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The refreshing sensation of tap water after exercising felt just like the nostalgia of my school days. My sweat-soaked hair fluttered in the wind. As my face reflected on the water’s surface, I tilted my head to align my mouth with the faucet, opening my lips like a drawbridge.
PD Kim Jin, looking at the tally-displayed screen, swallowed his admiration. The young man’s appearance, as if depicting the beauty of a schoolyard, was indeed a work of art. The camera director seemed to have read his mind as he zoomed in for a close-up of the young man’s face.
A girl whose name I didn’t know approached and offered me a towel. By now, it had become a fixed routine that everyone around us had grown accustomed to. Whenever my character, Dojin, appeared on the basketball court, freshmen eagerly gathered to watch the game. Silently, to avoid disturbing the game, they would wait until the victory was decided, and then they would all run to me, each carrying a towel. The girls gathered in a semicircle around me. I took a towel from one of them and thanked her.
What a picture-perfect scene.
The stunning view surpassing the lighting team’s efforts shone on the young man sitting on the bench. The towel draped over his wet hair did its job well, with water droplets falling from underneath his lengthy strands, revealing his long, slender eyes. The sweat on his thick lashes, rolling down his high nose bridge and streaming along his jawline, created an intriguing golden ratio composition.
It was at that moment.
A quiet girl’s voice could be heard. The bold girl appeared, kicking a lost basketball with her foot. Until then, I hadn’t so much as moved a muscle, but now, unbeknownst to everyone, the corners of my mouth subtly shifted.
“Why did you leave without me today? It’s so petty. You and your bike. Does it wear out if I ride on the back? Just give me a ride like yesterday!”
“I’m trying to fix your bad habits.”
“Who are you to fix my habits?”
“Then who will?”
With that, I walked past the girl and carelessly placed the towel, which had been covering my head, on her. It would have been a welcome gesture for anyone else but not for her. She screamed loudly and chased after me, but I swiftly dodged her. The abandoned basketball, as if verifying our emotions, watched over us.
* * *
The volume of footage shot for each episode of a drama ranged from 60 to 90 cuts. The shooting schedule could last anywhere from a week to a fortnight. As a result, the filming crew barely had time to go home or see their families, thus forming a bond akin to a real family.
“Why am I like this?”
Actress Seo Minhye gazed at her reflection in the waiting room mirror. If a dandelion bloomed in her heart, would it feel like this, the tickling sensation that seemed to wrap itself around her entire body? She had a laid-back personality, but she felt infinitely small standing before the young man. When acting, she could recite her lines after barely shaking off that feeling.
“It’s all because of that shoot.”
It was a program once called the “Marine “Corps of the variety shows. She blamed herself for being swayed by Song Jeongseok’s words and joining it. No one else would know. Seo Minhye recalled the sight of the young man she had encountered on the shooting set, a memory that still haunted her dreams and robbed her of sleep multiple times.
The incident started like this.
Although she didn’t know who had coined the phrase, it was a perfect fit. If a mermaid had emerged from the sea as a man, would that have been what he looked like? The sight of water droplets falling from his disheveled hair, combined with his innocent smile, was more than enough to captivate a woman’s heart. Seo Minhye had encountered many handsome male actors in her career, but she had never been as captivated by anyone’s appearance as the young man’s. Like a painter admiring her subject, she found herself gazing at him, completely mesmerized.
The problem was that the image of Seo Minhye staring at the soaked young man was broadcasted just like that. A slightly open-mouthed, hilarious look. She would have been quite upset if she had been a picky actress, but since she had a down-to-earth image, she could laugh it off.
“Minhye, the entire film crew is preparing to move to the dinner location right now.”
Manager Song entered the room. The harmony between the actors and the film crew was important. They had completed the entire first episode’s script in just ten days. A dinner party was arranged to celebrate that accomplishment.
“I don’t know what’s keeping PD Kim so busy. As soon as we finished filming the entire first episode, he went to Yeouido. He said he’ll attend the next dinner party. It seems like he’s having a blast because the footage came out so well.”
There was no way the footage couldn’t turn out well. Seo Minhye didn’t doubt her acting skills. But for some reason, she couldn’t shake off the feeling of shrinking in front of the young man (Jang Yeongguk). That’s how much the characters Kim Dojin and Jang Yeongguk were intertwined in the script.
As if they were one person.
“Minhye, what do you think?”
“Didn’t you hear me? I mean, what do you think about the actor Jang Yeongguk?”
“Why? Are you going to recruit him?”
“It’s not impossible. I’ve been watching him closely for the past few days, and he’s a real gem. I’ve met a lot of actors since I’ve been a manager, but I’ve never seen anyone who fits in so well with the filming crew like him. He has such a great vibe; he even gets along with the picky directors, and his acting is just amazing?”
“I heard he’s already with an agency.”
