Exit music (for thesis defense)

The downside to being a candid photographer and a thesis defender (which unintendedly sounds so holy, by the way) is that there's almost no coverage of his own defense. Well, except for this one - what I call the Jason-Miss Sibayan moment. ''Well, I'm used to being called sir,'' Miss Sibayan said. And then it happened again. I think everybody was amused - and some were really amused.

The hardest part of thesis, the way it stands right now, isn't the actual defense. Come to think of it, the panel seemed nicer at this point than the panel we faced three times during the proposal readings last term. Before it seemed that everything we did was wrong; now they were suggesting what we could have done better. The only thing that was common between the two, probably, was Miss Sibayan looking for a saving grace to our main character.

It's been a day after, and I'm having a hard time deciding what really are the highlights of our defense. I'm all for the truth, but there's a slight compulsion to paint our group as one that did pretty fine. A 3.0 grade wouldn't definitely fetch us a "most outstanding thesis" award - we weren't expecting that, anyway - but that still entails us having our final report bound together as a book. Flipping through the remarks of our panel - Miss Sibayan, Sir Doy, and Confessional film director Jerrold Tarug - reminds me of some things that have been said. Jerrold, for instance, launched what probably is the most glowing review we got: "good sense of style," he said, but "it has a lot of awkward moments." Sir Doy thought the twenty-five minutes we gave the film was longer, and advised us to edit it further, a comment that I've heard from him in previous defenses. (Funnily enough, the panel was wondering about what Tony's relationship was with Bernardo; that scene was edited out.) It helped that Miss Sibayan's comments were basically the same, or mere echoes of what was said before - I got distracted by her exchange with Jason, at one point, which amused a lot, and really amused some.

Oh, and there was Sir Doy's comment that we cast the role of the front desk attendant really well. You can say that, too - audience impact was impeccable, even as the credits were rolling. Oh, yeah, it was Burton.

The weirdest moment during defense was finally watching the film. Well, I didn't really watch most of it during that time, as I've seen it so many times, during consultations and editing - what more for Jason and Cuyeg? Being the writer of the screenplay - a fact that Kat somehow decide to contest today, because some lines were actually from Jason's version of the film that he worked on for film writing class last term - it felt weird that they were laughing when they weren't supposed to. For one, why would the mistress of the lead's father say "sorry" rather than contest her decision to stick it out? it probably didn't help that we showed our film to a full house - full with people full of expectations, all when we weren't having big ones.

Then again, we already had an excuse for it. "It's a very personal film," Jason said during the introduction. Actually there were even plans to say that we don't expect this to be a contender for best thesis - we'd probably be quick to admit we messed up somewhere in the middle, and then there were other theses that really rocked the panel and the audience, for one reason or another, like Naomi and Trix' feature Dollhouse, or Ariane, Kaymee and Jackie's HanapBUHAY, HanapPATAY, a documentary on death workers.

But grades weren't really our concern. As some of the good luck messages last Thursday went, this is just a formality, and the fact that we're defending meant that we're going to get through. Whatever the results were, at least we were finished. "Kuntento ka na ba?" Jason asked yesterday, and I quickly nodded. Then again, we couldn't really do anything about it unless someone decides to bring it elsewhere.

In fact, it seemed that the seven groups that defended yesterday - four others from our batch defended last Wednesday - suddenly formed a certain bond, that meant we understood each other, even for only seven hours. All of us, wearing business attire (or whatever was closest to it), reading our notes and even rehearsing our introductions, or just cooling off at M208 after a really hot summer - all were in it for one thing: finally ending the ordeal, and maybe come out with a little bit of pride in the end. All the theses were good, some scarily so, and some so good we wouldn't have thought of it. (That was Neil's comments on Dollhouse.) There was genuine excitement upon reading their panels' remarks; some were relieved, some were fluttering, and some were just so tired they can only smile slightly. And then, after all the handshakes, the congratulatory remarks, and eventually, the grades, that was it.

The ending wasn't really any spectacular for me. I didn't have plans, even if it was the weekend, and the groups went out to celebrate, while I was probably the only one who went home. (Yes, Cuyeg immediately disappeared, while Jason had to get home early.) I was starting to doze off while cooling off at the television studio, watching Zet's group record their taped-as-live crime drama, and wondering why I was the only one who didn't get a handshake from the one that (for me, at least) mattered the most. Then again, there's still course card distribution day, and there are still hurts to address and grades to find out.

But for now, I have to determine what really defines a defense highlight. I pretty much have an idea of what to write, but I can't seem to write them yet. Luckily half of the final report is our proposal last term, only written in the past tense. With those conveniences, though, I still feel sleepy. Oh, how I love to sleep for twenty hours, in a cold room, again. In my dreams, I say.

And your responses...

congratulations? hahahah. yeah congratulations. XD back to interrogations the next time we meet. mwahahahaha kids >:D

Blogger Dexter4/12/2008     

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