SA TESDA, MTK! (MAY TRABAHO KA)

In this blog entry I will savor the memories of a reality tv show (which happens to be my first national television appearance) and a job reality interview show from the dossiers stocked in my mind.  I was just a fresh graduate from the UP College of Fine Arts in 2006 when I came across an ad in JobsDb.com for MTK! (May Trabaho Ka).  MTK! by the way was a show of QTV-11 (now GMA NewsTV) that aired every Sundays at 6 pm.  I immediately submitted my resume online, without any knowledge of the position they were looking for.  Heck, they would just put me for an interview in their art department once they see my resume, I honestly thought.  Then in a couple of days I got a call from QTV-11 asking me to join their reality tv show MTK! (May Trabaho Ka) for the actor/actress auditions of an upcoming digital film back then, Xenoa.  Immediately, I said yes, I was bitten by the showbiz bug.  It was the morning of September something 2006, where I donned my military get up and headed to the Mowelfund Film Institute located at Betty Go Belmonte, Quezon City.  I saw two nice chicks, Ms. Mariz Umali(the host) and Ms. Hiyasmin Neri (the winner), and class b actors and actresses.  I also met my Acy Ramos there, who up to now remains one of my good friends.  Pen Medina and Xian Lim(director of Xenoa) were two of the judges for us actors and actresses.  I did a battle between a human and an android type of fighting scene.  The imaginary android set itself in a “self-destruct” mode in the script and my acting played on how I escaped the explosion (haha).   Too bad I wasn’t able to search or keep any footages of my audition but some of my friends were able to watch it and even texted me on how funny my audition was.  Even the winner herself texted me on how funny I was.  I made it to the top 10 of the actors and actresses but I fell short in the next round.  In the end, it was a meaningful and remarkable showbiz experience.  Looking back at those days, hehe, I could have done better.  What’s important is the friendship and yes, the television exposure.

Last November 2009, I was supposed to be featured in NBN Channel 4’s one month long show “Sa TESDA May Laban Ka” hosted by Secretary Augusto Boboy Syjuco, but it didn’t happen.  The show was created in order to give the viewers the needed skills and employment information in various sectors of Information & Communication Technology, Tourism and Health etc.  2D Animation falls under the ICT department, so they invited me as their 2D animator guest for their pilot episode.  A segment of the show would also narrate the journey on how I became an animator to serve as an inspiration to aspiring animators.  I actually liked the idea and I was flattered.  TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) then arranged the venue and the day of my interview without first consulting with Toon City (the amazing company that I work for).  TESDA’S mistake was that they only contacted Toon City two days before the actual taping and it was so unfortunate that their timing came during those Typhoon Ondoy & Peping days.  Meaning, people in my company were very busy helping, evacuating and at the same time finishing some animation deadlines.  TESDA failed to contact our president and didn’t get the full nod of my company.  However, the taping still pushed through last October 2009, even without the full consent of Toon City.

During the week NBN 4 & TESDA were busy editing my part, our president contacted TESDA for my interview.  This was the only time our company had the time to formally talk with TESDA after the massive damage the two typhoons had brought to our country.  However, it was a little too late for both parties to agree with the guidelines and rules for the interview because it already took place.  Toon City had a contract confidentiality clause with all of the shows that we were doing that time.  In layman’s terms, any mention and showing of our ongoing production works on air were forbidden.  Kaya in-edit out ng channel 4 yung pag mention ko sa mga show at bawal din ipakita yung actual cartoon scenes.  Dahil dun, wala nang makukuhang impormasyon sakin ang mga viewers.  So they decided to replace me with a 3D animator (asap) instead of doing a re-shoot of my interview because of Channel 4’s super hectic schedule and deadlines in production and tapings.  In fairness, Toon City only followed the rules and regulations of their contracts with their clients, for that I salute them.  Had TESDA contacted Toon City at least two weeks before the interview, naplano sana ng mabuti.  The good thing was that TESDA paid my talent fee and provided me with some pictures of my interview.

