2/10/2008
That crucial weekend

Day two of the longest weekend of my life. Yes, it beats the Bulacan shoot by a mile. Cuyeg handles the camera with Reinier Laino and Elle Velasco doing the scene.

Murphy's law famously states that anything that could go wrong would go wrong. That seems to have gone full swing in the past three days, really, conveniently called the Cavite shoot for our thesis film.

Jason asked me to wait at the McDonald's branch in ATC at half past seven. Two hours later, I am still waiting, trying my best not to listen to the radio in an effort to preserve my mobile's batteries. Apparently things just went a bit wrong on the waiting side, and thirty minutes later, I was inside Cuyeg's car, still navigating the convoy. Reinier, who plays Tony, has grabbed the newspaper I stole from those who abandoned it and started reading. His personal aide, Joey, is just there, pretty much like a sidekick, sounding off on what's on the newspapers. On the other car was Jason - he had to bring his gas-guzzling vehicle to augment Iza's - and Elle, who plays Marife, and one who could be considered as being constantly in shades.

At the get-go, we were behind schedule. The date scenes were supposedly done by Friday, but we ended up doing only two scenes - or, technically, one scene and a half - by midnight. The monologue scene took four hours to shoot, and that includes setting up the lights, making sense of the blocking, and getting into the mood, which involved a lot of Death Cab for Cutie. Reinier eventually admitted on our way back home that it was pretty hard to get into an intense scene at the beginning of the shooting schedule, but it also meant sleeping time for me, which I'd really appreciate. Eventually, the three of us ended up in a two-bed room, and I was in between the two beds, being swallowed alive. And my feet ended up as Jason's pillows, for some peculiar reason.

Yesterday carried the bulk of the shooting schedule, but everyone overslept, and we woke up at seven rather than an hour later. Cuyeg was chasing the sun, because it would be too harsh if we shot in the middle of the day. That happened anyway, when the funeral set-up was finished and the actors were prepped up. Riggie, who played Linda, came from Laguna and joined us for the day, and it turns out that our entire cast would appear in the thesis television pilot on teachers.

Yet it seems the heavens were against us. One of Reinier's takes resulted in a shattered candle holder. Even worse, another scene ended up with him wounded - a slight scrape, actually, caused by his fake eyeglasses, caused by a fall, caused by a loose rock on the set. Luckily it wasn't really that evident, and it got rectified without any need for make-up, as if we had some. Camera angles never made things better for the wound, though, as it became a bit more red with time.

As the Kino-Flo lights struggled with limited electricity - and led us to think that we ruined the bulbs - I became a casualty, too. As I took the VX2100's charger, I got hit by the force of Jason's trunk door. Thanks to it having no lock whatsoever, I have a bump in my head that says second-hand Honda Accord. And thanks to my peaking stress levels, I ended up shouting an array of expletives at a surprised community. People did complain.

It seems that we did disrupt the quiet lives of those living in Cityland, where the "farm" lies. We've been apparently driving too fast - Cuyeg, Jason, and even Yas, who dropped by from Saturday, with Burton - and got a barangay official dropping by when Joey reached eighty as we went to buy lunch for the team. The worst fate probably fell on Cuyeg, who almost hit a young boy as he was backing up his car. Nobody was hurt, but it was so close, the car touched the tricycle where the kid was playing. Maybe we did bring bad luck, and despite all the reminders to slow down - and the assurances that some are plainly jealous - I felt we were staying a bit beyond their conveniences. That night, I fell asleep on two beds, as the rest shot the delayed hotel scenes throughout the morning.

They all overslept again until ten in the morning, while I waited for things to happen. I had no choice but to drift in and out of sleep, until Burton came up to me and started chatting. The last day went to the date scenes, which were supposed to be shot two days before. Maybe this time, we were a bit lucky - we didn't have to spend anything for lunch, and Burton was able to shoot a funeral march to fill in the gaps. Maybe the three days were getting a bit long for some - I found myself dozing off again, Elle was starting to spew out suggestions, and Yas had to go home early. The sun was against us again, as we ended up shooting at around midday like the last time - and I did fall asleep, and ended up having the rest of the crew wait for me to unlock the door to Yas' car.

I suddenly remember what Kat had said before: that Jason would somehow manage to flip things around. On the way back to the Cavite State University - the place we called home for the weekend - he outlined a "major turnaround" in the feature, and proceeded to work on the extra monologue bits. I was half-asleep while throwing suggestions at him, and the next thing I know, he was looking for food, as Elle was having acid reflux while recording the voiceovers.

On the way home, we realized we've run short, and Jason's dollars sat idle as the money changers were closed. So, dinner was suspended, and we all went home, realizing that my idleness could've made me production manager instead. At least it's what Reinier pointed out. It seems the stars are against us from the start.

But it was fun, still, although maybe it's in the surreal sense of the word. Or, maybe, there were more reasons for me to become hyperactive. Cuyeg races Yas, and celebrates by "da best da best" afterwards. Joey was becoming the perk-upper, especially during our dinner-slash-breakfast of bulalo in Tagaytay (that actually cost us an arm, a leg, and a strip of skin). Elle was being spooked with ghost stories, until it became a bit annoying. Sure, it was a bit of a laugh, but I don't really know where this ends. I guess it was fun while it lasted.

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