Aura of a Genius Actor Chapter 81

Chapter 81 - First NG (No Good Take)

༺ First NG (No Good Take) ༻

 

  Yoomyeong felt strangely good today.

 

  ‘Where did that guy go…?’ 

 

  Miho was nowhere to be seen since Yoomyeong came back from the night shoot the day before yesterday, and he hadn’t returned all of yesterday either. Although the spirit fox was normally elusive, Miho usually slept beside Yoomyeong, so his absence felt oddly empty.

 

  Stretching after a long yawn, Yoomyeong looked out the small window of his hotel room. The morning view of the unfamiliar cityscape unfolded before him. The hotel, which was more of a motel, had a lopsided bed and wasn’t exactly comfortable. However, he felt surprisingly refreshed.

 

  It was as if he took a bath using energy drinks. 

 

  Knock knock—

 

  There was a knock at the door. It was probably Hansung from the next room.

 

  “Good morning, Hyung.”

 

  “It’s not really good. Ugh, the bed was so squeaky. How about you?”

 

  “It was great! I slept like a log!” 

 

  “I guess it’s really different when you’re young, huh?” 

 

  They went to a nearby diner for a hearty breakfast.

 

  “Your big scene is coming up soon, right?”

 

  “Yeah, there are two days left.”

 

  “Is today your last day as an extra?”

 

  “Yes. I’ll take tomorrow off to get my character and lines down. You’ve been in top form lately, hyung. I’m worried about keeping up in our confrontation scene.”

 

  Hansung chuckled at Yoomyeong’s words.

 

  “Don’t worry about it. We practice together every day, so I know your moves.” 

 

  “It’s true. You’ve gotten even better since we started the main shoot.”

 

  Yoomyeong sincerely thought Hansung’s acting had improved significantly. Since moving, Hansung, who had lightened considerably, overcame his problems swiftly. 

 

  The down-to-earth actor transformed into an elegant and sophisticated figure when portraying Jeong Mong-Ju, fitting the title of a top diplomat of his time perfectly.

 

  “What’s your scene today?”

 

  “The clan council.”

 

  “Ah, right. That’s the big crowd scene.”

 

  After a major victory at Hwangsan, Lee Seong-Gye visited the Lee clan in Jeonju. 

 

  Jeong Mong-Ju, who accompanied him as an official, realized Lee Seong-Gye’s true intentions at the clan meeting.

 

  Lee Seong-Gye sang Liu Bang’s “Song of the Mighty Wind” in front of his clan members, a song that subtly hinted at the declining Goryeo dynasty.

 

  Jeong Mong-Ju realized that this was an indication of Lee Seong-Gye’s ambitious character. 

 

  Jeong Mong-Ju, catching onto Lee Seong-Gye’s ambitious nature for the first time, was to ride to the Mangyongdae Fortress on Mt. Goduk and recite a patriotic poem lamenting the fall of the nation. This was the schedule for today’s shoot.

 

  “Looks like you’ll be riding a horse today.”

 

  “Yeah… I’m still not comfortable with horses.”

 

  “Good luck!”

 

  The air felt fresh, and Yoomyeong’s condition was excellent. 

 

  He somehow felt that today’s shoot would go exceptionally well.

 

  However, today was the day when Yoomyeong would experience his first NG during the shoot.

 

  *

 

  “Let’s rehearse the clan council scene. If you’re ready, please gather this way~” 

 

  The hard-working makeup team was handling the makeup of dozens simultaneously. Yoomyeong, who was now quite friendly with the junior makeup artist, got his face done and then headed to the designated spot.

 

  There was a large pavilion with a sign reading “Omokdae,” with a massive table full of dishes set up that were meant to represent Lee Seong-Gye’s main table. 

 

  Underneath the pavilion, people dressed in white outer hanbok (a white robe worn during the Goryeo period) and Munrageon (a headgear from the Goryeo period) were gathered in large numbers to depict the clan’s assembly.

 

  Yoomyeong blended in among them.

 

  “While Lee Seong-Gye and the clan elders have their dialogue, the rest of you will naturally be part of the background. Let’s start practicing the scene where everyone bows down as Lee Seong-Gye arrives.” 

 

  “Yes,” they responded.

