It was the day of the Acting Awards, where each terrestrial broadcasting company held ceremonies for the hottest dramas of the year.
The atmosphere was the complete opposite of the Entertainment Awards, which were filled with the wit of comedians, and the Music Festivals, where the singers’ performances and fans’ cheers filled the air.
It seemed like everyone had come to an awards ceremony.


How long will this place remain so solemn?

In my past life, it was the same.
Regardless of whether it was a drama or a movie, there was always a heavy atmosphere at the award ceremonies, as if actors losing their somberness was forbidden.
Thanks to that, this was an event that singers hated performing in the most.
No matter how passionately they sang, the audience merely watched with their arms crossed and flaunted their haughtiness.


Yeon Su brightly smiled and clung to my left side.
PD Yoo Myeonghan and Writer Choi Eunsuk smiled at the scene.
Of course, not everyone was pleased.

Why does she keep glaring at me? Should I try to scare her?

It was Yang Minjeong.
Her occasional glances at me felt like she had met her mortal enemy.
But that didn’t last long.
As Park Suyeong, who was sitting on my right, subtly glanced over, Minjeong was startled and lowered her head like a frog in front of a snake.

“Oppa, aren’t you winning an award today…?”

“What award?”

“The Rookie Award.”

Yeon Su cautiously asked in a small voice.
Apparently, she had heard that KBC Broadcasting got rid of the Youth Award this year and merged it with the Rookie Award.
Well, I had only made one appearance as a child actor.
On a day like today, when there were numerous strong contenders, I was just there to fill a seat.
It wasn’t just a metaphor; the main and supporting actors of dramas with low ratings actually hesitated to attend the award ceremony because of their busy schedules.

“Aren’t you expecting anything?”

“Well, I have something else I’m looking forward to…”

“Something else?”

“What interesting conversation are our little ones having?”

At that moment, Park Suyeong suddenly leaned in, startling Yeon Su and making her close her mouth.
It was then that the staff began to get busy, with only five minutes left before the Acting Awards’ standby.
Even the faces of the veteran national MCs in charge of hosting the ceremony tensed up.

“What’s going on?”

PD Yoo had a connection to the broadcasting station, so he could quickly sense any discord among them.
At that moment, the producer in charge of the Acting Awards ceremony rushed over to him and whispered something in his ear.
As the conversation continued, his eyes widened, and he eventually looked in one direction.


* * *

Didn’t they say life was full of unexpected events? I didn’t know if the current situation fitted that saying, but when I looked at what was happening right before me, it seemed true.
Like other award ceremonies, the Acting Awards also featured a welcome performance.
A performance by a top singer was scheduled to kick off this year’s Acting Awards.


However, as luck would have it, the singer who was supposed to perform suddenly suffered from appendicitis, causing panic among the producers and the production team.
It was a situation that could lead to a live broadcast disaster.

Why didn’t they just call for another singer?

As I mentioned earlier, the Acting Awards was the stage that singers dread the most.
Especially in a situation where they haven’t even had time for a rehearsal, it was obvious that they would come up with various excuses and refuse to perform.
As evidence, they all used the simultaneous live broadcasts of the Music Festivals as an alibi.
In the end…

How did I end up like this?

I reluctantly put on the unfamiliar in-ear monitor.
This was how I ended up on stage.
While frantically searching for a singer to fill the open spot in the congratulatory performance, one reporter suggested my name.

There’s a child actor named Jang Yeongguk, right? That boy seems to have a talent for singing.
He’s been cast for a singing role in the upcoming work of Director Baek Janghun!

That man didn’t seem to understand that singing and pop music were different things!

But there was no way my excuse would work.
The producer in charge pleaded with me so earnestly that I couldn’t refuse.
After all, the Acting Awards were not only a matter of pride for the actors but also a fierce competition among the TV networks.
If there was a live broadcast failure here, the producer wouldn’t get off with just a few written apologies.

Think of it as acting.

What could I not do? In my previous life, I had tried everything just to get my name on the list of bit parts.
I even shaved my head to play the role of a monk, let alone being cast as a gangster.

“The congratulatory performance to open the KBC Acting Awards! Child Actor Jang Yeongguk―!”

With the MC’s cheerful voice, the live broadcast began.
A chair was prepared to adjust the distance between the stand microphone and myself.
The session musicians were also already set up.
I wanted to think about what song to sing, but there was not enough time.
Plus, I couldn’t sing just any song.

A girl.

In the end, I decided to sing a song I loved in my previous life.
I could feel all eyes on me as I stepped onto the stage.
There were many actors who hesitated to step on such a stage.
That’s why quite a few famous actors didn’t even attend award ceremonies.
They have stage fright separate from acting on set.

But I, who had been worn out in the theater scene, knew how to light a fire in the audience’s hearts.
Rather, this attention and spotlight helped calm my racing heart.

Now, it was time to start.

