Drama scenes were classified into as few as 50-60 cuts per episode and as many as 70-80.
For a mini-series, considering the usual production period of three months, it’s a relentless marathon.

Especially towards the latter half, the practice of using partial scripts increased the intensity of the staff’s work.
It’s not called broadcast labor for nothing.
From that point on, working through the night was inevitable.
However, a good start was half the battle.
If the first shot went well, the rest tended to follow suit.

“PD Yoo, where did you find such a talent?”

Camera director Kim Deukhyeong was admiring the footage as he reviewed it.
The acting stayed within the frame, and the tone, voice, and facial expressions were natural.
It was hard to believe the performance came from a rookie child actor.

It seemed as if young Kim Hajin really stepped into the camera.
The boy’s acting surprised even the veteran staff members as the filming progressed.

“Is it true he’s never had any acting lessons?”

At Kim Deukhyeong’s question, Yoo Myeonghan licked his dry lips.
He had witnessed the boy’s acting through the camera’s tally.
The performance shown during the script reading was just the tip of the iceberg.

Although he seemed to roam the set, the boy never left the frame, and his facial acting and voice were flawless.
Despite speaking in dialect, his pronunciation and accurate delivery were reminiscent of a seasoned actor who had worked in theater for a long time.

“I can’t believe it either.
I thought he would soon become a good actor when I saw him reading the script.”

“It’s amazing.
If that’s considered good acting, all rookie actors should bite their tongues and give up.
I’ve seen many actors during my time on set, but never have I seen a child actor like him.
And where is he acting? In the middle of Jagalchi Market in Busan.
Most experienced actors would struggle to act here.
But look at him when he acts; he fits right in with the tourists and the locals.”

It wasn’t wrong.
Although the FDs controlled the scene, the crowded Jagalchi Market in Nampo Port was still filled with tourists and merchants.
The noise was overwhelming.
Even amidst the noise, the boy’s acting captured everyone’s attention.

“His voice projection is incredible.
It’s like he has a speaker in his throat.
The control of volume is art, pure art! The sound team doesn’t need to discard a single bit.
What about Actress Park?”

“What did Actress Park say?”

“It’s not about what she said.
You didn’t see her face when her scene ended; she was so flustered and angry.
No one expected her to be outperformed by a child actor.
Thanks to that, she gave an outstanding performance too.
I never thought a child actor could lead a psychological battle with more experienced actors.
PD Yoo, you’ve hit the jackpot.”

The shooting site was bustling.
Shooting a few cuts didn’t mean it was over.
Shooting a drama involved repeating dozens of shots per day and then creating the final product through editing points.
The staff was laying rails, and the lighting and sound teams adjusted their positions to stay out of the frame.

“The camera will tilt down from top to bottom, focusing on the mother’s face during the monologue scene.
I’ll cut out any unnecessary parts, so please shoot boldly.
In the end, we’ll insert a shot of a fish trapped in a red bowl.
Senior, don’t forget to capture the mother’s wrinkled hand.
If we miss this, we’ll have to go around again.”

“PD Yoo, I’ve been shooting for more than just a day or two.
I know how you work.
Don’t worry, and focus on the lighting director instead.
The kid keeps getting in the way of the frame.
I won’t be responsible if they get electrocuted in the water.”

“Don’t worry, I’ve already addressed that issue.”

“As expected of our PD Yoo.
Always well-prepared!”

The shooting preparations were almost finished.
Normally, the slate would have already been clapped by now, but the set was noisy for some reason, and the chatter could be heard through the headphones.
Eventually, Yoo Myeonghan threw down his headphones and stood up, shouting.

“Are we going to spend the night here?! Why is the standby so slow? AD!”

That’s when the accident happened.

* * *

“Unnie, are you bleeding? Are you alright?”

Actress Park Suyeong bit her lower lip hard.
The stylist was startled by her reaction, but she didn’t seem to be listening.
A complex mix of emotions filled her eyes: irritation, absurdity, and anger.
There was no single spot on her outfit that didn’t smell fishy.
Moreover, the kid had thrown a live fish earlier, making her feel like the smell had penetrated her skin.

“Hey! Are you crazy? Why did you throw it without saying anything?”

Park Suyeong reacted more intensely than usual, perhaps due to the embarrassment of causing the NG.
But the response she got was even more surprising.

“If it were the young Kim Hajin, he would have done it that way.
I apologize for not informing you beforehand.
I thought it would make the scene less realistic.”

How audacious.

There was nothing more to say.
Actors should explain their roles through acting; understanding their characters was the first step.
In that sense, the child actor perfectly understood his character.

At first, she thought it was a fluke.
But as the shooting continued, the boy’s acting was flawless.
He seemed to have memorized the script so well that it felt like the young Kim Hajin had been pulled straight from the pages.

Even more astonishing was that as soon as the shooting ended, the boy would immediately wipe off his tense expression and quickly return to his usual self.
The boy who chatted and joked with the extras off-camera seemed utterly different from the one on set.
Park Suyeong, who had experienced his acting firsthand as his counterpart, felt this contrast most intensely.

“Could it be… Am I feeling competitive?”


It wasn’t even funny.
From the moment she left the theater troupe Yeo Myeong, she never considered acting as an art.
She focused only on popularity and appearance fees while participating in profit-driven dramas and commercial films.
However, this didn’t mean she was lazy in her acting.
She did her best to fulfill her role as an actor.
The emotions she felt now might be the evidence and the fruit of that fact.

“He said he had never learned to act.”

