After Story 52
After Story 52
Bada looked in front of her. The woman she made eye contact with before was smiling and looking at her. When she looked at her from up close, she couldn't help but gasp in exclamation. Her skin, which she had confidence in, was nothing in front of her.
"Oh… hello," she responded awkwardly.
The woman smiled and sat down next to her. She could feel her gaze. Even though she felt that she must be overthinking, she glanced sideways. The woman was still staring at her, with a face full of mischief.
"Wh-what is it?"
She even stuttered because of the nervousness. The woman said nothing and waved her hand in dismissal. Just as she was thinking that she was one strange woman, a hand suddenly appeared from outside her vision.
"If you're feeling nervous, you should chew on this. Gum actually helps out a lot."
The woman handed her some chewing gum. She wondered what this was about but still received it. After all, she heard that it was helpful.
She looked at the woman while chewing on it. She looked delighted like she met an old friend from school.
"Do you know me?" she asked just in case. The woman shook her head.
What is this really? — She avoided the woman's gaze. Maybe she was someone who was overly friendly?
She found the woman's gaze landing on her name tag around her neck.
"You have a good name," said the woman.
It was a rather sudden compliment, but it didn't feel that bad. If she wasn't in an audition right now, she might have smiled back at her.
Bada also looked at the woman's name tag: Han Haneul. She had never heard of that name before.
"We'll be calling out numbers now. If I call you, you should come to the room on the opposite side," the employee said next to the door to the waiting room. It was finally time. This was no time for chitchat.
Bada smiled at the person next to her, signaling to her that they should focus on their own auditions. The woman didn't speak to her anymore.
She kept reminding herself of her lines so that she could do them reflexively. In the last audition, she wasn't able to start properly because of her nervousness. One of the judges told her not to get nervous, so it was natural that she didn't make it.
This time, she never stopped practicing with the resolve that she wanted to display everything she had.
"Numbers 46 to 50," said the employee.
Bada checked her name tag. The large '47' printed on it told her that it was time for her to go to battle. She took her stuff and stood up. The woman next to her also stood up. She didn't realize this until now, but that woman was number 50.
The way to the entrance felt quite long. She calmed down her breathing and organized her thoughts, thinking that she should greet the judges the moment she goes inside and then wait for the signal to act.
The employee stood in front of the door on the other side and spoke, "Go inside in order and the judges there will call your numbers. If you need a chair, then you should bring a chair, and if you don't need it, you can start on the spot."
The employee pointed at a cross on the floor marked with black electrical tape.
"Once you finish your acting, you just have to listen to the judges and step back. That's it. I'll be guiding you in once the group inside finishes, so you just have to wait," the employee continued in a small voice.
There seemed to be a signal from inside, as she directed them in. Bada walked behind number 46 and went inside. The first thing she saw was a large monitor, followed by a camera tripod set. Behind the camera stood a woman who seemed to be operating it.
Her eyes moved to the table. She found a man wearing rimless glasses. He seemed to be the judge. He had a soft-looking impression and didn't look like the harsh, rebuking type.
If the judge was someone whose eyes were lit on fire like the previous one, she would've been quite nervous.
"First of all, thank you for your application. If time allows it, I'd love to take my time to talk to every one of you, but as you can see, there are a lot of people to go through. Okay then. Don't be nervous and display the act you have prepared. No one's chasing you, so there's no need to hurry."
After scanning through the profiles, the judge called number 46. The man in front of her stepped forward. When the place next to her became vacant, she felt her mouth dry up. She felt like being first would be much better.
"Spit it out."
A hand suddenly appeared in front of her face again. She felt a sense of deja vu and looked next to her. The woman who was supposed to be on the other end had approached her.
Spit out what? When she thought about it, she finally noticed the chewing gum bothering her mouth.
Bada received the tissue given to her by number 50 — Haneul.
"Just as the judge said, you should relax."
At that moment, the judge smiled and told everyone to be quiet.
Before Bada could apologize, Haneul said so first. The person who looked out for her even apologized in her stead. She felt grateful, but at the same time, quite strange.
This person didn't have any debt toward her, so why would she do something like that?
Maybe it was because she said something out loud, but the pressure was relieved quite a bit. She thought about the skit she was going to do as she looked at number 46's act.
Number 46 sat down on a chair and lamented about his life choices. His expression that she could see on the monitor looked natural. She wondered how much he must have practiced.
"Your eyes look good. Can I see something more cheerful this time?" The judge requested something more.
The man immediately stood up. He changed his expression in an instant before heaving heavy breaths. He seemed to be acting out a situation just after playing a game of basketball. The judge raised his hand at number 46, who was acting while speaking in a cheerful tone.
"That's enough. Mr. Yoo Young, is it? Your transmission of lines is lacking when you purposefully roughen your breathing. I think you need more practice on that part. I liked everything else."
