Monday, November 27, 2006

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

more angst... bog!

Writing the previous entry was not easy for me. Aside from the fact that I am not a writer, I am not really sure if what I am doing is right or wrong. Write and wrong.

In the past weeks, I was plagued with existentialist's questions just like how I was about eight to ten years ago. It was before I got to finally decide to study interior design and shift gears.

It started with this close friend who told me that it will be hard for me to shine onstage as a performer because I am not cut for it. It was the time when I was doing plays for one of those air-conditioned theatre companies. It was a day job for me. We were having shows during weekends and rehearsing for another show weekdays. It was fun. When the current show closed, another opens. It was a mill of plays. For a theatre buff trying to become an actor (who actually studied it in the academic environment), it was a dreamjob. To my parents, it was a joke. To my once-close friend, it's a futile attempt to hone the craft.

It was an attempt to get out of the old system where you were born and trying other venues and see if it is going to work. It did. I did not. I shifted gears.

I decided to study design because I actually came to the conclusion that I should be doing something else aside from being onstage because I was convinced that I can't be the best amongst those who stand within the proscenium walls. As my dad would jokingly say about me-- 'jack of all trades, master of none.'

That same friend told me that I will never graduate on time (or was it never graduate at all?), knowing me very well. Two yeas later, I had my exhibit. In those two years, I have to let go of my 'dayjob' because I can't possibly mix acting ang studying interior design. My assignments and plates killed the actor in me.

As I recall, that was the time we were doing a lot of Shakespeare. And modesty aside, that core group of actors were the only ones who can actually muster iambic pentameter during that time. Sadly, even that priviledge and learned skill, I have to leave behind.

I became a struggling designer. An ideal one at that. After the exhibit, I was unemployed. I barely know how to act anymore. I became a professional job applicant. My afternoons were spent either in Araneta Center sending mails and application forms or at home hunting for work in the internet. This went on until I got accepted by a garment company to do their windows. My first 'job' was to become a visual artist for store displays. My excitement was short lived. I stayed there for two months. For the life of me, I simply can't swallow their system.

Then I met a friend who was my classmate a year before that and she recommended me to design firm where she is working. Luckily I got accepted. It was 'the' firm during that time. And I was introduced to the other side of the world that I was born to know. Keywords were: Sophistication, Extravagance and Discipline. I am not in any one of the three. Painfully, I got to accept that those are not just concepts but are day to day dictums of some people. I lasted there a couple of months. And I became unemployed again.

I tried different things that would actually generate income. Stage management, make-up, costuming, tried acting again. That was a difficult time. then a friend recommended me to take his place in a project that was for a magazine. I took the challenge enveloped in fear.

That was the start why I'm here.

The difference now is that I am not shifting gears. At least not voluntarily. In doing so, changes make you think. Changes stir the status quo. A lot of times, causing anxiety and the far off after effect- pain. Causing stress. I have learned to hate stress because it brings out the worst in me. I have learned to hate stress because I can not live without it either. I have learned to hate stress because, at the same time, it brings out the best in me.

Nursing that anxiety now.

My apologies.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

of dirtroads and crossroads

photo by Ocs Alvarez
shot at the old Summit Studio

I just finished drafting my resignation letter.

My boss told me it is just a formality as I am transferring positions to consultancy (basically almost the same work, different title) yet somehow it has it's effect on me--

Very poignant but very liberating.

I was consultant for a year of the magazine. It happened for obvious reasons which I am not about to discuss. During that time, I never felt I was working on consult. It felt like the burden of the entire magazine was on my back. So I continued to work until I got to miss my thirteenth month pay so I decided to become an employee again. Practically no change of work and yeah, the load is still there. I have to admit, it was not as heavy as before when the new Art Director came in. For the first time, I felt like a Stylist and not as the over-all visualist (in which case was often vetoed anyway).

Now, I am not the one feeling that... being vetoed , I mean.

