TM Chapter 72

Chapter 72: A Historic Drama For Various Reasons (1)

TL: emptycube / ED: Isleidir


 

Was it time to turn on the music? Was it?

I took out my phone and searched Mermaid out of Water. Lee Songha leaned her still drowsy face in to see as well.

Comments regarding Mermaid out of Water were pouring onto portal sites, social media, and fan sites for the drama. Due to the fans of the original work, the drama had been quite a hot topic until now, but it had never been this heated before. And only 15 minutes into the broadcast to boot.

It was clear that today’s broadcast really rubbed their viewers the wrong way when looking the occasional comments asking if the writer had gone crazy or if the director had lost his mind.

Seo Jijoon, whose head was next to Chief Lee Bongjoon’s as he looked at his phone, ridiculed,

“Hey, you kept going on and on about real-time search rankings, but it looks like your drama will reach the rankings before the broadcast ends.”

“What?”

Son Chaeyoung frowned.

“Oppa, phone…! Never mind, I don’t need it. Where did I put my phone?”

When Chief Jo hesitated, Son Chaeyoung looked through her coat pockets and purse. Then she found her phone, which had a photo from her photo shoot printed on its case.

Chief Jo was so antsy that it seemed as though Son Chaeyoung was holding on a bomb rather than her phone as he looked around.

“Just what happened…”

She mumbled as she tapped her fingers before closing her mouth at some point.

Her eyes widened and her gaze fixated on her screen.

“What is this? What happened for people to cause such a mess like this?”

“First… First, I’ll call the director.”

“After we check the broadcast! I need to see just how he pasted things together for people to be like this!”

After flipping out at him, Son Chaeyoung stopped. With irritated eyes, she gave us a sideward glance. Soon Son Chaeyoung stretched her hand out to Chief Jo.

“Give me your earphones.”

“Chaeyoung, calm do-“

“Give me your earphones!”

This was it. It was about time she burst.

Unable to endure her scream which pierced his eardrums, Chief Jo gave her his earphones as if offering them up to her. After plugging the earphones in her ears, Son Chaeyoung focused on her phone screen.

I thought about watching it on DMB{1} but decided not to.

I felt that watching Son Chaeyoung would be more fun than the actual broadcast.

Her face, which had been lively just moments ago, now looked terrible. On the other hand, I felt like fresh sprouts had budded and were tap dancing in my heart.

Ah, what a wonderfully refreshing feeling.

Mermaid out of Water’s fall would gain momentum like a fast-flowing stream. Although it was sad for those involved in Mermaid out of Water, I was extremely excited. I was as excited as I would be on the day a blockbuster sequel I had waited 2 years for finally opened in theaters.

It seemed my feelings towards Son Chaeyoung ran quite deep. Well, I had been suppressing them since the day I heard Son Chaeyoung mock me by saying, ‘So, until then, don’t piss someone off with something like this. It seems you don’t know because it hasn’t been long since you’ve started working, but this industry is always like this,’ to my face.

Curious about how Lee Songha, the victim, was handling this, I looked to my side. She was simply eating her jellies with a calm expression. Those who didn’t know her might admire her, thinking that she maintained a cool head in this situation, but she was different from usual.

She was eating especially happily.

“Is it tasty?”

“Yes. It’s yummy,”

She whispered after decimating the five gummy bears she popped in her mouth. Then she placed a few in my hand as well. While happily eating jellies, I watched Son Chaeyoung’s distorted face gradually become more dreadful.

“What the? To suddenly… Ah, what was the director thinking…?”

“Chaeyoung, please calm-“

“Calm down? Do I look like I can calm down?! When he pasted the scenes that I was barely able to act with the scraps of 1-2-page scripts like this? If he was going to be like this, then why bother re-filming?!”

Ah, I had to share this happiness.

I wanted to show her face to Neptune, Kim Hyunjo, and the team 3 leader, but what a shame. If I took a recording, it probably wouldn’t end with a slap on my cheek, right? Did the break room not have any security cameras?

I looked up at the ceiling when there was a knock on the door.

“Hello!”

A man wearing a baseball cap backwards entered the room. Behind him came other staff members holding a heavy ENG camera and lighting equipment. It was a film crew from PBS.

Their timing was amazing.

The producer was quick to read the mood. It seemed he had immediately realized that the mood in the break room was unusual. He quickly took off his hat and bowed his head.

“Ah, I’m sorry that we were late after asking such busy people to gather!”

He said, gently making excuses about how the traffic was slow and such. It seemed like he had mistakenly believed that the frightening mood was because the film crew was late. Since he acted so humble, perhaps because of Seo Jijoon and Son Chaeyoung’s value, Chief Lee Bongjoon got off his heavy butt and settled the mood.

During this time, the raging sense of ‘a calm before the storm’ subsided.

