He returned inside the coach when his phone indicated that it was 9:17.
“Everyone please come out. We’ll start doing your makeup.”
The people inside the coach all got out. The other people that came out started stretching their arms and looked around. Maru also stretched his shoulders. His shoulders felt a little stiff after sleeping inside the coach.
Next to the coach was a mid-sized van with a Taekwondo academy mark on it. The ones that came out of that van were little kids that looked like they were in elementary school.
“You need to listen to the instructor today, okay?”
Maru wondered if they were here for the shoot as well since they also walked towards where the makeup vehicle and another coach were waiting. People that seemed to be their parents all followed with camcorders in their hands.
“Please film only in specified areas. There might be problems if the contents of the drama are leaked beforehand, so I ask for your understanding. As for photo time with the actors, we’ll try to prepare a suitable place and time on our side if we get some free time, so please just cheer for the actors if you see them on set. To them, this is their workplace so they might be sensitive. I hope you can cooperate with us.”
When a kind-looking youth politely said that, the parents all smiled and replied yes. While the space with children looked happy and good, the background actors received the leader’s instructions.
“Over there, don’t loiter around and come here.”
A man in his early forties spoke in a low voice. The actors that got off the coach gathered in front of him and moved to the back of the makeup vehicle. The minor actors could be seen among them as well.
“From here to here. You are villagers. From here to here, you guys are travelling merchants. Be careful not to damage the props. I warned you. Also, over there, you two college students. Do you think you’re here to play around? Don’t chat and focus.”
The leader looked at the paper in his hand and gave everyone roles.
“Remember your positions and get back into line once you’re done with your makeup. The shoot will only go smoothly if you move quickly so keep yourselves together at all times.”
Twisted pride could be seen from the way the leader handled himself. Once he left, people got off the makeup vehicle. Women wearing short-sleeved t-shirts opened the cargo area. There were plastic baskets inside, which had name tags on each of them.
“Please come here.”
They took out clothes from the baskets and handed them out for people to wear. When they just scattered those clothes without restraint, the actors hurried as well. After Maru received his clothes, he leaned against the wall of the makeup vehicle and changed. The ladies entered the coach to change their clothes. Although they were in an exposed environment, no one seemed to mind. Everyone just proficiently changed their clothes. Even the female staff were busy checking the costumes. The ones that were embarrassed over exposing their skin were only the youths that didn’t have much experience in the job.
“It’s good that it’s summer.”
Two middle-aged men seemed to know each other and exchanged conversations.
The sun was scorching down on them. It was very fortunate that they weren’t shooting a winter scene. If anyone wore thick clothing in this weather where people would sweat doing nothing, they would probably faint from dehydration.
Maru put his nose against the clothes he changed into and sniffed. It seemed to have been washed as there wasn’t any smell. It seemed that the stains and traces of dirt were artificially created. The basket that originally contained the costumes had the word ‘jikryung’ on it. The sleeves were straight and it looked quite good when worn properly, at least for clothing meant for commoners.
After changing clothes, the people gathered in front of the coach again.
“Please line up in twos right here.”
The people lined up into two lines just like the staff instructed them. They checked on each person and redid some people’s jeogori.
“Hm, is this a little small?”
A staff member who tilted her head in front of Maru told Maru to pull up his pants.
“That looks better.”
After a round of checks, the staff took out straw shoes from another bucket. They seemed to have been made to various sizes. They also seemed to have been used for other dramas as well as some of them had their soles worn out. Though, there was nothing unusable.
“Please be careful not to lose your shoes. There are strings you can pull to tighten the shoes, so don’t let them slip off during shoots, okay?”
Maru tightened his shoes as instructed. The width of the shoes narrowed and it became much more comfortable to wear.
“Beggar roles please come this way.”
He saw a staff member wave in front of the coach. Maru approached that person. He saw the people he saw during the audition.
“We’re now going to do your makeup, so please wait.”
While they got their makeup done one by one, another staff member brought some ruffled hair wigs. It seemed that they were wearing these instead of a topknot wig or a headband to show that they were beggars.
Maru also received a wig. When he put it on, a staff member approached him and adjusted it.
“Don’t touch it.”
The staff member used some hair gel to make his hair look messy before going over to the next person. Maru took out his phone and took a photo of himself. A man with messy hair and ruffled hair was looking back at him. He wondered how he would look if he colored himself with some soot, but he decided not to. The makeup artists would probably put some on him if they deemed it necessary.
“Take that off and put this on instead.”
Maru received the clothes that the staff gave him. It looked more like rags than clothes. The jeogori was ash-colored and the pants looked like it was scr.a.p.ed on the ground several times. The staff told him that the jikryung was for the merchants.
He quickly changed his clothes inside the coach before looking down at his body. He looked too much like a beggar. The other beggars all looked at each other and chuckled.
“Alright, that seems good enough.”
The leader of the makeup team snapped her fingers in satisfaction. The staff members all sighed in relief and started their next business.
-Are the beggars ready?
A walkie-talkie sound could be heard. The woman that clicked her fingers said ‘yes, we’re on standby’. A while later, a man holding a walkie-talkie ran to the coach.
They followed the man who spoke in a dry tone inside the set. They didn’t move that far from modern paved roads before entering a chosun-era land with earthen ground. Around them was traditional housing with hanja written everywhere. The lights and cameras installed in various places looked out of place.
“You will walk from there to here. Don’t look at the camera.”
The background actors with travelling luggage were going through their movements. The people in this alley alone looked to be more than 50 people. It seemed that there were other coaches that came here. There were travelling merchants wearing straw hats, as well as people wearing bamboo hats on top of a white dopo. There were also people wearing colorful clothing and elderly people wearing gat. A historical street Maru could only see on TV unfolded in front of him.
