Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Day 21 of 28 (+1) Days

we wrapped the shoot early today. nothing to crow about; today should've been a day off. and tomorrow the service van picks us up at 4:14 in the morning.

what the--?!?

i should be going to bed now.

* * *

i have rekindled my relationship with television. it has become my "other" favorite pastime, next to the internet.

* * *

stars, stars. everyone loves a star. the "stars" in our movie aren't exactly super-famous (some may be popular in their own countries, but practically unheard-of in the philippines), but they're the ones who provide the "glamor" in this bloody process that is moviemaking. they're the ones who have to look good and act like everything is real and effortless, while the rest of us are drenched in sweat while trying to mount the film together. when the audience sees this film, they will remember it for the stars, which places stars way up there in the moviemaking foodchain.

that's just the way it is. and it's perfectly alright to me. so long as they don't get bratty. haha.

four things that endear an actor/actress to me:
1. s/he remembers his/her action continuity
2. s/he acts the part convincingly, with depth, using a wide gamut of emotions as required by the scene and/or the role.
3. goes out of his/her way to be gracious towards everyone.
4. works cooperatively with the rest of the staff and crew.

a scene between Kieu and Vanessa. girl talk.

the male lead star, du$tin nguyen

dying scene at the docks.

one of the cutest of the bunch, j0hnny nguyen

the sweetest and most vibrant of em all, 8dmund ch8n. we all love him!

Kim and Kieu on harnesses...look, we're flying!

mother massages child. the actress who plays the mother is my favorite Actress in the cast. radiant, seasoned, delicate, beautiful woman.

have to go. CSI: Miami on AXN tonight.

* * *

WAHOO! i'm going home june 13. a full two weeks away, but what's two weeks? a breath and a blink away, in these fast interesting times.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

fire's up

ayun naman pala. may excuse naman pala.

because i thought i had proven my suspicions right. that you're merely a spark in the storm. easy come, easy go. i was ready to file away your case in the "lost cause" bin. and then you came to the surface. aba!

but who knows. baka it would turn out na lost cause ka nga rin. and if that would be the case i don't think it would be of any loss to me. it would make no deep dent on my psyche.

invest none, lose none. like i always say.

* * *

day 17 of 28 days over. eleven more days to go. i'm back on my feet. thank god. two days of rest, some self-motivation, and a lot of prayers were all i needed. fight to the finish na to. despite all obstacles. despite all odds.

haha. parang gasgas na tagline.

i still think of home everyday. and the things i'm gonna do when i get back.

* * *

a lot more things i'm learning at work. the director's another one of those nice ones. i'm glad cause i've been lucky in the sense that all the directors i've worked with are such darlings. verbal blows from ill-tempered directors (some pinoy mainstream direks are notorious for this) is something that i'm not sure i can handle with grace. i'm too transparent for my own good.

hohum. sleepy. tired. day 18 tomorrow. i pray for a productive day.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

where's the fire?

i'm so glad there's the internet.
i hate being in my hotel room sometimes.
i can't stand the silence. i can't stand the noise in my head. something's amiss here. something's gone.

the fire. where's the fire?

parang gusto kong ipadasal na sana maging depressed enough ako para maiyak at magkaroon ng catharsis. cry it out of my system, so that the next day i'll be back on my feet again. pero ayoko pa rin. baka pagod lang to. baka lilipas din sya.

OA na rin naman kung homesickness pa rin to. isang buwan na ko dito sa ho chi minh (tatlong linggo na lang! yehey!) syempre nami-miss ko pamilya ko, ang kwarto ko, ang mga kaibigan ko, ang videoke, ang pilipinas. pero hindi naman sya emotionally crippling.

ewan. maybe it's just loneliness.

i've met a bunch of nice friendly people at work, people from the daily carpool at packup time. exchanging funny shoot-related anecdotes on the way home has become one of the highlights of each day. but after all that, when i finally retire to the hotel room, the emptiness descends upon me. a thick, settling fog. it stays with me until i fall asleep. then comes back when i wake up for yet another work day.

what is happening to me?