This was quite a rare scene at auditions of large agencies. Usually, the participant would go down the stage without getting any evaluation, but the judge in front of them pointed out their problems, albeit short. An audition where they could hear the opinions of a professional was very valuable, even if it meant not passing.
She made eye contact with the judge. Bada let out a short breath before stepping forward. When she stood on top of the cross mark, she could see her own face on the monitor to the right. Thanks to the expensive concealer, the pimple couldn't be seen. Brand-name products were good alright.
"You can begin now."
The judge's eyes then looked at her profile.
Bada loosened her shoulders first. It was time for her to display the act that she had repeated hundreds of times in her head.
"Our professor is really good, as long as he doesn't drag out his lines just before the lecture ends."
She felt good about this. Every one of her lines felt natural on her tongue. There was no shaking and even the distribution of her breathing was okay. She continued acting without being blocked by anything. She spoke as she practiced, gestured as she practiced, and put on expressions as practiced.
From some time onwards, she forgot that she was supposed to be acting. She spoke smoothly like she was speaking with her friends.
"You're full of confidence. I like that."
That was the first ever compliment she heard in an audition. She subconsciously thanked him. However, that was it. She wasn't asked to display something else like the man before her.
"Thank you for your performance. First of all, I really like your vivid expressions and confidence. However, I don't really understand what you're trying to show me. Acting should be natural, but at the same time, it needs character. Expressing facts as they are isn't really considered good acting in my book. I hope you can think a little more about the difference between good, okay, and what you can do well."
Bada stepped back as she reminded herself of the words that struck her ears. She immediately understood what the judge was trying to say. As unfortunate as it was, this seemed to be a failure as well. Still, it was good that she got something out of it. This would come in handy later for her next try.
The audition continued. Bada forgot about the result and watched the world of acting that was displayed in front of her. She paid attention to what her peer aspiring actors focused on, what their expressions were like, and how the judges looked at each participant.
Numbers 48 and 49 finished their acts. The two of them also displayed only one act before stepping back. The only one that received a request from the judge was number 46.
Bada looked sideways. Haneul, who was standing at the end, stepped forward. The eyes of the other participants were colored in admiration. Based on appearance alone, she might be in the top three among the participants today.
If she was just pretty, then it wouldn't be so surprising, but Haneul had a charm that drew other people's eyes.
Charm — there was no more desirous word than that when preparing to become an actor.
She followed Haneul's back with her eyes. When she stood in the middle of the stage, her face was displayed on the monitor. Haneul's face was much more attractive on screen than in person. She had a face that looked good under good lighting conditions. The faint shades cast over her face made her contours look a lot more distinct.
The woman behind the camera whispered to the judge. It was probably not a bad thing she was saying.
"Begin when you're ready."
Haneul's expression changed as soon as the judge finished speaking. Bada was enraptured by Haneul in the monitor. The face that looked like it didn't know any suffering had distorted in an instant.
"Ha Changsoo. I will warn you one final time. Act properly. Think about the safety of the republic. Think of your family, and think about our great leader. I have warned you. Do not forget that my words will dictate everything. If you really want to be stamped as a spy and die, then go ahead."
A voice filled with offensive characteristics filled the floor. Her voice was small, but thanks to the accent, it was very easy to listen to. Bada thought back to the movie 'Infiltration' that she watched last week. Haneul was currently recreating a scene from that movie. In the movie, it was Kim Jihye who played that role. She flinched when she watched the act that looked like it would devour the audience whole, but Haneul's acting was no worse. The way her eyes slightly shifted according to her lines, and the way her mouth trembled ever so slightly… it was an act that was filled with anger, yet was restrained.
One of the tips left behind by 'audition seniors' in various internet communities was to 'stay away from acting something with character,' especially when it was recreating an impressive scene from a famous film. The general advice was that people should prepare something else since no matter how good someone is, it would only remind the judges of the original.
This was true not for just actor auditions, but for singer auditions as well, which had been gaining popularity. The unwritten rule was to stay away from songs with strong ‘originality’ from the singers.
From what Bada knew, the participants who sang songs that just ‘had to be sung by that singer’ had all failed to make it.
She locked her fingers and looked at the screen. While Haneul was putting on the same act as Kim Jihye, no hint of Kim Jihye could be seen. It wasn’t an act that overlapped. The flow of emotions was similar, but different forms of expressions were used throughout. If Kim Jihye felt like a female warrior, Haneul felt like a negotiator. She couldn’t judge whose act was better. Their interpretations were different after all.
The act continued. The judge, who would stop the participant in 30 seconds, or after at most 1 minute, did not say anything.
She saw the judge's hands moving fast. The pen in his hand was writing something.
It felt like a long time had passed. Haneul collected her emotions and looked at the judge. The rough feeling disappeared in an instant, and the kind girl who gave her chewing gum appeared again.
The judge took off his glasses. For the first time ever, he covered his mouth and chuckled as though he was taken aback.
Bada intuitively realized that someone had passed the audition.