Chapter 678

“Come in,” Jayeon said while opening the door.

Inside the meeting room next to the set, there was only a rectangular table.

“It looks like we’re gonna have to wait for about five minutes.
Have a drink or something.”

Jayeon left the meeting room.
Maru sat on the left.
Yuna sat next to him, and Byungjae sat opposite him.

“Is Mira on her way here?” Ganghwan asked as he sat at the table.

“She said she arrived.
I got a text that she’s in front of the building, so she should be here soon.”

As soon as Byungjae’s words ended, the door to the meeting room opened before Mira came in.
She looked around while not looking to be in a hurry before sitting down next to Byungjae.

“Where’s the producer?” she asked.

“Dunno.
She disappeared.”

Ganghwan grabbed a paper cup that was placed on the table before pouring some orange juice from a plastic bottle.

“Let’s wait while we have some drinks.
She said we’d need to wait for about five minutes.”

Yuna poured the drinks in five paper cups.
Everyone thanked her before taking a cup each.
The juice was very cold as though it had just been taken out of the refrigerator.

“Does everyone here have experience acting in front of a camera?” Ganghwan asked.

Byungjae and Mira replied ‘yes’.

“I know about Maru, and you said you were Yuna, right?”

“Yes.
My name is Kim Yuna.”

“How about you, Yuna? Have you acted in front of a camera before?”

“No, this is my first time at a shoot like this.”

“Really? That sounds fortunate.
This is my first time as well, doing it properly.
Let’s get along well as beginners.”

Maru looked at Ganghwan while he drank.
He was probably one of the least-fitting people to use the word ‘beginner’ for.
Ganghwan looked back at him while asking ‘what?’.

“I was just thinking that if you’re a beginner, hyung-nim, I may as well be a worm,” Maru said as he looked away.

“I’m also no different from a beginner,” Byungjae suddenly added.

From the way he even raised his hand to speak, his nervousness could be seen.

“Byungjae, relax your shoulders.
As you all know, producer Yoo Jayeon is pretty liberal during personal occasions, but she’ll become very strict once the shot begins.
You’re gonna have a hard time if you are so nervous from the beginning,” Ganghwan spoke as he pressed down on Byungjae’s shoulders.

Byungjae twisted his body while groaning but Ganghwan did not let him go.
Yuna and Mira laughed as they watched.

“If you feel stiff again, I’ll loosen you up so just tell me about it.”

“Oh, no! I’ll do it myself next time.”

It seemed that it was pretty painful.
After Byungjae replied in a fluster, the door slowly opened.

“Here’s the writer who helped me out.”

Maru widened his eyes when he looked at the woman who followed Jayeon inside.
It was someone unexpected.
After meeting eyes with her, Maru quickly nodded.

“We meet again, huh?”

Writer Lee Hanmi waved her hand as she sat down.
Producer Jayeon looked at her and asked,

“You two know each other?”

“We do.
He’s in my work, and I know him personally too.”

“Your work? But New Semester is the only thing you're doing right now, isn’t it?”

“Yeah that.
He’s in it, you know?”

“Maru is?”

Jayeon looked at Maru in a questioning light.

“You’re in New Semester?”

“Yes.”

“Why didn’t you tell me about it?”

“I thought you knew.”

“I was completely unaware of it.
So you must be working with senior Park Hoon, huh?”

“I saw him just yesterday.”

Jayeon nodded while crossing her arms.

“Oh well, that doesn’t matter.
There’s no way I would know since I didn’t have anyone write their filmography in their application.
Also, it’s not like I’m the type to watch my seniors’ works.
But if there is a fixed drama, wouldn't it be hard to adjust the schedule?”

“It doesn’t matter since my appearance has decreased quite a lot recently.
Also, the schedule doesn’t overlap because the shoot for this drama is on Sunday nights and Monday and Tuesday afternoons.”

“Well, my assistant director probably took care of that.
I left him to his own devices for schedule management so I don’t know much about it.
It’s fine as long as it doesn’t affect my shoot,” Jayeon said as she tapped with the script.