* * * *

funny how we develop an instant fondness for people who remind us of the ones we love. like me having a soft spot for short middle-aged ladies, because they remind me of my mother. or fat little boys, because they remind me of my brother. for the past two nights i've been fawning over this little boy who came to our shoot. he reminds me of my brother so much.

now i realize how much i miss the fat li'l bro. almost every fat li'l boy i meet instantly becomes endearing. i watch cartoon network in the hotel room tv and i'm reminded of him. he loves watching those things.

i'd rather drone on and on now than retire to that empty hotel room. we just finished Day 15 of 30 shooting days, just came home an hour ago. and i'm wide awake. feeling low. going insane. probably.

all of a sudden naiinggit ako sa mga maliliit na bata. walang keber sa buhay. walang problema, walang self-directed pseuo-existentialist questions, wala pang maraming phobias/hangups/insecurities/traumas at kung ano pang emotional baggages na nagpapakumplika sa tao. may mga panahon namang naiinggit ako sa mga taong simple lang ang buhay. yung walang mataas na pangarap at kuntento na sa pagkakaroon ng sariling pamilya. the more you want in life, the more you have to work at getting it. sa ngayon, i'm just too...tired to be up for the challenge. tired, or just not passionate enough to be up for it.

siguro dalawang araw na pahinga lang ang katapat ng kadramahang ito. pero ayoko pang bumalik sa hotel room ngayon. hindi pa ko inaantok at ayokong mag-isip, ma-depress, ma-homesick, o atupagin ang mga dapat pang gawing homework.

hay. gusto ko nang gumawa ng sarili kong pelikulaaaaaaa.
gusto ko ng masarap na cake.
gusto kong makausap ang kapatid ko.
gusto kong magbakasyon sa tabi ng dagat.
gusto kong kumain ng balut.
gusto kong antukin.
gusto ko nang matapos ang backlog paperwork.
gusto kong tangayin na lang ng agos kung saan nya ko gustong dalhin.
gusto kong magkaroon ng "inspirasyon" na hindi magiging source of frustration.
gusto kong magyosi.
gusto kong wag mag-isip.

nakakabobo rin pala pag ingles ang gamit mong salita sa everyday life. my oral english gets so bad sometimes, i cringe the moment the words come out of my mouth. i even used the (totally) archaic word "posterior" when i was talking to the direk today.

"posterior?" he said, amused.

euww. ano ba. didn't even know i had that word in my vocabulary.

Friday, May 19, 2006


tama si rose. kelangan ng inspirasyon sa buhay minsan.

if there's no one, then look for one. or two. or three.

laging tanong ng mga kaibigan at kapamilya ko sa pinas, ano, meron ba dyan?

syempre, wala.

wala. at ayokong magkaroon. masamang paghaluin ang inspirasyon at trabaho minsan. case-to-case basis naman yan, pero sa ngayon sa tingin ko eh hindi magiging healthy.

dangerous pa nga. kasi maliit ang mundo ngayon.

di kaya pagbalik ko eh isama ko sa mga plano ang pagkarir sa love life. magiging ok kayang pagsabayin ang pagkarir sa love life at pagkarir sa One Great Dream? magiging inspiring ba o distracting?

malamang pagbalik ko natauhan na ang mangilan-ngilan sa mga nangangarir, malamang iba na ang kinakarir nila by then. expected na naman, ano lang ba ang mawawala sa kin kundi pagkakataong makalibre ng kape, lunch, o dinner. kaya ko namang bilhin yon.

sa october may uuwi from abroad, someone i've virtually known for about a year, pero hindi ko sya kaibigan, hindi ko nga sya masyadong kakilala, at lalong hindi ko sya pinapagtiwalaan. bat ka naman magtitiwala sa isang hindi kaibigan. guilty unless proven otherwise, right. hah.

but i'm looking forward to it. somehow. pero at this stage ng relationship namin hindi ko masyado pang naiisip ang taong yon. so much can happen in three weeks, what more four months.

hayhay, kumusta na kaya si ________. sino na naman kaya ang niyayaya nya ngayon for "just one date that no one will ever know"?

tama ba ang nari-read ko sa mga fwendster msgs ni ________? i can sense that something's lost there, something that used to be there several weeks ago. time and distance. it's a bitch, dude, but it's completely understandable.

ayoko na ring isipin si ________ at ang dyowa nya. tama na yung isa't kalahating taon ng katangahan. but i can't help smiling each time i remember that face. wala eh. kelangan ng inspirasyon minsan.

di ba, rose?

