Saturday, April 25, 2009

Basic Scriptwriting: Teleplay, Comics & Screenplay

I was scheduled to end my vacation in May, but due to the SWINE FLU outbreak in Mexico, I've decided to go home early. Better safe than sorry.

First, let me thank GOSSIP GIRL... er... Heather... (LOL), for answering my emails. Thank you, Miss Dublin, Ireland. Funny how Ireland and The Philippines' music, sentiment, and temperament resemble in many ways.

There were many nasty emails coming from different people and I'd rather let sleeping dogs lie, except for one who advised me to come clean on something, as if I had done an illegal thing, or maybe he thought I run as Vice Mayor of Manila? Well, let me tell you, my friend, I am not Iskho Moreno, but I admired what he did after the mudslinging he endured during the elections. In my case, I am not running for public office, so whatever I do is not important to anybody but to myself.





Another letter that needs attention:


You promised in your blog several months ago that you will tackle the basic principles of scriptwriting. I've waited and waited, but nothing came out. Now I will remind you to please fulfill that promise.

Good luck, good health and God bless you.


David Garcia
Garden Grove, CA

Well David, thank you for reminding me. The basic things sometimes, are the most important in anything.

So, here it goes. I know that not all the people out there are interested in this, but I'll make it quick and dirty. If you guys get something from it, good. If you think you already know everything on this subject, then let's just say that it is a review of what you already know.

• What is the most important thing in a story?
For me, it is the character. Why? Character creates action. Action moves the story forward.

• What are the things involved within a character?
Purpose, or goal. Like any person, a character in a story has a purpose. Good purpose, bad purpose. And when there is purpose, what does it make him do? Work on it. Strive, struggle, pursue.

• When the character pursues something, what does he experience?
Failures, obstacles, successes, triumphs.

• After all these trials, what is the ultimate thing a character must do?
Decide, hoping that the decision he made is the right one. Some character succeed, others fail. Some pursue their goal and would not stop until they win. Others give up and abandon their goals, their dreams.

These are the basic purposes of a character. From the Bible, to great literature and down to comic books, we encounter all these things in a character.

Therefore, when you're creating a character, that character must have a goal, or some kind of philosophy that he believes in. A story without conflict is like a penis that would not get hard. The Aussies would certainly not like that and they'd call you "dry blow".

So make sure that when you create your leading character in your story, give him a goal. Let him struggle to reach that goal. While trying to work to succeed in fulfilling that goal, give him triumphs and obstacles. Build it up by making the trials harder as he goes deeper into the story. Near the end, he will do the so-called "greatest performance of his life" by finally deciding on what he must do to "once-and-for-all" achieve his goal. That decision may make him win... or lose the game.

Many beginning writers are groping in the dark when it involves the technical aspects of scriptwriting. Take note that for any story to make sense and to work as comics, tv or movie (and even stage play), it has to have some sort of paradigm where your story will play wonderfully and beautifully.

Since ancient times, the Greek tragedy was already using this paradigm. Now, we are already in computer age, but the paradigm still works and the reason why we like a movie, a TV series, comics, or stage plays. Look at the image below to illustrate the division of the acts.

Why are the current telenovelas so boring and atrociously nonsensical?
Because the writers seem not to realize that scriptwriting also means time. Every second counts. If they think this way, there's no way in hell they're going to dilly-dally with their scenes and waste the time of the viewers.

Let me give you an example of a one-hour TV script.
We know that one hour is 60 minutes. But if you're a writer, you know that a one-hour TV drama is only 44 minutes script running time. The remaining 16 minutes are used up by COMMERCIALS.
Therefore, your teleplay should be divided this way:

For Comics: If you have 40 pages, divide them as follows:

10 pages - beginning
20 pages - middle
10 pages - ending

For Screenplays: a one hour movie is 120 pages of letter size paper
(8.5 inches x 11 inches)

30 pages - beginning
60 pages - middle
30 pages - end

If you have more questions, just ask me in the comment area and I would gladly answer them.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoa! Awesome. The outline and the diagrams worked really well. How come I don't see this beginning, middle and end in anything I see or read?

