“It’s killing me.
I thought I would be able to touch up the sound with a few clicks, but it wasn’t like that.
I have to extract the sound from the video, edit that, and then overlay it over the muted video.
It kills me to see it rendering on my junk computer.
So I decided to buy a computer at this opportunity.”

Sora spoke as though she was buying a bag of snacks on the way home.

“I’ll help out.
It’s not like a computer costs pocket money.”

“It’s fine.
I’ve saved up for months now.”

“Oh, you’re buying a computer with several months’ worth of pocket money?”

Sora nodded.
Maru did have a suspicion when he found out that she lived in a wealthy apartment, so he decided to stop worrying about the wallet of a rich kid.

“You’re also doing the editing, right?” Maru asked Ando.

“I’m helping out from the side, but almost everything is done by her.
I just give her my opinions from time to time.”

“When do you think you’re going to finish?”

“Today’s the 8th, so let’s see.
The estimate is the 15th.
Of course, we’ll have to do finishing touches after that until we hand it in.”

“So you’re going to edit it until the last moment, huh.”

“Looking at all the footage we took, it really made me want to do better.
Isn’t that right?” Ando asked Sora.

“Don’t even start.
Some of the footage I thought I was never going to use because it was an NG during the shoot was actually so good.
If it was just me, I might have thought that I was overthinking, but Ando-seonbae said the same thing.
It’s haunting me.
Even though the take was supposed to be no good, it looked better than the original.”

“That sounds like I’ll have to do better in the future.
If you need me for any additional shoots, then tell me about it.
I’m free except on weekends.”

“You said that the drama schedule returned to normal, right?”

Maru nodded.
The drama shooting schedule, which was messed up thanks to writer Lee Hanmi overhauling an entire episode, finally got back on track.
He was now pretty free except on Saturdays and Sundays, and sometimes Fridays.

“Alright.
I’ll see what I can make before contacting you.
Ando-seonbae, let’s go.
We don’t have time for this.”

Sora dragged Ando by the sleeve.
Ando left the classroom while waving his hand with a tired face.

“So you finished the film?” Daemyung asked as he came into the classroom, looking at the two that just left.

“You can say that the actors’ job is almost over.
Editing is not an area I can help out with.”

“A film huh.
I want to make one too.”

“Why don’t you write a short scenario over the summer holidays?”

“Summer holidays?”

“You’re gonna have some time left over after the summer competition, won’t you? From what I see, Aram seems to be doing well as the club president.
Are you going to go on stage during the winter competition?”

“No.
I didn’t go up this time, so I’ll just look after the juniors in the winter too.”

“That’s why I’m saying it.
Try making a scenario about 5 minutes long.
And try drawing a sketch too.”

“5 minutes?”

“What, is it too short?”

“Yeah, a little.”

“If you try, it won’t be that short.
In fact, it might be even more difficult than longer ones, you know? You will only be able to put in the most crucial parts.”

“Now that you say it, that’s true.”

“I heard that writers for publications prepare short stories first.
Wouldn’t the film industry be similar? You need to start off with writing a proper short film, and only then will you be able to write longer ones later.”

“A 5-minute film huh.”

“Once you finish the scenario, show it to me.
I’ll act in it for you if I like it.”

“Y-you weren’t going to do it without any conditions?”

“If I don’t get paid, I’ll have to see what it is like.
If you pay me, I’ll do it without any conditions.”

“Ha, haha.
Alright, I’ll try to come up with something you’ll really like.
But five minutes huh.
I’m not sure how that’s going to work.”

“Try looking things up on the internet.
There’s actually quite a lot.
There are especially a lot of videos made by people our age.
You can refer to those.”

Daemyung nodded before asking.

“What kind of topics do you like?”

“The topic? That’s the director’s job to come up with.”

“There are joint projects, you know? I want to try looking for topics in the range that you want.
Acting something you’re good at is good too, but I think acting something you want to do is going to be better.”

