I haven’t seen Cinema in a long time and I was excited about going to Marj’s shoot, helping out and everything like old times. But things have clearly changed. Although I’m sure I’ll continue being friends with some of them, I don’t think I’ll ever work with any of them again.
I didn’t bug anybody during the shoot. I did what I was supposed to do as part of the production design team. I stayed out of the way on things I don’t know anything about. That was the start. My mood changed on the opening billboard shot. Everything was going well then we took a short break. Jed approached me about the problem with the Barangay permit we were talking about earlier, and I volunteered to help her. Next thing I knew, Razor-edge Redge was yelling my name across the set and accusing me of being a cause of delay. My mind went, “Motherfucker.” Well, she was the Assistant Director, so I understand it’s her responsibility to be annoying but she’s just so exceptionally good at it. I know it’s very unfair to judge her because she’s probably tired from being an asshole on other shoots so I just reminded myself that I was there to help Marj and that Redge was just the occasional bitch you have to deal with maturely sometimes, so I didn’t mind it and went back to work with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.
Then, I remembered I have to tell my mother I won’t be coming home that night because the shoot will extend up to early next morning. Unfortunately, my phone’s battery was dead so I had to find a charger. I already found a place where I could charge up. At the back of the set, there was a socket where another crew member’s phone was plugged. That was 5:30pm. I went back there and unplugged it at 8:45pm honestly thinking that its battery is probably full now, after all it’s been more than three hours. So I happily charged my phone so I can finally check messages and send a text to my mother. Two minutes later, I came back to the socket only to find that my phone had been kicked out and the other phone was plugged in again. I didn’t know the name of the motherfucker who owned the Motorola phone. I just know that he’s the asshole taking stills for the shoot. But he topped up the thrilling events of my night so A.D. Redge, I respectfully ask you to eat your fucking heart out.
Gosh, I wonder how difficult it is to carry around a clipboard and yell orders at everyone as opposed to, say, carry a sixty-kilo wooden cabinet up two flights of stairs!
Several sequences and takes later, PMS-Mode Assistant Director Redge wasn’t about to let the asswipe who took still photographs out-bitch her, so she decided to snap at me again. I admit, last time was totally my fault. I shouldn’t have helped Jed. I mean, gosh, why would I try to be helpful in a night full of stressful work? Why wasn’t I following Miss Redge’s exemplary grace and just be a bitch about it? I’m sure showing the hard working people around you how much you don’t appreciate them helps out a lot to boost their morale. We were doing the dining room scene and I snuck in quietly from the back to catch a glimpse of the climactic drama. Suddenly, Redge yelled angrily/normally at me, “GID, WAG KA GAGALAW!”. If I had a burning cigarette at hand, I swear I would’ve flicked it angrily/normally at her.
After that, I just pretty much stayed out of everyone’s way. I wouldn’t want to give Troll Queen Regina Regla a reason to find more faults. I was so good at what I was doing that when I was ordered to do something, I can casually say, “No.” But don’t worry, I wasn’t wasting any of the shoot’s budget. I didn’t take anything from the set after Redge have clearly showed me I’m dead weight.
I didn’t make a scene at the shoot because it was Marj’s shoot and I know she worked hard for it. The least I could do was show her respect and refrain from adding more worries to her already insurmountable level of stress. Besides, my role wasn’t exactly that big. I’m just part of the production design team, a crew from the art department, an anonymous cog. Compared to, say for example, the Assistant Director, my part is definitely trivial. What could I possibly contribute to the shoot except do heavy lifting and other manual labor? And what is the Assistant Director’s role? Let’s see, he or she helps out the director. Something that nobody else can do. Gosh, I wonder how difficult it is to carry around a clipboard and yell orders at everyone as opposed to, say, carry a sixty-kilo wooden cabinet up two flights of stairs!
I’m so glad I attended the shoot.
From the recent outbreak of digital movies in the Filipino film industry, I would say that “indie” (short for independent cinema) is slowly becoming a staple for the common Pinoy film fanatic’s appetite. Maybe they’ve just grown tired of the slapstick comedies and teenybopper romances that big film studios in the country produce almost every other month but whatever the reason is, independent cinema is getting tougher and tougher to ignore, not that we want to of course. So is “indie” the new mainstream?
Independent films are so named because they are produced independently by independent filmmakers with their own independent equipment and their own independent budgets. Independently, the growing population of independent film lovers are developing independent opinions about their independent passion. I think that’s enough independence. Yes, we are getting overwhelmed by their massive turnout every year but who can deny the bold and fresh styles of storytelling that’s just so different from the tired old garbage we get from the competition! Not to mention most of them are just soft porn in disguise.
The problem with crowd mentality is that Filipinos are so fond of it. Show them something witty and different and they’ll jump at it like politicians at money. Then everyone would want to be witty and different and when everyone is witty and different, everyone becomes the same. It’s the same thing with fads, that’s why I think they’re useless. We should learn from the independent philosophy. They’re trying to promote not jumping in on the old bandwagon. They’re trying to make a new bandwagon for themselves. It’s okay to be a fan, there’s no shame in admitting admiration but plain imitation is just pathetic and not really flattering. The sad thing is, I think independent filmmaking is becoming more and more of a fad and less of a super cool totally fresh new Filipino art movement. I mean, come on. Let me put it this way, will someone bet against me if I say that in the next twenty indie films that would come out, there wouldn’t be anything about a gay guy coming to age? Anyone?
The storytelling is different but the stories are slowly revealing a pattern like the Hollywood curse. They’re becoming predictable and I especially dislike going to the cinema and getting that all too familiar feeling like I think I’ve seen the movie before. I’m an ass and I don’t have faith in the new breed of independent filmmakers our culture is creating, so make your fantastic egos work and prove this ass wrong. How?