Chapter 17: Kouji
Kouji – literally translates to “mouth skill”. A Chinese vocal mimicry performance which utilizes the speech organs to mimic the sounds of everyday life.
The background of the young actor wasn’t as ordinary as it looked. His identity was rather special. In the crowd of stars, he was really just a newcomer. In the eyes of the public, he was just a small role forced by the investors to join the cast. He wasn’t even taken seriously by everyone.
Although Guo Li Peng was disgusted with the actor given by the investors, he was slick. The roles were for him to decide. No matter how big you invested, you can’t decide for it. This way, the young actor—Xue Bai Ping joined the crew.
Today wasn’t the first time that Xue Bai Ping appeared in front of the crew. However, this was the first time that he was shooting his scenes. The situation wasn’t very good. After shooting, the director directly wanted to change him. Xue Bai Ping’s situation wasn’t good. He had never expected that the crew would have someone younger than him by a year. He thought that this Yan Mu Lin, who scared him so much he fell from the chair, was really skilled.
Every time he appeared in a TV drama, whether it was an idol drama, or a serious drama, he was always isolated. People who didn’t know him thought that he was supported by a backer. People who knew him, his relatives and friends, did not care much about him, as long as their child was walking comfortably in the entertainment industry. There have been several times that he had joined a series due to being an investor, causing everyone to think that every time he got into a show was because of a backer. Now, only his lovable fans could comfort his heavily damaged soul.
The conclusion was that every time Xue Bai Ping had to film, he finishes it hurriedly. He did not have time to make a real friend in the entertainment circle. The man in front of him did not seem to have come close to him because of his identity. Maybe he could chat and exchange ideas with Yan Mu Lin, then he was scared.
Yan Mu Lin patted his shoulders with unusual pride, and held out his hand: “Did you hear that? This was what you said while you were filming. Do you feel something wrong?”
Xue Bai Ping was still shocked, but soon recovered: “Yes, very much, but I couldn’t tell what is wrong. Could you give me pointers?”
Giving pointers to a celebrity made him feel a sense of accomplishment. Yan Mu Lin felt happy and didn’t hide it. He said, “I don’t mind. You see this ‘Pei!’ when you say it, the tone should be rising, and not like spitting water. I haven’t read your script, but based on my personal understanding, it must have a rising tone. Next, the name ‘Gou San’. In that sentence, you have to highlight it. You must identify the key points. In the second sentence, I think the focus of it was this Gou San person. Again, the word is an onomatopoeia. You could choose when to split the sound. There should be no problem if you sprayed your saliva. Then the word ‘gou’ in the last sentence, ‘I told him that his surname, Gou, fits him!’ must be said longer, but not too long. You could handle that. Do you want to try it as I said?”
A light bulb flashed in Xue Bai Ping’s mind as he listened to Yan Mu Lin’s explanation. He nodded, “Okay, then I will try.”
In the ten minutes that Xue Bai Ping rested, his short bout of depression was scared off by Yan Mu Lin. The rest of the time was spent practicing his lines. Xue Bai Ping was not a professional actor, however, due to his efforts, he was now a second-rate actor. He was young, his future was limitless, and his flaws could be made up by studying.
Xue Bai Ping and Yan Mu Lin sat a few distances away from the set. When Xue Bai Ping was in front of the camera again, his aura had a few changes. You wouldn’t notice it if you didn’t look carefully. But if he started to recite his lines while you were watching, you could see the effect of his ten-minute rest. The director was satisfied and passed Xue Bai Ping after one take.
Xue Bai Ping returned to his previous position excitedly and discovered that the man who just helped him had disappeared. He asked his agent, but his agent said that he did not see where the person went. Xue Bai Ping’s face was filled with depression. If he didn’t have to film, then he would have stood up and looked for that person. It was hard for him to find a person to talk to, then he suddenly disappeared.
Yan Mu Lin, who was being thought of, was currently wandering around. The director hoped that they could strive to understand every aspect of their life. To think about their voice during work, or when at rest. Understanding this could make them fully get into character. This was a high demand for a professional voice actor.
As Yan Mu Lin walked around, he encountered other voice actors who were eager for the job. Perhaps it was because they were famous in the industry, they were not as young as Yan Mu Lin. Yan Mu Lin did not care too much. He continued to follow his own ideas.
While Yan Mu Lin walked around looking for inspiration, Xue Bai Ping and Yan Zi Qiong were together with their co-stars as they continued filming. They devoted themselves physically and mentally to the job.
Half an hour wasn’t that long. It was short, and it felt like it passed in the blink of an eye.
Yan Mu Lin did not do anything special. He returned early. He came back at the same time as the others.
When they returned, Director Guo did not say a word, while Wei Zi Jun hasn’t returned. In the room, the seven voice actors began talking. Obviously, they excluded Yan Mu Lin. They didn’t talk about the audition, but they still had no intention of letting Yan Mu Lin participate. They intentionally, or unintentionally pushed aside Yan Mu Lin.
Yan Mu Lin did not care about what they were doing. He thought that it wasn’t only in his previous world, but also this world’s voice acting circle excludes newcomers. There was simply no love in the two worlds.
Life goes on.
He shook his head and got rid of what he was thinking. The past is the past, and the present is the present. He shouldn’t be confused.
Yan Mu Lin, who was completely unfazed, recalled a few scenes in his head. He was thinking about how he should use his voice to win Wei Zi Jun’s attention.