Seo Jijoon, who had been snickering while looking at his phone, and even Son Chaeyoung, who cursed the director so much that it seemed she would stab a stake into a voodoo doll, had, at some point, put on calm facades. Of the three, the only one who was showing her true face was Lee Songha.

After sharing light greetings and finishing preparations for the shoot, the producer said in an amiable tone,

“We’ll film a sketch for the beginning before the greetings. You just need to talk to each other naturally like normal. There won’t be any audio recorded.”

Like normal, talk to each other naturally.

Then it would 100% be unsuitable for TV.

Would it be fine since they weren’t recording audio? I glanced at Chief Lee Bongjoon, and he told me not to worry and yawned.

Son Chaeyoung was the first to talk calmly.

“You know the saying ‘Take a step back to take two steps forward’. It’s like that.”

She looked at both Lee Songha and Seo Jijoon before continuing,

“There’s no need to worry since the director and writer are both trustworthy people. They’ll quickly get back on track. There’s no need to suddenly become sad.”

It was you who had been sad just a moment ago.

I looked at Son Chaeyoung, astonished. The Son Chaeyoung I knew before I began to work here was sitting there. The symbol of innocence. There was a smile on her lips, and her gentle voice put narrators to shame. I almost wondered whether this woman was the same person who had been cursing the director with ignited eyes not long ago.

Son Chaeyoung brushed her long hair aside and added,

“This is pretty common in the drama industry.”

“Yeah, I hope there isn’t an impact to your ratings.”

Seo Jijoon said, smiling. It wasn’t the ridiculing smile from before but one that felt sincere. I was inadvertently amazed.

If I were to translate it, I felt that it would be something like ‘Since this is normal, don’t try to get on my nerves by talking nonsense,’ ‘Did I say anything? But do you think you’ll be able to even maintain your current ratings, let alone hit 20%?’ From the outside, it looked like small talk between fellow celebrities living under the same roof.

Luckily, Seo Jijoon brought up the topic of drama shoots with Lee Songha so she was able to naturally mix in with their conversation. The scene reflected through the camera was frighteningly friendly.

“See, there’s no need to worry, right?”

Chief Lee Bongjoon snickered as he poked my side.

“Yes.”

“Of course, the two of them are pros.”

“I’m worried about Songha. I don’t think she’s very good acting coy like that.”

She didn’t express her emotions or talk much, and there were many times when she spoke bluntly. I didn’t know whether she could mix in with them like that, especially with someone like Son Chaeyoung. Also, the other girls wouldn’t be able to help her when she was out on her personal schedule.

I didn’t know if I was worrying needlessly, but I was worried.

After letting out a sigh, Chief Lee Bongjoon mumbled from the side,

“I don’t know about that. I think she has a knack for it when looking at how she acts towards you.”

“Towards me?”

“Well, to me, it doesn’t look like you should be worried.”

After making speculations, he said that he wanted coffee from the vending machine since he was so tired and left. Chief Jo had already left, saying that he was going to call the director of Mermaid out of Water, so I was the only manager remaining.

I watched the shoot with my arms crossed, but someone came up next to me and whispered,

“The celebrities of W&U are very close with one another.”

“Pardon?”

I turned around to see who was speaking such nonsense, and it was a young man.

The man, who introduced himself as the floor director, prattled on again,

“Maybe it’s because it’s a large management company or maybe it’s because of the family-like atmosphere, but it seems like W&U only has nice people. We filmed an interview with Mr. Sung Dowon yesterday, and, man, he really was a great guy.”

“Hahaha.”

It was the funniest thing I heard recently.

Only have nice people? Great guy?

This place was an abode of demons under the guise of showbiz. If, one day, everyone stopped their charade and there was a free-for-all competition between management companies, there probably wouldn’t be anyone who could match the fighting power of this place. We were set to bring home the gold.

After I swallowed down the words that were slowly creeping up inside me and laughed, the floor director carefully asked for a favor. He asked if I could get a few autographs from those three after they were done. He said those pleasant words for this. When I told him I would ask them about it, he was happy as if he was on top of the world.

Once they were done filming the sketch, they stood side by side and said their New Year’s greetings. Afterwards, the producer asked a few simple questions as well.

While I was watching this idly, my ears perked when it was Son Chaeyoung’s turn.

“Now, what kind of junior is Ms. Lee Songha to Ms. Son Chaeyoung?”

“… What did you say?”

A crack appeared on her facade.

Seo Jijoon, who sat next to her, cleared his throat as he covered his mouth. His eyes were laughing. I suppressed the laughter that was trying to escape and quickly took out my phone.

I had to film this. I had to.

Since everyone would think I was taking this for monitoring purposes, I filmed it openly. Chief Lee Bongjoon, who was sipping his coffee beside me, snickered as he requested I send him the video as well.

“So, what kind of junior is Ms. Lee Songha to…”

No, I was pretty sure that it wasn’t that she didn’t hear but that she didn’t want to hear it.

