To end my last few internship hours with Direk Raz, I was tasked to help him for an AVP shoot with Tupperware Brands Philippines. The shoot was at Pasong Tamo in Makati, just inside their office.
Prior to this taping, I received the scripts of the Tupperware officials which I was instructed to make idiotboards out of. Creating the idiotboards using a marker and Manila paper brought me back to my high school days, where we would write our class reports on paper and design them accordingly.
My calltime was 6:00 AM aat 7-11 Tandang Sora since we had to be at Makati by 7:30. We first met up with the client at the nearby Starbucks branch. We were directed towards the office building and set up our shoot inside Tupperware Brands Philippines’ conference room. For the shoot, I had the chance to work with Mr. Richard of Bigtop Productions as our Director of Photography and Ms. Che of Plus Point Productions.
Prior to this shoot, I also bought extra Manila papers and a permanent marker if ever there were revisions–and there were a lot.
This was my most hands-on experience so far since I had to be quick in writing the necessary revisions on the idiotboards, coordinate with the makeup artists for the talents, hold the idiotboards during shoots, and dump the video and audio files to my laptop for backup. I also had to fight the tendency to sleep since help was urgently needed during the shoot.
It was a relatively quick shoot because of the close communication lines with the skeletal production team. The idiotboards definitely helped since the Tupperware officials weren’t able to memorize their whole scripts. I almost ran out of Manila papers and markers but luckily, Kuya Ernie was of great assistance in buying extra ones.
This AVP experience was definitely different from our MMK tapings. We had to strictly follow the scripts and follow the client’s desires. Also, the setup was just inside the office and we did the shoots on a chroma key, meaning that the background was setup as green and will be removed and edited through CGI.
This also made me realize that AVPs and Commercials are difficult to shoot. Client’s orders must be followed and shoots must be done quickly and perfectly. I also got to experience firsthand the client-clientele dynamics, and that there must be good working relations between both parties.
Overall, my internship experience in MMK and this AVP shoot was wonderful and incredibly humbling. The lessons and skills I learned were beyond compare and I have already applied them on my production practices immediately after shoots. The experience also made me realize that this track was really my calling–that production was really my passion. And I have to have more experience and get to work with more people to hone my skills in this industry.
I have to say that the subject matter for my third MMK taping experience has got to be the heaviest. It dealt with domestic abuse. The first time I read the script, I said to myself that this is going to be heavy for the artists that will be playing the role of Cynthia, the protagonist of the story.
The story was about a young woman named Cynthia who was early committed in a tight relationship with his Chinese husband. Throughout their marriage, she experienced being locked inside her house and oppression from her husband in keeping her out of touch from other people, like her family and other men who had their eyes on her. She had several children from her husband who didn’t even had plans on marrying her, but Cynthia later found out that her husband already had a first wife. Eventually, her husband married her and they migrated to the United States. Here she further felt emotional but not physical abuse from her husband, thus she later planned along with her friends to escape from the chains of their bad relationship.
I have to say that this taping was our longest as well. Thirty hours of straight taping was no easy joke. Furthermore, I also had the chance to work with Sue Ramirez, Janus del Prado, Kristel Fulgar, Isabel Lopez, and the beautiful Sunshine Cruz. Janus del Prado was the most remarkable for me since he was the chummiest during the taping, and I was a big fan of him on his One More Chance performance.
On the first day of taping, we shot at several locations within Quezon City, and rain was our greatest enemy. We were able to accomplish only four sequences for almost 12 hours because the rain stalled our outdoor scene, which completely ruined Direk’s initial visuals and our audio recording. We immediately recovered from the situation by taping the outdoor scene in an open area inside the house.
By 4PM, we moved to our next location at an apartment a few kilometers from where we were. Setup was no easy since we had very limited space (and did several strike downs), and we had to consider the lighting in each setup. What made this sequence much more difficult is that we had to wait from Isabel Lopez for several hours who came from the Awards Night of Cinema One Originals. During this taping, I had to ensure that the talents had already worn the right wardrobe and memorized their lines.
For the last location, we moved to a very far location–at a Nun’s House in Antipolo City. The location was transformed into a rehabilitation home for families who were victims of domestic abuse. This involved getting several American individuals to play as extras. The shoot lasted for several hours, from 10PM to 10 AM. It was such a struggle keeping a wake and continue working on the set, but because of the larger manpower, I felt that I wasn’t utilized enough.
However, when morning came and I regained all of my energy, I made up for my lapses and helped the PAs with their tasks. I was in close communication with the Executive Producer since she trusted me to perform better in the shoot.
