Chapter 63: The Most Important Thing in This Industry, Decision-Making (1)
TL: emptycube / ED: Isleidir
-Want to come up to the 5th floor for a bit before the meeting?
Just looking at the message, it looked like it might be an office relationship, but in reality, it was Team Leader Park.
What office relationship? I didn’t even have enough time to eat and sleep.
Holding coffee in both hands, I went up to the 5th floor. Buying and bringing coffee whenever I came here had become a habit. Well, it was good since I was able to get closer to Team Leader Park and other PR team employees because of this.
I opened the door and entered like usual before halting.
Around three to four people suddenly stood up. There were unfamiliar faces as well as a few who I saw roaming around the company like poltergeists.
Either way, the important thing was that it seemed like they were waiting for me.
“Are you the guy?”
Who’s the guy?
But before that, to speak so informally at our first meeting… Well, I guess he did look old enough to.
“Team Leader Park, is he the guy?”
So who is the guy?
While I stood there, puzzled, Team Leader Park received the coffee from my hands as she said,
“That’s right. He’s Team 3’s Lucky Charm, the one who hit jackpot with Cat Guardian Ghost.”
“Oh, no wonder, he looks like it!”
Wait, what do you by I look like it?
The group of people said a few things to me, like congratulating me on the drama doing well, telling me that, for someone so young, I possessed a good discerning eye and that I would become a success. While saying this, they looked at me with shining eyes. What was this uneasy feeling I felt? They looked like the eyes the quadruplets had when they looked rare animals last time I took them to the zoo.
“There’s something I really want to ask you.”
The middle-aged man who spoke casually to me took something from his jacket. They were two pictures of eye-catchingly beautiful women. Were they their profile pictures?
“They are marriage candidates for my son. Who looks better of the two?”
I thought I had heard wrong.
Taken aback, I looked towards Team Leader Park who had her back turned on me, hold back her laughter. I saw her shoulders move up and down. Behind her, the female employee and the male employee of the PR team were laughing while drinking coffee. I hope you burn your tongues.
It wasn’t only the middle-aged man, the rest were the same. Someone’s manager said that there were overlapping schedules this upcoming Lunar New Year’s Day and asked me which one they should do. Another one took out scenarios and asked me which would do well.
Seriously, would my social image be okay like this?
Of course not.
I spent a long time telling them I was just lucky. I was barely able to send these people, who were clinging to me, telling me to choose without feeling pressure or that if I wanted a fee that they’d pay it, back. As soon as the office became quiet, Team Leader Park burst into laughter as she said,
“I told you there were a lot of people who wanted to see you.”
“I never thought it would be for this sort of reason.”
At my words, the employees grinned as they chatted.
“It makes sense considering what Mr. Sunwoo has done. The most important thing, as well as the most difficult thing, in this industry is decision-making. Whether that decision is regarding a person or a project.”
“You said that you thought the drama will be a hit after reading a synopsis others thought wasn’t very good, pushed forward with it, and it eventually became successful.’
“Not just that but an unbelievably great success. I think that either there really is something about Mr. Sunwoo or you used your entire life’s worth of luck this time.”
“Doesn’t the second severely lack in hopes and dreams?”
As they chatted, I was busy thinking in my mind.
I shouldn’t say things like the vibes I felt, that something would be a hit with certainty from now on. Maybe once or twice was okay, but if it kept repeating like this, then there would be more and more people who would find this strange as well as suspicious.
Just as I was about to leave after we talked, a sudden thought crossed my mind.
“Ah, right. Team leader, I have something I want to ask you.”
“What is it?”
“There’s a reporter I’m sort of close with from G-Today. Why, I mentioned her last time.”
As if she remembered, Team Leader Park nodded.
“Ah, the reporter I told you to bring to your side?”
“Yes. That reporter asked me if I could do an interview.”
I received a call from Reporter Park Woojeong this morning. She said that she had no choice because her general manager ordered her to, asking me in a careful voice.
To be honest, we received a lot of inquiries, asking for interviews, during Lee Songha’s controversies. Though, we did reject them all because the more people talked about it, the more it would invite disaster and because if we held interviews with a few media platforms, the others would make a fuss. We planned on holding an interview in a hotel at a later date with the reporters.
When I told Reporter Park about this, I received another call a little later.
“She said that she won’t ask about Songha’s controversies and only wanted to listen to my story as Neptune’s manager.”
“It looks like they think the reactions will be quite good if they release an exclusive interview even if they don’t have the main person. Well, you do have a lot of stories starting with when you brought Next K-Star over…”
Mumbling, Team Leader Park became lost in thought momentarily.
