I Will Live as an Actor

A thrill.

Yoo Myeonghan didn’t want to miss the sensation he was feeling right now.
The scene he had imagined in his head unfolded right before his eyes.
Directing a child actor’s filming was close to agonizing.
The PD was responsible for guiding them and making up for their immature acting.

And yet, how was it now? Not only did the child actor perfectly portray the young Kim Hajin from the script, but even his unplanned ad-libs were flawless.
He wanted to ask countless questions, but he also wanted to capture the emotions he was feeling into the scenes as much as possible.

“Scene number 14, Hajin and Yerin crossing paths!”

When filming scene number 14, Yoo Myeonghan passed instructions through an FD to Yeon Su, but he didn’t say a single word to Jang Yeongguk.
It was out of greed to see his acting entirely.

“When will you catch up to me? You’re so slow.
I’m getting fed up!”[1]

“You’re going too fast.”

“Are all Seoul girls like this, weak and slow? We’re here to see the school, not waste our nights!”

The girl gasped for breath.
She looked unwell from the start, her complexion pale.

“My body isn’t feeling well.”

“Then why did you get out of class to go sightseeing? Can’t you even walk?”

“I think I’ll be fine after resting a bit.”

Seeing this, the boy approached with a shy smile and stroked his nose.

“Let me carry you.”


“Don’t you know Korean? I said, ‘Let me carry you.’ How long will you keep going like a slowpoke! At this rate, we won’t see everything even if we walk all day!”

As the girl hesitated for a moment, the boy urged her impatiently.

“Come on!”

The boy’s sweaty back was covered in sand, facing the vast wilderness.
As the pure white dress was carefully placed on top of him, it felt like a secret love windflower had bloomed in the middle of nothingness.
The flower’s meaning was secret love, and it was intended to foreshadow the two’s future.
That’s when it happened.


Everyone was startled by the sudden raindrops.
With a regretful look, Yoo Myeonghan couldn’t help but remove his headphones and jump up from his seat.
They needed to evacuate the equipment.
However, it wasn’t fruitless.
Even though the filming was interrupted, the captured frame was good enough not to require a specific editing point.

And yet, the two child actors seemed unaware that the shooting had been stopped.

“Seoul girls must be light because they only drink dew.
What’s the use of being so light?”

The girl blushed, burying her head in the boy’s shoulder.
The filming crew silently watched the two walk away for a long time.
It was such a beautiful sight that they regretted not being able to capture it on camera.
Raindrops from the girl’s hair flowed down the boy’s cheek.

“When did the shooting end?”

The boy carefully put the girl down and asked.

* * *

Since they didn’t expect rain, the filming crew hurried to evacuate.
The shooting equipment was all sensitive and expensive, requiring careful handling.
The staff members were busy taking care of cameras, lighting, and audio equipment.

“Ah, my shoes are soaked.
Why can’t the darned weathermen predict the weather correctly? We specifically scheduled an outdoor shoot for a day without rain.
What a mess.
If any equipment breaks, it’ll be hard for PD Yoo to match his schedule.”

“It must be harder for the seniors.”

“I still have some tricks up my sleeve! I’ve experienced these kinds of situations a few times, so I’m not completely helpless.
Anyway, I got soaked from gathering all these supplies.
My wife would scold me if she saw me in this state.
She will think I was lying on the ground to record with my camera.”

Camera director Kim Deukhyeong laughed as he shook off the water on his clothes.
Once he finished shaking off the water, a warm cup of coffee was handed to him naturally.

“Ah, PD Yoo, your sense is indeed extraordinary! There’s nothing like this mixed coffee on a rainy day.
It’s better than any herbal medicine, making me feel great as it goes down my throat.
By the way, did you like today’s outdoor scene?”

“It was perfect.”

“Right! I knew it had a great vibe, so I don’t think we need to search for editing points! The sound quality is also fantastic.
We don’t have to filter anything since the actors have great vocals.
There is no need to insert sound effects because there is no noise.
It’s been a while since we’ve had a one-shot like this during an outdoor shoot.
By the way, PD Yoo, did you instruct the child actors to focus on dialogues while tying the shoelace?”

Yoo Myeonghan shook his head slightly.
He wasn’t flustered either.
When he saw the child actor Yeon Su’s eyes wavering, he felt like she had swallowed bitter water.
It was like a perfectly drawn watercolor painting with a drop of water on it.
She heard the boy’s voice as she closed her eyes and brushed her face.

I also knew the situation from reading the script but I thought it was possible.
I assumed PD Yoo must have given the cue, but it wasn’t the case.
Wow, Choi was right.”

“The lighting director?”

“No, I mean Choi from the camera department! He said that outdoor shooting requires consideration of natural light, reflected light, and equipment light.
It’s often more difficult than indoors.
But interestingly, the nonprofessional actor seemed to know how to utilize natural light and reflected light so well that there was no need to adjust the equipment’s brightness! Isn’t it incredible that someone without formal acting experience could do such a thing? I wonder if this is really a coincidence.”

He was gifted.

That’s what Yoo Myeonghan thought.
The boy’s insight during their conversation and his ability to understand the situation on the spot by reading the script and calmly ad-libbing.
This was the conclusion he reached as he considered everything.
As the shooting continued, the boy surprised the audience with his new appearance, like peeling an onion.

