Life, Once Again!

Wise Dragon - 어진용

Chapter 229

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* * * *

Coming to work on a weekend - that was how Maru felt as he entered the rotary door. Unlike last week, there weren't many people in the lounge. That made him feel that it was actually Sunday. The appointment was at 11, and the clock was pointing to 10:50.

'I came at a suitable time', thought Maru as he took the elevator to the 7th floor. Getting off, Maru looked left and right. He was wondering where he had to go this time.

“So you're here,” Maru heard a voice from his left. He saw Junmin and Jiseok standing there.

“h.e.l.lo,” greeted Maru, as he walked towards the two. There was a mug in Junmin's hands, and the thick fragrance of red ginseng could be smelled from it.

“I'm taking care of my health these days. I don't have a wife to look after me, so I can only take care of myself.”

“You aren't thinking about getting married?”

“Your words have thorns in them even though it's the morning. What, did I ever let you down or something?”

“Of course not.”

Taking light jabs at each other, they changed locations. They walked past the automatic gla.s.s door and went to the place where the audition took place. Maru wondered if they were going to use that room again today, but Junmin led the two to the room opposite of that room. All four walls of that room were made of gla.s.s. It was possible to see the corridor from the inside.

“Have a seat and wait a while. You can drink some tea if you want.”

After Junmin left, Jiseok came closer and asked,

“Are you acquainted with him?”

“Somewhat.”

“Are you two close?”

“Why would we be? We're in a business relations.h.i.+p. Rather than that, why are you here?”

“I don't know. The text message told me to come because of a.s.signing the roles, but I haven't heard the specifics yet. Rather than that, I never knew that this entire building was that man's possession. If I knew, I wouldn't have signed a contract so early.”

“A contract? You have a company you belong to?”

“Yeah, I do. You don't have one?”

“There's no way I…,” Maru said up to that point and stopped. He was in a contract relations.h.i.+p with Junmin, so perhaps he could be considered a member of JA productions. Or, maybe it wasn't like that since the contract was an individual one. Thinking back, the contract was a huge one involving 300 million won, but the contract paper was nothing more than just a few lines on a napkin.

“What's that? Do you have one or not?”

“I don't have one. Probably.”

Maru made some green tea with the tea bag and drank a sip. He sometimes saw people walking in the corridor over the gla.s.s wall. However, those people only gave the two of them a glance but didn't actually enter. He wondered if anyone was coming at all.

Meanwhile, Jiseok was talking non-stop as though he would not allow a moment of silence. Even the merciful buddha would give him the cold shoulder for being a blabbermouth, and Jesus might actually step down from the cross, move the cross elsewhere and go back on it, all while saying 'dude, you're noisy'. Since this guy wasn't someone that would stop talking just because someone told him to, the only option was to ignore him outright. Maru only smiled at Jiseok. It would be for the best if he got tired of talking and quietened down a little, but the chances of that seemed pretty slim. He ended up drinking three cups of green tea with the mindset of going through a trial.

“Looks like I made you wait,” Junmin entered at that moment. Even though this was the weekend, he seemed busy. Even in the short moment between him entering and sitting down, he was messaging someone on his phone.

“It's always like this before the filming begins. Producers have to clean up after a lot of people. Others bring their troubles to me even when I stay still. It's a very enjoyable position to be in, I must say,” said Junmin with a loathing smile. He looked very tired. It seemed that drinking red ginseng extract wasn't just to take care of his body. Perhaps he was taking them to keep up with all the work.

“As you probably know, both of you will be a.s.signed to a role. Although these roles are extras without many lines in the story, do not ever think about doing things half-heartedly. This is a movie you're appearing in. The filming will be strict as well and we'll reshoot each scene as many times as it's necessary. I said that it is okay to waste as much film as they want so we'll probably be shooting for an extremely long time.”

Although he stated that as though it was a matter of fact, the contents were something to be taken seriously. Junmin was in charge of the production of this film. If the film director was in charge of filming the actual scenes, the producer was in charge of setting up the environment that allows for the filming. He was the one in charge of finances, and he said the words 'it is okay to waste' film. This meant that there would be no cutting corners to decrease the production cost of the film, and it also meant that the actors will be squeezed out of every last bit of their energy.

“Isn't 35mm film quite expensive?”

“It costs around 300 thousand won. Oh, and that's per roll.”

“How long can we film with that then?”

“It's around four and a half minutes, but if you consider cuts and rejoins. It'll be around four minutes.”

“So that means, if we re-shoot….”

“We would be donating 300 thousand won to the ground every 4 minutes. Isn't that exciting?”

Maru heaved a deep sigh. Concrete numbers made him nervous. The pressure from other people as well as heavy occasions were things he could endure through deep breathing. That pressure did not result in actual, physical harm. However, this was different. Every NG(no good) scene he caused meant 300 thousand won vaporized into nothing.

“Since it's confirmed that you're casting us. We're getting paid too, right?”

“Of course.”

“How much?”

“It's quite good. You'll get 100 thousand won each. The scene where you two will be appearing in will end in a single day, after all. Though, you might get paid more once it gets late into the night. You aren't thinking that you're not paid much, are you? In other places, you'd at most get 70 thousand won for being an extra and 30 for just appearing. 100 thousand is actually quite a good deal. What, you think it's not much?”

“Not at all. It's more than I expected. But… it doesn't seem like a lot after hearing the price of a film roll.”

100 thousand won. Right now, one would be lucky to get paid 3 thousand won per hour. Maru also received 2600 won per hour when he worked at the petrol station. His wage increased by 300 won midway thanks to his excellent work, but even that didn't reach 3000 won an hour. In this era, 100 thousand won for a single day was a lot, especially considering his status as a high school student.