Now looking at the breakdown of a TV show made realize that without any formatting, the show will not work to keep the audience interested.

JM can you please elaborate on the beginning, middle and end? Is there any transition in every division?

Thank you.


April 26, 2009 at 6:26 PM  
Blogger TheCoolCanadian said...

Hi David:

Okay, beginners are always puzzled by this paradigm so let me explain it further.

No, there is no division. There are no markers in your story either, that would say: Here's the end of my beginning, now let's start with the middle. Nope. Nothing like that.

The BEGINNING is composed of the following:
• Hook
It is a short scene related to the story that will “hook” the reader or viewer that would capture the imagination and arouse excitement.

• Who is the main character and what is his goal in the story

• Intro of the villain (or suggestion of it)

• First Major Plot Point
A plot point is an incident in the story that is quite important. This incident is the INVISIBLE end of the beginning. This first plot point will turn the story around and moves it forward into ANOTHER DIRECTION.

The MIDDLE begins with the story turning around into another direction.
Obstacles and triumphs of the character will happen in the middle. Details of the story will happen in the middle. Take note that obstacles and triumphs has to build up. the new conflict should be more intense that the previous one. The story should move forward logically and dramatically (but not melodramatically). The MIDDLE will end when the seconf major plot point happens. This plot point is much more intense than the first one. This plot point will once again turns the story around and moves forward into another direction.

The END begins with the story turning around into a new direction. Keep it running dramatically and logically (NO COINCIDENCES!). Let your character use his brain and ingenuity to reach his goal. The Climax happens when the character is finally pinned down either by the circumstances in your story or by a villain or any other opposing forces. This predicament will force the leading character to “get out” of the “quick sand” so to speak, and he has to make a crucial DECISION. This decision may result in “winning” or “losing” (depending on the theme of your story). And the outcome of this final action will reach RESOLUTION. Sometimes, an additional goody in the end will add spice to your script. As long as this one is logical, related to the theme and truly dramatic (again not melodramatic), you can’t go wrong.

April 26, 2009 at 7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All this is fine for drama, action, romance, but what about comedy? Do the principles you enunciate apply as well in comedy writing?

Watching a Mel Brooks film (YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN) for instance, I notice that its really the second by second gags that keep and maintain an audience's interest.

The same thing applies with the better episodes of the SIMPSONS cartoon.

So how's about it? Are there any rules that you know with regard to writing sripts for comedy?

Oh. Very informative and helpful blog entry by the way. Thanks for the diagrams. Sure wish they did this when I attended the seminar for tv sriptwriting at ABS-CBN and Viva Films.


April 30, 2009 at 5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me again.

Have you seen the french film: IRREVERSIBLE or the U.S. film: PULP FICTION? If so, can you comment on their story structure and organization? It doesn't follow the general story structure you mention in your blog article yet they seem to work. Why is that?




April 30, 2009 at 5:47 PM  
Blogger TheCoolCanadian said...

Okay, Pidong (you must be Dolphy):

I didn't explain everything here the different types of stories, because I already discussed them at the PKMB site many months ago. I presume, since you have attended a seminar workshop at ABS-CBN, the resource people must have discussed the different distinct types of stories, such as:

• The unplotted Character story (which includes Atmospheric and Thematic because of their close similarity)
• Purpose accomplishment
• Purpose abandonment
• Decision stories
• Villain-defeats-himself stories

There's a lot to cover, and each type has its own distinct nuances. In character stories, for instance, the goal of the character is not the focal point, but the character's reaction to his surroundings.

Oh, yes, Pidong.

