TM Chapter 53

Chapter 53: A person who found something to protect (4)

TL: emptycube


 

After the script reading session, the actors each said a word of encouragement and admiration to Lee Songha. Lee Songha’s expression still seemed to be of Jung Haewon, but she bowed out of habit and returned their greetings.

This merry, pleasant scene was captured on the behind-the-scenes cameras.

The actors stood in front of the cameras with faces full of excitement and expectations for the drama. Although the interviews were slightly different depending on their roles, the last question was asked to everyone.

“Lastly, please give a short comment about the project.”

A man in his forties looked in a certain direction. It was towards Lee Songha and Seo Jijoon as well as the two men who seemed to be from W&U. The four of them were together and were receiving glances from other people. Although they couldn’t tell what they were talking about, Lee Songha perked her ears at what the young man was saying and diligently nodded her head.

Taking his eyes off them, the male actor cleared his throat and continued the interview.

“This, I said this more than a dozen times during the script reading session, but if there’s a good vibe from the reading session, then the project will always be good. But the vibe from this reading session is just too good. Especially everyone’s acting… Haa, if it’s like this, then it might really-”

“Don’t say it,”

Jang Yoonok suddenly cut in.

“Pardon?”

“It might bring bad luck. If the project becomes unlucky, are you going to take responsibility?”

The male actor quickly made a gesture, zipping his lips.

A similar scene occurred with other actors getting interviewed in front of other cameras.

“I’m a bit excited since we haven’t started yet, but this project will be a hi-“

“Hey, hey. Ma’am told us not to say it, saying that it might bring bad luck.”

“Ah, a short comment. I think this will really b-“

“Shush!”

While everyone was unable to speak, the exterior of the script reading room became noisy.

The chief producer, General Manager Song, who had been looking in through the door, quietly left.

Although he checked Lee Songha’s audition tape and he agreed to CEO Baek Hansung’s suggestion of using this controversy to promote the project, he still had a few traces of unease left in his heart.

That was why he watched the script reading session while acting like he was just passing by.

He couldn’t infect other actors with his unease when he was the chief producer.

Once he watched to his satisfaction, he made his way upstairs with light steps. When he, who had been temperamental until morning, was passing by while humming, the drama department’s producers tilted their heads.

“What the? Why is the general manager so happy?”

“I don’t know. His mood keeps swinging back and forth. Maybe something like male menopause?”

“Isn’t the Cat Guardian Ghost script reading session going on downstairs? Was he so shocked by Lee Songha’s acting?”

General Manager Song was on his way to the director’s office. After knocking, he entered the room before he got the okay to enter and said to the director,

“Director, about Cat Guardian Ghost. Should we get another timeslot? Instead only releasing short teasers, let’s make a 50-minute behind-the-scenes-“

“Are you okay?”

“The project from GTBN that got over 8% viewership ratings last time. They sent the cast and staff on a vacation to Cebu and released press releases bragging about it. We should send our cast and staff to somewhere better.”

“Why are you like this all of a sudden?”

The director, who had been going through files with a tired face, looked up.

General Manager Song closed the director’s office and said with a quiet voice,

“I’m a bit cautious since it might bring bad luck but…”

“What?”

“Cat Guardian Ghost, I think it’s going to be a huge hit.”

 

Noon the next day.

The first behind-the-scenes video created by the behind-the-scenes team and TVL’s Content Planning Department employees was released.

That video received hundreds of thousands of views in a few hours, was displayed on the main page of large sites, and once again broke into the real-time search rankings.

Also, it quickly spread through forums and social media.

 

{First look! Scene of TVL’s Cat Guardian Ghost’s first script reading session!}

 

-I thought I would only notice the two leads, but the supporting actors are all unbelievable.

-Are you ignoring God Joonok{1}? Just looking at the fact God Joonok is appearing on cable shows that they put a lot of effort with the cast. Besides Lee Songha, there are no holes in this cast.

-Taken aback by the above comment ;; Am I the only one who was surprised by Lee Songha’s acting?

-I was freaking surprised as well ; I started watching without any expectations but ended up getting immersed by it. It was completely unexpected.

