I Will Live as an Actor Episode 26

Episode 26

“Scene Number 77 (Last), Seongtae staring at the coastal rocks!”

It was the last scene of the indie film. Director Choi Taeseop and the other staff members were sweating nervously. They were capturing the back of a boy trying to climb up the coastal rocks blocked by an iron fence with a rear angle. Normally, they would have laid a rail for the shot, but where would an indie film find such equipment? The director followed the boy directly using a handheld camera.

“Seongtae! Darn it! Where are you going?!”

The police officer, played by Song Jeongseok, hurriedly tried to stop the boy. The waves rose as if to swallow them. If they were to slip even a little on the wet coastal rocks, they would be instantly submerged in seawater. Though it may look shallow on the surface, they would be pulled in by the tide in no time, like a vacuum cleaner sucking in dust.

“I understand what you’re feeling! So, let’s stop here. Let’s go back down.”

“Ajeossi, I have to make it to the top. I have to show it to Jiwhan!”

“You stubborn kid! If you slip and hurt your foot, what then? Would your friend in heaven really want that?”

The police officer had been protecting Seongtae/Jiwhan for the past week. He gradually learned why the boy had come all the way from Seoul to Busan. It was to fulfill the last wish of his dead friend.

The waves continued to hit the rocks. The salty spray splashed on both the boy’s and the police officer’s faces. The waves were so strong that they almost knocked down the boy, but the officer barely caught him in time.

“Kid, your friend must be worried watching you do such dangerous things! Let’s go back to where your parents are waiting! They’re rushing down from Seoul right now!”

“What about Jiwhan? My friend who died without seeing his mother’s face one last time! Jiwhan told me while he was in the hospital. His wish was to visit the Busan coastal rocks where he took a picture holding hands with his mother when he was little. He really wanted to see it one more time!”

“If you go up there now, you’ll be swept away! Think carefully!”

“Today is his birthday! Today is the day I promised to give him a present! When the night is over, his birthday will be over too!”

The officer tightly grabbed the boy’s shoulder and turned him around, holding him close. The boy desperately tried to escape with all his might, but a child couldn’t overpower an adult. It’s not an easy decision to let him go up the dangerous coastal rocks, no matter how justified the reason may be. The officer put more strength into his embrace. The boy’s shoulders shook violently in sorrow.

In the end, the boy could no longer move forward. The boy silently stared at the coastal rocks as dawn broke and the darkness faded. The officer could not find the words to console the devastated boy. The brilliantly shining waves were the only comfort for the boy. Trembling, the boy asked the only adult he knew.

“Ajeossi, why is my friend still fourteen?”

Time has passed, but death, like a sharp needle, remained in the hearts of young children. The officer couldn’t find an answer to the boy’s question.

* * *


A famous tourist attraction in Busan and a popular honeymoon destination in the past. The cliffs of Taejongdae, curved by the waves, evoke admiration from those who see them. On a wide rock, there’s enough space for the Haenyeo Village to satisfy the hunger of tourists visiting Taejongdae.

“Ajumma, can I have some more sea urchin roe, please?”

The last shoot was over. The shooting team was filling their empty stomachs with seafood after the arduous march that lasted throughout the dawn. The women at the Haenyeo Village constantly brought food to where they were, a place overlooking the sea.

“Ajumma, has that coastal rock always been blocked like this?”

“You mean that iron fence? It’s been like that for over a decade now. In the past, many fishermen caught big fish there, and many tourists took photos.”

“Why did they block it?”

“They blocked it because it’s so dangerous. People are curious, you know. The tide doesn’t change much between high tide and low tide. In the past, there were times when the water receded a lot, and there was no control, but at some point, there was only neap tide, so the city hall blocked it off. Many people fell in. Some even died. It’s a very dangerous place.”


That’s interesting. Although born and raised in Yeongdo, I had no idea such a place existed. In that sense, Choi Taeseop was an amazing person. How did someone born and raised in Seoul find out about such a place and develop a screenplay?