The other minor actors also subconsciously stopped to look around as well.
“Let’s get moving.”
The man leading the minor actors spoke. Maru stopped looking at the others and started walking. They entered an opening right next to the alley with a lot of people.
The two producers he saw during the audition were there. Their names were Changsung and Jinhyuk, if he remembered correctly. Next to the producer were a boy wearing a white jeogori and a boy wearing tattered clothing as though he was a beggar.
“Uljin, when you talk to Giwoo, use a teasing tone. You know, you want to tease someone if someone’s better off than you, right? But it can’t be too childish. Gaeguk is a beggar but is someone with charisma. That’s how he can lead all the beggars in the area and command them. You must be prankful, but your words should be weighty. Do you get what I mean?”
The boy named Uljin nodded.
‘So he’s Gaeguk, then?’
The boss of the beggars, as well as the friend of Han Myung-hoe in his childhood. Gaeguk would be portrayed as Han Myung-hoe’s closest friend until he meets the Gilchanggun Kwon Ram. Maru could deduce that much from the script of the first and second episode.
‘That means, that one over there is Han Myung-hoe.’
The boy that had his hair neatly combed, Giwoo, nodded as he listened to the producer’s words. As expected of a child actor, his eyes were big and his facial features were very pronounced. Maru thought that he would captivate the hearts of many women in a few years.
Maru leaked a laugh.
‘Why are we so different even though we are both beggars?’
That boy was a pretty beggar, while he was a real beggar. He thought that he had a decent-looking face, but it turned out he really couldn’t beat those that kept receiving massages since young.
“My dear beggars. Come over here.”
Producer Changsung smiled and called out to them. The minor actors all walked towards the producer. Maru was at the very back.
“Well then. You’ll need to stay together during shoots in the future. This is Lee Uljin. He’s the boss of the beggars, so treat him well.”
Lee Uljin politely clasped his hands and greeted. The minor actors did the same.
“This is our Han Myung-hoe, named Kang Giwoo.”
Kang Giwoo greeted them first with a clear voice.
What a nice voice – Maru thought as he nodded.
“Let’s see. First, you need to have your face re-done. Also, your wig is tilted. Do it again.”
The man that led the actors here called the makeup team through the walkie-talkie.
“Let’s try standing.”
Uljin stood at the center, and the minor actors made a semi-circle behind him.
“Good, no one pops out. Can you all try smiling?”
“That’s fine. Also… that brownie. Hey, Jinhyuk. What was his name again?”
“Ah, right. The one named Han Maru, raise your hand.”
Maru was a bit confused when his name was called out but still raised his hand.
“It’s you? Wow, I didn’t recognize you because of all that makeup. You look good.”
Producer Changsung gave him a script that he got from Jinhyuk.
“I’ll give you some time. Look at it and memorize it.”
Maru didn’t say anything and opened the script. This script was different from the one he received a few days ago. Some of the lines for the beggars, that were always expressed by ‘Gaeguk’ and ‘beggars’ had changed to include a few lines for ‘2nd beggar’.
“How is it? You think you can do it?”
Hearing Changsung’s question, Maru replied without question.
“Yes, I can.”
“Good. You’ll be the boss when we shoot just the beggars. As for Gaeguk, he’ll appear in two-shots more often with Han Myung-hoe.”
Changsung patted his shoulders before turning around. Maru sat down on the spot and opened the script and started reading. It wasn’t just the names that were changed. Some of the lines had changed as well.
Amidst the busily-moving staff, Maru was absorbed in the script.
“That’s not how you beg… don’t hide it and give it to me… that’s not right… yes, that’s right….”
He tried saying the lines before closing his eyes. He imagined a beggar that looked like him in his head and had him speak those lines. Watching the virtual acting in his mind, he changed the parts that looked awkward before playing the scene again. After deeming that it was good enough, Maru opened his eyes again and read the script.
“Here, these two will hold a conversation, and you guys will come in from there. The second beggar will be at the front.”
Maru raised his head while reading the script. Jinhyuk was explaining to the minor actors their movement lines. There wasn’t any consideration for him around here. If he wanted to listen to something, he had to do it while he still could. Maru stood up with the script and listened to Jinhyuk’s explanation. After that, he sat back down again and started reading the script.
“Well then. Let’s get ready. Get the props organized. Director Kwon. Can we start the shoot?”
“I was ready 10 years ago.”
“As expected of director Kwon. There’s no one that can win against your humor among the camera directors. I hope you can shoot our actors well with the new camera.”
Producer Changsung walked towards the monitor. Maru heaved a deep sigh before putting the script where the staff was standing. His mind contained the lines already. He couldn’t say that he was perfect with 100% confidence, but he wouldn’t make any absurd mistakes at least.
He could hear some noise from the monitor.
“Scene 14. The beggar den in the shopping area.”
That signalled the start of the shoot. The minor actors all moved off to the side and waited for their time. For now, only Giwoo and Uljin were on the camera. Silence pervaded the noisy area. After around 3 seconds, the two child actors for the main characters started speaking.
 A type of traditional clothing in Korea. Any explanation I found contained really difficult hanja that I didn’t know, so just consider it as ‘shabby clothing worn in history’.
 The top of traditional garments. Wikipedia for more details.
 People tied their hair into a topknot and never cut them in this era because they thought hair was something ‘sacred’ that their parents gave them.
 Clothing. Wikipedia for more details.
 A hat. Wikipedia for more details.
 A title. I can’t find anything else about this title…
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