Life, Once Again! - Chapter 617

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Chapter 617


-Uhm...


Hochul’s face was zoomed in on. The classroom in the background became narrower and narrower, but the sound given off by the surroundings became louder and louder. The creaking of the desks, the sound of footsteps, the laughter of the students, and somehow, the sound of faith crumbling apart within a certain character, even though it should not be something that could be heard.


The close-up slowly fell back after it was changed to the next cut. Maru rested his chin on his hands and focused on the monitor. This cut was originally taken as a single cut. The camera had first zoomed in on Hochul’s face, then zoomed out before the scene changed to the classroom. Sora, however, scrapped the original finished cut and took another shot. She did not control the sense of distance by manipulating the lens; she put the camera on a cart and moved the whole thing backwards, in other words, she used a dolly shot. Thanks to that, Hochul had to run another lap in order to bring back the desperate emotions.


“It has a much bigger sense of space now that the camera is moving.”


“It’s good that I changed it, right?”


He could hear Sora and Ando having a conversation. It seemed that they were satisfied with the result. He turned around. He could see Hochul looking at his own figure passionately acting on the screen. His expression was somewhere between pity and satisfaction, and seeing as how he sighed in relief when the cut was switched, it seemed that he wasn’t entirely dissatisfied.


“Looks good.”


“Yes. I was worried, so I’m very relieved.”


Maru patted Hochul on the shoulder before looking at the monitor again. Sound from the surrounding space reached the level of being noisy. The scenery of the harmonious classroom was captured as the camera distanced itself from Hochul. Hochul, who seemed isolated in his own area, tried to wave at the camera before lowering his head and turning around.


-That couldn’t be helped.


Maru’s voice could be heard from the speakers. His voice was recorded later and overlaid on top of the video. Maru looked at his own figure laughing and playing with the others. He tried his best to insert some uneasy expressions throughout the scene to express that he was afraid of losing the peace he managed to painstakingly get, but it seemed that it wasn’t enough. It would’ve been better if he secretly expressed the wariness that he might lose this joy from time to time. It was such a pity, but Sora said that it might look too artificial to go that far and used the first shot they took.


‘I got a lot of benefits thanks to the director being so clear cut.’


Since acting was a field where he could only be subjective, an actor couldn’t help but aim for the ideals. Perhaps the thought that he could do better if he tried more might be a mistake on his part or was him being arrogant. Being able to give strict evaluations to actors that couldn’t be satisfied with their acting should also be one of the qualities of a director. While Sora might be a tomboy, he had to give her acknowledgment in that regard.


The film now headed towards an entirely different direction from the beginning. The main character, who chewed on rice as he would sand at the beginning of the film, now texted his friends and looked forward to going to school. He joked with the friends he met on his way to school and talked to them without restraint. The main character, who sought out dark alleyways, now raised his head up high and walked on streets where students, who were wearing uniforms just like his, were everywhere. Finally feeling a sense of belonging that he was now the same as the rest of them, the main character entered the classroom, and the camera slowly followed the main character’s back. After greeting his friends cheerfully, the main character sat down and took out textbooks from his bag. He talked about trivial everyday life stuff with the person that sat next to him as he prepared for morning homeroom. Meanwhile, the camera separated from the main character’s back and approached the blackboard in a slow fashion.


“We got a lot of NGs on that part, didn’t we?”


“That was the 19th take. Everyone seemed a little overly excited because it was the last part. I actually held myself back from snapping. I too was excited after all,” Sora said with a smile.


Maru also remembered that part. Even Ando, who always carried the camera seriously, shook the camera up and down because of the light-hearted atmosphere. Perhaps because of the sense of leisure that arose since it was the last part, no one complained about it. Thanks to that, the classroom scene just before the last cut was harmony itself and was at the epitome of ordinariness. The camera, which captured a scene that could be seen in just about every school, slowly turned to look at the desk right in front of the teacher’s desk. There were students sitting at thirty seven desks in the classroom, but that desk alone was empty. The guest appearance, Taesik, who should be on his honeymoon at this moment, opened the door and came in.


-Everyone, sit down. Class prez.


The camera now shot from the teacher’s point of view. Gaeul, who played the role of the class president, and was standing up, stopped talking with the person next to her and smiled.


-Stand, bow to the teacher.


-Good morning, sir.


The camera scanned the bowing students before stopping at the empty desk.


-Don’t chat and do your best during class. Don’t cause trouble. Understood?


-Yes.


Even while the teacher had a conversation with the students, the camera shot the desk which was now without an owner. Taesik left and chatter erupted from outside the frame once again.


-What’s for lunch today?


-Did you do that homework?


-Wanna go to the PC bang after school?


The scene faded out amidst the ordinary conversation. As the screen turned dark, silence fell on the film production club as well.


The film wasn’t over yet. There was still a cut left.


Breaking the silence, light appeared from in the monitor again. Maru saw himself in the film. Someone called out to him, who was standing in front of that empty desk in front of the teacher’s desk.


-Hey, the teacher said to take that desk out and put it in the storage room.


-Really?


The camera, which was shooting from the back of the classroom, slowly moved around to the side of the main character and shot his face; the same face that was smiling in happiness after being freed from shackles.


“What a bad guy,” Maru said after checking that the video stopped.


It was definitely something satisfying since he was moved when he saw his own acting, but it also made him feel bitter because he felt as though a facet of the character in the screen also existed inside of him. Considering the rule that one could only express what they know of, that child who was fleeing from reality on the screen was undeniably a part of him.


“That goes to show how good your acting was. Now then, that concludes the premiere. Give a round of applause, everyone! For the actors, the staff, and lastly, to me, who fought until the end on the computer!”


Sora stood up first and started clapping. Everyone laughed and followed suit.


