After Story 77
After Story 77
"My eyes are dry."
"You think you're alone? I'm the same."
"How long do you think we'll have to keep watching today?"
"We've done half now, so it should end before six. Considering the speed the director's going at, it might end before that."
Nam Joon pressed between his eyebrows as he listened to the assistant director. So he had to wait just an hour or two more?
"The actors assigned to the morning session are definitely quite good."
"They all have experience. They're incomparably proficient to the ones who are just starting out."
"It's a pity that such actors can't even shoot a single movie these days."
"There are many 'good' people, but they'll have to show more than just 'good' in order to get picked. Did you swap out the memory?"
Nam Joon tapped on the camera and nodded.
"Looks like we should start as soon as the director returns."
Just as the assistant director stood up to stretch his back, the door opened and the director and the scriptwriter came in.
"It's really cold. I'm going to freeze to death while smoking." Director Song Daejin trembled and sat down.
The writer seemed to be cold as well, as he blew warm air into his hands.
"Nam Joon, let's begin," said the director.
Nam Joon opened the door and notified the acting school staff that the audition had resumed.
"226 was it?"
While the director and the assistant director talked to each other, the door opened.
She was a woman whose short hair suited her quite a lot. Nam Joon looked at the woman's face that the camera caught. The charm of her real-life figure was brought out even on the screen as well. Based on appearances alone, she would be among the top people today.
"Hello. I'm Park Jiyoon, a bold new actress."
The director said that she could begin as soon as she was ready.
The eyes of the director, assistant director, and writer all turned toward the monitor on the right.
Standing at the front, the actress started.
"I saw it. I saw that prick steal it. Why won't you believe me! Why won't you ever believe me!"
The actress spoke loudly as she moved dynamically. It was when the actress flinched back and was about to say the next line that the director raised his hand to stop her.
"Miss Park Jiyoon. Your expression is good, but your pronunciation isn't as good. If you can't swear, then it's better if you don't. Thank you for coming."
"Is it over?"
"Yes, it's over."
"Uhm, there's a free acting that I've prepared."
"There's one more?"
"Alright, go on then."
The actress recollected herself from panic and started acting again. However, the director soon raised his hand to stop her again.
"Thank you for coming."
The director only looked at the actors when greeting them in or out.
Nam Joon pitifully looked at the actress who bowed.
Cheer up, Miss Jiyoon – he inwardly sent her some encouragement.
The actress then left the room. Nam Joon could remember at least 100 actors who left the audition room before two minutes had passed.
While the director permitted the actors to do their second skits if they so desired, not a single one managed to impress him in doing so.
"I guess this is why everyone uses actors that they know," said the writer.
"It's this hard to find actors. People don't say that preproduction is half the work for nothing," the director said as he rolled the pen in his hand.
"I did have to think quite a lot in the morning because there were decent actors, but now that we ate lunch, I feel like some people came as a joke. Joon, give me some coffee."
Nam Joon put down a canned coffee in front of the writer.
"Joon, are you sure you didn't slack when you looked through the profiles?"
"No way. I had a thorough look with the assistant director."
"Then why are they like this? At this rate, I think we'll have to do the audition again after picking a few people from the morning. Don't you think so, hyung-nim?"
The director shook his head at the writer's words.
"We've gotten a lot of people with good character, so I'm fine with ending things like this."
"You look disappointed though?."
"Because it's not outside my expectations. I persuaded the production company to hold a public audition, and if this is the result, who would want to try this again? Everyone would hold unopen auditions."
While the director was sighing, the next actor opened the door and came in. He was a man in his thirties.
The way he walked in front of the judges was bold. His first impression was really good.
However, the moment he spoke, Nam Joon clenched his eyes shut. He could already picture what would happen in one minute. The director would raise his hand and the actor would step out.
"Don't be nervous. Start once you're ready."
They waited for a while, but the actor could not begin. He stuttered a few times with his face red and frowned.
Nam Joon could understand how he felt. He also took auditions when he was an actor. It was not an easy task to stay sane amidst the eyes of numerous judges in a closed space.
"Mr. Youngho. You have a very good physique. However, you're supposed to be an actor. If you don't show me anything, I can't judge you."
"Sorry, I wasn't like this while I was practicing. I can really do better…."
"I know. I get what you're trying to say, but we should stop here. Thank you for coming."
The man opened and closed his mouth a few times but then left with a sigh of self-blame.
He was probably angry at himself.
"He looked really good. You know we have that secretary role, right? I thought he was perfect for that," said the writer.
The director seemed to be of the same mind and nodded.
"Don't you think you're scaring people by glaring at them, director?" said the assistant director while stretching his hand.
The director just laughed.
"Let's get a few more people. We should get something out of this."
The door to the audition room opened again. This time, it was a man with a pretty good look in his eyes.
The way he walked in front of the judges after closing the door slowly looked quite natural. After looking at the judges in front of the camera, the actor took half a step sideways, so that he would show up in the middle of the screen.
