March 28, 2004

Blank Space

I so freakin miss civilization! That's why even if I'm tired after shoot wrapped up today (we wrapped up yesterday's shoot 6AM this morning and had to report to the set for today's shoot at 10AM, gad!), I'm forcing myself to surf the web. I can do this tomorrow actually since the next shoot sked will still be on Tuesday, but I'm saving tomorrow for my VCR marathon (2 VHS tapes already filled but unviewed) and if I still have time after preprod work for the next shoot, watch Love Actually (I'm a Richard Curtis fan) and 50 First Dates (Wedding Singer redux?!). I KNOW! :) I also have passes for Ocho-Ocho but I guess I'll have to pass on this one. :D Anyway, I was checking my Friendster account and I got a pleasant surprise. I received an invite from one of my big brothers back in the college dorm I stayed at when I was still a freshie in high school. I mean, WOW! :D I just find it amazing considering that was 12 years ago!

Okay. Nothing follows.

March 25, 2004

Melodramatic Fool

Can I just say I can't wait till we're done with the movie's shooting? I look like a zombie now. I've been sleeping for only 3 hours or so since Saturday. Aside from work, I did some DVD subtitling "raket" for Oki Doki Doc, The Movie coz I desperately need the money. (I'm bad in English but it's okay coz Jimmy Santos' character speaks in Carabao English anyway. :D ) What more, I had to finish 5 film reviews for my Film 100 class and study tons of papers for the final exams. (We just had the exams this morning. Relief!) What else, my Tatay asked me to order some pocket cards in a printing press here for his election bid. (The printing press SUCKS in terms of customer relations!) And work schedule is getting hectic, or to be more appropriate tentatively hectic. What I mean is we've been constantly changing shoot schedule due to the unavailability of say, the location or actors. All the scenes left are also difficult to shoot because they're logistically or emotionally heavy. To think that we're rushing to meet the playdate! Am I whining here or what?! ARGH! I want to get FREEEEE!!!!! OH NO!!! Last song syndrome! Ugh! :D

March 19, 2004

American Idol

Having confessed to be a Reality TV freak, (I know! The term Reality TV is overused already! To some self-proclaimed reality shows, why not use the term "documentary" or "popularity contest" instead?!) I guess it's just predictable admitting to you that, yes, I am addicted these days to American Idol 3. Finally, after 2 years of just reading about it through Entertainment Weekly, I now get to see what the fuzz is all about. Thanks to Star World for airing the latest season (or no thanks still, since they air the episodes 2 weeks late, thus, being a regular reader of Reality News Online, I already know who gets the boot in advance.)

Yes, American Idol 3 is pure cheesiness. It's unabashedly corny. And to some extent, exploitative in milking the contestants' emotions for the sake of the ratings. But I'm sure, other fans like me would agree that it's certainly entertaining, and definitely addicting (yeah, I just said I was addicted in the first paragraph.)

So just like any loyal fan, now that I've seen all the FINAL 12 CONTESTANTS perform, allow me to post my bets. I LOVE to see the following be the next American Idol.

John Peter Lewis and John Stevens

Camile Velasco and Fantasia Barino

I like the four because they have unique voices and great personalities. (Remember, this is not merely a singing contest? The contestants' charisma also counts.) I'm also freakin' tired of "birit" singers. (Fantasia can be considered one but the texture of her voice makes her different from the usual crop). I want to erase the notion that just because you can reach high notes, it automatically means that you're a great singer.

However, I think singing conventions will still prevail in this competition. I THINK the following "birit" singers will win.

La Toya London and Diana De Garmo

Jasmine Trias and Fantasia Barino

Let's see if it's my MIND or my HEART that will agree with America's decision. Or neither. Heh.

On a sidenote, I find Randy's comments last night about John Stevens not being unique because he just imitates Dean Martin a "double standard". Yes, John sounds like Dean Martin but Amy Adams also sounds like Celine Dion, Camille Velasco sounds like Lauryn Hill, La Toya sounds like Toni Braxton (and so on), so why focus all the hate towards John?!

March 14, 2004


A big congratulations to my friend and co-Survivor fanatic Michiko Yamamoto for winning Best Original Screenplay in the recent Star Awards for Movies! :) Michiko wrote the critically acclaimed Magnifico.


March 13, 2004


Year 1997, when Internet was still in its advent, I frequented the University Cybercafé at the basement of Vinzon's Hall in UP-Diliman. Rental fee was P60 per hour then (it definitely hurt my wallet!) but it’s okay. After all, it's a cheap rate for chatting with High School friends living in the States. PLUS! I also got to listen to some cool music for free. See, the café’s RA (a guy named Johnoy) often jammed with his band there. The customers didn’t seem to mind coz they played good stuff.