All of them has 3 acts, believe me.
By the way, I was the scriptwriter of many television series in the Philippines in the 1970s. I was the mainstay writer for ALINDOG (Alma Moreno), ULILA (Rosa Rosal) TRUE STORY (Romnick Sarmenta), BATA (Romnick Sarmenta), Señor Sto. Niño (Romnick Sarmenta), PEPING ANG MUNTING ANGHEL (Romnick Sarmenta).
I also did a sci-fi starring Snooky Serna, INFINITUS. We used the Bohol avenue studios for a while until Broadcast City was completed and we moved all the facilities there. ABS-CBN studios became PTV4 then.

I did this job for five years, all weekly drama anthologies and just quit when I moved to north America.

That's why I am familar with Phillippine Television. All my shows were primetime and I also know the politics behind the cameras :)

During my time, we don't have workshops in writing, that's why I had to go to the USA to study scriptwriting and filmmaking. UCLA has a very good program, but if you really want to specialize in scriptwriting, I recommend another school in Los Angeles called HOLLYWOOD SCRIPTWRITING INSTITUTE where I also studied to concentrate more in scriptwriting. My advice to you is to go to UCLA, USC or even HSI to learn the whole scope of writing, because let's face it, the the schools I mentioned are teaching the standards in world filmmaking.

Regarding your question, what I can say is to time a film. Or better still, show the digital time on the bottom side of your TV screen and divide the time of the whole film. Believe it or not, all of them are set ACT I, ACT II, ACT III. Even if you watch French films, Spanish films, they are all done with three acts. When you said that Mel Brook's films reveal the fun side by every comedic scene, I agree. But it doesn't change the fact that his films are also set-up in the paradigm we have already mentioned.

On Tarantino films (they're not bad, but too hyped, even overrated). I want you to watch ANDY WARHOL produced films under the direction of Paul Morissey and you'll be surprised that Tarantino's style isn't that original after all. I won't tell you exactly why, but I want you find out yourself. Watch three samplers for starter, namely:
All of them starring that legendary actor named Joe Dallesandro.

If you really want to know more about scriptwriting, I will oblige myself to post a more comprehensive message here. I didn't realize that there are many newcomers to the field wanting to see more possibilities out there.

By the way, the Philippine comeday is still the slapstick kind and I'm sorry to say that they still suck. The problem with RP's dramatic features: they're mostly MELODRAMATIC. In fact, watching TFC and GMA here make me grimace all the time. I am not mocking RP's TV and mvoies, but this is what I feel when I watch the dramatic shows and comedy shows. I don't know why, but our comedy there still uses antiquated gimmicks and devices: they make fun of people with physical deffects: the pilay, the bingi, the bulag, the kuba, the pangit, the unano, and what-have-you. Exasperating, to tell you frankly. So I am hoping that you will write much, much, better scripts and be some sort of a RA RA AVIS in RP TV. If you have saved up enough money, go to north America and study. But, I will forwarn you that... once you become accustomed to the western way, you might not even go back to RP. This is exactly what happened to me. The network wanted me to write and direct for them afterwards, but I decided to remain here in north America. You might be different. You might want to go back afterwards, then that's fine as well. But, I'm going to tell you that you will have a totally different outlook after studying.

I will post more on scriptwriting here. Read it. You may learn something new, you may not. But, there's no harm in reading it. If you find something there, fine. If not, fine as well.

For now, I wish you all the luck in your scriptwriting :)

April 30, 2009 at 9:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where do I get these Andy Warhol films you mention? I only have the Warhol DRACULA starring Udo Kier and directed by Paul Morissey. Great funny that.

As for continuing with tv scriptwriting here, well, I'm out! (and so are my buddies).

There's a policy right now in the big two networks to economize so they're focusing more on foreign programming like mexican and korean dramas or better yet, "licensing" U.S. game shows and reality shows, to save on advertising and other costs, that's why you now have a litany of abominable Philippine versions of "American Idol", "Oprah", "Survivor" etc. etc.

And the few local tagalog shows that are there for local tv scriptwriting is controlled by a clique of--sorry to say--"know it all faggots", who, as you say, specialize in melodramatic writing. And, by some cruel cosmic joke, there's a reason for it.