18 days to go

shoot na naman mamayang 11:30 PM.
day 12 of 30.
counting the days, still.
ewan. kung gusto mo ang ginagawa mo, di ba dapat hindi mo binibilang ang araw?
eh bat parang kulang na lang hilahin ko ang mga araw?
hindi ko ba gusto ang ginagawa ko?

these days i live for the work. because my world has been revolving around it for the past three weeks, and it will stay that way for four weeks more. what is real is what is here now. and aside from co-workers, aside from the cold hotel room that has merely become sleeping quarters, the work is the only big thing to live for.

gusto ko ba ang ginagawa ko? gusto ko bang maging sekretarya/katulong/assistant ni direk sa set? bat ba andami kong reklamo? it's a job, period. you don't have to love your job, so long as you don't hate it. i can stand the job, i find fulfillment from it in some ways, and that's enough. because it's a JOB. it's a way to live.

not to mention a way to learn. stubborn and ma-pride that i am, ayokong i-admit sa harap ng certain persons na may natututunan ako sa kanila. actually isang tao lang naman. kasi itong taong to stubborn at ma-pride din, at may test of wills na nangyayari minsan sa aming dalawa.

ewan ko. what do i have against men? battle of the sexes ba ito? bat lagi akong defensive at combative pagdating sa karapatan ng mga kababaihan? sumali na lang kaya ako sa gabriela pag-uwi ko sa pinas? ayoko lang nang tinatry akong kontrolin, lalo na pag hindi ko magulang o hindi ko boss. at lalo na pag lalake. syet. lalaban talaga ko.

hemingways, kelangan ko nang kumain. kakagising ko lang ng alas-5 ngayong hapon dahil natapos kaming mag-shoot ng 10 am kanina. ilang oras na lang kailangan na namang pumalaot at magtrabaho.

hay. iritable na naman ako. kaya ako natatawag na bitchy ni frog princess e. kasi pag iritable ako nakasimangot ako. at napapadalas ang pagyoyosi. hay frog princess di ko talaga makakalimutan yon. a year from now matatawa pa rin ako pag maaalala ko.

ang sarap magtagalog. nabubulol na ko sa english dito.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

per diem or carpe diem?

umaga na naman. we've been shooting night scenes for the fourth straight night. day 10 of 30 days, 4 locations done away with. figures, figures. let's forget about the numbers and dig into the pictures..
first shooting location for the first five days. an old eurasian style house, a private dock, and the saigon river at sunset.
the moon and the river at dawn in than da, on the outskirts of saigon. a fresh cool blue. just as we were about to pack up, the world was about to come alive again.
saigon dusk. the setting sun signals the beginning of a new work day, este, night.
our location last night: a buddhist pagoda in the middle of saigon metro.

thinking of home. as always. counting the days. being on my toes each time at work. you rely on your memory, on your capacity for organization and discipline, on your knowledge of the script, and even if you get off work breathing free you know that you will always take the work home (or what you currently regard as home) with you. there is no such thing as rest for the mind. so long as paperwork is there. so long as backlog exists. so long as the camera is on a constant grind. it's a technical job in a very non-technical way. pen, paper, script, polaroids and the digicam are my very best friends. the nature of the work is a far cry from the Dream Job, but it's both a way up and a way to live.

i'm right where i belong. or where i want to belong, at least. i know i'm closer now to my preferred path than i was some two or three months ago, but moments come when my patience is starting to run short, when i feel like tearing myself away from every "pragmatic" career move i've done in the past four years and just...friggin make my own movie.

you want to get there? maybe the best way is to just...friggin do it.

forget patience. forget the old "adage" of the industry "elders". screw working your way up. forget money. just...make your film. you've been pretty much playing safe for the past four years.

ang sarap siguro kung pwede lang talagang ganyan na lang ako mag-isip. just doing it. without fear. without doubts. with all the fire that i used to carry in me when i was just starting to love film.

the fire can't be dying. it's the only thing that gives this life some semblance of a direction.

