I Will Live as an Actor Episode 8

Episode 8


Filming was a series of waiting, especially for bit-part actors and extras, who often had to stick around the set with little to do compared to the main cast. However, the life of an extra was somewhat better than that of a bit part actor.

Extras usually had a day job and acted on the side, and with a team leader managing them, they tended to gather in small groups to chat under their leader’s supervision. As a result, there were many extras with over a decade of experience. But being a bit-part actor was a different story.

Living day to day.

Bit-part actors’ lives can be compared to living day to day, as the phrase goes. This was not meant to demean them. Speaking from experience of a long life as a bit part actor, it’s a candid expression of the pain one must endure beneath the pleasure of acting. But those involved didn’t see it that way.

They considered themselves caterpillars, patiently and diligently waiting for the day they could shine as butterflies on stage with their brilliant acting. That’s why they constantly practiced their short lines, sometimes exuding more passion on set than the main cast.

“Everyone, please help yourselves to this!”

Yoo Myeonghan couldn’t help but notice the bustling scene on one side of the set. A young boy was bustling around, handing out boiled potatoes to the bit part actors. He had shown an impressive knack and maturity for his age, and now he seemed to be adapting quickly.

“PD, that kid is really something, huh?”

A Busan-born AD (assistant director) chimed in. After all, the person closest to the bit part actors on the set would undoubtedly be the AD. They were responsible for managing the set, communicating changes in direction between the PD and the director of photography, and conveying these changes to the bit part actors.

“Man, I’ve never seen a child actor come out so early in the morning.”

Usually, the staff was the first to arrive on set, but occasionally, some bit-part actors would show up even earlier. Most of them wanted to establish connections with people in the broadcasting industry. They wouldn’t shy away from menial or unpleasant tasks and often stayed on set even after they finished their own filming, just in case they were needed.

“And he even brought those boiled potatoes.”

“PD, you don’t even know the half of it. This morning, the kid gave potatoes to the bit part actors, then went around with a huge pot full of sugar water for the camera and lighting teams. The things he said were just adorable. He said that reciting lines on an empty stomach can cause pronunciation to slip and that the staff needs sugar in their bloodstream for energy. I thought I was looking at my eighty-year-old grandma.”

Maintaining a smooth connection between the extras, bit part actors, and the rest of the set was undoubtedly the AD’s responsibility. But managing both groups and maintaining a balance between them was no easy task, especially when many experienced extras were present, as was the case today.

From the AD’s perspective, if they took care of the extras a bit more, dissatisfaction could arise among the bit part actors. This young boy was now playing the role of a lubricant to eliminate that friction, acting like a seasoned veteran who had been on set for a long time.

“Jiyong, did our costume team prepare those clothes?”

The drama series was set in the 1980s. He looked at the outfit the boy was wearing. His outfit was excellent, with tears here and there, faded colors, and mud-stained sneakers that showed attention to historical accuracy. The closely shaved head added a sharpness to the boy’s potentially gentle appearance with his dark skin. It seemed like the boy was taken straight from a 1980s photograph.

“He’s truly amazing. He prepared the clothes and hairstyle himself. The costume team leader was curious and asked him, ‘Where did he find such old clothes with vintage logos?’ The answer he got was quite astonishing.”

“What did he say?”

“He said he rummaged through all the old clothes collection bins on Yeongdo’s floor. He even purposely smeared his fingernails with charcoal powder to achieve that look. When the camera director saw the boy in the early morning, he was so surprised he nearly fell over. They hadn’t even started shooting yet.”

No wonder he was surprised.

“I really thought young Kim Hajin had just walked in.”

* * *

Dramas were divided into different airing times based on their production period and narrative structure. There were short, self-contained dramas with tight scripts and direction, morning dramas with fast-paced narratives targeting mothers, mini-series with free formats and artistic considerations, and weekend dramas filled with family stories and melodrama, which guarantee viewership but vary in quality.

The Man of August.

The Man of August, the debut work of PD Yoo Myeonghan and writer Choi Eunsuk, was a 16-episode mini-series. Considering that most mini-series in the past had been scheduled for 10 episodes or less, The Man of August had a relatively high number of episodes. It was probably because the synergy between Yoo Myeonghan and Choi Eunsuk was maximized.

“Are you the child lead?”

During a conversation with the extras.

“Yes, I’m Jang Yeongguk, playing Kim Hajin.”

The actress playing the mother arrived on set. She could be considered the most important supporting role in this production, not only because of her seniority but also because her career spoke for itself. The actress, originally from the theatrical group Yeo Myeong, was in her early thirties but already had an excellent reputation in film and drama for her outstanding acting.

She would still be famous in twenty years.

He met the actress in his previous life. Since her youth, she has been known for her excellent acting skills and high immersion in her characters. As evidence, even in her fifties, she continued to actively perform various roles. She was an actress with a wide acting spectrum.

But she was famous for other reasons too. Look at the faint lipstick stains on her cheeks. She must have tried to wipe them off, but they couldn’t escape his sharp eyes. Twenty years later, she became the protagonist of a scandalous rumor. No matter how you look at it, she seemed more suited for the role of an adulterous woman than a mother.

“Kid, have you ever acted before? It’s tiring to work with inexperienced beginners.”

“I’m not a kid, I’m Jang Yeongguk, ma’am.”

“What? Ma’am?”

“You didn’t introduce yourself.”

“Well, look at this little guy. Fine, I’m Park Suyeong, playing your mom. Satisfied?”

“I’ve never taken acting lessons.”