I started working for the magazine as a contributor. It was a test run to find out if I have the constitution for the job. I can still remember my supposedly first official pre-production meeting with the EIC. It was at Cafe Breizh/Crepe Bretonne at eight in the evening one faithful Black Saturday as scheduled the week before. She begged off thirty minutes before the meeting. They shot two houses in the island that day. My first assignment was styling locks and jalousies. (How can you possibly style a dead bolt?!?) Please, no violent reactions! It was that time that I was this eager beaver trying out everything that I think I want to do under the sun. The second job was styling wine glass tags.

photo by Ocs Alvarez
shot at the late Kish
crafts by bel lejano
glasses from rustan's

Then I was given my first house to style. The call was nine-thirty Monday morning. It was raining elephants during that time. Impoverished and eager, I took the bus, braving the rain and went to Galleria to make it to the call time. Then I called the one in charge of the shoot and asked where we can meet, she advised me to enter the mall and go directly to the office. Mall opens at ten. I tried four gates until I eventually told the guard that I am going to McDonalds. I did not go to McDonalds. I don't have that much cash (from my sister) for breakfast. When I got to the office, I found myself arranging the trip going to the venue because the shoot producer was not there yet. We eventually got to the house at about half-hour past ten. The producer arrived quarter past eleven.

After that shoot, I was summoned by the EIC for a meeting and gave me an offer. An offer that I was not able to resist. I was about to enter as an employee middle of the month but was moved to the first day of the following month because I had problems with my medical exams results. I underwent medication and eventually got in as planned.

I fell in love with the job. It was the best thing that happened to me in the third decade of my life. I was warned by some friends about my boss' temperament but eventually I got to prove them wrong. She became my mentor and friend. My eagerness was aptly fed and the whole time, it never felt like work.

Things got to change when she resigned (it was more of 'retired' actually). My buddy transferred to another magazine and I became consultant. It was one year of, admittedly, crisis for me. The thought of leaving yet not having enough good options lingered.

photo by Bahaghari MFI
shot at Greenbelt

I once heard that you have three reasons why you are in a theatre production: the play/role, the director, the pay. Stay if you have at least two. It goes the same in an office. I only have one during that time yet I stayed. Somehow, the job became my life. In the same way, I can not imagine myself looking at a product without imagining it on a set-up to be laid out on a page. It became oxygen. Polluted though.

After a year, another change of EICs and I got reinstated as an employee again. Though the set-up this time is very different. When I got to enter, I was the 'youngest' employee. Everybody during that time came-in before me. This time, I became the 'eldest' where everybody came after me. Especially after our Art Director transferred to another magazine, leaving me as the only original staff member.

I became the Style Editor. I have an associate who apparently doesn't report to me (let's talk about office system and hierarchy). There is nothing I can do about it either, my new boss adheres to such practice. The funny part about it is when things fall apart, I am being called to do 'damage control' about something that I am clueless of, primarily because I was not the one who was consulted for such project. Part of the job description I suppose.

This went on until I told my boss enough. Discussed with her the root of the problem and hopefully something can be done about it. Well, something was done about it. Little and pallative. At least there is something being done.

Amidst all these, the love for the job and the magazine never faded. Every month, there is always a new issue and new things to do. Often, I am like a headless chicken running from one home store to another to look for products to feature and to complete my set-ups.

The best thing that happened was when my new boss hired an Editorial Assistant. In the past, before a shoot, I am all-over Metro Manila pulling out things that by the time I'm already setting them up for a shoot, I barely have the energy for it. And as I have observed my work, this had a great effect on the photos. Right now, she takes charge of pulling-out and I'm focused more in styling (now, thats my job description). I have said before that I fell in love with the job, now I can say, "I love my job!"

photo by Ocs Alvarez
shot at Porto Gualberto
tulip chair from pablo

I can't really complain about my work. There is nothing to complain about the job.

Yet we do have priorities. Some call it moving on, some call it greener pastures. I honestly don't have those. It's more of choosing one over the other. In both pastures, not much grows. It's not between the devil and the deep blue sea either, let's just say, it's a crossroad- the point where three highways meet.

I just hope the field between the highways is not that vast because I do intend to cross from time to time.

shot at Varsity Hills

Thursday, November 16, 2006


sana di na ko mawala....