Starting as a Child Actor in This Life Chapter 18

Chapter 18

Regretfully, Suhyeon’s innocence, or rather his excitement, was not preserved.

Instead, he had to feel the weight of being the head of the household in the body of a mere five-year-old.

Well, even if a fledgling cable station puts its life on the line to produce something…

The status of cable broadcasting during the era when Suhyeon was active was completely different.

Satellite broadcasts were regarded by everyone either as channels for home shopping, reruns of popular dramas, or dedicated channels for certain fixed audiences like gaming, religion, or sports.

Naturally, TNB, which dared to produce dramas on cable, was treated as an oddity among oddities.

Seohan-hyung is doing well, but he’s still closer to a rising star, and for such a hyung to be the best choice…

Suhyeon looked at the indoor set that was in the middle of preparations.

There were far fewer staff members running around, sweating profusely in the winter, than there were during Promise of the Blue Summer.

They were employees of an outsourcing production company, not TNB.

Sangil-hyung said he didn’t understand it. Well, without knowing the future, I might have also hesitated until right before signing.

As TNB lacked production facilities, they had planned to commission an external production company with a PD and script in hand.

However, no production company wanted to upset the terrestrial broadcasters by getting involved with a station whose drama department’s survival was uncertain, and the hot potato kept getting passed until it ended up with the fledgling production company Baekho.[1]

Precisely speaking, it was thanks to Baekho accepting the contract that TNB could produce the drama.

Baekho was known for going by the script.

Baekho was a company that, 20 years later, would be known as a “Well-made Factory.”

Not every project was a success, but the dramas they participated in generated the expectation that they were worth watching.

That’s because Baekho accepted contracts based on the content of the work rather than the commission fee.

After gaining influence, Baekho avoided excessive PPL and sidestepped unreasonable instructions from the higher-ups, leading to better produced productions.

Of course, they did sometimes make the mistake of focusing too much on the script and intent, leading to some casting misses…

In the case of Praise, the trio of leads meshed well, so there wouldn’t be any issues as long as the big shots didn’t get too demanding.

Director Lee Bongchun was also deeply affectionate about the work, participating with great dedication, which meant there was less risk of ruining everything with ill-fitting PPL.

…Still, there’s no helping the poor conditions.

Suhyeon bundled up in his thick outerwear.

The building, which was closer to a warehouse, had severe drafts indoors and was barely warmer than the outside temperature.

The few available heaters were clustered around the set and PD, leaving those waiting on standby to fend off the cold with hot packs and jumpers.

“Hello, my son. It’s really cold today.”

“Hello, noona.”

“Is Actor Lee Seohan not coming today? He really picked the right day, huh.”

While Suhyeon was spacing out in front of the set, Taebin appeared, wrapped up tightly in her clothes.

She gently placed her hands, warmed by hot packs, atop Suhyeon’s red cheeks.

“It’s cold. Let’s go where the director is.”


“Where did your manager go?”

“He went to buy hot packs.”

Sangil hadn’t anticipated the cold for an indoor shoot.

It was a painful oversight because of his lack of understanding of on-site conditions, and he rushed off to the convenience store, leaving Suhyeon behind on set.

“The agency didn’t tell you about this?”

“I don’t have an agency. Sangil-hyung is a personal manager someone I know introduced me to.”

“Aigoo… Come here. I’ll warm you up.”

Taebin stroked Suhyeon with a look of pity, wondering what he might be imagining.

Suhyeon did not refuse her warm hands.


“Oh, hi… I’ll be right there!”

“Sorry, I’ll just pass by for a moment. Excuse me.”

“We lost a mic over here!”

“Set up the lights over here…”

The set, on its first day, was busy since preparations were still incomplete.

Suhyeon got a reply to his greeting from only one out of four people, the rest moving on without even noticing.

“Ah, Suhyeon! This is your costume. You can change over there and come out. Did Actor Choi Taebin prepare her own costume?”

“Please discuss that with my stylist.”

“Oh! That’s the person over there, right? Got it.”

The costume staff, half ignoring others but never forgetting to greet them, lit up when they saw Suhyeon.

She handed him a shabby costume wrapped in plastic and quickly left the spot.

“It’s really busy…”

“The first day is always busy, even with prior preparations, because of adjustments.”

Their footsteps, busy with chatter, finally reached the PD.

He was just as busy overseeing everything, so Suhyeon could only offer a greeting before having to go change.

“Ah, found it. Actor, I brought the hot packs. …The clothes are thin. Stick this inside…”

Sangil, returning from the convenience store, stiffened at the sight of Suhyeon’s costume.

He quickly attached the hot packs out of sight and wrapped Suhyeon up in his outerwear.

“The front of the set has heaters on, so it should be okay.”