“Then that’s that. But why did they bring such a novice to play a child actor?”

Park Suyeong felt a throbbing pain in her temples. She had already heard through the PD that the child actor she would be working with was cast on the spot. But an inexperienced child who had never taken acting lessons?

“Where’s your guardian?”

“I came alone.”

Child actors usually fall into two categories: those who learned to act due to parental pressure or those who genuinely enjoyed acting. However, neither group can guarantee good acting.

After all, an actor’s job demands acquired experience and rich emotional expression to bring characters to life. How can one expect a child with only a few years of life experience to know all the highs and lows? Although there were talented child actors, Park Suyeong never encountered one on set.

“Alright, go ahead.”

A waiting room was set up on one side of the shooting site. Curiosity about the child playing her son led her to call him. The thought of countless NGs today due to the child made her feel intoxicated from the alcohol she had the night before. It was then.

“Then I’ll wait for you on the set, Mom.”


The actress’s eyes filled with disbelief.

“Ah, Mom, you should redo your makeup to look good on camera.”


“I’ll go ahead. Take your time.”

The child naturally called her mom. Watching the child walk away, Park Suyeong thought, What kind of audacious kid is that!

* * *

Schedules on set were primarily determined by the lead actors. The more prominent the lead, the more external events they had, so their schedules were taken into consideration. However, filming child actors was considered an unwritten rule. They received maximum consideration due to their physical limitations. In a way, even if they received less pay, there was no need to suffer waiting for their turn.

“PD Yoo, you want to go from a full shot (F/S) to a full figure (F/F) and then straight to the last close-up (C/S)? This will cause a mess if we tilt up and go all the way! Should we keep changing tapes from the start?”

“Senior, as you can see from the script, it’s best to get this shot in one go. If we separate and insert it later, it could feel disjointed, like duck eggs in the Nakdong River.”

“Do you think I don’t know that? I understand PD Yoo wants to save the scene, but isn’t this the child actor’s first time? Sure, when I saw him at dawn, the mask fit perfectly, as if I couldn’t tell where he came from. But if acting follows the face, where would the profession of acting be in this world?”

Kim Deukhyeong, a camera director from Gyeongsang Province, scratched his Busan-accented head. Yoo Myeonghan was not unaware of his concerns either. The filming location was Jagalchi Market. It was already crowded, but as soon as they mentioned they were filming a drama, tourists and merchants started gathering since morning. Although the FDs controlled the situation, they couldn’t take away the onlookers’ gazes.

In such cases, seasoned actors usually blended into the scene without paying attention to the surroundings, but child actors differed. The gazes of numerous staff, camera lenses, and spectators all contributed to the pressure of outdoor filming.

“He said he’s worth his pay. Don’t worry. Let’s give it a shot.”


“Who can be full of just one spoonful? We always bring extra tapes for child actors’ shoots. Even if the camera team runs out of budget, I’ll cover it, so don’t worry.”

“Alright, I’ll trust you, PD Yoo. Let’s go for it. By the way, Actor Park should be quiet today. Last time, the shoot was delayed because she scolded the child actor.”

Under Yoo Myeonghan’s command, ADs, camera, lighting, and sound teams hurriedly prepared for the shoot. The three FDs were busy with their respective roles: some conveyed the PD’s instructions to supporting actors and extras, while others controlled the scene. Soon, the red light on the shooting camera was on.

“Scene number 1, mother and child at Jagalchi Market—!”

The filming began with the sharp sound of the clapperboard, also known as the slate. The camera director held his breath and focused on the protagonist. Wasn’t this his first time acting? Yet his movements and gait within the frame were incredibly natural.

What about that expression? The kid smiling pleasantly at dawn, now glared rebelliously like an angry teenager. Then, as if a trigger was pulled, the first lines were spoken.

“Why do I have to be in a place like this instead of studying and attending school? If we don’t have money, we can just live without it! Why must I catch and sell those parasite-like creatures crawling in the water? My dad died catching those tough things! And now you want my help too!”

The defiant outburst drew the attention of those around. However, the boy seemed unfazed by the onlookers’ gaze, his rebellious attitude unwavering. His sharp voice captured the attention of the Jagalchi Market. Meanwhile, his mother, dressed in baggy pants, seemed at a loss for what to do.

“So this is what happens when you spoil an only child. Am I supposed to sell fish like my mom when I get old? No way, I’ll never do that. I won’t stay here, even if it kills me! Can’t you speak? Am I embarrassing? If I’m that embarrassing, you should have just given me up! I can’t take it anymore. I’ll destroy all these stinking things!”

The furious boy grabbed a fish from a red tub and threw it with all his might. It should have landed on the Jagalchi Market floor, but strangely, the fish flew towards his mother in baggy pants.


With a sharp sound, the fish flew into the mother’s arms. Kim Deukhyeong was immersed in the scene captured by his camera, and so were the staff members. Even the tourists were holding their breath and silently watching the spectacle. That’s when it happened.


PD Yoo Myeonghan called out as the mother’s line did not come out even after some time had passed. Meanwhile, the actress playing the mother, Park Suyeong, had a face filled with panic and anger. It wasn’t just because of the sudden fish thrown at her. The script had indicated “thrown,” so there was nothing she could say about it coming her way.

The real reason for her great anger was something else. She couldn’t bear the fact that, for a moment, she had been overwhelmed by the young actor’s momentum. It was a scratch to her pride. In the tense standoff, where one could not swallow saliva easily, the camera director muttered to himself, tilting his head.

“Geez, is this really his first time acting?”

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I Will Live as an Actor

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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