“PD Yoo, you know the drill, right? You promised to treat everyone to a feast tonight! Park Suyeong is taking a break, too, so let’s have a drink together!”

“I’m really sorry, but can I skip tonight? I’ll join you guys next time at the feast.”

“Uh? What suddenly came up? We only have a few scenes left, and none are urgent, right?”

“I must talk to Choi, the writer in Seoul.”

“Oh, finally, Choi caught your attention?”

“It’s not that.
I just have some questions about the script.”

“Hehe, PD Yoo, take it easy.
I know you’re working hard, and I’m not saying you should overexert yourself.
As soon as a frontrunner starts rushing, the rest will get tired.
As I grow older, I nag more like my wife.
Anyway, PD Yoo, you should learn some skills from that child actor.
Otherwise, you’ll be a bachelor forever, becoming a broadcasting station ghost!”


At Yoo Myeonghan’s question, Kim Deukhyeong smiled with satisfaction and pointed somewhere with his chin.

“See? Some things never change.”

“Never change?”

“Look there! There’s no separate picture!”

Two child actors sat closely together under a dim eave in front of the picturesque schoolyard scenery on a drizzling day.

* * *

Why is she like this?

“Aren’t you cold?”

Suddenly, the rain poured like a water truck had spilled its contents.
Jang Yeongguk was sitting under the eaves of a shabby building that stored exercise equipment, trying to enjoy some quiet contemplation.
Unexpectedly, Yeon Su appeared out of nowhere.
She blinked her large eyes like a drenched kitten.

“Where’s your mother?”

“She’s chatting with the other ladies.”

“Then why are you here?”

Yeon Su fidgeted, unable to explain herself with her small lips.
Regardless of her reason, Jang Yeongguk was content just to be in her company.
She was an unattainable beauty that he had never even had the chance to meet in his past life.

Even if he became a local public official in the future, at least he could boast that he’d met the famous Yeon Su.
Whenever she appeared on the television screen, he’d proudly exclaim, “I met Yeon Su when I was young! The very same Yeon Su who’s on TV now!”

“How do you act so well?”


“Aren’t we the same age…?”

Yeon Su’s trembling voice lacked confidence.
She was two years younger than him but had grown almost as tall.
Yet, she still seemed so small and fragile.

“Did you learn to act on your own?”

“Why do you think I did?”

“No, it just seemed like you were a little better than me.
We’re about the same, I guess…”

In his past life, Yeon Su started as a child actress and became a leading lady.
She wasn’t like other child actors, who were pushed into acting under the pressure of their guardians.
Her love for acting and her passion for exploring and pursuing it from such a young age must have driven her.
Still, there was quite a gap between her and the person she was talking to now.

“I want to act well too, but I’m not satisfied… You speak both Seoul and Busan dialects so well, and the directors love you.
I practice the script and try to do the same, but it never works.
I learn from the teachers every day, but…”

She kept calling him “you,” but he let it slide because she was cute.
In his past life, she was a senior with high status, but things were different now.
If he added his experience from his past life, he would already be at a level where most middle-aged actors couldn’t even hand them their business cards.

“Look over there.
Do you see the pine tree?”

“Pine tree?”

“Every pine tree is different, shaped by the storms they endure and their environment, which influences how their branches grow.
Some pine trees grow straight, while others twist around neighboring branches.
But still, regardless of how they grow, their branches always reach toward the sky, right? Acting is the same.”

Who can say anything about its twisted branches, like the evergreen pine tree that remains upright and adheres to principles and boundaries while being sensitive to changes? They will become a beautiful old pine trees.

“You don’t need to be tied down by the script.
Just do the acting you want to do.
That’s all you need.
Eventually, the script will become yours.
Just keep your gaze fixed on one side, like the sturdy pine tree standing there.”

As he finished speaking, he wondered if he sounded too old-fashioned.
Did he say something too difficult for Yeon Su to understand? She blinked her eyes without responding.
Soon, her lips began to move, and a clear voice he had never heard came out.

“Oppa, was that really true?”


“Like the pine tree standing there, I should do the acting I want!”

“That’s right.”

“Who told you that? An acting teacher?”

Which acting teacher would it be? If there were one, it would be Jang Yeongguk, the middle-aged man who was passionate about acting in his past life.
As he shook his head briefly, she looked overjoyed.
And didn’t she just call him “oppa”?

“Oppa, which acting school did you go to? Cheong Sol, Mireu, or Jiseong?”

Yeon Su recited the names of renowned acting schools specializing in child acting in Seoul.
No wonder she’s curious; she’s clearly a natural-born actor.
Such a child with a strong desire for acting.
But since he didn’t attend any, it would be strange to claim that he did.
He went to the place where he learned acting.


Wasn’t that the place filled with the joys and sorrows of life?

[1] What Yeongguk said is “문디 가스나야, 빨리빨리 안 오나.
느리 트지가지고 쏙 천불난다!” The literal translation is, “Mundi, release the gas quickly, or else you won’t arrive soon.
If you’re slow, it’ll cost you 1,000 dollars!”.
“문디” (Mundi) is a nickname for a gas pedal in a car.
“천불난다” means “it’ll cost 1,000 dollars.” This phrase is often used to exaggerate the consequences of a mistake or delay.
I decided to paraphrase it since the literal translation sounds so awkward in English.

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