“Jao, we have an MMK (Maalaala Mo Kaya) shoot tomorrow.” This was the text message of Sir Raz the day before my MMK experience. As an intern, this has been one of the most exciting moments of my college days. We left Quezon City before sunrise. I actually did not have any idea of where we were heading that time. After an hour, I found out that we were already in Bulacan.
As we approached the shooting location to have breakfast, I was fascinated that everyone on the set calls Sir Raz “Direk”. I met the production team upon reaching the dining area. Good thing for me that they are used to seeing interns of Sir Raz, for I was really nervous that time. They have been so nice to me and I really felt welcome on the set. The set people had this warm bond that makes the team work harmonious and efficient. Smiles and greetings were being exchanged to start the day. The food is being prepared on the set location and it is for everyone. Everyone eats the same food, even the actors and the directors. Due to this “walang selan” system, it became much easier for me to adapt and understand how everyone and everything works during tapings. This has been far from the mediocre terrifying atmosphere made by terror directors stories I used to hear.
Sir Raz instructing the dolly shot
I encountered more people from the whole team when the setup started. I never expected to see that huge number of people on a set. As far as I can remember, we were somewhere near a hundred people there. Directors, producers, coordinators, actors, lights, sounds, wardrobe, makeup, art department, extras and PAs: all of them are part of the production and play a significant role to make just an episode happen. And I am lucky to have a chance to get to know them personally and hear a lot from them.
Seeing the actors was one of the things I look forward the most. Hoping that there would be artista chicks that can inspire me during the set. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. Instead, that particular taping experience gave me a chance to witness true professional actors perform. I saw these actors the way I’ve never imagined them to be behind the camera. They were far from those other “arrogant” actors we usually hear. They mingle with every crew, apologize for their mistakes, follow instructions well. I saw how well a healthy relationship between the actors and the production team affects the flow of the work.
Sir Raz with Ms. Ara Mina
I spent most of my time there with the assistant director, Direk Zalds. We exchanged beaucoup stories during the two day shoot, mostly giving me a background of his career in directing. This gave me alternative ideas if I am to pursue a career in directing.
The taping required 28 hours on the first day and 23 on the second, with no sleeping time allotted. I was given a small whiteboard and pen, and was assigned to watch every scene. From the first sequence to the last, I need to identify sequence numbers, write it on the whiteboard and show it to the camera before each of the takes. Production is truly a draining but fulfilling at the same time. Experience is the best teacher indeed and it was nothing but a privilege to witness a Maalaala Mo Kaya production. To Sir Raz, it’s really a humbling experience to see you work with passion and love for the job. I learned so much in this experience and am truly grateful for this wonderful opportunity.