Friday, May 12, 2006

the curse of pictures

i saw someone's newly-posted pic on fwendster today. same old beautiful face. same old heart-tugging lopsided little smile. but the look in his eyes was glazed, the glow on his face was so suspiciously conspicuous it breaks my heart to think about it. the circumstances behind the picture. how, where, and who took it. and why you just had to be--argh--topless.

and that glaze in your eyes. now that smile--which i've always loved to love--has taken on a new meaning. in the picture it looks almost...dreamy. like the smile of someone who's just been...fed with love.

waaah. despite the time and the distance, despite the fact that i've long been over this misanomaly i've had for you, masakit pa rin pala. konti lang, but still there.

oh well. it's bound to happen naman talaga. isang taon ko nang alam yan, mahigit pa nga. but it's one thing to know it and another thing to actually see it. in that picture i saw it in your eyes. you look like you're in love. i want to say i'm happy for you, pero nag-constrict ang dibdib ko nung makita ko yung picture mo. literally.

hahahay. tanga nga talaga ko.

marriage of worlds and signs across the miles

it's buddha day tomorrow in saigon. a no-work day for everyone. that's a blessing, and a surprise one, at that. thank you buddha. extra rest is very much welcome.

we just wrapped up day six of our thirty-day film shoot tonight. 29 scenes finished overall from days one to six. and tomorrow, despite the so-called holiday, there's still a meeting at 2 pm. supposedly to discuss postproduction. ngayon lang ako nakarinig ng postproduction meeting between prod and postprod people (wala kasing ganun sa pinanggalingan ko e), and so early on in the production phase at that. haha. i wonder what it's gonna be about. tonight at packup the director was asking me about some technical question about DI (digital...inscription? interlock? in-coding? i-wan!). i just stood there, trying hard not to let the cluelessness in my face show. but the thought bubble on me read somethin like: wtf are you talking about? me, third world country. continuity supervisors in philippines, no know about DI and stuff. continuity supervisors in the pinas don't get that far into the postproduction process. at the most, we sit through dubbings of the artistas. which is just fine with me. ehehe. less work on my part. but lookie here, hindi lang pala hanggang doon ang sakop ng D&R ng mga script cont dito. goes to show how much more there is to learn.

getting everything down on paper is probably the best discipline i've learned thus far. apparently importante yun sa kanila dito. and the editor actually refers to it pag umupo na sya para pagtagni-tagniin ang pelikula. sa pinas kasi hindi naman din ganon ka-religious ang mga continuity supervisors sa pag-take down ng mga technical details (ie lens/filters used, aperture/distance of the camera, etc). either that, or it was just me. haha!

pero kung di man ma-paperwork ang mga script continuity supervisors sa pinas, at least kaya nilang maging katulong ng assistant director (the norm in most foreign productions is that continuity supervisors stick to their sole duty, i.e. continuity and note-taking for editing). multi-tasking on the legwork is what we've been trained to do. old-style pelikula-making. so now i'm trying my best to marry both worlds. kasi yung AD trained sa pinoy style pero yung mga producers at director, trained sa western/viet style. at dahil superiors ko silang lahat, sundin na lang natin ang mga trip nila. go with the flow, kumbaga. hehe. chill!

not that i'm bothered by it. nakakapagod nga lang pag parit-parito ka sa pag-check kung bihis na ang artista mo and at the same time kelangan tutukan ang direktor mo in case kailanganin nya ng script. tapos syempre after every take kelangan tanungin mo yung cameraman tungkol mga technical details for paperwork, on top of taking photo stills of the set and costume at the end of each take. at tsaka, oo nga pala, continuity ng mga shots, action ng artista, at eksena according to the script. left hand o right hand? at syempre, the end of the day (pero actually nagagawa ko na lang to at the end of each work week), submit ka ng malinis na kopya ng edit logs for postproduction, pati progress report. heehee. awrayt!

i still think of home everyday. the homesickness blues have gone away but the day wouldn't be complete without thoughts of home. but i'm here to work. so work, mushy sentimentalist beeyatch. forget your cat. forget your family. forget videoke. forget sinigang na baboy. forget The Face. most probably your face is only a vague memory to him by now.