-I’m constantly replaying Lee Songha’s part. I keep getting sucked in *shiver*

-Her looks could topple nations ; And she’s really good at acting. Why are people swearing at her?

-What do you mean she’s great at acting lol You guys are trying your best with this 1-minute video haha

-They probably picked out whatever was best from the few hours of script reading. Since TVL needs to try to put the controversy to rest.

-Wow. At this point, it looks like you’re bashing her for the sake of bashing her. So mean.

-I’m not a fan or hater of Lee Songha, but looking only at the video, it looks like she’s good?

-Even considering that it has been edited, I don’t think she’s terrible. Let’s all agree with that.

-Please just do that well after practicing a ton. Then the controversy will completely disappear.

-Since everyone was making such a fuss about it, I came to check it out, and this looks like it’ll be fun?

 

“Was I the only one who was surprised by Lee Songha’s acting?”

I tried to read the comments while maintaining their tone.

“I’m constantly replaying Lee Songha’s part. I keep getting sucked in *shiver*”

“Hey, Lee Songha! He says he’s getting sucked in! Wow, that guy’s overreacting!”

Im Seoyoung was creating a fuss. The makeup artist, who was zealously adjusting Im Seoyoung’s makeup for the recording, couldn’t take it anymore and shouted,

“Seoyoung, stay put! Your eyeliner stuck out again!”

“Ah, sorry, unni.”

“Why are you making such a fuss when the person involved is listening to it so calmly?”

Said LJ as she smirked next to her.

Like she said, Lee Songha was quietly sitting down and getting her makeup corrected. From the outside, it looked like she was calm, but every time I read a comment, her lips would slightly curve upwards.

She also looked at me as if she had something to say. Like now.

Im Seoyoung urged with a bright smile,

“Oppa, oppa. Read another one. Aren’t there anymore?”

“I found some too. I’ll read you some!”

The stylist who had been diligently searching the internet at the back raised her hand.

Every time she read a comment, laughter could be heard from inside the van. The traitor, who was driving, Kim Hyunjo at the back, Im Seoyoung, LJ, Lee Taehee and me as well as the makeup artists. There was no one who wasn’t smiling.

How long had it been since the mood was this good?

It almost the first time since the controversy broke out since the mood did brighten up when Im Seoyoung and LJ squabbled with each other, even though the mood would quickly drop back down.

However, it was different today.

After the first behind-the-scenes video of the Cat Guardian Ghost was released today, Lee Songha’s acting was once again heating up portal sites, social media outlets, and forums.

This time, the scales were slightly tipped to Lee Songha’s favor. Although there were still a lot of people criticizing her, those who had simply been watching this from afar had moved to protect Lee Songha because of this video.

“The timing was just right. I was already worried because today was an outdoor recording.”

The traitor beside me was relieved.

I nodded my head as well and looked out the window. I saw the outdoor stage set and a group of people talking with each other.

The recording of Next K-Star today wasn’t held at an open hell but in the middle of Hongdae{2}. Today’s mission was to hold a guerilla concert{3} on an unfamiliar, confined stage for many, unknown people without a rehearsal.

Even though I didn’t think it would happen, I had been worried that a water bottle or something would be thrown at the stage during their performance. We were lucky that the public opinion was good.

“Jung Sunwoo.”

Kim Hyunjo leaned towards the passenger seat I was seated on. He then glanced at the girls who were cheerfully talking with each other and said with a quiet voice,

“About what you said yesterday.”

“Ah, yes.”

There was only one thing I said to Kim Hyunjo yesterday.

Lee Songha’s damn acting teacher Shim Kyungtaek and Son Chaeyoung.

“I talked with Younghoon hyung, and we thought it wasn’t a bad idea. If things don’t work out as you planned, we just need to take some scolding. It also seems like Younghoon hyung and I can cover the rest as well…”

I gulped down my saliva as I waited for his next words.

Just then, Kim Hyunjo nodded his head.

“Meet him tomorrow, that Shim Kyungtaek teacher.”

*

“At this rate, it looks like it will stay on the real-time search rankings until night?”

Team Leader Park from the PR team looked at her monitor and smiled in satisfaction.

The female employee poured drip coffee into three mugs as she nodded.