“Even if he has a goalkeeper, that doesn’t mean a goal can’t be scored. In a capitalist society, even the king can’t stop you if you offer better treatment. I guarantee that he’ll rise to fame after this drama is broadcasted.”
Manager Song was fanning the flames, whether he knew Seo Minhye’s feelings. As she imagined herself and Jang Yeongguk in the same agency, her cheeks turned red. At that sight, Manager Song was taken aback and asked.
“Minhye, do you have a cold or something?”
Actors were sensitive to even the slightest fever. This was because the drama filming schedule was so tight. Especially when the lead actor was sick, the problem would be even bigger since the whole filming would come to a halt. Manager Song seemed ready to rush Seo Minhye to the emergency room immediately. At that, Seo Minhye brushed off the concern and got up.
“No, I’m fine! Let’s just go to the dinner party!”
As Seo Minhye left the waiting room, the bustling film crew caught her eye. A broadcasting station was a place where various groups gathered. Among them, the drama film crew was known for being exceptionally sensitive. However, in just ten days, everyone seemed to be captivated by the young man’s charm. He laughed with the ADs like brothers and conversed casually with passing film directors.
Amid the chaotic filming set, he stood out remarkably. As if to emphasize that, the full moon seemed to shine only on the young man among the many people.
There’s a saying that there’s no night in the editing room. That’s how much a broadcasting station’s editing room operated around the clock. But even among them, the general editing room hardly ever went dark, as it’s said to be open all year round.
The editing team leader sighed heavily with a forehead so wide that it seemed to touch the top of his head. The reason was simple. He had been wrestling with the video for hours already, skipping meals. If it weren’t for the tempting promise of buying him beef, he might have stormed out of his seat in frustration.
“Sunbae, we’ll use dissolve here, so please keep the original intact. We’ll insert a scene of the classroom window, with the sunset sunlight projecting beyond it. Hold on, let’s rewind a bit more. Ah, there, there!”
PD Kim Jin, who couldn’t take his eyes off the screen as it was tallied, had a light touch, even in the editing room. But his skills were as sharp as they come.
“Put the sound of the basketball bouncing in this scene as a frame out (FO). When we frame in (FI), we’ll add bird sounds. No, not there. We need to catch the point a little further ahead!”
“Alright! I got it! Stop firing at me like a machine gun!”
“Just bear with it a little longer. When you do color correction, sunbae, try to match the tone if you can. If you make it brighter just to remove the noise, you know it won’t feel right, right?”
The editing room team leader scratched his head. In the case of video editing, there were generally two types of directors. Those who entrusted the editing to the AD and only checked the final product, and those who took charge and moved things along themselves. Kim Jin was the latter type. He’s also a venomous snake that couldn’t let even the smallest mistake slide. That’s why the editing team leader had to step up.
“Sunbae! This is the scene where the narration comes in. Let’s pull it a bit more. We’ll finish this soon, and the B team will bring in their tape, so let’s wrap it up afterward.”
“Hey, aren’t you pushing it too much?”
“I’ll treat you to pork belly tonight, so please bear with it just a bit more!”
“But if we edit this tightly from the first episode, what are we going to do later? Do you think anyone else will do this for you? And you said you’d get me beef before!”
“Did I say that? Oh, the department head!”
Just then, a reliever appeared. With a blue necktie, the head of the drama department (CP) entered, prompting the editing team leader to close his mouth, stand up, and bow his head. The department head gestured for him to sit down.
“Department head, what brings you here?”
“I came to check if you’re doing well! How is it? Even though it’s the first episode, you should feel something when you see the edited version, right?”
“I’ve been earnestly feeling it since the filming,”
“Hey, Kim Jin, do you know how much other directors have complained about this? You better make it worth the big slice you got. Are you confident you won’t be left behind? If you mess up this time, I won’t be able to cover for you like two years ago.”
“Would there be any doubt?”
Kim Jin let out a playful laugh. Being left behind? That’s ridiculous. Since the first shoot, the scent of a hit was in the air. Kim Jin secretly smiled at the image of the young man on the editing screen.
“Department head, I think you might have to wear a blue necktie for a month once this drama airs. No, let me buy you one. A deep blue one.”
PD Kim Jin was certain. Although they only had footage from the first episode, he couldn’t forget the thrill he felt at the filming site. And didn’t outstanding editing skills add to that meticulously captured footage?
Undoubtedly, once the show goes on air, the young man on the editing screen will become the nation’s first love.
At that moment, PD Kim Jin shouted without missing a beat.
“Sunbae! Hold on, the correction there is too strong. I told you, just add a delicate brushstroke to the original feeling. For this guy, the original itself is already like a pictorial, so excessive correction is toxic! Let’s try to keep the original feeling once!”
Although the editing team leader had already reached his limit with Kim Jin’s nagging, he could only scratch his unfortunate head because the department head was present.
 The head of the drama department is also referred to as the chief producer (CP).
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