This week, I shot my second MMK episode to air within one month. A great opportunity that rarely comes from the show for someone who hasn’t even officially signed on for them yet. I say that not with arrogance but with the humility and gratitude for being so privileged.
When we first met for this, it wasn’t even scheduled for airing yet at the time. A couple of creative meetings after (I should remember to blog about the MMK process), we got all set up for the shoot. I was preoccupied with a scriptwriting workshop (which I must again remember to write about!) that I hadn’t notice I haven’t received any confirmation of details regarding the upcoming shoot. The day before the originally scheduled first shooting day, a Wednesday morning, we had another ocular trip. It was only then that I was told we can’t finish the preps on time and that we’ll have to postpone it for Saturday or the following Monday. Because my workshop was going to end that Saturday, I told them Monday was better for me. They agreed to work around my schedule, but with a surprise reminder that we will be airing the following Saturday. Three days after our second day.
That week has come. We just wrapped our second day of shooting at 6 this morning, Thursday. I’m scheduled to edit the episode later tonight. We’re so rushed that our teaser, which aired last Saturday, didn’t have any clip from the actual episode (I haven’t seen it until now). To help speed up the process, I asked production to send me the pre-edit of our first day materials.
It’s the most pressure I’ve ever felt while shooting for MMK. Even more than I felt while shooting my first ever episode (“Make-Up“). I think this is borne out of the little amount of time we had for preparation, and I’ve always believed that half of a film (or episode) is done before the actual production.
Among the challenges included not having seen the main location, where in we were to tape ten sequences. I had to think of my shots on the set. And because it was our last location, I was really exhausted by then, physically and mentally.
One problem that I never encountered in my past TV shoots which became a source of a lot of stress was getting so much behind schedule that I lost daylight for one of the key locations. It was that main location, the main character’s house. And as I mentioned, because it was our last, it left me no more room to make it up.
As a consequence, many of the scenes that were exterior had to be relocated inside. Some that had to be exterior, I had to cheat and shoot night for day. We didn’t have enough equipment to pull off a successful cheat. We tried, but we could only do so much because the location was in the countryside where the surrounding view consisted mostly of open space.
My opening sequence was also sacrificed. It was intended to establish not only the characters’ space but also the underlying milieu that bore impact on the main character’s journey. Because of delays, I lost all opportunity to get a wide shot of it, whether night or day.
I struggled to maintain continuity in the main location and the succeeding sequences that had been shot in other locations during the day.
I can’t say that we successfully solved our problems during production. At least not against my usual standards. But we certainly did our best and I’m still hoping it comes together well. I’d hate to fail in giving justice to such a wonderful story, and such wonderful performances from my actors!
It just goes to show how demanding television is as a medium, what with its demand to air materials. It’s not really over yet, nor is it time to think the worst is past. I haven’t seen all of the materials yet, but I’m feeling really good about it despite all those challenges. Makes me look forward to see how well we rose to the challenge – and hopefully, I learn enough from this to get better in dealing with the same problems in the future.
Do watch out for MMK on ABS-CBN. Airing this Saturday, February 25, 1930PM!