March 11, 2004

2nd of 2 Parts

(As you can read, this is the 2nd part. If you haven’t read the 1st part, just click here. Or if you’re not lazy enough to scroll down, just look for the predictably titled 1st of 2 Parts post.)

Wednesday, February 25
We would shoot the remaining sequences on the cruise ship. This basically meant that the shoot would be less tiring than the first 3 days. So far, we had only slept an average of 5 hours a night so the 3 sequences (only!) that’s scheduled for the day was a welcome respite.

The breakfast sequence was finished early and since the next shoot was still timed at 1 in the afternoon, me, Promo girl Vanessa, and Grace joined the crew in touring the ship while, of course, taking pics of ourselves. We were picture-happy fools, to say the least. We still had enough time after so we decided to eat in another resto for lunch, rather than the usual Mediterranean Buffet. Alas, Bella Vista was kinda “sosi” (read: slow) with its lunch served in sets (appetizer, main course, dessert); we ended up being late for the next shoot. Expectedly, I was reprimanded by my EP. :(

The afternoon shoot was a heavy one for the actors since it’s an emotional scene that would lead to a kiss. Tension was definitely flying around. Emotional scenes are hard to direct because you shouldn’t exhaust your actors’ emotions too much. There was also the pressure of having to finish by 6pm since the ship would dock in Singapore by that time to let out the passengers who only availed of the 4 days 3 nights schedule. Our director refused to compromise by giving up some shots. I, the AD, was caught in the middle. Still, God was on my side. We finished the whole sequence with all shots intact just in time.

There was a change in schedule for the night shoot. Logistics dictated that we couldn’t shoot the emotional deck scene in the evening since the ship will be docked till midnight. It would be obvious that the ship’s not moving. I had to decide to shoot the pool scene instead. I was definitely nervous in making the decision since our EP didn’t know of it yet. She went down to Singapore to have the films processed. Direk was also getting slightly irritated because of the changes in schedule. The pool scene was a movie highlight since it’s the first time our lead actress dons a two-piece swimsuit in a movie. We still shot the pool scene anyway and surprisingly, it went on smoothly. Well, Grace, friendly Pinay staff Mitzi, and I controlled the crowd traffic with slight difficulty (most Chinese don’t understand English, you have to use some sort of a sign language to communicate with them) but slight lang. The fact that there were only 10 new Filipino passengers onboard also helped. There was less distraction, in other words.

Thursday, February 26
The crew was late and slow for the morning sequence. Direk was fuming mad. He scolded me. Stress and me became one and the same. I told the crew about it and they felt slighted. They began to make parinig na hirit during shooting (of course, pertaining to me since they’d be nuts to offend Direk.) I understood both sides so I kept quiet instead. In normal shootings, I would have said my piece but as I had stated, there’s no need for drama in this kind of shoots. The drama wouldn’t serve any purpose. Poor me, I know. :) I understood Direk since there’s a pressure on him to finish all the sequences. I also understood the crew (six-person crew, to be specific) since they’re the most exhausted among us all. They’re the ones who carried all these heavy camera and lighting equipment and it’s only during meal breaks that they got to rest.

We eventually finished all the day sequences. Direk apologized to me for the outburst but I understood so it was no big deal.

Then came the emotional deck scene postponed from the night prior. The down mood during the day carried me to the night. I felt so drained and tired. But as the cliché goes, the show must go on, kaya hala, kayod! :) We finished shooting 3 in the morning. We were all worn out but still felt ecstatic coz it meant we only had 3 sequences to go before we wrap shooting. Little did I know the biggest blow would still come.

DOP approached me after shoot and told me pointblank that “in all honesty, wag ka nang mag-AD!” Whew! I definitely didn’t know where he’s coming from. He really felt I was useless, I guess. In fairness to him, he continued by saying that the cruise shoot has abeen an eye-opener on his part. He realized he wasn’t made for cinema but for commercials only. (I wouldn’t elaborate on why he said that but I know.) With a comment like that, who wouldn’t get depressed? It got me into thinking that maybe the others are just being too nice to me. Or, you know, just because I survived 4 movies in production doesn’t mean I’m also good in production work. Hurtful as it seemed, it got me into thinking about my career path so no hard feelings.

Friday, February 27
It’s a wrap!!!! Direk screamed “I survived Ted!”, while I just screamed “I survived!” Heh.

Off we checked in to our Singapore Hotel. EP and I would stay until Sunday for we still had to wait for the processed films. There was really no need for me to stay, but what the heck, I also deserved to enjoy Singapore after all that I’d gone through.

After checking in, EP, Grace and I went to the laboratory to bring in the new set of film rolls. I played the happy tourist role to the max. Man, their taxicabs have television! And they give receipts! Wee!

Nighttime, whole staff and crew toured Singapore. Went to Chinatown to buy pasalubong. (I didn’t bring money, so no shopping for me.:)) Went to Clarke Quay also. Abdul, Grace’s friend who lives in Singapore was with us and treated us with food and beer. I told Grace and Vanessa about what DOP told me. They comforted me by saying he has no right to judge me because it was also his first mainstream movie job. Nevertheless, I reiterated my say that his points are all well taken.

Had a great time, actually.

Saturday, February 28
EP accompanied cast, staff and crew to the airport. I was left alone. EP gave me pocket money to get my new plane ticket in the PAL office. I was feeling “Amazing Race”. (Incidentally "The Amazing Race" fans, the new season is really shooting in Palawan. DOP told me that his friend was asked to produce the Philippines segment). I got a map from the hotel lobby and began my adventure. I rode the MRT. It was fun! :) I got lost at some street (the map made the distance seems longer) but aside from that, I got to the destination just fine.

While waiting for EP back in the hotel after, I got to talk with Singaporean receptionist Linda who is a fan of Pangako sa 'Yo. The fact that I was talking to a foreigner fan felt really weird but obviously, I was also very happy. It just felt goooood to be appreciated!!! (FYI, Pangako sa ‘Yo is subtitled, not dubbed, in Malaysia).

The rest of the day, EP and I toured their mall district, The Orchard (I was ecstatic when I saw Donita’s face in a billboard! Haha :)), then watched Something’s Gotta Give (Singapore audience are noticeably loud). Observing the people, we thought Singaporeans are fashionable but stiff (if there’s such a term.) And riding the MRT back, we also got to smell the unique aroma of some race. Bad!!! In other words, we missed the Philippines badly.

Sunday, February 29
Zzzzzzz…… I woke up and I was back in the third world.

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