Nam Joon had a hunch that he must be an actor who had taken many auditions.
"I'm Han Maru. I'll begin."
As soon as he introduced himself, he got into the mood. Nam Joon had a look at the actor's figure with his eyes and then looked through the screen. His face was actually much more three-dimensional than he had expected.
Under the fluorescent lights, the actor's eyes, cheeks, and chin contours stood out.
If it was possible to discern good and evil through one's face, he looked closer to evil than good. He looked like he had a 'bad guy' image in him so openly.
However, he had to change his mind when the actor smiled. He looked so pure and innocent that he might be easily enticed into guaranteeing for someone.
His face 'based on evil' had not changed, but the atmosphere he gave off had become different.
His face looked rough like it had received the weathering of the world, but it was still gentle and innocent on the inside, so to speak.
"Thank you all for your work. You must be cold, so let's have a drink each."
Smiling gently, the actor slowly moved his hands. Nam Joon could imagine him pouring some rice wine and drinking it.
After dipping his thumb into the bowl, the actor drank it all in one go before wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.
“I’m having a blast nowadays because everyone’s not skipping hours. Chulsoo, our new recruit, hasn’t run away either. Right right, if you endure and learn skills from these ahjussis, they’ll become useful later. I mean, studying isn’t everything these days, is it? Even if it’s manual labor, if you learn and get experience, you’ll receive good treatment and get a good life. You know Mr. Kang, right? The guy who was sent to the prime contractor, right? Sometimes, you get a stroke of luck like that, so let us all do our best. Here, have another bowl.”
The actor raised an invisible bowl above his head and sang a savory song. He looked to be in his mid-twenties at most, but the way he acted was a total old man. It didn’t feel like he was doing an awkward imitation. Where could he have heard that? Did he perhaps work in a construction zone?
Nam Joon looked at the actor dancing around and smiled faintly. His acting was not awkward at all and made Nam Joon keep looking.
“Wait a second,” said the director. The actor waited and stood upright.
“You’re good, but can you show me something else? If possible, something evil. Not something that’s outright threatening, but something that’s more subtle yet evil.”
The director gave the actor an order. This was the first time this happened in the afternoon. He told others to do the act they’d prepared but did not designate something for them.
From the way the actor responded without hesitation, the actor seemed to have prepared something as well. Actors usually prepared two acts of totally opposite themes, so it was probably that.
The actor rolled up his sleeves.
“Missus, what’s so hard about buying this one thing?”
His mouth was in a smile, but his eyes were sharp. The way his eyes quickly moved up and down made him look like he was finding the weakness of his prey.
“I’ve treated you so well every time you came here. You know that, right? I was always smiling and laughing because you felt like you were my real mother, but I’ll be disappointed if you do this. Hey, what do your children do? They don’t let their mother buy something like this? Do they not send you any money?”
The actor knelt down and reached his arm out to the front. He made a filial expression and stroked the imaginary old lady’s hand.
Nam Joon took his eyes off the screen and looked at the actor. The other judges did the same.
Seemingly not feeling the attention on him at all, the actor smoothly continued his act. He kept consoling and urging the missus to buy the item but then eventually snapped out in ire. He looked like a stereotypical con artist targeting elderly people to buy unnecessary items. He looked so realistic that it made Nam Joon wonder if he actually tried doing it once.
“Missus, no, mom. Thank you. You’re the best, mom. Here, everyone, look. Missus Kim here, my mom, has bought five boxes of these great ginseng extracts that will increase her life by 10 years. She’s a totally generous spender. Everyone, give her a round of applause!”
The actor grinned brightly and kept clapping. Nam Joon, who made eye contact with him midway, raised his hands in the air. It felt like he had to clap.
“Nicely done,” the director said while nodding. “From your profile, it seems like you’re just starting out.”
“Yes. I don’t have much experience, so it might look rather empty.”
“Considering that you’re pretty good. Do you go to Bell acting school?”
“Not really. An instructor there recommended that I take this audition, so I applied through the acting school.”
“May I ask who that instructor is?”
“It’s instructor Yang Miso.”
“Oh, Miso did?” the director tapped the pen on the table.
From Nam Joon’s experience, it was the director’s habit when he was extremely satisfied.
“Joon, take your glasses off and hand them to him.”
Nam Joon gave the actor his glasses.
“Can you put it on?”
The actor put on the glasses. The director looked at the writer and asked how he was.
“I think he fits.”
“He looks a little young, but looking at what he did, that might actually be better off.”
The director marked the profile.
“Thank you for coming today. See you next time.”
The actor took off the glasses and left. The director had the next participant wait and checked the video they took. After watching the actor on the screen for a while, the director stroked his chin.
“I think we have our scammer. He’s the perfect fit.”
The director assigned a role on the spot. This was the first time it happened since the audition began.
Nam Joon looked at the actor who had the glasses on the screen.
He had a face that was both good and evil. If he got a little older and the contours of his face stood out a little more, what would he be like? He looked forward to that day.