She seemed to be thinking of something as she examined me with narrow eyes, rubbed her chin. Very thoroughly. Closely. Then she smiled.
“Let’s talk about it later. But besides that.”
Team Leader Park asked,
“Will it be okay to sell your face on TV?”
Team Leader Park stared at me.
Kim Hyunjo stared at me too.
“A Lunar New Year’s entertainment special?”
When I asked while scratching my cheek, Kim Hyunjo told me the details.
“Yeah. It’s IBC’s. It’s a format where celebrities and managers appear together. Apparently, they look at the chemistry between celebrity and their manager rather than celebrity standing. Also, they are apparently looking for broadcast-worthy characters amongst the managers as they are normal people.”
“It might be achievable since the public’s opinion of Songha is good after the broadcast last night.”
Appearing on an entertainment program.
“Why me? There’s the chief, and Gunyoung as well.”
Team Leader Park gave Kim Hyunjo a thorough glance as she said,
“Look, look. Mr. Hyunjo doesn’t have the entertainment feel. He seems more like someone who should appear on Extreme Jobs.”
That was true.
I nodded my head while looking at Kim Hyunjo’s tired face, which resembled a zombie’s. Anyone would be concerned that he might die from overworking when looking at him. As if he also acknowledged this, he smacked his lips and added,
“And Gunyoung, don’t you think it’ll be difficult to persuade the staff with him? He looks too much like a youth with an upright lifestyle. He looks cultured, not the entertainment-type.”
Then what did I look like?
“You have a good character. And your chemistry with the girls isn’t bad either.”
I did consider it for a bit before eventually nodding my head.
Although my preference wasn’t standing in front of the camera, my face had already been displayed quite a bit. My reactions had been filmed in Next K-Star a few times, and I often appeared in the Cat Guardian Ghost behind-the-scenes videos.
If it was a Lunar New Year’s special, then it would only be a one-off event. Since it was an opportunity for Neptune to appear on a public network as a group, why not sell my face a little?
After finishing our chat, I went down to the 4th floor with Kim Hyunjo.
Since the weather was chilly, I had been hoping I could have some hot soup to warm my insides for lunch before I stopped abruptly. I glanced over Kim Hyunjo, who was walking a few steps ahead of me. The thick turtleneck he was wearing caught my eye.
It wasn’t something he wore often. Where did I see it before?
I recalled it immediately once I flipped through my memories. Kim Hyunjo was wearing that in the future I saw not long ago.
Was it just a coincidence he wore the same clothes?
Or was today the day?
Right before the album meeting, a drama film shoot was abruptly scheduled.
Although it was a film shoot I had to attend even if I was sleeping, the timing was amazing. Why did it have to be today? I had no choice but to skip the meeting and go to the film set with Lee Songha. If there was any consolation, it was that the staff and actors were excited and the mood on the film set was best yet due to yesterday’s broadcast.
After filming, I brought Lee Songha to her residence and immediately returned to work.
Was today was the day I saw in the future, and if it was, what had the traitor prepared?
I was so curious I couldn’t even focus on the film set.
Whatever it was, it should be beneficial for Neptune.
That was what I thought when I reviewed what I was in the future. Separate from the fact I couldn’t trust the traitor 100%, there was no doubt the traitor was working hard and putting in effort for Neptune. So there wasn’t a need to be too worried.
When I called Kim Hyunjo and let him know I arrived, he told me to come up to the meeting room on the 5th floor. Just as I entered the meeting room after almost running up to the 5th floor, I was certain.
It was now. The future I saw not too long ago was right in front of me.
There was a laptop with a tangled pair of earphones on the table, and Kim Hyunjo and the traitor were talking, seated next to each other. It was a good mood. There was a bright smile on Kim Hyunjo’s face for a change and a clear sense of happiness on the traitor’s.
“Oh, you’re here. Come in, come in.”
Kim Hyunjo, who saw me first, gestured with his hands.
I came to my senses and entered. As soon as I sat down, the traitor asked,
“It must be tough since it’s cold these days. Are you done filming for the day?”
“No, I have to go out later tonight for a night scene.”
After exchanging a few words, Kim Hyunjo joined in with a pleased voice.
“Not too long ago, while working with a bastard, I wondered what kind of sins I committed in my previous life to have had to work with such bad people. But it seems like it was all to meet you guys. One guy brought home a hit drama without me ordering him to and another…”
His eyes which momentarily fell on the traitor turned to me.
“Simon Lee, that fellow. There’s a song he made for Seraphic.”
Unexpected names popped out from his mouth. Simon Lee, a judge on Next K-Star and a star songwriter, as well as Seraphic, a top girl group that debuted 10 years ago.