In the seminars I attended, Ricky Lee himself (ever heard of the guy?) explained that it is an edict of the big two networks that you have to contrive the ending of every scene with hightened emotion so as to hook and keep the viewer glued to the boob tube. Even if it compromises the integrity of the story, you have to do it daw, to keep the audience from changing channels and the tv sponsors happy.

No wonder "komiks" style fantaseryes specializing in this type of melodramatic writing is in vogue right now. Former komiks writers and tagalog romance novelists are scripters for local TV! Its money and economics from a big TV network.

How I wish there's an alternative tv station that has a different policy and approach to all this.

As for going to the U.S. and go to those great schools you mention, well if I have the money, why not. Wishful thinking. The pay for beginning scriptwriters is not so good here either. I think its around Php 7k a script right now? Sorry, didn't bother to check anymore.

Then you have to contend with the gay mafia that controls the whole thing. Am not kidding. From fellow writers, to p.a.'s to director and even producer--god damn it--they're all OVER the place! Worse, they do everything to make you feel guilty because you're not GAY like them. Its reverse discrimination. They don't respect or give you opportunity if you're heterosexual, by golly.

According to the gay mafia you have to think like a woman because the bulk of today's local TV audience are women (!) and if you're not a woman or GAY, you're out.

Jesus Christ on a floating raft. What logic!



May 1, 2009 at 5:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, though my friends and I have left local TV we're trying to concentrate on writing for animation which is probably more lucrative.:)



May 1, 2009 at 5:14 AM  
Blogger TheCoolCanadian said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

May 1, 2009 at 8:45 AM  
Blogger TheCoolCanadian said...

Holy crap on toast!

What an exposé! In my time, this was not the case at all. I have nothing against gays, but I dare say that now I know the reason why the TV dramas are so awful in Filipino channels here.

7K pesos per script? My gawd! In 1976, I was being paid Ph P4,000 per script, and the minimum wage then was Ph P12.81 a day (or 243.40 a month). The prices of food and other goods were much cheaper too. Now how on earth would a guy earning Ph P7,000 make both ends meet these days? That's terrible.

Gay Mafia? Lol!That would be a good subject for comedy. Can you imagine a GODFATHER limpwrist ordering killings here and there. The possibility is just bizarre.

Now I understand why so many TV writers are quite disgusted, and why televiewers like me are really annoyed by the Filipino channels here outside the Philippines. This is worse than the conspiracy in X-FILES! Lol!

Anyway, Pidong, in my time, TV writers are given all the leeway to write their scripts. Every episode is written by one writer alone. No mafias of straight people. There were gay writers in the movies, but thay mind their own business, and the straight writers mind their own business as well.

I totally sympathize with you, guy. The situation you've been in was horrible and since RP TV is sooooo bad these days, you're indeed better off working in another area of writing.

But, this situation will change, I'm sure. The audience will eventually get tired of all these nonsensical shows that many are going to cut their subscription (like what I did). I was just too fed up by the no brainer shows coming from the Filipino channels that I had to nip them in the bud.

These two networks should wake up soon enough or they'd be in for a rude awakening. So, Pidong, concentrate on what you're doing in animation and lots of luck may come your way.

You might be able to pick up something from the things I will be posting here in installment basis.
Do keep in touch.

BTW, the Warhol produced films and directed by Paul Morissey should be available from Video stores there. Phone around or try Video 48 owned by Simon Santos. They might have it there. If not, I could send you DVDs.

May 1, 2009 at 8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please allow me to clarify something that may offend those who read what I sent.

I have nothing against gays per se either. They want to justify their sexual and psychological preference as an innocent sounding "lifestyle" , fine. To each his own.