Son Chaeyoung slowly closed and reopened her eyes. She probably was swearing a ton inwardly.

Her irritation had probably reached its peak right now since Mermaid out of Water slipped up, but as she couldn’t swear in front of the camera, I was very, very curious about what she would say.

Below the camera, which was filming her upper body, Son Chaeyoung’s hands tightly gripped the sofa covers. How pissed was she that her veins on the back of her hands bulged?

“Ms. Lee Songha is really…”

After pausing for a while, Son Chaeyoung said slowly,

“Good at acting and kind-hearted…”

A deep breath later, she finally let it out.

“… She’s a very dear junior to me.”

 

After the film crew left, Son Chaeyoung glared at Lee Songha with outraged eyes as she shouted that the comment she made was out of courtesy for the viewers before kicking a guiltless table and disappearing.

She had yet to fully develop into a proper human.{2}

I sent the video to Chief Lee Bongjoon and also uploaded it to the group chat with Neptune members, Kim Hyunjo, and others.

As everyone held a big grudge against her because of the acting teacher incident, it was obvious the group chat would explode.

Like Seo Jijoon said, Mermaid out of Water was ranked on the real-time search rankings.

Also, its ratings, which had been on a roll, staggered.

After being pressured to make changes, the writer made changes with an unwilling heart, and these 1-2-page scripts, which turned their filming schedule into a mess, as well as hasty editing became the problem, veering the story into a mountain{3}.

The bigger problem was that this mountain was a burial ground.

Although they could climb up when they wanted to, it was impossible to come down from it.

Sadly, I didn’t personally encounter Son Chaeyoung afterwards. Only, I heard that she was bothering the PR Team. Something about how they needed to manipulate the media more in times like this.

To be honest, the opinion that they could come back from this after readjusting was still predominant at this time. Well, since it was still the beginning.

However, the situation didn’t get better.

The mentality of the writer faltered, and the vicious cycle of countless people, such as the swarms of the original work fans, the broadcasting company, the production company, the directing team, and sponsors, noisily asserting their opinions on this and that repeated itself. Since the situation turned out this way, it would be no use if they published a ton of promotional articles.

Eventually, the next week, Mermaid out of Water’s ratings, which had a goal of reaching 20%, fell drastically.

Also, Cat Guardian Ghost’s ratings exceeded 10%.

 

From the Knet dressing room hallway to the recording set, which would only take me 2 minutes to walk normally, it took me 10 minutes to arrive since Next K-Star staff members and broadcasting staff whom I had met previously kept holding me up as they passed by.

Everyone was clamoring to congratulate me. As Cat Guardian Ghost had already placed its name on the record of successful cable dramas, I had already received an overabundant amount of congratulations, but after its ratings exceeded 10%, their reactions were incomparably more intense than before.

This was because we were now actually beginning to exceed public network drama ratings.

Our ratings were still on the rise, and entertainment reporters and critics, who didn’t have any expectations of the drama and had expected the drama to go down as a flop in history due to the scandals, said it was a reversal in the special articles they wrote. There were also articles comparing it to Mermaid out of Water, which it started off as the most anticipated project but ended up staggering.

People were making a commotion all around me for various reasons.

Should I say it felt like water filling a dam to its brim?

What would happen if that damn burst, just imagining it was too much for me.

“Mr. Sunwoo!”

Someone called for me.

When I turned around, I saw Producer Go Joontae’s sly face.

“I heard that your drama’s ratings exceeded 10%?”

“Ah, yes.”

When I replied while smiling, Producer Go Joontae smacked his lips.

“Wow, your ratings are going up like a public network’s. If Ms. Songha’s drama continues like this and Next K-Star just passes 8% and ends successfully, then Neptune is really raking it in early this year. Isn’t that, right?”

“That’s true.”

I said with a still smiling face.

“So…”

Producer Go Joontae looked around as if checking his surroundings. With a heart as broad as an ocean, I waited for him to get to the point.

Just then, Producer Go Joontae asked,

“Before other programs can snatch him, I would like to confirm Mr. Seo Jijoon’s appearance on the show and film him and Ms. Songha together on the last episode… Do you have any good news?”

 


{1} Digital Multimedia Broadcasting – Think of it as TV on your phone.

{2} This is like saying how she doesn’t have a good personality or the qualities of a decent human being.

{3} The meaning is similar to ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’, but due to the following sentence, I decided to keep it literal.

 

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Comments 8

  1. *BOOM* The long awaited karma explosion has finally come! I’m LMAO as Son Chaeyoung tries to tout her abilities terribly in her sinking ship. XD
    Thanks for the new chapter!

  2. never,NEVER disturb a writer if everything is going fine;)

    “Chief Jo, who was sipping his coffee beside me, snickered as he requested I send him the video as well.”
    this is not chief jo but Chief Lee Bongjoon

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