“Something I want to do, huh.
What about a deep romance?”

The reason he made a joke was because nothing came to mind.
He had his hands full digesting what he was given, so he never thought about such things.
He chose acting as a way to earn money, and he adapted his acting to the roles he was given just like a factory stamping out items on order.
In such a situation, asking things about the labor itself, rather than the benefits of it, was something quite difficult for him to answer.

“You have a talent to put people in a fix.”

“M-me?”

Daemyung blinked with a dazed expression.
Maru put his bag on the desk before sitting on the window sill.

“I wonder what kind of acting I want to do.”

“You never thought about it?”

“Have you ever thought about the reason you like math?”

“No, I just do it because I’m told to.”

“It’s the same thing.
I somehow stumbled on it, and there are people telling me to do it, so that’s why I’m doing it.
Of course, I’m not saying that I dislike acting, or find it not fun.
I find it really fun to the point that I can’t think of anything else to do as a job at this point.
However, if you ask me specifically what kind of acting I want to do, then it becomes quite difficult to answer.”

“That’s plausible.
Hm, then what kind of acting do you find yourself comfortable with? I think this will be easier to answer.”

“Something I can go all out on.
I mean like something where I can burst out with all of my emotions.
I’m still quite lacking when it comes to restrained acting.”

“Then I guess I should try creating a calm and relaxing scenario.”

“I thought I just said I’m not confident in doing that?”

“That’s all the more reason you should try shooting a film with fewer fluctuations in emotions.
Don’t you think it’s gonna be really fun?”

“Sheesh, you really have a knack for putting other people in a tight spot.
Don’t you feel that the juniors are avoiding you these days?”

“N-now that you mention it, maybe.”

Daemyung grinned.

“Oh, how are the videotapes coming along?”

Daemyung asked as though he just remembered.
Maru jumped off the window sill.

“Thanks for asking.
I just entered 1988 now.
I should start seeing the changes soon.”

He finally reached the point when Jung Haejoo’s acting would become more polished.
What Maru looked forward to was that the conversations between Haejoo and Junmin behind the scenes might be recorded.
Yes, watching a good actor’s acting will allow him to learn many things, but if he managed to get his hands on the teachings of the mentor that nurtured the actor, then he would have even more things to learn.

He could go to Junmin and learn from him directly, but he now vaguely understood what kind of meaning Haejoo had to Junmin.
Perhaps the woman named Jung Haejoo might be an irrecoverable wound for his lifetime.
He didn’t want to get on his bad side by poking that wound.

“Can I watch with you as well?”

“Come over to my house on Saturday.
I don’t have a shoot that day.”

“Can I?”

“Can you not?”

Maru picked up his bag.

“Let’s go up.
Everyone must be waiting.”

* * *

“Should I say my words more strongly?”

“Do you find them lacking?”

“No, it’s not like that, but when I see how the others are doing it, I feel like I need to do more.”

“If you think that way, then it’s not a bad idea to put more energy into your lines.
However, what you need to think about more than that is the harmony on stage.
Having one person receive all the spotlight doesn’t complete the play after all.
Try doing it differently in the next rehearsal.
Daemyung and I will have a closer look.”

“Yes!”

The junior returned to his original position after a short reply.
Maru opened the script and picked up his pen.
This was the first time he saw a full rehearsal run.
He did watch it during practice, but he wasn’t fully paying attention because he was busy making props.

“Well then! You should have had enough rest.
Let’s begin shall we?”

Aram shouted the moment the second hand on the clock hit the number 12.
The first year students groaned before gathering in the middle.

“It really was unexpected.
I thought Aram was more of a whimsical kind,” he said to Daemyung, who sat next to him.

“Maybe it’s because she’s someone who does sports, but she finds it natural to keep things on time.
You haven’t seen her bring a stopwatch to do the stretches, have you? If anything, she’s even more strict than Miso-seonbae, not less.” 