“You’re the producer in charge, and it’s a YBS program, too.
Don’t you think it’s a negligence of duty to not know that?” Ganghwan said, who was sitting next to Jayeon in a corner.

“It’s fine since I can learn more about him starting now.
Don’t you think so, actor Yang?”

Ganghwan looked away hearing Jayeon’s thorny words.
He was only joking, but he didn’t manage to gain anything from it.

“Looks like I only talked about a lot of nonsense with a lot of guests here.
Well then, everyone.
This is our touching first read-through.
I’ll first introduce myself.
I am producer Yoo Jayeon of YBS Drama.
I’ll be working with you all to create a 4-episode one-act play for the next two months.
It is a coincidence that we were given a whole four episodes as filler, but creating a drama thanks to this coincidence depends on our skill.
I hope we can make a great drama together.”

Everyone knew each other but the producer introduced herself as though to tell that this was their first official meeting.
Her ambitious words signaled the start of the drama shoot.

“And this is our writer.”

“There are people I haven’t seen before, as well as those I’ve met, but anyway, nice to meet you all.
I am Lee Hanmi.
This drama is a co-product of me and director Yoo here.
I added the flesh to director Yoo’s idea, so I guess you can call director Yoo the original author.
However, the characters moving inside it are under my influence.
I’m going to watch whether you can bring it out or whether you ruin the whole thing.
Oh, and one more thing.
I’m quite picky during read-throughs.
I’ll be saying some words to make you feel bad and to piss you off so don’t just misinterpret it as you wish.
If you are pointed out, you better think about fixing it.
Understood?”

Her resolve could be felt from those words.
Maru looked down at the script.
The fact that she was going to say stuff to piss people off did not sound ordinary to him.

“Well then, why don’t we introduce ourselves starting here?”

Jayeon pointed at Ganghwan.

“I’m Yang Ganghwan, and I’ll be playing the role of Lee Jaewoo.
I don’t have experience acting in front of the camera, so I might be lacking, but I will do my best in order to produce good results.”

“Hello, my name is Ha Byungjae.
My role is Choi Jihoon.
I will try hard not to be a hindrance to everyone.”

“I’m Choi Mira.
I play Kang Haeyeon, please take care of me.”

Maru also stood up from his seat.

“My name is Han Maru.
I was assigned the role of Park Haejoon.
I want to make a good drama.
Please take care of me.”

The last one was Yuna.

“Hello, my name is Kim Yuna.
I will be playing the role of Yoon Jihae.
I’m a little nervous because it’s my first drama.
I will do my best.”

They finished introducing themselves.
At that moment, everyone picked up their scripts as though this was agreed upon beforehand.

“Then let’s begin.
Maru, can you read the narratives?”

“Yes.”

“Yuna, you should read them when it’s Maru speaking.
If they’re both speaking, Mira should take over.”

“Understood.”

Hanmi took out her glasses.
After checking that Hanmi had put on her glasses, Jayeon signaled with a nod.
Maru cleared his throat before starting to speak,

“Scene one.
In front of Jaewoo’s house.
Jaewoo, who is climbing a hill, quietly stares at the drainage hole.
There is all sorts of trash blocking the metallic grid.
After looking at the trash for a while, Jaewoo clicks his tongue before resuming to walk.”

* * *

“Is what is not possible, not possible after all?”

Jaewoo put down his pencil.
He had sharpened his pencil like a knife in order to do the cleanest form of writing possible but a black dot never appeared on the white manuscript paper.
Jaewoo looked at his pencil holder.
This pencil holder, which was a glass bottle he picked up from the side of the road, was one of Jaewoo’s treasures.
He cherished that pencil holder even more than the cutting-edge laptop that he bought at a very expensive price.
The water bottle was proof that he overcame hardships.

He ran away from the keyboard to the manuscript and then to the floor again.
Jaewoo lay down on the floor.
He looked up slightly to look at the desk.
The holy sanctuary that made Lee Jaewoo a popular author now became a place that made him sick.
It would be great if he could run away.

“Goddammit.”