“Yeongguk! How could you keep this delicious taste a secret? I never imagined I would be eating sea urchin roe by the spoonful in Seoul!”

“Jeongseok-hyung, if you really like sea urchin roe that much, come live with me in Busan. I’ll let you eat it every day.”

“Really? Honestly, acting in Seoul is great, but acting in Busan while enjoying the sea breeze isn’t bad either. Either way, it’s hard to make a living by acting.”      

Surprisingly, when Song Jeongseok made that joke, his expression became serious.

“No, hyung, you have to keep acting in Seoul. I know a little about physiognomy, and you need to stay in Seoul. If you keep challenging yourself, someday you’ll have your moment to shine.”


“Really, I could even bet that hyung will become a famous actor within a few years.”

Although he doubted that Song Jeongseok would really go down to Busan, you never know. It seemed like he was feeling a sense of disconnection between his dreams and reality now. He had longed to act in network dramas and in Chungmuro, but the reality was that it was difficult to even land a small supporting role.

It was then that he realized that the size of the film didn’t matter while shooting an indie film. He may not become a national actor like this, but he might even return to the theater scene, so he wanted to help him find his center.

“Yeongguk, then what about hyung’s face reading?”

Choi Taeseop asked slyly. Upon hearing that I could read faces, several members of the filming team were eagerly eavesdropping.

“Personally, I think hyung is more suited for screenwriting than directing. It’s just my personal opinion.”

“Actually, I think so too. I even used the deposit for my house in Seoul to come down and shoot this indie film. I originally wanted to write screenplays for my entire life, but I wanted to hold the megaphone myself for this film.”


“It’s hard to express in one word. I wanted to capture the film through my own eyes.”

Choi Taeseop’s gaze was looking at the distant sea.

“Taeseop-hyung, can I ask you one thing?”

“What are you curious about, Yeongguk?”

“You know the last scene, right? I thought that Jiwhan—I mean Seongtae—would have climbed up the rocky beach somehow in the end, even though it would have been difficult to climb up because of the iron fence in reality, but we could’ve taken some liberties since it’s a movie, right?”

“Sure, movies and reality are different. But I wanted to make this indie film, To Jihwan, as close to reality as possible. If the police officer hadn’t caught Seongtae then, he might have died on the rocky beach. Jihwan in heaven would have been so sad.”

He wanted to have a deeper conversation, but Song Jeongseok interrupted without notice.

“Right! Yeongguk! The merchant association chairman is treating us to a celebration party today, right?”

“Yes, that’s right. In commemoration of the end of filming, he will personally treat us at the harbor.”

In Choi Taeseop’s eyes, there was a lingering emotion as deep as the rich flavor of seafood. His indie film had a sense of reality. Was it a choice that stemmed from his desire to convey the vitality of the screenplay through the medium of film? Or was he really a director who wanted to show a story within reality?

* * *

The sound of charcoal crackling filled a corner of the harbor. The smell of grilled mackerel, flatfish, and various seasonal clams stimulated the nose. The merchant association chairman, wearing a marine hat, already brought a case of soju and burst out in laughter.

“You guys finished filming! We have to drink today, don’t we!”

Cheers erupted from the filming crew. The nostalgia of the past life lingered in me. Making indie films was a constant struggle. There’s a reason people call it asceticism. Because of the poor production environment, the wrap-up parties were also modest. They used to commemorate the last filming by drinking makgeolli and eating pancakes on a grassy field full of recording equipment.

“This is called galgogi. It’s not tough, and the tender meat is like freshly caught mackerel when grilled on charcoal and sprinkled with a bit of salt! It goes great with alcohol!”

The chairman, proud of the college-aged kids who had finished the tough film shoot, grilled the fish himself. The faces of the filming crew all showed their hardships, with their cheekbones sunken in. But no one seemed tired.

The short but long film shoot that lasted 15 days had already brought the crew together like a family. It was natural, as they spent their days together and even slept in the same small motel room. It was hard to imagine not being together anymore. In his past life, he had felt that indie films could not be done without purity.      

“Yeongguk, it’d be great if you could drink on a day like today! Instead, soothe your throat with carbonated drinks!”

