It seemed over. Kwon Dayoon took the phone off her ears and leaned back in the chair. The leather seat cover she bought with her own money wasn’t as comfortable as yesterday.
‘Blue’ started disbanding. ‘This is our last time’ - the words they said as a joke during the last performance ended up taking root. It was an inevitable matter, and it was also one she was prepared for.
She pressed on her eyelids.
She gained that opportunity after failing once, so she was very obstinate on maintaining Blue. Their trainee period was harsh. She believed that the sense of friendship she gained with the other members as they ate cold rice together would never change, but it ended up happening.
She had to say goodbye to living together with the others, to being the only unpopular member, and to the title of an idol nearing 30, but why was it that she felt so frustrated? There was a time she wished for this to happen faster, and they were finally disbanding, but rather than a smile, she only g.r.o.a.n.e.d.
Was it because of the affection between the members that she thought was lost? Dayoon shook her head. There was no room in her heart to be shaken by such luxurious emotions. There was only one reason she was frustrated and sad: she had become truly alone. Economic independence. The shield known as ‘Blue’ no longer existed. Now, it was up to her to accept the waves of time and the gazes of the world. That was what scared Dayoon.
The other members had found their own paths already. They were young. They just hit twenty, and the youngest one, Chaerim, was just nineteen. In this market, age was something more than just a number, especially to girl idols. Every time their age went up by a number, the rope that strangled their necks became tighter. They would become useless unless consumed quickly, just like milk that was just before the expiration date.
There was no idol that was doing better than her that was older than her. Not even one.
“This is my last opportunity.”
She grabbed the script in a rush. She was pushed to the edge of a cliff, but it wasn’t like there was no salvation for her. That man had come back for her. That man, who she really was about to fall in love with, and this movie were the saving grace that was given to her at the edge of the cliff. If she missed it, she would fall down from the cliff. Meaning, she would hit rock bottom again. It was impossible for her to start over again in that moist, small space again. Back then, she was young, was able to take challenges, and above all, did not know the cruelties of the world.
“Didn’t know I’d come back here again. Phew, didn’t know I’d come back here again.”
She said the same line over and over again in a nervous manner. When she first met director Joongjin under that man’s lead, Joongjin said to her that there was no need for her to act; that there was no need for her to know what acting was.
When his snake-like eyes scanned her body, Dayoon realized that he was serious. She was one of the lead roles, and she didn’t have to do any acting? She had her suspicions, but she could only say that she would do it.
Finally, today, she got a glimpse of the way Joongjin did things. Throw away everything other than the act that I tell you - Joongjin kept his word as he continued the shoot.
“The shoot is starting.”
The manager spoke while tapping on the window. Dayoon got out of the car with the script. She felt dizzy for a moment due to the heat.
“Are you okay?”
“Yes, oppa. I’m okay.”
She let go of the manager’s hand, who was trying to help her up, and walked towards where the reflector was. This was the scene where she went to the crime scene again with Yoo Joongang instead of Lee Hyuk, who went to prison. She could see many members of the staff rush down the mountain with shovels in their hands.
“Miss Dayoon, over here.”
Joongjin smiled as he gestured. Next to him stood Lee Hyuk and Joongang. They were, like her, lead roles in this movie, but she was still unfamiliar with them. This was their first meeting after the read-through. Although there was a get-together, Lee Hyuk and Joongang did not show up due to personal circ.u.mstances, and Dayoon wasn’t able to go either due to meeting that man. From what she heard, even director Joongjin didn’t show up. She heard that the main members of the staff and some of the supporting roles ate high quality beef with the credit card they were given. In other words, these people, including herself, had no intentions of getting close with the others. She heard some people say that they should eat together after the shoot today, but wondered how many people would actually show up.
When Dayoon stood in front of Joongjin, the rehearsal began immediately. Joongjin instructed everyone on what the actors had to do just like what he did during the morning with the child actors. How many parts they had to divide their breathing into; where they had to look; what hand gestures to make while they speak, and things like that. The blanks in the script were being filled with the director’s words. She was taking notes on a movie set even though she had never done so even in school.