Rather, its this kind of MENTALITY and DISCRIMINATION this particular minority group of gay rights activists (kuno) working in the big two TV networks has, that I and many others (gays and more fair-minded heterosexuals combined) are against. We are against this collective feeling by the TV gay mafiosi, that they must create and protect their own empire/turf on local TV, radio, cable, the internet, the komiks...the entire local MEDIA, just to tell the whole world that they're shouldn't be discriminated against. Its this kind of "inferiority complex" that's destroying the whole thing. Its true. Its a hidden agenda and an open secret combined.

And you know what? Its this kind of closed system that's killing any chance of creativity or innovation to shine at least on those big two networks. Hell, the gay mafiosi even flip-flop on these two networks so its as if they own the whole shebang!

Beginners like us would be told to submit a FULL TV script. We toil day and night coming up with really good ideas like what we were told and inspired by in the seminars. We submit it. Then wait for weeks, stretching to months...then lo and behold, our ideas come out on TV written by somebody else, or "refined" by somebody else.

Do we get paid for this? NO. They tell us, its part of the game. That if we're really CREATIVE we wouldn't mind it, as we are supposed to be a bottomless well of ideas, that its a COLLABORATIVE EFFORT, that its part of the INITIATION. Golly, I didn't know that getting RIPPED-OFF by the gay TV mafiosi was part of the process. We were never told this in the seminars.

At least there in the States, even BEGINNERS get paid for just submitting a plot outline or sequence treatment; whoever they may be.

HERE, you're supposed to submit FULL SCRIPTS.


That is, until they're satisfied that you're worthy enough to join their gay mafia. And by that time, a lot of ass-kissing had gone by and you're probably already ONE OF THEM! No wonder this gay "lifestyle" is so contagious nowadays; all for the false promise of money and fame in TV scriptwriting with the big two TV networks.

I think something illegal was done here, but I can't put my finger on it. Am not a lawyer. I think its copyrights? Why aren't writers here allowed to form guilds like in the States to protect their rights? Aren't we entitled to some damages here? Isn't this a crime already?

Well, come to think of it, who would compose the bulk of such membership if we ever have a guild of TV writers? You guessed it. THE GAY TV MAFIOSI. So wala din. Useless.

So, yeah, your suggestion of this being a good topic for an INDIE film is more logical. Start by exposing this shit being perpetrated by Charo Santos Concio, the Lopezes, GMA 7 network owners, and their army of the GAY TV MAFIOSI. Let their gay code of OMERTA be finally revealed.

Heck, we may even get compensated for our troubles. Problema na lang kung sinong magfi-finance, magca-cast at magdi-distribute.

Anyway, sorry for the rant. To you and to everybody else reading this. Guess just got carried away. For any GAY out there who got offended, am terribly sorry, but I meant my diatribe against a specific discriminatory mindset and philosophy of a particular group of gay people and not against gays per se. I know there are other gays out there who are more fair-minded than these guys--gays, whatever--and am sure they're educated enough to understand the point being raised here.

Also hope and pray that this kind of situation does not happen in today's local komiks industry composed of a lot of young, impressionable, aspiring people.

Young dilettante komiks people: protect and nurture your writers. Be fair-minded and just towards them. Don't let a minority sect like the GAY MAFIOSI creative mentality I mentioned, hypnotize you into sympathy with them.

Thanks again, JM for the time and bother.



P.S. By the way, do you like old, classic films, especially old classic foreign films with subtitles? Just curious.

May 1, 2009 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger TheCoolCanadian said...

What? They stole your idea and told you that it was all part of the game?
Shame on them! People who steal ideas from another person are THIEVES. Period. Guess what? You're better off then not to be mingling with these creatures (Vultures?) or you'll be CONTAMINATED by their EVIL DEEDS. What they're doing is copyright infringement. They are taking advantage of you for the s0-called: GROUP EFFORT.

This is also one thing that puzzles me: if networks want to save money, why not just assign one writer for an episode instead of this terrible practice of having a pool of writers putting hodgepodge of ideas that after the dust settled, what does the audience get from their "Group effort"?

A hideous-looking show that shouldn't have been produced at all.