 

  After they climbed up the stairs and sat in their assigned positions, the rehearsal began. 

 

  The director corrected the extras’ movements, then detailed the dialogue between the clan elder actor and actor Bae Geohyeong (*playing Lee Seong-Gye). 

 

  Yoomyeong sat quietly in a corner, visible only from the back in the camera’s frame. He began to focus intensely, feeling an unusual level of concentration in his body. 

 

  “Let’s start shooting – everyone, stand by and don’t move!”

 

  The assistant director issued the final instructions and stepped aside. The director, with a raspy voice worn from fatigue, peered into the monitor and shouted.

 

  “3, 2, 1. Action!”

 

  Director Son watched the screen with eyes weary from lack of sleep. He had been restless for days, often waking up to revise lines for the next day’s script.

 

  His relentless drive stemmed from a desire to make this last project his best work yet.

 

  He watched his actors perform on the monitor, a beautiful scene that would no longer be available in just a few months. 

 

  Lee Seong-Gye, clad in a white Baekjepo, recited a bold Sijo (*a Korean traditional poetic form that emerged during the Goryeo Dynasty) in front of the gathered crowd. It was Liu Bang’s <Song of the Mighty Wind>. 

 

  “Ah! A great wind blows and the clouds scatter. 

 

  Mighty and triumphant, back to my homeland I return. 

 

  How shall I find brave men to guard the four corners of the nation?” 

 

  Bae Geohyeong was truly the perfect actor for Lee Seong-Gye. His solid build, deep voice that resonated through the air, and the slight droop in his eyebrows conveyed both boldness and a tender-hearted nature.

 

  As the director, moved by Geohyeong’s resonant voice, smiled at the monitor, he suddenly felt a shift in the screen’s balance.

 

  ‘Hmm?’

 

  The current frame had Lee Seong-Gye in the upper left, with the bowed heads of the clan members in the lower right. 

 

  The diagonal composition symbolized the left and top as rebellion and ascension, respectively. Despite being a ‘one against many’ setup, the focus was clearly on Lee Seong-Gye.

 

  But now, a figure hunched in a corner caught his attention. 

 

  The intense aura emanating from this person seemed like they could leap up and strike Lee Seong-Gye at any moment.

 

  ‘I wasn’t planning for this to happen… Who is that?’

 

  “NG! Hold on, please.”

 

  As the NG was called, the extras lifted their heads. NGs were common in such scenes, so no one seemed particularly bothered.

 

  Then, the director saw the face of the person he had been observing.

 

  ‘No way…!’

 

  He was astonished. 

 

  It was the face of the rookie actor who had asked permission to ‘practice projecting his presence,’ which he generously agreed to.

 

  But he also hadn’t expected such a drastic change. 

 

  *

 

  “Let’s go again-“

 

  “Just one more time-“

 

  After two more NGs, the director announced a break. He then called the cinematographer to review that segment.

 

  “What’s bothering you?”

 

  “Doesn’t the screen’s balance tilt at this part?”

 

  “Hmm… It does feel off. It was fine during the rehearsal, so why did it change in the main shoot? Should we redesign the frame?”

 

  While the cinematographer agreed, he didn’t seem sensitive enough to pinpoint any specific person as the issue. The director pondered for a moment and then called the production manager.

 

  “Are any young male extras not in this scene?”

 

  “Yes. One is getting makeup for the next scene.”

 

  “Let’s switch him with Shin Yoomyeong.”

 

  The production manager looked puzzled but nodded in agreement. After all, the director’s command was law on the set.  

 

  Fortunately, Shin Yoomyeong’s spot wasn’t visible on camera, so the actor being prepped for the next scene wouldn’t stand out. With that calculation, he hurried off.

 

  “Actor Shin-“

 

  “Yes, Director.”

 

  “Could you come here for a moment?”

 

  Yoomyeong, who was seated in the pavilion, came down to face the director.

 

  The director also called Hansung, who was waiting for the next scene.

 

  “Actor Yoon, come over here, please.”

 

  “Yes, Director. Did you call me?”

 

  “Cinematographer, could you film these two together with the secondary camera?”

 

  The cinematographer turned on the secondary camera and positioned it between the two actors.

