End of the Year

Five more days and it’ll be 2012. Can you believe that? So much has happened for me this 2011 that it’s hard to believe a whole year has almost passed. I moved to a new city, got a job in TV production, graduated from grad school and finally getting my MFA degree, went to Boston for the first time, went back to film production, worked with award-winning producers and got a job working for a screenwriter. It’s been a crazy year and I’m getting ready to anticipate a crazier 2012.

Keep running the race, yo!

How was your 2011? Are you looking forward to the new year?

Hints of Inspiration

I am constantly looking for inspirations for new stories and new scripts. Contrary to what some people may believe, coming up with stories does not happen with a snap of a finger. I have notebooks full of ideas but only a handful of them are developed.

Finding the idea for my next story is never easy and I am never sure where it’s going to come from. So I never stop looking. Sometimes, ideas come from other scripts, conversations, newspaper articles, paintings, carts and new discoveries.

But when I am stuck, there are a few sure ideas that will definitely get the ball rolling.

1. Read fiction. I used to read a lot of fiction before I started grad school. But since then, I’ve read nothing but trade books. Whenever I need to keep my mind off the craft, I turn to my fiction books and suddenly, just like that, the ideas start to come. Most of the time, I don’t end up developing about 90% of it. But it doesn’t matter because there’s still 10% of the ideas left to develop.

2. Museums. I especially love sculptures. Because more people crowd around paintings and drawings and rarely notice the sculptures. So I spend more time there and my imagination goes wild. I’ve actually developed more ideas and written more scripts based on ideas inspired by sculptures.

3. People watching. I love to watch people. Sometimes I listen to their conversation. But their body language is more fun to watch. Besides, the fun part is not eavesdropping but pretending what they could be talking, fighting or thinking about. Whether it’s true or not is never the point.

4. Going out. I don’t go out all the time because I work a lot. But I do get together with friends a couple times a month and share stories. And most of those stories are interesting enough to be developed into something more.

The point really is to gather as much ideas as I can and hopefully, there’ll be one there that’ll be worth developing.

Challenges of Screenwriting

I never get tired of attending screenwriting classes. I still believe it’s important to remember the basics no matter how long you’ve been doing something. I’m still starting out as a screenwriter and I’ve taken advantage of the techniques used by the teachers or speakers in the classes I’ve taken. I used their techniques, combined with what I’ve learned in the past. Honestly, I still haven’t figured out the best way to write scripts because I’m still learning new things everyday.

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IFP Filmmaker Conference

Today was Day 1 of the IFP Filmmaker Conference at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center in New York. Day 1 tackled a lot of issues on looking for financing, including crowdfunding and equity financing.

The conference is still ongoing until Thursday, Sept 22, and if you’re lucky enough, you should catch a day’s panel or two.

I’ll try to do a recap of the conference and the panels soon.

The Philippine Reproductive Health Bill: A Documentary

The RH Bill is a controversial issue in the Philippines. It’s divided the country into three parts, the pro-RH Bill camp, the anti-RH Bill camp and the apathetic camp. If you want to know more about the bill, you can check out this video for more information.

Personally, I support the RH Bill. It’s a great solution for overpopulation and poverty in the Philippines. And, according to Carlos Celdran during one of the debates, if this is not the perfect solution, you better come up with a solution that will help. Because after all, “if you’re not part of the problem, you’re part of the solution”.

I’m currently working as a translator/editor for a documentary filmmaker based in NYC working on a documentary about population growth, focusing on the RH Bill in the Philippines. I’ve been watching the debates and interviews and nobody’s giving way.

Go Forth And Multiply: A Documentary

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Asian American International Film Festival 2011 & The Learning

Last August, I had the opportunity to work for the Asian American International Film Festival in New York. It was a wonderful opportunity. I met and worked with great people, including filmmakers, publicists and non-filmmakers, too. The AAIFF had such a great line-up that it was such a shame a lot of people didn’t know about it beforehand. But nonetheless, this was year was its 34th time in the city so I think the city and its people do know about it.

Another thing I got to do at the festival was watch movies and one of the movies I watched was Filipino filmmaker, Ramona S. Diaz‘, latest documentary, The Learning. The Learning follows the lives four female teachers hired by the city of Baltimore, MD from the Philippines to teach in their schools.

The Learning by Ramona S. Diaz

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