Volume 1 / Chapter 43
Producer Kim Ki Sik who had watched the first episode’s edit compilation picked out two points of significance as an artist chooses the emphasis of a work.
“Only include Jun Hyuk and Nam Seung Hee’s previews. Don’t change it or make it with the kids who sing well.”
“Do you want to blur their faces?”
“No, both of their faces are their weapons. Just put in 10 seconds of Nam Seung Hee in the middle. Mix pieces of Jun Hyuk’s story together and put it in the ending. Just 15 seconds. End it with a close-up of his face. Okay?”
“Isn’t it too blatant?”
“So let’s see it. We can see which would be better to air. We’ll see if Jun Hyuk can or can’t beat everyone’s singing with just his looks. Don’t put Jun Hyuk’s story in tomorrow’s press release, either.”
“Take him out of the press release?”
“Yeah. We’re going to pit the 15 minutes of exposure against the whole program without borrowing the strength of a press release.”
The limitations of a live broadcast. Jun Hyuk’s performance without singing could not bring out the liveliness of the scene. His intention was to see if Jun Hyuk could make up for these shortcomings and get him to the top 5 if it was possible.
“Then, how about the top 10 tournament? You planned everything without any contract violations, right?”
“Yes. We’ll progress with this order if you confirm, and start allocating the mission songs.”
“Okay. Let’s see it.”
The contestants in the top 12 would live together for 40 days while preparing for the live broadcast, sweating to be the best. However, that sweat cannot push someone to the top spot. Their dreams were being decided in this conference room following a contract that adults made.
“First, how many are there in large agencies?”
“Four people. We already finished talks with these. There’s no need to advance two of them any further. According to their contracts, we only need to get them on the first stage of the live broadcast.”
“So they’ll be the first two to be eliminated?”
Top 10 decided.
“The remaining two are automatically the next to be eliminated?”
“Yes. Articles saying they are signing with their respective agencies will go out once the program is over, and we’ll get 20% of their profits after they debut…..”
Top 8 decided.
“The cable channel didn’t ask for anything?”
“We aren’t told what the contract with the cable channel says. It’s not even the top 5 but the early eliminations so…..”
“There are three kids without agencies. These are the next people to be eliminated.”
Top 5 decided.
“You’ve only planned the rest of the kids to top 5, right?”
“Yes. I’m sure they’re thinking that they’ve chosen through enough if we’ve reached the top 5.”
The broadcast station and agencies knew after going through four seasons that there was enough publicity if they just got to the top 5.
“No one has requested the top 3 yet”
Up to here was the middle of the betting race where the agencies were gathered. The agencies would watch the broadcast and see the reactions. Following that reaction, they would decide if they would bet more or put their cards down.
“Oh yeah, there’s a place requesting the win. Jessica. You know Mango Entertainment, right?”
“Mango? The company that a manager from SN created when he left? Mango keeps pushing for it?
“Yes. Their investors are good and they have two good idol teams. They prepared this girl a lot and are busy trying to make her the 2nd Park Jung Hyun.”
It was fully possible. She had received high praises from the judges during the area preliminaries when they did not know which agency she was in. She had proved that her vocals were perfected with four years as a trainee.
“Did they say they signed with a cable channel?”
“Yes. The deal being made is that if they make them 1st place, they take 20% of the profits for 5 years and they’ll put the debut song on the top three stations, and on the condition that they make 1st place on the music program, they take 20% of the profits for 2 years.”
The total profit they discussed was not just the money brought in from music. Advertisements and TV appearances were also included. The only money they could not take was what was made from performing at events. Since most did not bill their taxes, it was difficult to identify the revenue. If they stopped billing the taxes? They would definitely take it.
“Five years? The condition is good. Most places end it after three years.”
“They’re asking us to make her number one no matter what.”
“Say she wins, who’s working on her debut song? Nothing matters if the song sucks… She won’t be able to gain popularity.”
“They’re thinking of taking the safe route. They’re going to release a single and work on a remake album. Apparently, they even got the copyrights.”
It was evident that they had prepared thoroughly. It was up to Jessica whether this preparation would go on to become a success or end with failure.
“What about the remaining four?”
“There isn’t much difference between them. They only asked to be in the top 5 anyway. The conditions are the customary 20% for two years. Their intention is to watch the response and act then.”
This is how the size of these youths’ dreams were decided. Producer Kim Ki Sik brought up his hidden card Jun Hyuk,
“The problem is Jun Hyuk…. How far should we advance him? Put him in 5th place?”
“I really think I’m going to go crazy.”