I think the scenario in RP television is extremely clear to me now. It's horrendous and it's a place where a creative and serious writer SHOULD NOT BE WORKING IN.

Writing a book (or an indie Digital movie) about this experience might be a good idea. He-he.

Subtitled movies? I always watch them here. As we all know, the Toronto Film Festival is the biggest and the most star-studded film festival in the world, and more than half of the film entries are subtitled films. Same thing with the Montreal film festival and the Vancouver Film festival.

Your experience in RP television makes me sad, my friend. If only you've been born much earlier, you would have been a lot happier working as a writer in television. But, there is always hope. With televiewers outside RP (which is huge), who are becoming irked and tired of the "same old, same old" style of the two big networks there, many will cancel their subscription and the two networks might finally wake up and smell the freshly brewed (barako) coffee.

May 1, 2009 at 3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This is also one thing that puzzles me: if networks want to save money, why not just assign one writer for an episode instead of this terrible practice of having a pool of writers putting hodgepodge of ideas that after the dust settled, what does the audience get from their "Group effort"?"

Well from my experience, I think its called "exploitation". They do assign a headwriter or overall consultant. In ABS-CBN its usually RICKY LEE (who's an award-winning scriptwriter of the late 70s and early 80s AND a staunch gay rights activist) in GMA 7, I think its RJ Nuevas (a former komiks writer, and award-winning tv scriptwriter) whenever they have a teleserye or fantaserye or teledrama usually produced by VIVA Films. Like Mr. Lee, Nuevas is also GAY and a part of the TV GAY Mafiosi. Sometimes Mr. Lee has an assistant, a certain BAYANI (forgot his full name) who is also---right, you got it.

So if there are headwriters, who are presumably more creative and understand their female audience BECAUSE THEY'RE GAY, why you ask,
is there a useless need for a pool of writers?

My theory is, even these headwriters alone are human. They can't do all the work by themselves considering the heavy workload and time constraints. This naturally compels them to get outside help for FREE from potentially talented beginners who are willing to help them after they give and conduct their FREE seminars. These beginners jump in and if the headwriter later sees an idea that's good, he (or she) shamelessly gets it, expropriates it, and gets paid for it at the expense of the unpaid beginner.

The second stage is when the headwriter allows the beginner to share in the proceeds which is usually peanuts.

Third stage is you share credit on screen with the headwriter and your pay is increased a bit.

Last stage, after much ass-kissing and backstabbing, you're on your own and presumably made a name of yourself and paid independently, but owing strict obedience and loyalty to your original headwriter. And by this time too--gulp-- you're also GAY like them. Have seen it happen. Sad but true.

You get to write those abominable US licensed game shows, showbiz gossip talk shows, religious shows, children's shows, fantaseryes, teleseryes--and all sorts of wonderful GAY crap.

That's the purpose of a pool of beginner writers for the GAY mafiosi headwriters. They hypocritically advocate social fairness and understanding to gays, and yet they practice the opposite to beginner TV scriptwriter-wannabes as a sort of vendetta or payback to a heterosexual society. Reverse discrimination. That's why you get a lot of lousy shows from the big two Philippine networks.

Some quality well-thought episodes have come out once in a while, but they are inundated by the number of lousy GAY mafiosi tv crap, like CONVERSE shoes, ARE ALL OVER THE PLACE.

Anyway, switch mode: a few years back there was a "100 years of Films" festival in Manila where they showed old classic local and foreign films and it was a tremendously great experience for film enthusiasts. To this day I miss it and the company of intelligent Filipino film enthusiasts who were there. Even local actors went to the event and I watched the films inside the theater with them: Michael de Mesa, Chinggoy Alonzo, Pen Medina, Joel Torre, Gina Alajar, Amanda Page (if you can believe that), Cherry Gil, Jaclyn Jose, and others I can't recall right now.