“Space heaters aren’t so warm in a big place like this. Catching a cold at the start of the shooting will be tough.”


Harsh environments and grueling schedules could make even a healthy person sick.

Having adapted to the frailty of a five-year-old body, he readily accepted Sangil’s kindness.

“Ready, action!”

As a staff member handed Suhyeon a storybook, Director Lee Bongchun signaled the start with a clap.

Suhyeon slowly moved into the frame.

Then, he sat down in a corner of the shabbily decorated set and opened the worn fairy tale book.

“Once upon a time, there lived a baby bear with its mother bear and father bear…”

In the hushed space, a gentle voice resonated.

Those holding the microphone boom exerted themselves to catch every soft sound, while the reflectors and lighting were adjusted to prevent “Jang Yeonwu” from appearing too shadowy.

“Cut! Good, let’s do the same from a different angle.”

Because the scene wasn’t particularly special, the director’s command came easily.

The staff bustled about, following the director’s orders.

The camera moved right beside Suhyeon, and the positions of the microphone and lights were adjusted accordingly.

“Suhyeon, just sit and repeat the lines. Don’t bow your head too much, we need to capture your profile.”

“Okay. But noona, can you lower the reflector a bit? It seems dark.”

Suhyeon sweet-talked the staff member touching up his face.

Understanding the right angles and intensity of light was a basic for idols.

Though no longer related to idols, Suhyeon was ready to fully utilize his knowledge.

“The reflector? Keke, you’re an entertainer through and through. Jinhyung, could you lower the reflector angle a bit? … Is it good now?”

“Yes, thank you. Thank you, hyung.”

At Suhyeon’s request, the staff member chuckled and called over a colleague holding the reflector.

The man with the reflector, without any sign of annoyance, responded to Suhyeon’s words.

“Let’s go, cue!”

When Director Lee’s clap sounded, Suhyeon recited his lines, glancing at the screen floating before him.

He didn’t forget to tenderly trace the picture of the mother bear seen on the camera’s monitor.

* * *

“…The detail is…”

“Director, isn’t that kid good? I told you I didn’t spend all that money for nothing.”

“Quit it, you’ll be caught on mic. Keep it down.”

Bongchun silenced AD Seo Gyeongsu’s flattery as he stroked his chin.

He, too, knew Kang Suhyeon was a fine child actor.

He had seen his performance in Promise of the Blue Summer and, while working on the “Baby Bear Story,” acknowledged him as an eager and passionate actor.

But that was it.

One should be grateful if a child actor just performs according to the script.

In truth, he didn’t believe that Suhyeon had conceptualized the “Baby Bear Story.”

He had only hoped that, together with his acting coach, Suhyeon would grasp what kind of child “Jang Yeonwu” was and assigned the “Baby Bear Story” to him like homework.

Expecting more from an actor younger than the role of “Jang Yeonwu” was a luxury.

Having taken care of his young nieces and nephews, Bongchun knew all too well how a five-year-old could be utterly unreasonable and exasperating.

But then… what is he?

Bongchun gazed intently at the screen, now tinged with blue.

A complex emotion hovered over Suhyeon’s face as he caressed the picture of the mother bear.

It seemed like longing and affection, but for some reason, it also felt like jealousy.

Was this intentional? Or an accident?

Even if he had aimed for it, could such complex emotional expression be possible for a five-year-old?

The director focused more on the close-up of Suhyeon’s expression.

So focused that the “cut” that should have followed a minute later was delayed until three minutes had passed, but it wasn’t a big issue.

* * *

“Suhyeon, good job. The director must be tired today.”

“I have nothing to say about the rabbit stew…”

Suhyeon resented his past self for spouting anything just to avoid an NG.

The “Baby Bear Story” he had polished was an unfinished fairy tale.

Aside from the introduction, a part that reflected “Jang Yeonwu’s” feelings, and the conclusion of a “And they lived happily ever after,” it was almost a blank slate, and he had never considered what filled those gaps.

Thus, when the director missed the timing for “cut,” Suhyeon had to think.

He had to decide whether to continue acting as “Jang Yeonwu” or to stop the director.

I should’ve just stopped, even if it resulted in an NG.

If he had chosen the latter, it would have ended with a retake.

Since they had enough footage, perhaps it would have been edited and moved on.

However, flustered by the absence of the “cut” signal, Suhyeon made a choice he shouldn’t have.

Why would the bear family hunt a rabbit there…?

Because he had brought the father bear, who should have been absent, into the scene.

Even rabbits were caught, and so, he even babbled nonsense about having rabbit stew for dinner tonight.

The staff on set took it as a child’s whimsical talk and laughed, but Suhyeon truly felt ashamed of his actions and just wanted to hide.