As soon as I thought this, like cold water being poured on me, my mind jolted.
Neptune’s next album. What the traitor had been working hard for a long time. And a songwriter.
Oh my god. I had an ominous feeling.
“But after their world tour, Seraphic’s been busy trying to enter the U.S. industry and their Korean comeback has constantly been pushed back. So the song doesn’t have an owner anymore. To be honest, we also wanted it for our next album’s title track, but that fellow seemed like he was going to give it to a girl group on a slightly lower level than Seraphic. That why we gave up…”
Kim Hyunjo grabbed the traitor’s shoulder.
“He said he’ll try to persuade him, and I have no idea what methods he used, but he got it from him.”
I barely managed to control my expression and congratulated him. I couldn’t show them that I was taken aback. Congratulations were in order as he persuaded Simon Lee and obtained the song they wanted, and there was no way they knew what I knew. That, if things progressed like normal, then Neptune’s next album title track would take first place on music programs.
My mind twisted into a tangled knot. I continued to listen while suppressing the urge to rub my face.
“First, the reactions from the internal meeting were good. Well, the CEO and Neptune have to listen to it, and we’ll make a final decision once a few monitors listen to it as well. I think this will be the title track.”
Kim Hyunjo looked at the traitor, astonished.
“Both Younghoon hyung and I thought that it would all be for nothing, but you really are a determined guy. You’ll do something in life.”
I knew what would happen afterwards.
When I looked towards the traitor, our eyes met as he too looked at me.
Unlike the previously noise-filled vision, now that I was looking at him clearly, the traitor’s expression looked slightly complicated. He was happy, yet he also possessed a strange excitement. His lips curled upwards before opening.
“You could say it’s all thanks to Sunwoo. We joined on the same day and started working at the same time, but as the gap between us kept getting wider and wider, I ended up working harder.”
It definitely changed.
The event of the traitor bringing Simon Lee’s song probably didn’t happen in the future set 20 years later that I saw. Since, in that future, events like me bringing Next K-Star and Cat Guardian Ghost and tasting success probably didn’t occur either.
Then, what was the probability?
The probability that the song which was Neptune’s title track in the future set twenty years from now and the song the traitor brought would be the same.
I gulped down my saliva and asked,
“What kind of song is it?”
“Listen to it yourself and see how it is.”
Kim Hyunjo handed me the pair of earphones. They were smaller than coins, yet they felt heavy as stone. As soon as I put them on, it became quiet.
Soon, I heard the instrumentals flowing into my ears.
I wasn’t very interested in the song, and although I didn’t possess an ability that let me know if a song would be popular the moment I listened to it, even I could tell it was a good song. Even though there weren’t any lyrics, only humming, I wanted to hum along with it.
However, it wasn’t the song I heard from the future.
I was going crazy.
It felt like everything was going smoothly just this morning, but what was this all of a sudden?
Aside from Simon Lee’s song the traitor brought over, I listened to the songs collected during the song collection period that were discussed during the internal meetings. However, the song I heard from the future wasn’t there. How strange.
Why wasn’t it there?
Was it because the future twenty years from now was different from the present?
Was that why the song that should have been collected wasn’t?
The song the traitor brought was a good song. There was no doubt about it since Simon Lee made it and the other employees of the internal meetings all said it was good. However, like dramas and movies, it wasn’t like a song would become an amazing hit because it was made by a famous songwriter or because it was a good song. It had to suit the group, and it also largely depended on luck.
Above all, Director Park from the future said that the song was really good and it matched Neptune well.
The song was definitely out there somewhere, but no matter how much I thought about it, there was no way to find it. It wasn’t like I could go to the countless number of songwriters and ask them to let me listen to their songs.
Was progressing with Simon Lee’s song, which the traitor brought, the best?
If we did, would it be a hit song that you would think of when you thought of Neptune like the one from the future?
When I turned around towards the voice, Lee Songha was looking at me. Only then did I become aware of my surroundings. Even if my head was complicated, I had to follow the schedule so I was on my way to the Cat Guardian Ghost film set with Lee Songha once again.
“Is something wrong?”
“No, I was just thinking about your next album.”
At my words, Lee Songha leaned towards the front seat and said,
“We listened to it too. Will the song made by Mr. Simon Lee be our title track?”
“It’s not decided yet, but they say there’s a likely chance it will.”
“That’s a bit of a bummer.”
A bummer? What was?
Before I could ask, Lee Songha mumbled in a quiet voice,
“The song Taehee unni made was good too.”
 Means putting him on TV.