“This drama… Isn’t its trendiness the best? Was there ever a cable drama that became such a big topic before it even started?”

“Besides those in a series, there wasn’t.”

“I heard the mood during the script reading session was really good. That Songha’s acting was great.”

“If it’s like this… Then won’t it overtake public broadcasts’ viewership ratings on its first broadcast?”

At the male employee’s words, the female employee waved her hand.

“Eh, you dream too big. That’s difficult. The lineup of public broadcast programs in the same timeslot is too good. There’s Time Slip and Mermaid out of Water.”

While nodding, Team Leader Park added in,

“Yeah, the quality of the Mermaid out of Water script is good. We might be able to expect a 20% viewership rating for that one.”

“The reaction from China is really good too. Although it was pushed aside because of Cat Guardian Ghost in Korea, the day an article about their reading session was released, it even reached top 3 in the overseas drama issues chart in China.”

This was possible because the female lead, Son Chaeyoung, and the male lead were quite popular in China. The publication rights for Mermaid out of Water had already been sold to the biggest Chinese online platform before its first broadcast.

The female lead said in an expectant voice,

“If things go well, Mermaid out of Water and Cat Guardian Ghost could be the top two dramas for the beginning of the year.”

“Yeah. It’ll get busier,”

Agreed Team Leader Park, but the male lead licked his lips with unease,

“Team leader. But, why do I keep… thinking about that?”

“That?”

“About what Sunwoo said last time. That he had a bad vibe about Mermaid out of Water…”

“Don’t worry about that. That was a joke. Why are you taking that joke so seriously?”

“But his next words were that he got a good vibe from Cat Guardian Ghost and that he thought it would do well.”

The laughter immediately stopped. Three pairs of eyes wordlessly rolled around.

All three of them had read the synopsis of Cat Guardian Ghost. However, none of them ever thought that the project would become such a hot topic.

Instead, they even remembered telling Jung Sunwoo, who held onto the synopsis like it was a treasure, that, while his passion was fit for a new recruit, he still needed to develop his discerning eye.

While scratching her cheek, Team Leader Park patted the male employee’s shoulder.

“Yeah, if Cat Guardian Ghost is a success, then Sunwoo’s eye for projects is amazing. Anyone will admit that. But I don’t know about Mermaid out of Water having a bad vibe…”

“That’s right. No matter how bad it does, it’ll at least be somewhat of a success. It’s a project that can’t fail even if it wants to. Unless the director or writer lose their mind and messes it up somehow.”

Just when the female employee added that in, the PR team’s office door suddenly burst open.

Then the one known to be innocence itself, Son Chaeyoung, walked in with a vicious expression.

“Why is she here again?”

“She probably came to whine about how Cat Guardian Ghost got the top spot in real-time search rankings.”

“Haa, if I get a hole in my stomach, it’s all her fault,”

Whispered Team Leader Park before getting up and greeting her. However, Son Chaeyoung didn’t bother with the greetings and suddenly asked,

“Where did the director go? He wasn’t in his office.”

“The director? He went to China yesterday morning with the CEO.”

Son Chaeyoung bit her red lips.

“Team leader, are you lying to me?”

“What?”

“If you’re like this, I’m not going to renew my contract with W&U,”

She snapped.

Team Leader Park hid her astonishment as she let out a sigh. That was Son Chaeyoung’s repertory she had heard exhaustively the last time it was time for her contract renewal. It came out like a habit whenever something she didn’t like happened.

“Tell me why you’re like this. Why would I lie to you?”

“You said the director went to China yesterday morning?”

“Yeah. You know the electronics commercial you and Dowon filmed in China? It was time to extend that contract so he went to have a meeting with them.”

“Do you think I don’t have any ears?”

Son Chaeyoung’s voice, which already seemed to have lost its already small amount of patience, grew louder.

“I heard that the director personally went to Lee Songha’s script reading session yesterday!”

“… What?”

 


{1} I think the meaning is pretty clear, but God + ‘name’ is usually a nickname for someone highly revered in their field.

{2} A region in Korea that is known for entertainment, clubs and the like.

{3} Guerilla concerts are spontaneous concerts performed usually by the street.

 

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