I am rushing to catch the MRT Ayala train ride, halfway in my south-to-north adventure everyday while editing my spiels script. I am keenly observing the passengers, thinking about where they are heading according to attire, or if they would have a day as hectic as mine. As a TV writer, I have always believed that everything I write should be connected to my audience.
My heart then would start pounding as I come closer to Quezon Avenue Station. The war is about to begin. I will be entering the chaotic world behind the noontime show where I’m working.
Now, everything above is just a part of my history as a writer. After our TV network was shut down, I was one of the workers who struggled to find a new job. COVID-19 silenced my once very noisy world.
At home, in my own space, I am slowly building my halted career, trying to appease myself that things will get better. It’s very hard to go back from the beginning. I can still hear the sound of the stingers, the loud applause of our audience, and the commotion behind the cameras. In an unfamiliar silence, I am trying to rebuild myself and continue what I have started.
I feel like I’m standing on the sidewalk. Everyone’s walking around me while I’m lost and clueless at 29. I never thought I would experience such uncertainty in my career. I can’t move. It’s very dark.
In an effort to move forward, I tried to accept small gigs outside my home network. Most of them failed. At some point, I fell into abusive transactions that ended up getting my work for free. I was introduced to the brutal world of unprotected freelance working, before a law was passed to shield entertainment workers from such predatory practices.
Sometimes, I get the feeling that I’m infested with bad luck. Or, to be positive about it — maybe there are things that are really beyond my control?
Someone told me that everything, whether good or bad, happy or sad, will come to pass. The winter will end. My waiting will end. So while I am waiting beside my fireplace, I will keep my writing fire burning until I feel the warmth of summer again. I will recall everything that’s part of “before.”
Before the show, I wanted to serve my fellow Filipinos.
Before the show, I used to think of what would make them smile.
Before the show, I used to wonder if my work would alleviate the hardships they are going through each day.
Before the show, I used to gear myself up for a battle uncommon to others. A battle with my own grief and sadness, to make others happy.
Before the show, my heart was full of hope that our audience’s stomachs would be filled with joy, if not with physical food.
Before the show, it was my dream to become their “rest.”
TV production is connected to our gut. We have our dreams for ourselves and for our audiences. As cheesy as it may sound, I consider myself someone who writes from the heart. And though it has been a long journey of finding my way home, or finding the way to a new home, I will walk again. I will fight and thrive once more.
Silence will not defeat me if I continue to speak through my work. The battle is not yet over.
And I will do and feel just the same… “before the show.”