Year 1999, I was the floor director of the Concert for the Freshies. The experience was very “Almost Famous”. I was the virgin geek who had to deal with the rock bands’ over-inflated egos (and the drowning smell of “juts”!) There’s the metal-rap band that acted primadonna with regard the venue’s lighting (WTF!) There were the popular rock bands that didn’t want to follow the program. They wanted to perform right away, never mind if there were campus-based bands which were set to perform ahead of them. Johnoy’s band was one of the “victims” of these primadonnas. They weren’t able to perform that night and I felt sorry for them coz it would surely had been a big break.

Year 2004, I was watching MTV and what did I see? The music video of Johnoy and his band!!! So they finally landed a mainstream deal! They still haven’t changed their name. Taken from the connecting corridor of their former dorm Narra, they still use the moniker Bridge. While I’m not really a big fan of alt-blues, I must admit their single “Kahit Na” has a catchy riff. I also feel happy and proud that, you know, I was able to see them when they were still beginning. Not that they’re very famous now but still! I don’t know, as Miaka would say, coolness! :)

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.

March 08, 2004


I'm laughing out loud right now! :D This is sooo weird! I don't know if somebody's playing a big joke on me. I got an invite from this Friendster site. The accompanying message is as follows.

hey Ted!! i just wanna let you know that you
belong to a rare and endangered species of HOT

this is an invitation to be added to the HOT MEN
HUNTRESS' roster of gorgeous men - with SUBSTANCE.

if you accept this invitation, reply to this
message with your email address you use for your a
friendster account or just add thanks and keep it up!

- hot men huntress

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I know you're laughing Miaka! :D I didn't accept the invite of course! Hot is not me, most certainly! :) I am perfectly aware I'm butt-fuckin' ugly. I'm just photogenic. Heh. :D

And I have substance daw! What's that supposed to mean?! :D

I will try to post the 2nd of 2 Parts (lame title, I know!) later this week. ;)

March 06, 2004

1st of 2 Parts

I'm freakin' back! :) I just got back last Sunday from a one-week out-of-the-country shoot and I freakin' survived! Aaaaaaah! Thank you Jesus!!! It was definitely one hell of a shoot. Man, it was topsy-turvy! I was ecstatic that I was able to go to these amazing countries (Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand) for the first time. But you know what, we didn't go there for vacation. We went there for work. And when you're understaffed, overworked and working for a limited amount of time in foreign conditions, chances are conflicts and troubles will definitely arise. (Cue in Survivor theme). And I wasn't spared from these being the assistant director and script continuity for that shoot. Whew!

Saturday, February 21
I went to the airport slightly not feeling well. No, it wasn't a case of anxiety attack (like what one of our lead actors felt when she almost had the shoot packed up) but really more of a feeling of not having much energy. It was probably because I was just bumming around the house the week prior. (We had no shoot because of script revisions.)

Since we had excess, and I mean excess baggage (camera and stuff), we were the last to let in. We actually caused the flight's delay, would you believe?!? When the pilot apologized to the passengers pointing out the excess baggage as the main reason behind the delay, I couldn't help but smile to myself.

The flight was pretty much uneventful. I slept through the film showing of "Intolerable Cruelty". Three hours after, we arrived at Singapore's Changi Airport. Our PA Grace stated the obvious that we're already in a foreign land when she said something like, "we're seem to be in a subtitled movie." And she was right - with people everywhere speaking in different accents and languages.

After the tour guide briefed us about Singapore, we proceeded to check in our hotel, ate at a Chinese "carinderia" nearby, and then went to bed early to prepare for the following day's shoot. (Well, at least I did, since I eventually found out the others went to Clarke Quay, Singapore's version of Libis, and gimmicked.)

Sunday, February 22
Aaaaah! The first day of shoot! My nerves were killing me. The producers are shelling millions for this, there's no excuse to screw up. I was so tensed.

Direk, our DOP and another crewmember left early to shoot the establishing scenes of Singapore. The rest of us would proceed to The Harbourfront to check in our pieces of luggage for the cruise ship. (We would shoot the cabin room scenes after.) We got at the pier way too early so our EP sent our actors to the nearby mall to relax first. Unfortunately for Grace and me, the rest of the staff followed. And when Direk arrived to shoot the establishing shots of the cruise ship, the remaining crew also went with him. It ended with me, Grace and our EP carrying ALL the heavy pieces of luggage and unused camera equipment to the Check-In Area. Our EP was obviously fuming mad for the lack of help by other staff and crew but I kept my cool. I was also frustrated and tired, yes, but I didn't think having an outburst would alleviate the situation. In my mind, I was just hoping the others would notice the work that we did (this is foreshadowing) and you know, do my work as quietly as possible. In shoots like this, there's no time for drama. Or so I thought.