'But one slip-up means 300 thousand, huh.'

Every slip-up from an actor would burn cash to nothingness. Leaving aside the film costs, just the labor costs with all those people at the scene must be extremely high. This wasn't a movie involving just one or two people. There would be actors, their coordinators, managers as well as people related to the actual production of the movie. Most of them should be salarymen receiving monthly wages, but there should also be freelancers who would get overtime pay if they worked hours past their contract. The phrase 'time is money' also applied to movies. It was extremely easy to see that.

“Wow, I guess we can't slip up,” said Jiseok as he widened his eyes.

“If we get an okay in one go, the mood at the scene will be very good. However, if the filming time increases by 10 or 20 minutes due to some newbies, they'll start turning very strict.”

Junmin put down a pile of papers - they seemed to be the script - before continuing,

“Oh yeah. Consider insults something ordinary once the shooting begins. The only people that can get humane treatment on the scene are those that do their jobs properly. Newbies are treated worse than pebbles on the sidewalk so hold yourselves together.”

“Will we get a lot of insults?”

“You'll listen to more insults than what you've heard in your life combined.”

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“Wow, they say being insulted increases your lifespan. I might be able to achieve what Qin s.h.i.+ Huang couldn't.”

This man showed a tidy appearance in a suit during the annual awards at the end of the year, but his actual appearance was that of a chubby man in his 40s. As far as Maru knew, his mother also liked this actor. It would be quite a sight to see if he took a picture of him right now and showed it to her later.

“Aren't you embarra.s.sed in front of these kids?”

“An actor must throw away all shame, hyung-nim.”

“I get it already, so get up already. How the h.e.l.l are you becoming more immature as time goes?”

“It's all because I went through suffering in my early years. Hey! You two! Go play around while you still have the time. If you grow old doing nothing but work, you'll turn into a horrible guy like me. Though, I'm still more humane than this hyung-nim right here. Do you know how scary this guy is? Let me tell you a story. This guy, before he….”

“I'll order whatever you want so please shut up already.”

“Thanks, hyung-nim!”

This was the first time Maru saw Junmin give in to someone else's wishes. Moonjoong was someone who worked in this industry much longer than him and was someone he respected, so he didn't count, but this time, it was towards a man who looked at least a decade younger than him.

“Hey hey. You two should order something too. Jjajang(black bean sauce noodles) or jjamppong(spicy seafood noodles)?”

“I want jjamppong,” Jiseok replied immediately. Then, the gaze was gathered on Maru. Maru sighed slightly before speaking in a low voice.

“I want j.a.pchae-bap(rice topped with stir-fried gla.s.s noodles).”

* * * *

“The chinese restaurant at the front really has some good food,” Taeho said as he made some coffee with stick coffee. Junmin left mid way after getting a call and never came back.

“Well then, now that we ate, let's get things done since you guys must be busy. Since we just ate, let's do some exercise so open the scripts that you received. That's the script of the movie on which your name will be on in the ending credits,” Taeho said while tapping on his belly. Maru slowly flipped over the script. The script was definitely different to a script for a play. The stage directions were much more detailed and the scene numbers were marked with '#'s. Not only that, each of the lines clearly showed the personality of the scriptwriter, and they were much shorter than those of plays as well.

“So the whole thing is only 80 pages long?” Maru asked after checking the very last page. It was very short. He wondered how this short script would make up a 90 minute long movie.

“Short, isn't it? But once it's made into a movie, you'll feel that it isn't short at all. It's short but you'll feel like it's an eternity. Once the film director starts nagging, the whole thing just falls into an infinite loop. To make a 80 page-long script into a movie, you'll need two months at least. It's excruciating. It's not something a man should do.”

“Yet you're an actor.”

“What a bold question. I like you.”

Taeho burped before replying.

“That's the addicting part about a movie. It feels horrible during the filming. It'd be better if we do scene by scene from the beginning, but circ.u.mstances don't exactly allow for that. No matter how well things are planned out, it will always go wrong. Sometimes there's a need to scene #34 after scene #1. What's p.i.s.ses people off is that sometimes that scene #34 is set in a place like Jeju island. I've never seen a movie that's filmed according to the initial plan. Not even once. But you know? The thing is, once that c.r.a.ppy stuff is all out of the way and you look at the final, edited movie, you forget about all the pains. Then, you go partic.i.p.ate in the next movie and repeat the whole process. This is really addictive. Once you get into it, you have no choice but to continue doing it.”

Taeho emptied the coffee in one gulp.

“Well then, since you read the script, let's get to work then, shall we? Page 30, scene #44. You see? Read through that part. Imagine the scene in your head too. Delinquent 1 and delinquent 2. I'll decide on the roles after you guys try them out. Delinquent 2 obviously looks like he'll have more screen time, right? He gets to talk to the main character at the end after all. Both of you probably want that. Since you're going to appear in a movie, you'd want to appear longer, right?” Taeho said with a thick grin. His appearance right now was completely different from just moments ago where he was picking his tooth with a toothpick, giggling. His eyes were calm and his entire atmosphere was different.

“Let's try them out once, a.n.a.lyze the characters and decide after that. I'm doing this because senior Moonjoong asked me to, so be sure to concentrate. My pride is also on the line as well. I'm not putting someone half-a.s.sed in front of the senior after all. Well, then. Shall we have a go?”

 It actually just says 'twilight', but everyone knows a movie with that name. So I decided to change it slightly.

 Two of the most common menus in a Korean Chinese-style restaurant

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