 

  “Let’s shoot a waist-up shot. Can you perform Scene 98, the act you performed the day we first met?”

 

  “Sure.” 

 

  “Okay.”

 

  They didn’t understand the sudden change in plans but complied with the director’s instruction without question. They didn’t need to refer to the script; all the lines were etched in their minds.

 

  Ding— 

 

  The red light on the cinematographer’s camera came on, and he gestured that they could start whenever they were ready. Hansung cleared his throat briefly and then began his lines from Scene 98.

 

  “Yudeok (*Lee Bang-won’s name), what is needed to create a nation for the people is a system.” 

 

  The director’s gaze was fixed solely on Yoomyeong as if trying to see through him as the long dialogue of Jeong Mong-Ju continued.

 

  ‘…Really…’

 

  The actor had changed.

 

  Although he listened quietly to his counterpart’s words, his expression made one wonder what he was thinking. 

 

  There was a powerful aura hidden beneath that serene face.

 

  Director Son’s accumulated fatigue seemed to vanish instantly. 

 

  He had a hunch that the actor before him had made incredible progress and the ideal Lee Bang-won he had dreamed of while writing the script was finally in front of him.

 

  The cinematographer was the first to excitedly exclaim as soon as the scene ended.

 

  “The screen presence is fantastic. If it weren’t for the costumes, I’d use this take as it is.” 

 

  Despite Jeong Mong-Ju’s dialogue dominating the scene,

 

  The intense gaze-off between the young, wild actor and the seasoned hero was palpable.

 

  “Actor Shin. Thank you.”

 

  “…?”

 

  “It was really an extra who caused the NG. I thought it was unbelievable.”

 

  Director Son smiled contentedly, and Yoomyeong wore a dazed expression. 

 

  It seemed he had achieved something notable.

 

  *

 

  Yoomyeong lay down in bed after enjoying a beer, feeling good. 

 

  He wanted to ask Miho what had happened, but he was still nowhere to be seen. 

 

  In a way, it was reassuring. He had been worried that Miho might have been the reason for his sudden boost in presence.

 

  He could feel it himself that something had changed. 

 

  The month-long stint of acting as an extra and focusing on projecting his presence seemed to have truly paid off.  

 

  He lay down in bed, feeling a sense of pride. It seemed he would be able to sleep well tonight. 

 

  Swoosh— 

 

  Deep into the midnight, between 1 AM and 3 AM, two suspicious figures settled on the window of Yoomyeong’s hotel room. 

 

  They passed through the wall effortlessly and entered the small hotel room, gazing down at the sleeping human.

 

  {Shin Yoomyeong. It’s this guy, right?}

 

  {He looks so docile for someone who has troubled the elders of the celestial realm.}

 

  The two silhouettes, illuminated briefly by the moonlight, had fierce faces and a single horn. They were Gwis, goblins serving as minions to the immortals.

 

  {Who among the celestials made this mistake? Can we handle this quietly…?} 

 

  {Shh. We just need to do what we’re told. Don’t think too much or you’ll get a good scolding.}

 

  {…Got it.}

 

  They pulled out a small pouch and a bamboo slip.

 

  Unfolding the pouch revealed bright red cinnabar powder, a refined mineral powder often used for drawing talismans and sometimes as a medicine.

 

  One held the bamboo slip while the other carefully applied the red powder to the sleeping Yoomyeong’s thumb.

 

  {Press it down.}

 

  Just as one of them was about to press the slip against Yoomyeong’s finger,

 

  Wham— 

 

  A silver figure sliced through their midst.

 

  Startled by the sudden interruption, one goblin was flung in the opposite direction, while the other barely managed to hold onto the bamboo slip, falling hard. 

 

  {You rascals!!!}

 

  The light quickly morphed into a human form.

 

  And despite not knowing him, they immediately recognized his identity from his noble appearance.

 

  Hiss— 

 

  It was Hye-ho, the illegitimate son of the Heavenly Emperor.

 

 

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Aura of a Genius Actor

Aura of a Genius Actor

Score 9.99
Status: Completed Native Language: Korean
[Winner of the 5th Korea Web Novel Contest] He cast his very being into a life of acting, only to go unrecognized.   But now, his life begins anew

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