“Hey, it’s okay. That part’s going to be edited out anyway, right? The director shot way too much for a cut that only needs 1 or 2 minutes at most.”


“That’s right.”

Suhyeon gradually shook off his embarrassment thanks to Taebin’s comforting words.

But his relief was short-lived.

“It’s unexpectedly good, though… What if we cut this part and hand it over to the marketing department?”


While Suhyeon was metaphorically digging his own grave, AD Seo Gyeongsu, who checked the footage, was ready to spread his embarrassing history.

It was because the babbling child was cute, but from Suhyeon’s point of view, it was a decision he desperately wanted to stop.

“Well, it’s too disconnected from the mood of the piece. It might just ruin the work.”

“Oh, yeah?”

“Controversy is good, but if you can’t connect it to the work, it’s failed marketing.”

Bongchun rejected Gyeongsu’s suggestion.

Behind-the-scenes drama can be fun for fans, but on the flip side, it could also create haters or become a so-called deal-breaker.

With the PD’s firm stance, Gyeongsu quietly disappeared to check the microphones.

“I’ll listen to the PD, okay…”

“It’s too bad. It was cute.”

“But the next scene is connected, right? So, I just need to stay inside?”

“If you maintain the same position for too long, your legs will go numb. It’s better to move around when the mood breaks. Besides, noona needs to worry about taking off her jacket now.”

Taebin patted Suhyeon’s head and sighed as she buttoned up her clothes.

Today, Taebin’s costume was a thin camisole and hot pants because “Lee Seohee” was to appear as if she had just woken up.

Even with flesh-colored tights on, the cold was unavoidable.

“…Do you want a hot pack?”

“I already have one.”

“If you move around, you’ll warm up!”

“Yeah, thanks.”

“Actor Kang Suhyeon! Please come this way!”

“Yes! Noona, I’ll go in first.”


He waved to her and dashed into the set.

* * *

“Why is it so noisy when I’m sleeping!”

“I’m s-sorry… Hup. My mistake… Mom…”

“You think my words are a joke? Are you laughing at me?”

“Uh, Momma…”

Taebin, approaching Suhyeon, roughly grabbed the child’s hair and shook him.

Despite the pitiful sight of him dangling like a paper doll, Taebin was merciless.

After shaking Suhyeon’s hair several times, she flung him aside as if tossing aside an object.

“Stay quiet as a mouse. You’re such bad luck from the morning.”


It was 1 PM in the drama’s timeline.

It was time to call it afternoon, not morning, since “Yeonwu” was already back from school.

Yet, “Seohee” was a mother who lashed out with violence at her child simply because she heard a voice in her sleep.

“Good, cut. Now we’ll go again with Ms. Choi Taebin’s bust angle.”

The shooting flowed smoothly, thanks to Taebin’s forcefulness and Suhyeon’s pitifulness.

…or so it seemed up to that point.

“Cut, cut. Ms. Choi Taebin. Why is your expression like that?”

“I’m sorry. It’s just that Suhyeon is about to cry…”

Suhyeon, hearing the NG, touched his hair with a calm expression as if he expected it.

It was only natural to get NGs when the aggressor kept feeling guilty.

Her voice sounds so heartless…

Unlike her voice, which was consistently filled with irritation and coldness, Taebin’s expression flinched every time Suhyeon pleaded when the camera was turned away.

Even her grip loosened, and eventually, Suhyeon had to hold her hand to continue.

While it’s nice to be considerate, this situation was problematic.

“Ms. Choi Taebin, this will prolong the shooting.”

“I’m sorry.”

“…It looks difficult to keep going, so let’s take a short break. Gyeongsu, go buy some coffee. Let’s have a 5-minute break.”

“Seohee’s” emotional arc was consistent, so if it wasn’t nailed down from the beginning, it would cause trouble throughout the shooting.

Faced with an unexpected hurdle, Director Lee Bongchun decided on an early break.

“Whew… Suhyeon, I’m sorry.”

In a corner of the set, Taebin warmed her hands with a hot coffee and let out a deep sigh.

She seemed ashamed for faltering from the start.

“No, it’s okay. …But noona.”

“Yeah, what?”

“If the mistakes drag on, it actually hurts more…”

With his big, round eyes, Suhyeon looked up at her.

It was a gaze perfectly designed to trigger someone’s guilt.

[1] Baekho means White Tiger.

Starting as a Child Actor in This Life

Starting as a Child Actor in This Life

Score 9.6
Status: Ongoing Type: Author: , Released: 2020
While returning from a late-night shoot, Suhyeon collides with a tow truck driving in the wrong direction with its headlights on... When he regains consciousness, his reflection in the mirror is... a little kid? Even I can see that I'm cute. An unknown idol has become a popular child actor! Get ready, as the captivating performance of actor Kang Suhyeon is about to begin.
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