Monday, February 23
This was definitely the hardest day for us as we had to shoot multiple sequences over a 5-hour stop in Langkawi, Malaysia. We started the day having a hard time controlling the crowd. It seemed that aside from the many Filipinos who were part of the liner’s staff and crew, there were also several Filipino passengers onboard. We also got the surprise of our lives when we found out that one of our actors has fans from Brunei, Singapore and Malaysia, thanks to her soap opera being shown and very popular in those countries. And all of them, as in all of them, want to have their pics taken with our actors!

The next blow came when our transpo coordinator had a miscommunication with our EP. The transpo waited downtown instead of fetching us in the pier. And when they arrived, we soon found out that we couldn’t bring packed lunch to our first location – the cable car station. We were so freakin’ hungry but we had no choice but to shoot since time’s running out. What more, we had to ride the cable cars whose final destination’s so high, it drained all my energy. What can you expect, me having phobia in almost everything. (It was an experience, to be fair.)

By the time we went to our next location (The Anna and The King movie set), we were all exhausted, hungry, thirsty, and tensed. (I was all those, most certainly.) And claws definitely came out from some staff and crew because of the situation. Having watched Survivor a hundred times, I remained to play under the radar. (Stay away from the drama Teddy, stay away from the drama!) Finally, and thank God, we were able to eat lunch after that shoot. (Some "chili" pansit).

We went to The Viewpoint next (just near the Pier) where again, I had difficult time controlling the crowds. Argh! (“No! Don’t Look! Camera, don’t look!” “No flashes! No camera flashes!” “Don’t look, actors! Actors, no!”) :) Nevertheless, we were able to shoot all of our Langkawi scenes in the day (even if there’s a minor blooper involving one of the actor’s parent being left by the bus in The Viewpoint). LOL!

The biggest blow on my part came dinnertime. I thought I was doing well. Not ruffling feathers and everything. I was obviously mistaken. My under the radar strategy didn’t work. I was noticed. Our DOP (who’s of the same age as me, but verrrry rich) approached me and told me what Direk told him about me. He said that Direk’s drained just by looking at my forever stressed face. He also said that there’s something wrong with the way I command (I forgot to ask him to expound). And then he also said that sometimes I’m just standing on the set doing nothing. I would like to protest on that last one but I controlled my emotions. Foremost, being a first timer that he is, he probably didn’t understand that I was not only working as assistant director in that trip, I was also the script continuity and doing crowd control. When he said “nakatunganga lang ako”, I was observing the actors movement and dialogue for continuity purposes so I’d rather not argue with him on that coz it’s definitely not true. Overall, it all boiled down to me always having the depressed look which drains Direk and me not stepping up a notch to play the leader role. He said those to me pointblank and I was surely taken aback. I mean, I understand about that facial expression thingy draining the energy out of Direk coz I’m the transparent kind. What you see is what you get. If I’m tired, I look tired. If I’m stressed, I look stressed. About the leader role, I’m not the EP, I’m the assistant director. I wasn’t the one who coordinated all these location stuff. Still, I put every comment in mind. The roles are clearly not delineated in this shoot so I guess I really have to step up and play some sort of a leader role. After some angst sharing with my PA Grace who was also pointed out (Man, she’s in charge of the film rolls, equipment and stuff! Just because we are silently working, doesn’t mean we’re not working. We had been working ever since we carried all the pieces of luggage in the Check-In Counter but of course they didn't notice), I put on my game face. You want me to be perky?! Okay, fine! I’ll be perky. I donned my orange jacket and plastered a smile on my face during the remaining evening shoot. I worked loudly this time (turning up my volume even if there’s no need to) because that’s what they wanted. I became so suddenly happy and energetic, I think I appeared like, I’m high on ecstasy.

Tuesday, February 24
My perkiness continued and it paid off, actually. The Phuket, Thailand shoot was just so amazing, we actually had a great time. I had a great time! I loooved the people in Phuket coz’ they find me cute. LOL! :D I stepped up the location manager role by talking to our tour guides and coordinators about the logistics. Whew! But I think my biggest achievement in that shoot was persuading some Norwegian tourists to act as extras during the Elephant Show sequence. I don’t know how the sequence will appear on screen but I just like the fact that the movie has some sort of “international” appeal because of those white tourists. Heh.

Dinnertime, Grace and DOP told me separately that Direk noticed my sudden burst of energy. Good for me. Heh.

Then came the Captain’s Ball evening shoot inside the cruise ship. It was a very challenging shoot coz we will just “steal” the shots. The problem was, the crowd went gaga upon seeing the actors. They didn’t even mind the captain who was speaking at the podium. It was crazy!!! And that's also the way to describe the shoot so far.

To be continued...