He went back to the days when he threw a tantrum in front of his parents to make them buy him toys.
He twisted his body and expressed his frustration.
He was in his 30s, so anyone looking at him would say that he’s unsightly, but there was no one to see him anyway.
He was deep inside the shantytown.
This was the unpolished part of the city where no one walked around.

The more tantrums he threw, the bigger the presence of his desk became.
It slowly took over his small room as though to conquer it.
Jaewoo leaned against the wall and looked at his desk.
He despised the desk that was greedy for the little space he was in as well.

“Fine, I’m leaving then, okay?”

Jaewoo opened the door and left.

* * *

“Cut!”

Having left the set, Ganghwan snapped his neck left and right before stopping.
Maru looked at the script and Ganghwan alternately before pressing the inside of his left cheek with his tongue.
The acting of a beginner, huh.
The character from the script was vividly alive for everyone to see.
If this was what a ‘beginner’ was, how would the rest of the actors have to act?

Maru looked next to him, at the ‘actors’.
Byungjae, Mira and Yuna.
The three of them had different expressions, but their feelings probably all contained the emotion of marvel.
They probably felt that he was on a different level.
They were feeling pressured.

“Now I have the urge to write something with that fellow as the main character.”

Writer Lee Hanmi, who said that she’d watch for a bit after the read-through, had been sticking around the set for two hours already.
She seemed like an adventurer who discovered a chest full of treasure and did not let her eyes leave Ganghwan even for one moment.

“Actor Yang.
Everything’s good, but can you show me something different?”

“How?”

“I’m sorry to say this as the director, but I don’t have much to give you.
I’d be okay as long as you’re satisfied with it, hyung.
However, if you still want to try something else, you are welcome to try more.”

“Well, I’m not sure.
I don’t even know how I’m appearing on camera.
Also, I told you not to call me hyung.”

When Ganghwan got mad, the staff started laughing.
He mesmerized everyone here with his skill.
He didn’t do anything like saying kind words, playing jokes, or acting polite or anything, yet people listened to his words and chased his actions.

Maru looked at the camera director, who just now looked like he was going to be sucked in by the monitor.
Do more, more! His lips were definitely saying such words.
Ganghwan was the so-called ‘an actor worth shooting’.

Ganghwan walked over to the monitor.
He checked his acting and nodded a few times before saying ‘looks good’.

“Okay then.
Let’s go over to the next part.”

Next – Maru looked at Byungjae.
The next scene was set in Byungjae’s room.
He could see Byungjae sighing.
Ganghwan had just shown an act that he would not dare to complain about.
The pressure had to be immense.

“Byungjae, come on.
We need to do the rehearsal.”

Jayeon stepped up herself.
The assistant director was next to her.

“Yes!” Byungjae replied energetically before walking off.

“I’m so glad that the next scene isn’t mine.”

“I thought the same thing.”

Mira and Yuna looked at each other and laughed.
Ironically, Ganghwan’s perfect start raised the nervousness within the rest of the actors.
Maru also stuffed his eyes into the script.
Once Byungjae was done, it would be his turn.

“Man, shoots don't have that tingle after all,” Ganghwan said after hitting a home run.

His leisurely attitude couldn’t be more hateful than today.
Maru sighed.

“If you’re a beginner, you should’ve made mistakes and acted awkwardly too.”

“I don’t think I did that well though.”

“Those words, Byungjae-hyung will probably froth at his mouth if he heard those words.
You should’ve seen his face.”

“You just need to do what you’re capable of.
Moreover, it’s not a live program, is it? It’s not like making a mistake is a big deal either.
There’s simply no tension.
The stage is more enjoyable after all.
Don’t you think so?”

Ganghwan locked his fingers behind his head before walking away.
He looked like a loafer usually, but he would become an acting monster once he stood in front of the camera.
Maru clicked his tongue.
With that, he was sure now.
The biggest enemy at this shoot was not the producer nor the writer.
It was this man in front of him.
He was going to be at the shoot and be compared to this actor the whole time.
He felt like he swallowed a bunch of sand.

“Seonbae, do you think I can do this well?” asked Yuna, who was next to him.

“I think ‘doing well’ will be a reason for an insult.
Let’s do it to the death,” Maru said as he opened the script.

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