hay, the Face. a fellow Pinoy here thinks that i'm into those squeaky-clean, good boy types. of course he's basing it on the pictures on my digicam. haha. pano kasi, barubal naman tong kaibigan kong Pinoy dito--the anything-in-a-skirt archetype i've come to hate since birth. other than that, though, he's a nice guy. one of my closest friends here in saigon, if not the closest. kahit mag-away/magkabwisitan kami, after a while friends kami uli. if we were in the philippines it would've been a different case, but we're fellow pinoys in a foreign place--sa tore ni babel, people of the same mother tongues flock together.

i will always have the Name and the Face to use as my self-defense weapon. the Face i don't use that much anymore (nagi-guilty ako e, kasi wala naman talagang katotohanan. hehe), but I "Name"-drop nearly everyday. awww. now they think i'm so pathetically in lurve. interesting plot point, eh. life is bland without those little white lies every once in a while.

i was anything but attracted to this Pinoy fellow, but today it was different, somehow. weird. maybe it was the circumstances, maybe it was familiarity. but it was a bit scary. so i asked for some kind of a sign today. haha. cheesy. something connected to either The Name or The Face, to let me know that i should know better not to let my guard down with the wrong persons. and the sign had better come tonight.

and what do you know, someone might just have saved me by sending a friendster message. i got it tonight. mas masaya siguro if it had come from The Face, but The Name was the second best option. at least i got the sign that i needed.

i was glad, but it was nothing personal. it wasn't the person, anyway. it was the sign. the warning that i should stay away from what's gonna be bad for me. i don't really trust The Name that fully as well. he recycles flatteries from past pamemechays. i'll bet he's even using the same recycled lines on someone else now as i write. heehaw.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


argggh. may kelangan pang isubmit tonight. edit logs. paperwork. calculations. because these people, they might ask lots of questions. nakikini-kinita ko na. how many rolls have we consumed so far? how many scenes are done? how many shots? setups? what time did we pack up for so-and-so day? and i'm expected to know it all. miss have-to-know-it-all. miss get-it-all-down-on-paper. miss polaroid. miss ko na pinas.

nakalimutan ko pera ko sa hotel. pano ko magbabayad sa internet usage ko? pano ko sasabihin sa kanilang babalik ako para kunin pera ko, eh di nga sila marunong mag-english at hindi nga ako marunong mag-vietnamese?

buti na lang nahanap ni marcus yung isang portfolio na nawawala. thanks dude, for saving my ass...again. kaso dalawa yun e. hanapin mo pa sa apartment mo. kasi baka pagbalik ko pabalikin na naman ako sa confession room. kuya, nag-voluntary exit na po ako, subjected pa rin ba ko sa house rules nyo? waah.

makaalis na nga. hay. paperwork. dami kong reklamo. happy naman ako e, sa totoo lang. kesa naman dati. at least nararamdaman kong tao ako. hindi cog-in-the-wheel, o robot. haaay. sana mahanap yung isang portfolio.

rose, miss na rin kita. puro lalaki halos mga pinoy dito. nagiging lalake na nga rin ata ako e. ang init na malagkit ng panahon. ang sarap mag-tagalog, nakakamiss. mag-iisip na ko ng pangalan para sa pusang regalo mo.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

how i miss extra joss...among others

day 3 of a 30-day shoot.

we've been shooting in a lovely old-style house for the past three days. not much of an adventure, except for the fact that the house is by a river, and at sunset the view is beautiful by the dock when the light hits the wavelets and the wind is blowing through the trees. (ahlavet. will post pictures one of these days). but other than that we're in one place the whole day (and night) and will still remain in the same location for the next two days.

numenext level ang script continuity dito ha. they're stricter with getting everything on paperwork. when in the last movie project i didn't rely so much on the digicam as a handy tool for set/wardrobe/makeup continuity, now it's indispensable. i even get to use polaroids now, which i never got to use before, and i would have loved it except for two things: 1) it's too bulky to carry around, and 2) the film is so reputedly dang expensive that you can't use it to your heart's content. bummer, eh.