“Jeongseok-hyung, it’s so awkward when you use the dialect outside of the movie.”

“Is it? Alright, let’s stop listening to my dialect and listen to the director’s toast! Everyone, get your drinks ready!”

Everyone laughed at Song Jeongseok’s playful appearance and held their drinks. Director Choi Taeseop slowly stood up from his seat. First, he deeply bowed to the merchant association chairman, who had personally prepared the celebration for them, and then he began to speak.

“Uh, first of all, I don’t know what to say, but in fact, I faced a lot of opposition at home for making an indie film. It was the same when I first wrote the script. I really worried a lot about whether my story could be made into a film. But after coming down to Busan, that feeling completely disappeared. I met many good people like the merchants’ association chairman, and my script seemed to really depict that time and place.”

“That time and place?”

“Since it’s an indie film, the shooting conditions were very poor. To get the best picture possible, we had to rent equipment, and I couldn’t pay a lot of money to my college friends and hoobae who helped with the shooting.”

“Taeseop! When have we ever worked for money! It’s all memories of our youth!”

“I feel terribly sorry that I couldn’t pay the actors much for their appearances. Especially Yeongguk, who played the lead role in this film, decided to appear without receiving a single penny. I’m really grateful that he allowed it despite the difficult decision.”

“Hyung, I liked the script so much that I just couldn’t refuse, and while our CEO might be disappointed, I was really happy to appear in your movie. If you feel sorry, let me appear in another good script later!”

“Taeseop, me too!”

Song Jeongseok suddenly interjected. At that sight, Choi Taeseop smiled and briefly nodded. He was the scriptwriter who had even gone to humble himself to actors who were like fleeting stars in his past life. In a way, I was lucky just to have worked with such a person.

“Before we toast, I’d like to introduce someone to you all! He made this film, To Jihwan, possible and is like a benefactor from my childhood. It took him a while to get here from far away, but fortunately, he arrived just in time!”

Who could he be talking about?

At that moment, the spotlight shifted to one corner of the entrance. Passing through the streetlight, a robust middle-aged person appeared. He might have seemed rough-looking, but the downward slope of his eyes made him look sorrowful. At that moment, the merchant’s association chairman, who had been grilling galbi, lifted his marine hat and squinted his eyes as he approached.

“Uh? Who is this? Kim Sunkyung?”

“Ah! Deokjin-ajusshi is also here?”

“How did you find us? It’s been so long! I heard you were transferred to Ulsan, but your huge physique is still the same!”

“Ajusshi hasn’t changed either! I’m really glad to see you!”

“Hey, guys! Say hello, this is Kim Sunkyung, who used to live in the house where we filmed the mountain road!”

“Now, I am Lieutenant Kim!”

“But how did you get here?”

“Taeseop called and told me I had to be here today!”


Choi Taeseop looked at Lieutenant Kim with nostalgic eyes.

“Taeseop, did you eat?”

“We’re just about to. You must be hungry from the long journey. Please, sit down. How did you manage to arrive just before the toast?”

“It’s a good thing I hurried. Anyway, you’ve grown so much. You were tiny just a few years ago, and now you’ve become a fine man. Just seeing you, I feel full even without eating.”

“Still, you must eat. I used to get a lot of soy sauce rice from you back in the day, so today it’s my turn to treat you.”

The two looked at each other as if they had returned to the past and lost their words for a moment. Soon after, Lieutenant Kim looked at me.

“Taeseop, is this the kid who played you when you were young?”

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Private: I Will Live as an Actor

Private: I Will Live as an Actor

Score 9.7
Status: Hiatus Type: Author: ,
I Will Live as an Actor is a heartwarming story of a young man who grows up poor as the son of a widowed fishmonger. Fueled by a passion for acting, he neglects his mother and her sacrifices, only to regret it when she passes away. In a twist of fate, he is reincarnated back to his youth, just before he went down the wrong path. Determined to live a better life and honor his mother’s memory, he embarks on a journey to become a successful actor while also being a filial son.
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