“Now, I can’t edit it anymore. The day after tomorrow, the 23rd, is the deadline after all. And honestly speaking, I wouldn’t know what to edit at this point. I’m confident now. This will definitely win a prize.”


“Isn’t it a little too early to be happy?” someone from the film production club asked.


Sora shook her head.


“A sports player who plays a match expecting to lose will not win the prize. That’s why, we should all think that we will definitely win a prize. Now, the only thing left is to hand it in properly and pray to god.”


“What are you going to do about the prize money?”


“We should gather everyone up and have a blast!”


“Sounds good!”


The juniors from the acting club, who also helped out in the production, cheered as well. The film production clubroom, which was half the size of an ordinary classroom, was filled with cheers.


“Well, then. You know I like speeches and things like that, right? Before we eat the stuff we bought, let me say a word or two as the director. Is that alright with you all?”


Go on - everyone replied.


“Thank you for trusting in me and helping me, despite my lack of skills. I hope that we can create another one next year, or if possible, this winter. Of course, I’m going to get help from the acting club at that time too. Why don’t we make this an annual event or something? The film production club and the acting club should become sister clubs.”


“Talk to our club president for that,” Maru said with a smile.


“I am going to, you know? Anyway! Thanks for your efforts until now!”


Sora bowed. The people gathered inside the clubroom smiled and started applauding. Maru did the same. Now that he heard it from Sora herself, he finally felt like this film was over.


“Next, our lead actor should say a word or two.”


“Nah, leave me out.”


“Why? It’s embarrassing for only me to do it, so you should say some words too, seonbae. You’re supposed to do it on occasions like this.”


Sora pulled on his arm. Maru scratched his eyebrows and stood up. The eyes on him made him feel a bit of pressure. He smiled awkwardly before speaking,


“Let’s just get to eating.”


After a moment of silence, everyone in the clubroom reached out to the food in front of them.


“Let’s eat!”


“Thanks for the food!”


Maru grinned at Sora, who glared at him, before reaching out to some snacks.


“Raw ramyun? This looks terrible.”


“There are uncooked wiener sausages here too.”


“Should we just bring a pot and cook some budae-jjigae[1]?”


“I’m sure the teachers would love to see that.”


Since the food was brought by students who didn’t have deep pockets, most of the items were snacks or cheap frozen foods. Maru checked the time on his phone before calling a few of his juniors from the acting club and leaving the classroom.


“What is it, seonbae?”


“Go to the fast food restaurant in front of the school and buy everything you want. You should buy about 30 people’s worth of food.”


He gave his credit card to his juniors. After accepting the card, the junior hesitated before asking,


“Really?”


“Don’t hold back and get everything you want. I’m going to make you run a lap around the school field if the receipt is shorter than your face, so buy a lot of things. If you want to eat something else, you can buy those too. But you have to hurry.”


“Yes!”


The juniors seemed to have thought that refusing once out of politeness was enough and ran down the stairs without even looking back. Seeing that, Maru was a little scared of the soon-to-be-coming receipt, but he decided not to mind since the bus had already left.


Oh, I had a missed call - when he opened his phone, he saw that he had a missed call. It was from Jiseok. He pressed the call button before waiting a little.


-Are you on break from your shoot?


“No, I’m at school because there’s no shoot today.”


-Oh, really? I thought you were shooting because you weren’t picking up.


“I turn it off completely when I’m shooting. Anyways, what’s up?”


-I was just checking if you were alive or dead.


“You want me to die?”


-If I say yes here, is that a scenario for a movie?


“A third-rate one, maybe.”


-Hey, third-rate is going a little too far. I just called because I was reminded of you. I was talking about Gaeul, and thought that it’s been quite a while since I saw you. Do you have time this weekend[2]? Let’s eat out together. Of course, you’ll be the one buying since you have a job right now.


“But my plan is to stay at home for the entire day tomorrow.”


-Even though it’s Sunday? Aren’t you going to meet Gaeul?


“I have something to do.”


-What is it?


“Watching videotapes.”


-Wow, so your love has finally cooled down. I was wondering when it would happen.


“It’s nothing like that, so stop talking nonsense.”


-Haha, but what videotapes are you talking about? Aren’t we past the era of watching films on videotapes?


“They’re records of old times. It’s for studying, mostly.”


-Studying acting?


“If it wasn’t that, then I wouldn’t have a reason to watch them.”


-Let me in then. I’d like to visit a friend’s house too.


“The seats are already full though.”


-Is someone else coming?


“A friend of mine.”


-Then let me in as well as one of your friends.


“I’ll ask first. He’s someone who’s not good around strangers, so he wouldn’t want a weird guy to be invited all of a sudden. He’s a good guy, so he should probably be understanding, but it would definitely not be polite of me to decide by myself.”


-I’m a weird guy?


“A maniac is definitely a weird guy. Anyway, I’ll call you back once I tell him about it. He’ll probably accept though.”


-Should I buy some toilet rolls?


“It’s not a housewarming party. Just bring some things to eat. If you do come, anyway.”


-Got it. I’ll be waiting so call me back quickly.


“Hey, why don’t you have anything to do on the weekend? Don’t you have a shoot?”


-I’m completely jobless right now. I’m going to meet everyone I can before I start working.


Call me back - Jiseok added energetically before hanging up.


“A high school student is not jobless….”


Maru chuckled before closing his phone.


[1] A.K.A (Korean) Army stew. Link for more details.


[2] Students went to schools on Saturdays (every Saturday), until 2006 (though, schools ended before noon on Saturdays), when it was changed to going once every two weeks and eventually just five days a week in 2012. So Saturday(the day in this chapter) was technically not a ‘weekend’ in the sense that it was a resting day.


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