That man talking to Sir Raz is Josef de Guzman. He suffers from psoriasis for how many years now. He experienced hardships and downfalls, but above all, he still has hope and determination, not just for himself, but for his fellow psoriasis warriors.
MMK featured his story.
Day 1 of the shoot came, and for me, this is so far the best shooting day in the set. It’s because my friends from 144 and 128 were also there. We learned new stuff and shared new insights about production together.
The first thing that amazed us was the production design. The story was set in the 60s or 70s. And the PD effectively depicted the oldie feels.
We were also able to observe how Sir Raz directs in the OB (Outside Broadcast) van. From what I understood, it is where the signals from the camera and microphone come into for processing and recording. Inside the OB van, there is a monitor divided into four screens, and a video switcher, just like what we have in the TV studio in the college. And like how it’s done in live productions in the college, the technical director or TD mans the switcher and is responsible for switching video sources, and performing transitions, which, in the case of MMK, are just usually cuts. And since MMK is a pre-recorded material, using the video switcher in the OB van seems like the material is already being edited while it is being shot. The cuts made in the OB van will be used by the editor as a guide. And usually, the cuts done are being utilized; they just needed to be cleaned and refined.
And also, like how it’s done in the CMC TV studio for the live productions, Sir Raz gives cues to the AD via the headphones/feed in the comp on what the actors should do, and other relevant actions to be done in the set. This is while Sir Raz cues the TD on when to cut which video source in the OB van. I seldom see him actually operate the production equipment, probably to allow him to coordinate the production and make rapid decisions without worrying about how to mechanically execute the effect or camera move being called for by the script.
The best part of the day was when my friends were told that they were going to a part of the production. They became talents for the episode. They were really excited and extremely happy.
Apart from that, I was also observing how the AD trainees Russel, Abi and Mj block the talents. I was listening to Sir Froy when he gave them the basic principles of blocking. What I distinctly remember is that, the frame should never be empty. When a talent, whose role is a passerby, already is out of the frame, another one or two talents should walk now into the frame, replacing the first talent. This is while the main actors are having their dialogues and actions.
Also, though I already mentioned this part in my previous blog, I cannot help it but be amazed by the day effect. I will forever find it awesome how lights can make it appear that a scene happened during the day, even though in reality, it was shot during night.
I wasn’t able to make it to Day 2 of the shoot because of PCRC duties, but made sure I would make it to Day 3. That day for me has the most number of locations, which I think made the shoot much longer. From what I have observed, in comparison to the “Pantalan” episode, the actors in “Salamin” were much easier to direct and much better in acting. Most of the scenes are just one take, which would make one think that the shoot would not take too long. But this episode required a lot of locations, and a lot of “baklas”, (not to mention the application of prosthetics also took a lot of time). Those factors took the shoot as long as that of the “Pantalan” episode.
I remember asking Abi, “Bakit kailangang tanggal-tanggalin yung prosthetics kung pwede namang i-shoot yung scenes na nagre-require nun nang magkakasunod?” when the crew had to do a “backpack”, thus calling for the prosthetics to be removed. After that the crew had to go back to its former location/house, and have the prosthetics applied again. During that time, I thought it was hassle to apply, remove and re-apply the prosthetics.
But Abi answered that in shooting, there is a hierarchy of considerations that you should take into account. The top in the hierarchy is the location. Next to it is if is exterior or interior. Third is if it a day effect. Fourth is the availability of the actors. Last is the special requirements, which in this case, is the prosthetics. It can be easily remembered through the acronym LEDAS. Location, Exterior/Interior, Day Effect, Actors, Special Requirements.
Anyway, the first location is in a school. The Central Colleges of the Philippines was used as the loc for his high school and college life. And again, the production design effectively depicted the setting. The costumes by the actors and the talents, plus the car made it seem like it was really shot in the 60s or 70s.
Another location was the Camelot Hotel. I just used to pass by this hotel, and it was my first time to actually see its interiors. The hotel is consistent, remaining true to its theme which is about King Arthur’s Camelot. Despite the consistency of the interiors, the location was still utilized for different sequences and their respective setting.
How and why? Again, it’s through the production design. The art department provided materials that could be possibly used to decorate the location for it to fit to the setting asked for by the script.
The wallpaper was used to divide an area, which was the bar, into two areas for the team to be able to utilize it for two different sequences.
The stage was used for the last sequence, when Josef was talking to his fellow psoriasis patients as the president of the Psoriasis Philippines. The logo of PsorPhil was just attached there; beneath it was the logo of the Camelot Hotel.
They were also able to make the last location appear like a travel agency by attaching these to the walls:
I was also able to meet new people. I learned that “units” are rotational, and in every unit, there is a different set of PAs, make up artist, wardrobe, etc.
Overall, my immersion in the production process for this specific episode gave me a whole lot new insights that I have never encountered before.