors’ statuses have become.
He had to do interviews with such actors. If he was acquainted with the interviewee, it would be a lot easier, but in the case of actors who couldn’t be bothered with interviews, his whole day would become a nightmare. The more arrogant actors would sometimes overhaul the whole question sheet before the interview. At first, his pride fell rock bottom when such a thing happened, but now, he felt nothing. This was why mannerism was scary. It made his emotions dull.
His interview with Suyeon was like that as well. Since he worked at his job for a long time, he could faintly tell what the actor was thinking about. He had gotten tired of imbuing vitality into actors who just did the interview out of duty. If the opponent was smiling out of formality, Joongyeon did not ask sudden unexpected questions. He just did the interview like a play with a plot that was already set in stone.
However, he sometimes met actors who reminded him of his old days when he just joined the industry. The interesting people who gave interesting, and sometimes unexpected, answers to his questions.
Joongyeon looked at Han Maru, who sat in front of him. He remembered the conversation he had with this boy when they first met. It was on the shooting set for the drama ‘The Witness’, and back then, Joongyeon was exhausted thanks to Joohyun, who acted cold throughout the whole interview. When he heard the production team suggest that they should take an interview from another person to finish things off, Joongyeon held up the microphone to one of the waiting minor actors who happened to be Maru. The question he asked back then was still vivid in his mind. Why are you trying to become an actor? Without hesitation, Maru replied ‘to earn money’ to that question.
It was incredibly fresh. New actors these days made their debuts after undergoing meticulous teaching. It had become incredibly rare to be casted from the streets, debut through some magazine and somehow end up on TV.
The new people that entered the industry after being taught everything had terrible answers. Their answers were so boring that it made him wonder if they were new to the industry or veterans of several wars. This was thanks to the education on how to act during an interview, taught by many academies and agencies. Joongyeon felt bitter whenever he heard answers that talked about half-assed acting theories, and answers that started with ‘I respect this person and that person’. He reached a point where he could discern the agency of the actor he was interviewing based on the answers. Each agency had fixed answers to fixed questions.
He admitted that it was hard for half-assed new people to survive since the eyes of the masses had become much more picky. He understood that agencies prepared their actors meticulously before their debut for the purpose of stability. However, since ‘ordinariness’ was everywhere, the fun disappeared. The unease and nervousness that new people showed in interviews, as well as some smart answers and fresh ideas had become a thing of the past.
In such a situation, a simple answer like ‘to earn money’ had the power to make him laugh. Yes. Rather than boring, being blatant was much better. He finished the interview thinking that the boy was an interesting fellow.
Of course, if Maru’s impression on him was just that, even his good memory would not remember the three syllables Han Maru. What engraved that name into his memory was when he watched the shoot after the interview.
Even until the moment the boy who did the interesting interview with him sat in front of Joohyun, all Joongyeon was thinking about was to go home and rest after the shoot. However, the acting that unfolded after the director’s cue sign was enough to stop his thoughts there.
Ahn Joohyun. Her acting skills were well-known, along with her cold - or perhaps even offensive - attitude towards the people from the media. An actress who did short plays, films, and even mini-series dramas. Another step forward, and she would join the ranks of top-tier actresses. Her acting skills didn’t need mentioning. A detective act that made his heart race despite knowing that she was acting. The reason she was loved by the media despite her hatred for it, was probably thanks to her fantastic acting skills.
Now that was understandable. After all, her acting was being praised to the point that she was solely responsible for the drama’s popularity.
What surprised him was Han Maru’s acting. Maybe that’s what it would look like to set free a wild dog that had been starving for days. When he heard from the director that Maru’s role was a young assassin raised solely to kill, Joongyeon subconsciously nodded. It was just as he said. The Maru inside that interrogation room looked like a beast who had nothing left but primal instincts. It even made him worried that he was being epileptic when the boy kept convulsing while growling. The shooting location fell into deep silence. Many of the staff members watched the two acting to the point that they looked like they forgot to breathe.
A wild, violent act.
It eventually reached the peak, and chaos ensued. Maru treated his body roughly to the point that it made Joongyeon worry that Maru might get a cerebral hemorrhage. The fact that his two arms were tied didn’t look like it was for show; it looked like it was truly there to restrain a lunatic. Joohyun was incredible as well. She treated Maru like how a hunter would treat prey.
If either one of them was awkward, that kind of act would not have formed. A rampaging beast without a hunter, and a hunter without a prey. Both scenarios would look awkward after all. It was an act that charmed him. Seeing the incredible act from the two, Joongyeon almost forgot that they were in a shoot and almost ended up clapping.
A rather crazy child actor who does not treat his body with care.
The fresh new actor gave him such an impression.
“Do you remember me?”
“Yes, I do,” Maru replied, standing in front of him.
“I don’t remember you wearing glasses.”
“These don’t have any strength.”
“Are you wearing it because of your role?”
“Wow, still, I never knew I’d see you like this. A lot of people end up quitting early, so it’s hard to see new people more than once.”
“I haven’t earned enough money to be satisfied yet. I will cling to it like my life depends on it until my wallet becomes thick enough.”
“Haha, yes. You should. Cling to it like your life depends on it.”
Joongyeon reached out to Maru.
“I hope we meet as interview partners next time. I feel like I will get a lot of interesting answers from you.”
“I don’t mind even if you do it right now.”
“Right now, you aren’t at the right level.”
“It’s like that after all, huh.”
“If your acting that I saw back then is truly your skill, I feel like I’d see you again quite soon, but I guess it’d be hard for you to display your skills in a drama like this.”
Joongyeon grabbed Maru’s hand tightly before letting go.
“See you next time. I hope all of you grow up quickly and get to do an interview with me.”
Joongyeon waved at the child actors before turning around. He wondered how many of them would survive in this field and receive love from the masses. Actually, he wasn’t that interested in who survived and who didn’t, but if there was something he did want, it was that the ones that survived weren’t the ones who feel ‘mass-produced’. This was due to the fact that all the people he worked with had zero personality during his work.
“Hyung-nim, let’s go to the next location.”
Joongyeon went down the stairs while putting his arm over the producer’s shoulders.
 Because ‘flash, and it’s gone’.
Phew, walls and walls of text... Conversations are a lot easier (and faster) to translate, since I find banter interesting, but walls of text is definitely not my thing...
I had a headache with both Joongyeon and Joohyun in one chapter. Too similar.