She looked at the script, which had practically turned into a user manual, and did her practice. When she did everything the director told her to do in front of him, she would immediately get coached.
“Miss Miso, would you please.”
The woman that joined mid-way through the morning, Yang Miso, approached her. She seemed acquainted with director Joongjin. The director explained that she was here for coaching.
“I didn’t know it would be like this, but since things have progressed already, I’ll try my best,” Miso said as she shrugged her shoulders. Dayoon forced herself to smile. In a movie shoot, someone that was supposed to be the lead actor was getting coached on acting. Joongjin would explain the form of the acting, and Miso would get into the details. Dayoon added things into her script while listening to Miso’s words.
“Relax your shoulders, yes, just like that. You need to show what’s inside. In other words, you can only act once you embarrass yourself to the point that you can’t embarrass yourself anymore.”
Just as Dayoon nodded her head at Miso’s words,
“Miss Miso. Just tell her the methods. There’s no need to go into comprehension. Just the tricks, that’s enough.”
“Is that really enough?”
“It is. If it’s lacking, we can always add more. We should get this done quickly and get some rest.”
Miso sighed slightly before continuing to explain.
“I don’t know what kind of contract there is between you two, but let’s take the intensive course. Try saying your lines.”
Dayoon said the lines at the beginning of the scene. She did not forget to make the expressions that director Joongjin told her to make.
“You have a good memory at least. Then, for now, think of it as trying to put strain into the part between your nose and your eyes while you say this line. That’s it. Say your lines just like that. Also, let me ask. You didn’t do any research into the character’s emotions, right?”
“No. I don’t know anything.”
“...Phew. Okay, let’s try it for now.”
Miso explained how to do acting while giving easy-to-understand examples. Dayoon felt her confidence skyrocket. She felt as though she made out some of the path on this dark path of acting. When they went over the script just once, Joongjin told everyone to gather round.
“Let’s do the rehearsal.”
Dayoon properly recreated the parts she practiced. The two male actors also continued their act as Joongjin instructed them without saying a word.
“Good, do just that.”
She gave her script to the manager and stood in front of the camera. Was this really sufficient? She felt very uneasy. If she was not able to take a leap with this movie, her life in the entertainment industry would suffer. She had to find a way forward before Blue’s disbandment became official, and this movie was the greatest and most suitable opportunity for her.
I need to do better - her hasty attitude pushed her back. The camera started rolling and she started acting, nay, she started imitating. At first, she did just as director Joongjin told her to. They reached a cut without any mistakes. Following that, they proceeded to get the second take. Dayoon then thought: would she really be able to gain popularity like this?
Wouldn’t it be better to say her lines more dynamically? - such d.e.s.i.r.es made her lips feel dry. She was also a professional. One that smiled and danced on a stage in front of thousands of people. She knew how to be liked by the people. Wouldn’t her acting become a lot smoother if she used that skill here?
Hearing the director’s cue sign, Dayoon started moving. She started off the same as last time, but she made a more cheerful smile in the scene where she walked while hanging her arms around the two male actor’s shoulders. She was told to smile, so this should be fine, right?
At that moment, director Joongjin stopped the shoot.
“Miss Dayoon, let’s have a talk for a sec.”
Dayoon looked at Joongjin nervously. When she did something different from what she was told to do, he found out immediately. How eagle-eyed was that?
“Why did you do that?”
“Because this looks better.”
“Hm, so you’re saying that you know acting better than me, Miss Dayoon? That you know the character better than me?”
“Eh? No, that’s not true.”
“Then why did you act however you want? I should have told you that you are to follow my instructions. Miss Dayoon, do you want to shoot a movie, or do you want to do acting? Please just choose one. If you want to shoot a movie, then do what I say, and if you want to do acting, then leave.”
“Yes. Didn’t I say it the first time we met? That you don’t need to do acting?”
“...I’m sorry. I will not do anything strange anymore.”
“Good. What we’re doing is business. You can do your art later.”
Dayoon lowered her head towards Joongjin who lightly patted her shoulder. That’s right, this was work, and she was supposed to do what she was told to do.