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Looking back at my experiences with the two reality shows, I therefore conclude that it is really not easy to your dream job.  My dream job is located in the freelance world, where things are rough, tough, unpredictable, frustrating and nasty.  Even though I am still in the journey of fulfilling it, with prayers and discipline, hopefully I can see the light at the end of the tunnel in the future.  Most people settle for boring jobs just to have a stable salary, sacrificing their passions.  I really can’t blame them, some that I know have families, and lucky for me I am still single.  However there will come a time where I won’t have the “single” excuse anymore.  Most of the models, actors, actresses, animators and artists alike belong in the freelance world, survival of the fittest.  What separates these types of workers from the ordinary workers in the corporate world are their guts and determination to succeed.  Whatever I do, whatever is left of me and whoever I am, it is because of animation and acting.  Remember that no matter how hard life kicks us in our butts, our determination and passion in the things that we love will thwart all impediments towards success and prosperity.

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THE BOURNE LEGACY SHOOTING @ MARIKINA CITY

February 8, 9 and 10 were extraordinary days for the Marikina Government and some of the market people because the shooting of the upcoming Hollywood espionage thriller “The Bourne Legacy” was held in Marikina City, yes, in the shoe capital of the Philippines.  Upon hearing the news on the afternoon of February 8, I decided that I would go to the shooting location on the following days (Thursday and Friday) to make a blog entry about this rare Hollywood experience.  I jumpstarted February 9 with my usual push-ups and sit-ups exercise routines then took a glass of warm water, brushed my teeth and headed straight to the shooting location with my sleek and classic Sony Ericsson C902 (the phone used in the James Bond Film “Quantum of Solace”).  I decided to skip breakfast because I was really excited to document the event for my blogsite.  Since it was just a 20 minute walk from our house to the location area which was in the Sto.Nino Market Area, I had the time to picture out the possible scenarios on the location.  Besides traffic jams, security guards and staff of the movie could be strict that observers would not be allowed to go near the shoot; or it could be the other way around.  When I reached the Marikina Sports Center just across the Market Area at around 9:30 am, I immediately took a picture of the “set” direction sign.  To my surprise everything was organized, there was no traffic, and normal people doing their daily stuff.  The Marikina Sports Center was temporarily closed from February 8-10 because of the shooting.  There were about 20-30 huge utility trucks parked inside the Marikina Sports Center were the tech and unit bases of the film camped.  There were many foreign set designers, production staffs roaming around the sports park, busy getting this and that, buying foods and drinks from Mc Donalds etc, they were Americans and Europeans.   There were also local marshals helping and assisting them out as well.  I crossed the street to get to the Sto. Nino Market Area where the actual shooting took place, I saw this traffic advisory sign.  I thought they would be strict but still, I managed to enter and observe.  When I took out my camera phone, a security guard noticed me immediately and told me that it was forbidden to use cameras on this area.  However, his remarks just unleashed the inner spy in me and so with some sleight of hand routines, I managed to take some pictures of the location clandestinely.  I was actually caught twice, but it still didn’t stop me.  Three streets inside the market area were closed for the shoot, meaning, it was hard to buy fruits and vegetables in those areas, and only during break times that buyers were allowed to enter.  I saw the go mobile, the make up artists and the expensive motorcycles that were used for the chase scenes (I presume) for the movie.  I think I also saw the director (if I am not mistaken) consulting with the storyboard artists and screen writers about the scene.  I was not able to see any of the main actors or actresses only the actors with secondary roles.  Even some of the market people made a profit (Php 500) for being extras in the film (bloody lucky them).  Most of the buyers were congested around the shooting area, perhaps waiting for the actual shoot (which started in the afternoon) and the main actor.  I decided to go home at around 11 am and decided just to come back on the last day of the shoot, February 10.

The following day, it was super strict, they started at around 4 am and ended about 6 pm for the final day of the shoot, this time, buyers and observers were not allowed to enter or go near the shoot.  It was useless to hang out just wasting my time observing from afar so I went to The New Broadway Centrum for a while for my gesture drawing.  When I came back to the Marikina Sports Center at aroung 7:30 pm, it was open to the public.  Yehey,  I took close up pictures of the go mobile and even chatted with one of the set crew who was an American.  The 20 plus huge trucks which carried the film’s equipments also left on the last day of the shoot, around 8:20 pm.  Also you might want to visit www.gostunts.com, to see how the go mobile was used in the past Hollywood blockbuster films.