Producer Jo looked upset as soon as discussion on Jun Hyuk started.
“Because Jun Hyuk doesn’t listen?”
“Jun Hyuk doesn’t listen but it’s also the cafe owner who is his guardian. I tell him I’ll link him with an entertainment agency, but he doesn’t listen. He says he’s not interested.”
“I think he’s trying to make his own agency with Jun Hyuk as his poster boy. Aren’t there a lot of people like that?”
“It’s obvious. Even if that cafe owner really makes an agency and tries to train Jun Hyuk, it’s impossible and he doesn’t know that.”
This industry’s entertainment market was run on a system. At the center of that system was money and networking.
Just because a Misari cafe owner discovered a kid with talent did not mean that everything went the way he planned. If the cafe owner was in his early 30s, he might be able to settle around 10 years later. However, he was already in his mid-40s. It was an impossible dream.
“So what I’m trying to say is that Dine Music is going after Jun Hyuk the most and they want to do some work. What should I do?”
“Yes. Dine is big in Japan. They say with Jun Hyuk’s looks and skills, he’d do better in Japan than in Korea… Japan’s performing arts can’t be compared with ours.”
“Hm, that sounds good.”
As the main producer showed a positive reaction, Assistant Director Pil Jae’s face brightened. Producer Kim thought that guy must have at least been invited to drink with Dine Music.
“Right? That’s what Dine Music was saying. If he just does two years of promotions, he has the potential to earn at least $100,000 easily after.”
“So? How do they want to work?”
“They’re going to make the cafe owner into a villainous thief.”
“Yes. He brought on an orphan and didn’t pay him anything for his labor. If that wasn’t bad enough, he’s trying to exploit him for money just because he has a talent in music. He didn’t take any measures while he was bothering him for two years and just because he went out on broadcast, he acquired guardianship. This type of story.”
“It’s true. He he.”
“These were revealed as clear facts. I think it’ll work too.”
The production team sitting in the conference room and Dine Music did not have feelings of animosity or resentment toward the cafe owner, Yoon Kwang Hun. This was just work. Everyone thought this way. They needed to do a good job to make money and to do this, they needed to address whatever made their work difficult.
Yoon Kwang Hun was just an obstacle to their work.
“That’s something Dine Music needs to do on their own. We can just forget about it in the meantime. They can go through with it or not.”
Producer Kim was certain that Assistant Director Pil Jae had been approached by Dine Music when he quickly started talking after he said to forget about it,
“About that… It seemed like they wanted us to help out a bit.”
“Us? How are we supposed to help them?”
“It’s obvious that Jun Hyuk will become one of the trending topics next week when the show airs. They said they were going to spread the articles then…..”
The assistant director hesitated a bit.
“Jun Hyuk can’t see the articles. It’s all over if Jun Hyuk tells reporters that the cafe owner is like his father.”
“So they’re asking us to cover his eyes and ears?”
“Yes. He goes into the boarding house this week anyway. If we make sure they don’t get internet and phone access… They can end it in three weeks. And we have to make sure the people around him don’t say anything as well.”
It was certain that this assistant director was deeply involved with Dine Music as he was acting as their messenger altogether.
Producer Kim did not want to reproach him. He had been working as an assistant director in the strenuous world of variety programs for three years. If he had not had these kinds of bonuses, he would have quit a long time ago.
Producer Kim smirked at the assistant director,
“To do that, they need us no matter what. What you just said is that we need to completely cut Jun Hyuk off from the outside.”
Assistant Director Pil Jae tried to see whether or not Producer Kim was angry first. Producer Kim had already figured it out that he had gone to the room salon with someone from Dine Music. Fortunately, he did not seem angry.
“We need to prepare the foundation. They’re asking us to edit the highlights of the hard life Jun Hyuk had as an orphan and his miserable life for when the broadcast airs. That way, the article about his exploitation as a slave will become bigger news.”
No one could speak. This was not just an issue of Dine Music. The broadcast production team was becoming an accomplice. It meant that they were getting actively involved in making one person into garbage.
“Tell Dine Music to come in. Someone higher than an executive. Someone with a say. We need to decide after hearing the master plan. Schedule a meeting for today. The broadcast goes out next week so we don’t have time. Oh right, tell the legal team to join the meeting as well.”
“I’ll do that.”
“We need to progress with these things thoroughly since we’re taking a lot of risks.”
Assistant Director Pil Jae may be content with having drinks, but this did not cut it close for the main producer, Kim Ki Sik. He wanted to receive a secret offer from Dine Music.