yikes, getting technical there. but the past three days have been pretty exhausting. not only physically, not really emotionally. i just feel like a really tired soul sometimes. is the fire dying? i hope not. maybe it's just the blahs. maybe it's just the distance from the ones i love. maybe it's just vietnam and the friggin language barriers. i just need some sleep and tomorrow i'll be on fire again.

the best thing about this is that i now get to do a few more things that i haven't really conscientiously done before in past projects. i get to acquire new methods. of course i still am grappling with my own style of organization, but at least there IS a method. and now i get to use polaroids. haha.

day 4 tomorrow. mostly night scenes. we'll start at around 4 pm and will definitely be up all night. maybe i need some extra joss right now. but, like so many other things (and so many other significant persons) in the current life, extra joss is miles away.

hay, miss na kita. extra joss.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

the name and the face

and the grind begins in less than twenty-four hours. might as well make the most of the free time.

The Boyfriend is back, too. my favorite Classic Little White Lie. being alone and away from home, living around strangers, it's a handy tool for self-preservation. and this time around, i've used it on the same person twice. haha. we're good pals and all but somehow i needed to lie to be able to feel safe.

funny, because this time around the Boyfriend has a name and a face. but the face, in real life, does not match the name, and it's a hilarious little secret that i intend to keep to myself (and hold as truth, in front of everybody) for the rest of my stay in Saigon. for self-preservation. just like a pickle. hahah!

so the face is on my digicam, and it's the face of someone i've adored and (oh-so) lurved for so many months now. (sigh. i wonder how he is). the name, however, is that of someone else, someone i haven't known for that long, but someone whose past actions have somekinda given a tinge of legitimacy to the "stories" i'd tell to the friendd here. all true, except for the fact that he's not really the Boyfriend, which makes me a lot less guilty. haha. all in the name of self-preservation.

sorry about that, dude. sana, after seven weeks, oks ka pa rin with your "baby steps". i highly doubt it, though. boys will always be friggin boys. (nose flaring)

ah, the name and the face. the Face i may not see for a long time still; the Name may turn out to be just another name in my cellphone directory. eventually.

sigh. isn't life sad. :-)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

week two

Day 12 in Saigon.

We've been transferred to a new living quarters. The owner of the old house kicked us out after having found out from one of the locals that one of us tenants has brought a girl home. and guess who it was, the smart-talking Canadian guy who apparently didn't know that bringing chicks home was against Viet house rules. who would've known anyway. tough luck for him. he looked so guilty it made me actually want to say something nice.

it's okay, no one cares anyway.

that might be a lie. because stories like that are ALWAYS fodder for gossip.

if it weren't for him, though, we wouldn't have been moved to a decent hotel. compared to the old one, the new living quarters almost feels like home--my own tv and bathroom, functioning air-conditioning (in the old place the aircon was a friggin prop), nice warm bed, warm water in the shower. thanks to your hormones, jeremy, we now have a nice place to stay in.

hay, saigon.

two days to go before the shoots start. no formal production meetings yet. that's so weird, because back in the philippines before the shoots begin a production meeting would always be in order. and in this case, i think it's needed. sa mga rehearsals pa lang, it's a tower of babel whenever everyone talks. kaya good luck na lang sa aming lahat pag shoot na.

new vietnamese phrases picked up:
xin loi = sorry
bau nieu = how much is this?
em oy = something like "miss"
anh oy = something like "missus"
chi oy = something like "mister"

vietnamese is so hard to understand. it's a lot like the chinese language in the sense that both are tonal (meanings of phrases and words change depending on what tone you use), but it uses the "conventional" alphabet. at least. i'd rather learn french. hah. another challenge. at least may interes ako.

politics at work, as always. two opposing parties, power struggles, creative struggles., a writer/producer who wants to direct, a director who listens to too many voices. hay. better to stay out of it and stick to what i need to do.

Monday, May 01, 2006

woman ka dyan

Now this made me laugh:

You Are A Woman!

Congratulations, you've made it to adulthood.
You're emotionally mature, responsible, and unlikely to act out.
You accept that life is hard - and do your best to keep things upbeat.
This makes you the perfect girlfriend... or even wife!

Funny, because I'd always thought I was a boy.

2 days before shoots start. the language barrier is getting increasingly bothersome. i can only pray for good outcomes when the shoots finally start, because by then every minute would count.