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Overall, it was a memorable observation for me, because it was really rare to have a Hollywood film shot in your city or should I say in the Philippines.  Even though I wasn’t able to see Rachel Weiss, I am still happy to see the expensive Hollywood equipments that were used.  I also felt that there was a special moment, upon seeing the set, you know a “moment” in which when executed well would forever be imbedded in the hearts and minds of the viewers.  Since I also get involved with acting sometimes, I really envy these guys for not being “projectless”. Hahaha.  I guess everyone is pumped up and excited for the premier of “The Bourne Legacy” in theaters here in the Philippines, watch out for it on September 2012.

FROM UP-DILIMAN WITH LOVE

Join me as I take a walk down memory lane and relive some of my remarkable adventures from my thrilling but yet meaningful college days in The University of The Philippines-Diliman.  Well, since I already created a blog site, why not share this stuff?  Those who want to enter UP after high school might learn something here (hopefully).  From the memoirs planted deep down in the catacombs of my creative mind, I will just be concise with my points and lessons from this wonderful journey.  And as an added bonus, I will also mention some of my memorable classmates and professors as I go along the blog.

I am not an UPCAT passer, but how did I qualify to march down the graduation lanes at Quezon Hall last April 23, 2006 to receive my cum laude medal? The answer:  talent and determination.  Yep, I became an official UP College of Fine Arts Student by passing the talent test sometime April 2002.  Complementing the exam results are my high grades from my Freshman year at the University of Santo Tomas (yes, I am a transfer student).  My gratitude goes to UST of course because I was able to furthermore hone my drawing skills during my first year which eventually became an advantage in taking the UPCFA Talent Determination Test (And big thanks to UST too, I was exempted from the ROTC program in UP, but I miss ROTC somehow).  After hearing the words “Congratulations, you’ve finally made it here”, from Mr. Leo Abaya (the college dean, back then), I had smiled from ear to ear knowing that I am officially a student of the most sought after university in the country.  My first day in UP was filled with the get-to-know-your-classmates stage and a free tour around the biggest campus in the country.   When formal classes began, it was there that I had realized that I still had plenty of rice to eat in order to be one of the top dogs.  There were many talented artists in my college: Rommel Joson (Mr. Magna Cum Laude), Jethro Razo, Jay David Ramos (who’s a colorist in Glasshouse Graphics Studios), Joseph Manuel (the future animation king of the Philippines) and Hari Lualhati are some of the popular ones.  I must admit that I was intimidated by their talent and if ever you ask my batchmates about me, besides saying that I am one of the good looking guys, they would probably describe me as snobbish introvert (DURING COLLEGE, but I am a complete changed person now, well, somehow), had my own world sometimes and I had only “regular” talent skills.  That was were my determination to excel came into play, no matter what grades I got during the course of my first year up to the last semester of my fourth year, I always told myself that I would always give my 100% and always exceed my previous submissions.  There were times that I would surprise my classmates with out of this world plates but mostly the masters always took the spotlight during submissions.  Looking back at the growth of these magnificent artists from our freshman days up to our senior years, some are really “gifted” that no matter what kind of task was given to them, they were always a cut above the rest.  When it came to the general education subjects in UP (which was like a food buffet type of variety, you know, you choose the subjects you want to take) I did excel in most and even made a strong bind with some of my non-fine arts classmates.  My most favorite subject of all is Sociology 10 under Mrs. Dionisio (the best professor ever!!!).  It was also in this subject where I met the most amazing cheerdancer of the UP Pep Squad, Ms. Frances Diaz.  She helped me in making our mini comic book presentation for our group report (budget-wise nga lang).  I was still able to include her photo in this blog which I saved from the Ondoy tragedy (thanks again for the remembrance).Frances Diaz  There was also the Humanties 2 class of Mr. Fernando Dakila a.k.a Sir. Daki, where I learned to appreciate the history of arts (local and foreign) literally.  Sir. Daki by the way is a well traveled man, he is the shaman of the arts and he also has an impressive passport(padamihan nalang ng mga napuntahang bansa, walang tatalo sa kanya).  I also liked my P.I. 100 class, which was about Jose Rizal of course.  I inserted a wallpaper of my theater groupmates in that class.