Wearing the black tuxedo that Park Suyeong personally chose for me, I sat on the chair and smiled at the numerous live broadcast cameras.
Just like I had become an experienced singer at this moment.

* * *

“Yeongguk is a natural performer!”

Writer Choi Eunsuk looked like a young girl herself, her mouth wide open with joy.
The boy’s performance was that remarkable.
Not only was his singing outstanding, but his stage manners were also excellent.
From time to time, the glances he sent to the audience and the viewers beyond the TV screen were enough to make many women’s hearts flutter.


As proof, the voices calling for an encore, along with the cheers that had never been heard at the Acting Awards, only grew louder.
Even veteran actors were intoxicated by the boy’s singing, and the actors famous for being somber clapped their hands with contented smiles.

He’s really something.

PD Yoo Myeonghan also swallowed his admiration.
He knew the boy was born with acting talent, but he never dreamed he would be so quick-witted on stage.
He was so natural that it appeared to be all part of the plan, except for those who knew that the live broadcast nearly went awry.

Undoubtedly, behind the stage, the producer in charge must have been shouting with joy.
Soon, the MC’s witty remarks signaled the end of the performance.
The MC’s relieved expression showed that even he hadn’t expected the performance to go so smoothly.

“Aigo, my baby!”

Park Suyeong greeted me warmly as I returned to my seat.

“Why are you like this all of a sudden, noona!”

“You used to call me ‘mom’ just fine, but it’s always like pulling teeth with you.
Anyway, your singing was amazing!”

“That’s because we’re filming, and thanks for the compliment, noona!”

She hugged my shoulder, praising me like a proud older sister.
Park Suyeong was usually known for being grumpy, but at this moment, she was more affectionate than anyone else.
Yeon Su’s face was so red that she couldn’t even lift her head properly.
Meanwhile, Yang Minjeong’s expression still wasn’t bright, as if she’d swallowed something bitter.


Was it fear or disgust that made her avoid the situation? It was no longer worth paying any attention to.
After all, she had dressed up for this attention-grabbing event.
But now that the attention was elsewhere, she couldn’t help but be annoyed.

“Yeon Su, do you have a cold?”

I touched Yeon Su’s flushed forehead, but I didn’t feel any heat.
Nevertheless, she hung her head even lower.
Just before the awards ceremony started, she was chatting away like a little sparrow.

“Then, for our first award, we’ll select the best couple from the various works that have brightened KBC Broadcasting Station this year!”

It’s an unusual order for the ceremony.
It seemed they thought that changing things up would be better than following the same old, predictable sequence.
The audience was quite responsive, with people continuously calling out the names of their favorite couples.
The host looked at the paper containing the winning couple’s names, and his expression was unusual.

“Unbelievable! The best couple was born in the miniseries Man of August—!”

What’s so surprising about that? Most people had already expected this result.
After all, Man of August had achieved a viewership rating of 39.1% in its final episode, causing nothing short of a syndrome.
Yang Minjeong confidently got up from her seat as if she knew this would happen.
She looked at me as if it was to show off.
But then…

“Jang Yeongguk, who played young Kim Hajin, and Yeon Su, who played young Son Yerin! This is the first time in acting awards history that child actors have won the Best Couple Award!”


Flustered, Yeon Su and I went up on stage as people applauded and cheered for us.
Finally, I could understand what she had been hoping for: to win the Best Couple Award.
The adult actor who played Kim Hajin clapped and even whistled for us while Yang Minjeong was visibly grinding her teeth in anger.
Although it was an unintended situation, it somehow felt satisfying.

“Man of August might not be an exaggeration to say that it brought about a regional dialect syndrome in Korea! How about Jang Yeongguk, the child actor at the center of it all, shares his thoughts on winning the award in the dialect?”

The audience reacted enthusiastically to the host’s wit.
Yeon Su still had an excited expression on her face.
She might be so overwhelmed with emotion that she wouldn’t be able to speak properly.
In cases like this, it was customary for the elder to step forward first.
I approach the microphone, holding the award plaque and bouquet.

“Actor Jang Yeongguk, no, Kim Hajin here!”

Cheers poured out once again.
Was I nervous? Of course, it was only natural.
Even in my past life, when I was obsessed with acting, I never received a cute award like this Best Couple Award.
But now, as young Kim Hajin, I felt like I could greet the audience.

“I ate a lot of gamtae growing by the sea.
It’s funny because back then, there was so much of it lying around on the mudflats that no one wanted, but now, it has become gold seaweed that people can’t find enough of.
It’s the same with this award.
I wouldn’t have been able to receive it without the viewers.
So, here it goes!”

I made a small heart with my fingers toward the live broadcast camera.
The finger heart trend started now.
Just like young Kim Hajin, I made a shy smile and boldly confess my gratitude to the audience and viewers beyond the TV screen.

“I’ll become a great actor with this small heart!”

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