Some friends goet to lend me some classi film titles to study, others I view on youtube, and, though I have been a victim of infringement, have been shamelessly purchasing old classic foreign films of late from the local banketa DVD PIRATES. Of which I'm aware, have been downloaded for free from some public domain site in the internet. Someday I may learn to do this too. Damn those pirates. Ahrrr.

How I envy you being able to watch that Toronto Film Festival.

A classic 1978 Canadian/French film that I've recently watched on DVD is JESUS OF MONTREAL. Great, great piece of FILM.

Have you seen this? Its about this stage actor who came back after a long disappearance and resumes his position with this acting troupe scheduled to perform a modernized version of Jesus Christ's sermon on the mount in order to get more visitors and revenue for a failing park reserve.

The hook here is that the returning stage actor gets to actually perform REAL miracles during the stage performance that the public begin to suspect that he's really an incarnation of Jesus Christ.

Great insights on belief and value systems abound which makes for compelling viewing until you reach the very touching and truly dramatic surprise ending that stays with you even after you've left the theater.

I even got to learn a few french and spanish phrases in the film too because of the sub-titles. :)

Were you still in Manila around 1978 because I presume you were still in the Philippines at the time, and the info I got was that JESUS OF MONTREAL was also shown in local theaters at the time.



May 1, 2009 at 6:53 PM  
Blogger TheCoolCanadian said...


Hearing all the minute details of the situation is so heart-breaking. I'm sure those who "became gays" later from being heterosexual, are just playing the game, so to speak. When I was there in 1970s, I wrote a play on male prostitution (presented at Fort Santiago, Paco Angelorio theater, Mehan Garden, Farmer's Market, as dinner theater in a big restaurant called Wells Fargo, and even was pirated by a guy named Rudy Jackson who managed a gay bar in Ermita and presented my play in his bar without my permission, and it was already running for 2 months before I discovered it when someone told me that he saw my name outside the bar where the play is being shown). The kicker was that: Jackson added actual sex scenes onstage, where the gay actors were performing fellatio on the the club's "hospitality Boys". It took an influential person to shut down the show. I didn't sue Jackson because I wanted to be as far away from him as possible, yet one day he knocked on my door, presenting me an expensive wine to start a peace-making effort. But that's another story.

Anyway, to be able to write something completely complicated of which I knew nothing about, I had to go "undercover". I hung-out with callboys for many months, and most of them became my friends. Many were married and their wives didn't know the kind of livelihood their husbands were involved in. On Friday nights, these good looking guys would hang-out in-front of Good Earth Emporium on Rizal Avenue where the clients pick them up, especially on paydays. Clients were matronly ladies, but mostly were the big "G" with a lower case "ay". He-he.

I was young, (15 years old and I was already 5'9" tall by then) and I guess I was the cutest guy there, so the clients always ZOOMED IN on me. Lol. But, I always have a ready answer for them: "I'm already booked and I'm just waiting for her."

I was there to learn first hand what sort of life these young men were living and being sort of "undercover", no one discovered my intentions. Then, I became really close to these guys because they were fantastic people. They care about you, they were sincere and warm and they treat you as family. What's more, the camaraderie was the best. On Sunday nights, we hung out to one of the guys' pad and they drink beer. I don't drink, but I liked inhaling the weed ( I still enjoy it these days). He-he.

This is when I found out how they managed to nonchalantly go to bed and have sex with clients, both with "real women" and "not so real women". They all have some sort of SHUT OFF VALVE like in a faucet. They developed the skills of pleasuring the clients without feeling anything inside. Everything was mechanical, something like a technique an actor uses to deliver an interpretation of a character he is playing. It's akin to Mechanical acting, not method acting: To feel, or not to feel.

I told you this little anecdote because your contemporary writers who sort of FELL INTO THE QUICKSAND OF THE BIG "G" will never become a true and honest big G. They are there just to survive, just like my wonderful friends in Avenida – many, many years ago. I'm pretty sure they'd be able to get out of it unscathed.