P.I. 100 TFV 1

Going back to my major course subjects, how can I forget VC 137? It was a great honor to attend the class of the celebrity professor himself, Mr. Marlon Rivera (director of Ang Babae sa Septik Tank, starring Ms. Eugene Domingo, and he’s also the Julius Ceazar of Publicis), and his parlance was simply unmatched.  I really learned a lot from him and how to look at advertisements in a psychological fun way.  My thesis class with Mam. Mitzi Reyes was also a remarkable one, where I really started strong in the first semester and then ran out of gas in second semester (sad but true).  It was really in my thesis class that I really maximized all of my artistic talents and understood the world of hearing impaired students; from the research paper up to the actual product output; sweat (medyo mainit summer kasi nun), blood (nasugatan ako nung nagsusulat ako one time) and tears (nakaka-iyak yung gastos) were involved.

I would also like to take this opportunity to give praise to one of the underrated celebrities of our college (back then, and I think up to now), Ms. Gayle Dizon.  She is really into music and she really sings from the heart.  Even though she fell short in winning the “Star In A Million” contest of ABS-CBN, in my eyes, she is a star.  Just keep up the passion and fire, sweetheart! Rock On!

That’s about it! I hope most you learned something from my short tale of memoirs from the State University.  What makes UP unique in my humble opinion is that it gives its’ students freedom on how to start and end their journey in the university.  Every semester is an adventure and every year is a new chapter.   Interacting with different people and discovering different cultures, all in one action packed university, what more can you ask? Many other UP stories have been written and will be written in different blog sites, newspapers, magazines and in Kule (formerly known as The Philippine Collegian) all with different twists and flavors.  I think though that one’s journey doesn’t end in receiving the college diploma, because it continues outside the university, where one makes his/her mark in the path he/she has chosen.  Life is all about the journey, not the destination.

(P.S. The title of this blog was inspired by the James Bond film “From Russia With Love”)

Extra! Extra! Lumang Balita!!!

It is highly unusual for someone to write an article about himself/herself being an “extra” in a magazine nine years ago but I wouldn’t let this opportunity pass by without sharing it some readers.  I also thought that this topic about showbiz would somehow fare in today’s trending topics since most of the Filipino Youth nowadays are entering show business.  Well, I have to give all the credit to my classmate in college who yearned to enter showbiz in order to help his family, Mr. Hero Angeles, otherwise, my being “extra”, in Starstudio Magazine (July 2004 edition) wouldn’t be possible. I clearly remember another classmate of mine, the hot Ms. Paloma Esmeria (go ahead, google her!!), telling me, “Uy, Aaron, si Hero nanalo sa Star Circle Quest ah, 2 million yung grand prize, instant millionaire!”.  After Hero won the Star Circle Quest on summer of 2004, the whole Filipino nation had a “Hero-mania” (not related to Hulkamania”, by the way) that also had every magazine coming after him for pictorials and posing for their front covers.  Digging deep into this Vic Zhou look-alike background (oh yeah, there’s also a Meteor Garden “Fever” too, plaguing the country during that time), his educational background wasn’t spared, which meant, his college, UP Diliman College of Fine Arts was also featured in that magazine.  It was our afternoon photography class with Mr. Tats Enrique, and upon entering the room he first announced that Mr. Angeles will pay us a short visit to take class pictures for his article section in an upcoming magazine.  And so Hero arrived a few minutes after the announcement along with the ABS-CBN Magazine crew and the taking of pictures inside the classroom followed immediately.  I was seating on the tiered near the end of the door when this photographer took a picture of me as the foreground subject and Hero and Sir. Tats in the background (as seen in the inset picture below with a circle).  A few weeks after that classroom pictorial, one of my batchmates, Bebok informed me that he saw my picture in Star Studio Magazine, he alluded to the Hero article ofcourse, I was surprised, then when I came home my grandmother also told me she saw my inset picture in the July 2004 edition of Star Studio Magazine. Well, I truly benefited for a few weeks of stardom, thanks to that Magazine.  However, since his contract feud with ABS-CBN began, the “Hero-Mania” gradually died and nowadays only a few showbiz diehards recognize Hero Angeles, especially with the rise of today’s child and teen stars.  He is still active though, and can be seen every Sunday on GMA-7’s Walang Tulugan With The Master Showman, aired after midnight so probably most of the young showbiz viewers are already asleep, with dreams of entering the business.  I would like to end this blog with a message to aspiring and current showbiz stars, taken from the powerful mouth of Mr. Joey De Leon, “Out of sight, out of mind”.  Image Continue reading

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