The experience for this taping was relatively lighter since there were more than enough PAs on the set, and most of them were trainees. I didn’t feel that I was utilized at my maximum, since I also had to edit my class productions and continue writing my thesis proposal.
I suppose that this was my last MMK taping experience, and this day made me realize that I needed to step up my game more and maximize my full potentials in order to become part of this industry we call entertainment.
I was physically unprepared for this MMK’s episode since I only had a few hours of sleep because of my thesis proposal, but I had to step up my game and push myself further.
Today, October 23, marks my second taping experience for Maalaala Mo Kaya. It was around 6 in the morning when we arrived in the outskirts of Bulacan for the first day of taping of this episode. The story revolves around Fatima, a nurse at East Avenue Medical Center, who went through several work-related issues with the oppression of nurse interns because of the administration of the hospital. But behind all of this, she still pushed herself to work for the welfare of her patients and rap her worries away. She also served as an inspiration to other nurses and employees in their work, and above all else, a great artist in the Metro Manila rapping scene. The beautiful Maxene Magalona played the role with Bembol Roco and Shamaine Buencamino as her parents.
The Nurse Rapper herself, Ms. Fatima Palma!
During the taping, I had a more hands-on experience with the help of Direk Raz and Direk Karla Pambid. Direk Karla Pambid had a lot of AD experience in both television and films. Her background in theater (through PETA) also helped her style of directing.
The first sequence to be shot required me to cue Mr. Bembol to drive from the far end of the hospital. I only had a copy of my script to signal him. I thought it would be nearly impossible for Mr. Bembol to hear the AD’s voice from inside the hospital, but no. Her voice was strong enough to cue Mr. Bembol without my cueing. During the break, I asked Direk Karla how she managed to shout so strong and clearly. She told me it took years of experience, and PETA (under Direk Soxy Topacio) helped her in doing so.
Several sequences passed and several setups were taken down. What made this hospital shoot different from our Little Infinity episode is that we maximized all parts of the location for each sequence. Despite all of this, Direk Karla managed to keep her voice in tact, even though she consumed quite a number of cigarettes. She followed every single bit of Direk Raz’s instructions from the control room and her voice never ceased to break down from fatigue.
It was such a sin to snatch a couple of naps during the first day of shoot while everyone was still awake in finishing the sequences for the day. I felt all of the PAs, the EP, AP, Direk Raz and Direk Karla’s eyes on me and I swore that it would never happen again if I really wanted to get into this business. Everyone was so easy to work with and their morale was still high after more than 20 hours of taping.
Male Ward Sequence
In this taping, I was awed at Maxene Magalona’s passion to do her best in the rapping sequences. We had several takes since she committed quite a number of mistakes in her raps, but she told us that she didn’t want to fail her father, and asked us to have another take.
With Ms. Maxene Magalona!
The first day of taping lasted for 27 hours, and I promised to myself that I would never commit the same mistakes ever again–after everyone seeing me perform poorly on the set.
On the second day of taping, we taped at several locations. First, we taped inside a large house for the rooftop sequence. It amazed me how the Art Department was able to transform a rooftop into what looked like the abandoned building beside the LRT Betty Go Belmonte Station with all the artistic vandals. I watched how Maxene struggled to finish every rap sequence to make her father proud of her as a female rapper.
Me and another Production Assistant left early to prepare the other set–beside a high school in New Manila. We ensured that the catering had already prepared and that the barangay’s multipurpose hall was arranged for the artists. This also involved contacting Direk Raz’s Videography students for their set visit. I pulled them out to play as talents since we lacked people to play as professionals who needed to renew their nursing licenses at Professional Regulation Commission. The sequence was hard to shoot since we had to silence all high school students who were watching by their rooms’ windows. We also had to quickly buy Siopao from 7-Eleven which the Art Department forgot to ensure!
For the whole duration of the taping, I can attest that the most difficult sequence was when Fatima saw the old lady that got hit by a truck and rushed for help. We had to close down the whole road and warn every single bystander not to get in the way of the taping and maintain crowd control. It took us almost three hours to set up and another hour to tape the sequence. The road was half a kilometer long and we managed to pull it off. I had to run from different ends of the road to instruct and cue the talents and keep the bystanders silent, as well as ensuring that the talents have already worn the proper wardrobe for the scene.
The Palma Family
Sadly, for the last few sequences at Fatima’s house, I had to leave by 11:00 PM because of class the next day. This was really one memorable taping for me because I really had to efficiently work and help the entire crew. The experience I got was all encompassing in several aspects of the production. And the things I learned in this taping were really for the books.