ricky lee’s trip to quiapo

First saw this when my older brother was still living with us in UP Campus. I remember it got an autograph from the author himself, Mr. Ricky Lee, whom I knew already as an institution in the movie industry, establishing himself as a multi-awarded Filipino writer. But to Ricky Lee getting awards is just a bonus. I never got to borrow that copy from my brother, though, who then moved out of the country to work.

First published in 1998, I bought my own copy of this scriptwriting manual by Ricky Lee entitled “Trip to Quiapo” on 30 April 2010. I know the date because whenever I buy a new book I would put my name on one of the first three pages and for sentimental reasons, under my name is the date when I purchased it.

I really love to write. I don’t consider myself a brilliant or a spectacular writer but still, I do enjoy writing not scripts, though, but essays. Just the same I enjoyed reading the pointers, tips, insights, and anecdotes shared by Ricky and by other scriptwriters who were interviewed for this book.

Thanks Ricky Lee for your selflessness to share a LOT of your secrets to success or techniques in writing which is not easy to do. It is common that people would just keep those techniques to themselves, thinking that by sharing these techniques somebody will steal their “greatness.” To Ricky, this is not the stuff that he is worried about. Competition is inevitable. To Ricky, the great injustice would be not sharing his gift with new aspiring writers, whether young or old, who remind him of who he was when he was just starting.

Sa lahat ng panahong ito, hindi nagbago ang isa kong paniniwala—na bahagi ng pagsusulat ko ang pakikisalamuha sa ibang gusto ring magsulat. Dahil kagaya nila, naranasan ko kung paano maghirap at kung paano matulog na punung-puno ng pangarap… Para sa kanila, ang librong ito ay isang kamay na aking iniaabot.” –Ricky Lee

I need to tell you that what really struck a chord are those stories of rejection and humiliation that Ricky Lee had to face as a newbie writer and still has to face now that he’s a well-known and multi-awarded scriptwriter. It is common that people would just keep those humiliating and embarrassing stories to themselves, thinking that by sharing those shameful experiences somebody would look down on them or unfairly judge them. And it was nice learning about his bad and painful experiences for us, his students, to be aware of.

This book is for everyone—yes, not just the writer—especially when you are searching for inspiration to keep going in whatever craft that you are doing. Here are some of Ricky Lee’s words of wisdom, taken from Section 11.

On rejections. “Kung minsan nawawalan ka ng ganang sumulat dahil gawa ka nang gawa ng scripts, hindi naman natutuloy. O kung matuloy man, babaguhin lang nila, hindi rin naman magiging iyo. Ba’t mo pa ibibigay ang buong kaluluwa mo?

“Kaya para tayong mga lovers. Ayaw na nating magmahal nang todo dahil masasaktan lang tayo. Kaya tingi-tingi na lang tayo kung magsulat at magmahal. Humahakbang pa lang tayo paabante ay naghahanap na tayo ng hakbang paatras.

“Pero di mo naiisip, ang importante’y magmahal nang todo. Paano ka magsusulat kung wala kang passion? Huwag mong sobrang protektahan at itago ang puso mo’t baka manigas.

“Ang isipin mo, lahat ng sinulat mo, matuloy man o hindi ay walang nasasayang. Input ‘yun sa pag-unlad mo.”

On writer’s block. “May mental block nga ba? Paminsan-minsa’y dumarating tayo sa puntong pinagtataksilan tayo ng lahat ng ating mga nalalaman at matagal na tayong nakaharap sa computer ay wala pa ring lumalabas.

“Nasasaid ba ang utak? Ang sensibilidad? Palagay ko’y hindi. Para ‘yang second wind sa jogging. Tumakbo ka lang nang tumakbo hanggang sa umabot ka sa second wind. Lalabas uli.

“O kaya naman, tingnan mo ang mundo sa pamamagitan ng mga mata ng ibang tao. Para ma-relax ka sa katitingin sa mundo mula sa sarili mong makikitid na mga mata.

“O kaya naman, iblangko mo ang utak mo. Tanggalan mo ng lahat ng laman. Mag-meditate ka.

“Magsulat ka sa iba’t ibang lugar. Sa bars, sa train, sa park, sa library, sa ilalim ng puno. Somehow nakakatulong ito para mag-focus ka.

“Magsulat ka nang magsulat nang hindi iniisip kung maganda o hindi ang lalabas. Basta ang isipin mo na lang ay ang feel ng mga daliri mo at ng mga salita.

“Ang punto, makawala ka sa pagkakakulong sa desire na gawing perfect ang bawat isulat mo. Tigilan mo na ‘yan. Diyos lang ang perfect. At ni hindi pa nga perfect ang ginawa niya, ikaw.”

On dealing with self-doubt. “Isa ka na ring character, gaya ng mga sinulat mo. Me dala-dala ka ring emotional baggage at kailangan mo rin ng healing. Ayaw mo na yata.

“Ni ayaw mong tingnan ang mga nasulat mo. Ikaw ba ang gumawa n’on, napakapangit! Dinaya ka lang ng punyetang mga workshops! Aling manual ba ‘yung nagsabing makakatapos ka ng script in ten easy lessons? Ba’t hanggang ngayon hindi ka pa rin marunong?

“E sino ba ang marunong? Maraming taon matapos akong manalo ng awards sa pelikula ay tumatanggap pa rin ako ng mas maraming negative reviews kaysa positive. Tinatanong ko pa rin ang sarili ko kung marunong nga ba ako? Mahusay nga ba ako?

“Gusto kong mabuhay bago ako mamatay, minsan ay sinabi ng isang kaibigan. Sa diagnosis ng doktor ay may cancer sya. Paglabas nya ng clinic sa halip na ma-depress, suddenly ang tingin nya sa lahat ng bagay ay napakalinaw at napakaganda. Ang mga linya at guhit, ang mga kulay, parang nakikita nya bilang bata sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon. Nakatingin sya sa lahat in awe.

“Later ay nalaman nyang hindi pala totoo ang diagnosis ng doktor pero natutunan na nya ang leksyon, at ipinasa sa akin—tingnan mo with awe ang lahat ng bagay.

“Sa palagay ko’y doon ako marunong, doon ako mahusay. To be in awe. Sa maraming taon ko ng pagsusulat ng scripts ano man ang subject matter o materyal, commissioned assignments o galing sa akin, tinitingnan ko ito with awe.”

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