“I guess we picked a good president.”

Daemyung smiled.

“But hey, what have you been writing on your script this whole time?”

“Their habits and stuff like that.
I’m just writing down what I can see for now.”

“You’re going to tell them about it?”

“I thought I’d act like a senior for once.”

“Everyone will like it.”

“I’d be thankful if they do.”

Practice began under Aram’s lead.
The juniors split up into two sides of the imaginary stage and went up on the ‘stage’ one by one.

Maru spoke in a small voice as he looked at the juniors who were acting.

“Isn’t the topic of the play a little too heavy? It’s about just before the independence, isn’t it?”

“I thought so too, but the script is created for young people.
I think it’s also made as educational material, but the content is good.
I think everyone likes the tragic beauty too.”

“Miso-noonim had everyone go over the basic vocalization because of the pronunciation a while ago, right?”

“Yeah, she did.”

“I can definitely tell that their voices are a little weak.
If they can’t fill this small hall, then their voices will be eaten up by the audience’s clothing on an actual stage.”

“We’re increasing vocal practice before and after practice, but it’s not something that improves in a short time.”

“That’s why practicing outside this hall is important.
Do you think they’re practicing at home?”

“They’re all doing their best.”

“Do you really think so?”

“I believe them.
They aren’t the type to lie about that.”

“Well, I wouldn’t be so sure about that.
I don’t think Miso-noonim got angry over something they couldn’t do.
It’s also true that she has better eyes and ears than us, and she definitely told everyone to practice outside of practice sessions.”

“Everyone’s fired up.
They should be putting in just as much effort.”

“If you think so, then I guess that’s fine.”

Maru stopped talking and looked at his juniors.
He might be asking for too much from students who had started learning just two months ago.
However, Miso never asked people to do the impossible.

After thinking for a while, Daemyung spoke.

“You know? I sometimes think about this, but she…  Gaeul, I mean.
You trust her fully, right?”

“Why do you ask?”

“It might sound strange coming from me, but I found it a little curious.
I admit that your attitude towards the juniors definitely changed after you decided to change.
However, you still sometimes choose to be doubtful instead of believing in them, don’t you? I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing.
I know that it’s your way of doing things.
Sometimes, I even want to try living like you.
Not that it would work out.
That’s what an innate nature is, right?”

“Maybe, maybe not.
I think that human nature can be changed after being born.
People change according to what they experience too.”

Maru paused before continuing.

“So the point of your question is, why am I so blindly faithful to Gaeul when I’m so doubtful of other people and like to make use of others?”

“You always put my words like that.
Of course, you’re not wrong.”

“Aren’t couples all like this?”

“Probably not, I think? Normal people aren’t like that.
That’s what makes me curious.
Honestly speaking, I like Jiyoon, but I don’t think that everything about her is good.
Jiyoon should be the same.
When I look at you two though, no, when I look at how you treat Gaeul… how should I put this… I’m not sure if saying it like this is right, and I might be being rude to you, but I can only think of it like this.”

“What is it?”

“I think you’re afraid of her.
And you look unstable.”

“…Really?”

“Sorry.
I think I went too far.
I’m sure it’s not like that.”

Daemyung quickly apologized with a complex expression on his face.
Maru could only chuckle.

“Looks like everyone must be doing their best with their practice at home.”

“What do you mean by that so suddenly?”

“What do you mean, what? I’m saying that you’re right.
Also, try to refrain from telling someone your honest words.
People generally get angry, not embarrassed, when other people find out what they’re thinking.”

Maru closed the script.

“Maru.”

“I’ll go get some fresh air for a while.
Also, don’t think about it too deeply.
I am a little angry, but I also feel thankful.
It’s quite interesting, you know? When I think about the fact that I have a friend who knows me better than I do.”

I’m off – Maru slapped Daemyung’s back before leaving the hall.

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