The boy had more than one mysterious aspect, especially when it came to acting.
According to Park Suyeong’s keen eye, the boy undoubtedly learned to act.
But according to the PD, who directly cast the boy, he spent his entire life in a rural area called Yeongdo.
It didn’t make sense.
Unless he was a born genius in acting, how could that be possible? Speaking of which…

“Why is the standby so slow!”

At Park Suyeong’s irritated voice, the stylist was startled.
She hadn’t even changed into a new outfit to continue the shoot.
As a result, the small waiting room was filled with the smell of fish.
The AD had come by half an hour ago to inform them that the shoot would resume soon.
On this sweltering summer day, relying on a fan instead of air conditioning, they were at risk of steaming like fish.
Park Suyeong couldn’t take it anymore and stood up.

“No, noona.
You can’t go outside now!”

Park Suyeong’s manager rushed into the waiting room.


“There’s a fight outside right now.
Stay in the waiting room and don’t go out.
I’ll go check on the situation outside.
You must stay inside, really!”

The manager left after repeatedly warning her, but telling a female actress not to watch a fight was like telling her not to watch a fire.
She had no intention of missing such an entertaining spectacle.


Hanggu Manri, if translated literally from Chinese characters, means a long winding road facing the waves and winds of the harbor.
People who lived by the sea all depended on the harbor.
Their lives revolved around the sea, and their energy came from the turbulent waters.
Like the changing direction of the waves thousands of times a day, the temperament of the sea people was also ever-changing.

“What’s the point of shooting so many times! You’ve blocked the road for hours! Is this some kind of joke for all our businesses?”

“Withdraw immediately! Stop your nonsense and get out of here quickly!”

“I don’t care about the market or anything.
Just get out.
No matter how much you shoot, you should leave after a reasonable amount of time.
What are we supposed to do if you take up half a day!”

The resentment of the traditional market merchants, including the Jagalchi Market and the adjacent Namhang Market, was no less than that of the Majang District merchants.
The filming, which started at dawn, showed no signs of ending even after the afternoon, angering the merchants.
Nothing changed despite the efforts of the young FDs, the ADs, and even Yoo Myeonghan to control the scene and negotiate.

“Hey, Mr.
PD, listen to me.
You’ve been saying you got permission from the market and even informed the district office, but did you ever ask us, the most important people? Who cares if those officials gave permission? What’s important is whether those officials will compensate us when our day’s business is ruined!”

“Sir, we’re not shooting recklessly, and if you hinder the filming that has been approved by the local government, what should we do? We will try our best to film quietly and leave as soon as possible.
Can’t you wait just a little bit?”

“Oh, just because you say you’re filming quietly doesn’t make you all invisible! All the customers are stuck and distracted because of you, and the merchants in the back are just swatting flies! Don’t you see that?”

“Sir, that’s not what I meant.”

“Stop making nonsense excuses and remove all your equipment right now.
If you don’t, I’ll spray salt water all over this place!”

Yoo Myeonghan tried to mediate personally, but he was just promoted from an AD to a PD.
It seemed challenging to win against the merchants who had lived off seawater all their lives.

Meanwhile, the experienced camera, lighting, and sound directors, who had seen it all on various shooting sites, were already preparing to retrieve their equipment while shaking their heads.
They knew they were outsiders, and there was no way to appease the furious locals except for time.
But at that moment.

“Look at this! Is this what the people of Busan are like―!”

The voice, like a cannonball, echoed through the noisy market.
Everyone’s attention was drawn to the source of the sound.
A boy was standing on an empty fish crate.
He looked at the market merchants who had just confronted Yoo Myeonghan and shouted with a voice like a loudspeaker.

“I’m Jang Yeongguk, a fish seller at Namhang Market! I also work at the market, so I know everything.
If merchants don’t work for a day, they get sick and bedridden.
My mom also wakes up early to get some fish and sets up her stall in the market.
But everyone, aren’t you being too harsh?”

“This kid is wrong.
Weren’t you the one filming earlier?”

“That’s right! I was filming, and so what? I’m trying to promote our traditional Busan markets; even this little kid is stepping up.
What are you all doing!”

“What? Promoting the market? This young one knows how to talk big!”

“It’s frustrating! So frustrating! I’m only going to say this once, so listen carefully!”

With a small stature and a youthful appearance, the boy’s eyes and voice held an indescribable power.
A ripple of emotion spread among the people.

“You all know how we catch Spanish mackerel, right? Some catch it with a fishing rod, and others use a net.
The thing about Spanish mackerel is that they’re mysterious.
Each fisherman uses a different bait, and though their methods vary, they all aim to catch the same fish.
The same goes for me! The district office has been promoting traditional markets and holding festivals every year, but do we see any real substance? Don’t we all enjoy a day with our neighbors, drinking rice wine? And even if outsiders come, aren’t they just old folks reminiscing about the past?”

The atmosphere swayed a bit.

“And you, sir, from earlier! Have you seen young people visiting traditional markets in Nampo Port, Yeongdo, or Namhang lately? Sure, a few of them come by! But if we continue like this, the vitality of traditional markets will die out soon! I’m trying to attract more youth by appearing in this drama set in Jagalchi Market! I understand how it feels when a day’s worth of fish sales is affected! But please, think long-term.
I, Jang Yeongguk, guarantee that once this drama airs, people from Seoul will flock to Jagalchi and Namhang to see it for themselves.
So, please!”

His words crashed over them like a tidal wave.

“Please, everyone, have a more generous heart! Since when have Busan people been so harsh―!”

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