[T/N: Why don’t you win SNY’s affections instead?]
Among the seven, one was called “Min Ge”. He was slightly arrogant. It might be because of his seniority among the other people. When looking at other people, his chin was lifted upwards, his tone was also slightly cold, and he pretends to not see other people. He seemed to enjoy doing this, and he felt confident.
Self-confidence was a good thing, but self-confidence would make you complacent when overdone. That was not good.
When Wei Zi Jun returned to the room, Min Ge was being praised by everyone. His imaginary tail was raised. However, in front of the director and the actor, he did not dare to be too assertive. After all, he also came to audition today, it was not good to be too grand.
Yan Mu Lin was slightly distracted and thought that their current situation was a bit like that of the officials of the ancient era who were waiting for the emperor and the empress. It was just too similar, ah…
Now he was thinking too much.
Director Guo continued to act as the host: “Thirty minutes have passed. I don’t know if one of you wants to start first? Both I and Zi Jun has been in the crew for a long time. We basically know all the other staff and their voice characteristics. We have a small request. Before you start, don’t tell us who you are mimicking. I hope that Zi Jun and I can guess who you are mimicking.”
Everyone looked at each other. Then, the male voice actor at the very front started his audition. He stepped back two steps and suddenly raised his voice: “Who is it? Who put the framework there? What will we do if someone needs to get it?”
He changed his voice again, “Sorry, I placed it there. I’ll ask someone to take it away in a moment.”
This was a dialogue between two people. The voice actor probably spent a lot of time to understand them. After he finished, both Guo Li Peng and Wei Zi Jun told who the two people were. The characteristics were too obvious that it was hard for anyone to not know.
The next five people also chose staff members with obvious characteristics. They acted as deputy directors, assistants, videographers, the director’s assistant, and a gaffer. When it was the turn of “Min Ge”, the character he chose was not ordinary. He only smiled and walked forward with confidence. When he spoke, the voice actors who were present, including Yan Mu Lin, knew who he was.
It was Guo Li Peng.
Wei Zi Jun’s eyebrows raised.
Min Ge went to the crew ahead of time to make inquiries. He knew Director Guo’s way of speaking and intonation. He illustrated it vividly, and his voice was particularly expressive: “Hey, Little A, what’s going on. What’s going on. I already told you once, the eyes. The eyes! Where is your hand? Remember to take a walk, and stop making the same mistakes. Again, do it again…” From the words that he had said, it was already too obvious. Looking at the details, it was Director Guo while filming. Listening to his words, he showed Director Guo while he was working on weekdays.
Min Ge practically grasped how Director Guo was when he was anxious. He showed all his main aspects and didn’t change his voice to have a dialogue like the first voice actor. Instead, he only used Director Guo’s voice. He performed a phrase that was so vivid, that even Guo Li Peng himself laughed, and was interested.
His voice and Director Guo’s was almost similar. Basically, what came out was Director Guo’s voice to those who were listening. It could completely pass as the original one.
When the first few people came out, Wei Zi Jun just listened quietly. After Min Ge came out, he raised an eyebrow and felt that it was good. The only one remaining was the young boy. He did not know if he had grown.
As Min Ge passed by Yan Mu Lin, he looked at him provocatively. Yan Mu Lin pretended not to see him. His provocation had no effect. He was bullying a new person who had not even debuted. It made no sense, k?
Of course, since Min Ge regarded Yan Mu Lin as his opponent, he felt a little happy.
Now wasn’t the time to bother about these things, there were other chances to compete.
When it was Yan Mu Lin’s turn, he went to the middle. No one knew where he got the favorite summer fan of an old lady. He lifted his hand and placed the fan in front of himself: “I present to you.”
Just like the previous auditions, everyone listened quietly. Yan Mu Lin attracted attention as soon as he opened his mouth. It was because he didn’t come up with a phrase like the other people. What came out of his mouth was an autumn bird’s call. He used his mouth, tongue, nose, and other articulators to imitate various sounds. It caught the attention of others right from the start. It was then followed by the chirping of the insects in the morning. It cleverly moved the people’s train of thoughts to the early morning…
This was the sound of the autumn morning. The earliest who came to the set was not the director, not the actor, nor was it the make-up artist. It was the props group. After overnight planning, they would build the scenes that the director requested day and night. One of the staff members yawned and signaled that it was the beginning of another day.
Suddenly, a clear voice entered this race-like morning. It was the assistant make-up artist of the crew. She is not yet a make-up artist, and she would greet people respectfully. Then the assistant director, director, and actors would arrive. The quiet scene would suddenly become louder. There was the sound of someone eating breakfast, the sound of someone greeting others, the director yelling at the make-up artist to call the actor. These voices were suddenly integrated to the quiet morning, which made the picture lively.
In order to show this picture in a few minutes, Yan Mu Lin used every facial muscle and nerve. He succeeded in stunning Guo Li Peng. Even Wei Zi Jun, who had few facial expressions, was stunned.
When the short show was over, Yan Mu Lin calmly lifted the fan away from his face. “Hello, my presentation is over.”
The Guo Li Peng, who had become lively, suppressed his excitement. He wanted to say something. He said to Wei Zi Jun, “Kouji?”
The fan who was hiding in the dark was so excited that she couldn’t contain herself. She immediately looked for good signal and posted the video recording to Weibo.