Dayoon returned to her place.
* * *
“Right there, that’s right.”
Receiving action guidance from Choongho who joined them later, Maru and the minor actors rolled on the ground. They threw themselves on the ground while avoiding tree roots. When they fell on the mat that was outside the frame of the camera, the director shouted cut.
“Well then, let’s go to the next scene.”
Maru looked at Sooyoung and Joon-gi who were next to him.
“Let’s decide after doing the next rehearsal.”
Until now, they did not feel any rejection towards the acting that Joongjin told them to do. Since it was an action scene, there was no room for individual influence, and since it was a fast-paced scene, the director’s efficient way of instructions was actually quite beneficial.
However, the next scene required them to talk to each other on the slope of the mountain. This was an important part where anger that started from a misunderstanding would eventually lead to the death of a friend.
“Please gather round.”
The child actors gathered around Joongjin. Maru and Bangjoo stood on the opposite side of the main characters. After making them face each other, Joongjin started the rehearsal. Under director Choongho’s guidance, they created a brawl scene.
“That’s the general gist of the fight scene, and Mr. Taehoon, come here.”
After finishing explaining to the lead actors, Joongjin walked towards the monitor saying that they should try the shoot this time. This was a long take that lasted about 50 seconds. Jangsoo, who held up a steady cam while wearing a vest, put out his cigarette and approached them.
“This thing is super heavy. I can last about three takes, but any more than that is impossible for me since there’s my age and all, so please spare me.”
Hearing those words, the actors laughed in a small voice. Jangsoo captured Taehoon and Gwangsoo in the frame.
This was the start.
Along with Joongjin’s cue sign, the silence broke. Taehoon swore just like during the rehearsal. Maru did the same from the opposite side. Gwangsoo spat on the ground, and that became the signal for thirty people, divided into above and below, to run towards each other.
Bangjoo, Joon-gi, and Sooyoung also went at each other while uttering their lines.
The brawl scene that they had practiced for more than an hour unfolded. Maru pulled back the moment Jangsoo, who held the camera, went by him. Like Moses splitting apart the red sea, the actors all pulled back wherever he moved. The only ones left at the end were Taehoon, who was punching out in a cool fashion, as well as Gwangsoo, who was giving a roundhouse kick to a burly guy.
“Okay. Jangsoo-hyungnim. Let’s do that one more time.”
“Don’t shoot too much. Well, not that you’d do that.”
Joongjin said that they’ll start shooting again after some maintenance. They dusted off their bodies and pressed back down their hair. The stylists came and redid what looked sloppy.
Maru waved at Sooyoung. Sooyoung brought Joon-gi and Bangjoo.
“How was it? Did you guys find anything you want to change?”
“I got a feeling after I did it. This is a bit bland. It’s too meek when this is supposed to be kids fighting.”
All three of them said that there was a part they didn’t like. They meant that the action was fine, but the part where they expressed their emotions before the fight was a bit meek. Maru nodded once. That definitely required some changes to make it look good.
“Let’s do it. Just changing the tone of voice would change a lot of things.”
“For me, I’m going to change some of my lines as well.”
“Don’t stray off too much.”
They went back to their standby position. After checking the footage, Joongjin raised his hand. He had the habit of snapping his fingers when he gave his cue signal.
The flow was the same as last time. Taehoon and Gwangsoo said their lines like saying the model answer from a textbook. Following that was Maru’s turn. Maru changed his tone and actions from the ones that Joongjin told him to do. He let his emotions decide so that it would suit the character better.
Following that, the three others also did their acts slightly differently from what Joongjin told them to do.
It now looked more emotional and a lot rougher.
After punching each other in the following battle scene and pulling back behind the camera, Maru and Sooyoung exchanged gazes of satisfaction.
The changed version was definitely better.
At that moment, Joongjin shouted cut the moment the big kid moved out of the frame after being kicked and pointed at Maru and the three others exactly.
“Shall we have a talk?”
 The raws are vague here in who went to the prison. It might be Lee Hyuk or it might be Yoo Joongang.