Btw, to conclude my little adventure in Avenida, my friends never found out that I was never one of them. But the unfortunate thing was that, they were so genuine individuals that I could no longer quash them as if they never existed. They became my friends for life. A couple of them even became movie stars later (but I will never reveal their names even if Ricky Lee or Charo Santos twists my arm). He-he. But yes, for several years, we had a yearly reunion and the last one I had attended was before I left the country in 1980. What really sucked was that, I've never met so wonderful people like them. You know how rumors would spread saying that these guys rob their clients at knife-point? Nothing could be further from the truth. They were there just to make a living, because the country could not offer them a decent income for their families. Some young men worked in construction and/or factories, and when they are hurt in a work-related accidents, the employers would not even lift a finger to help them. Three of these guys were victims of this sort of unfortunate incidents and thank goodness they were good-looking enough to use it as their capital to survive in a capitalist society.

So don't feel bad. Your friends who were "eaten" by the big G will come out still as Straight guys as ever, and probably give the MAFIOSO the middle finger salute later. Wha-ha-ha. Mark my word.

Yes. JESUS DE MONTREAL is one of my favorite movies (number 3 of my best ten). It was actually made in 1989. During the showing, I had the chance to talk to the Director, Denys Arcand and to the lead actor Lothaire Bluteau. And yes, you're right. International filmfests are fun because you get the chance to talk to as many actors, director, writers, as you want. And yes, you get to sit close enough to well-known people and talk to them. But sometimes, it can be an embarassing situation as well.

Here's another anecdote. In 1987, I was very busy working and traveling to different countries due to the nature of my job. When I took some days off, I attended the Vancouver Film festival, and one of the premiere showings was a film called MADE IN HEAVEN. Before the show began, I talked to the guy sitting next to me. During our conversation, I said: "I just hope this film is good, or I will be just wasting my time sitting here."

The guy answered: "oh, man, believe me. It's very good. You'll see."

"You must have seen it before. Then why are you still sitting here for crying out loud?"

Then he said: "Oh, because I played the lead in this movie."

And I said: "What?" then I looked at his face and stare at him viz å viz. I did not recognize him at all. "you're an actor?"


"Okay, let's see how good your acting is."

He just laughed.

We sat until the show was finished.

When the lights turn on, the guy beside me asked: "So, what do you think?"

"Not bad. In fact, it's very good. And hey, you're one heck of an actor. Congratulations."

Alan Rudolph, the director, was already standing before the screen of the theater, in front of a microphone. It was time for question and answer session. The director called the actor beside me: "Tim, come on. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Timothy Hutton".

Before he went, Tim Hutton shook my hand. "Nice meeting you, guy."

"Oh, my pleasure" was my response.

Well, this was how I met Timothy Hutton. I just couldn't tell him how different he looks on screen than in real life. Honestly, I thought he was another person.

Now going back to Jesus de Montreal. Isn't this film unreal? One of the most brilliant film I've ever seen. And the music – My gawd, what a turn on. Just incredible. I never get tired watching this film.

There was another Canadian filmmaker I like named CLAUDE JUTRA. He was another brilliant filmmaker. Unfortunately, when he was in his 40s, he was afflicted with ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE. One day, he told his family: "I'm going to take a walk." He did, and never returned. His family looked for him, the police, practically everybody in their neighborhood. A week later, his body surfaced on the St. Lawrence River. He decided to end it all while his memory was still functioning. He was so afraid of losing his memory, of losing control, of facing the day when he would no longer know who he was.

My favorite Claude Jutra film is MON ONCLE ANTOINE, a period piece about the life in a small town in old Quebec.

On the same note: Every time the Philippinmes join the international filmfests, the films are all about KAPUTAHAN, KABAKLAAN, KA-JUETENG-ngan, KA-ISKWATER-an and ka-BASURA-han.

Kakagigil! Akala tuloy ng mga tao sa ibang bansa, WALA NANG NATITIRANG TUNAY NA LALAKI SA PILIPINAS! This, being said, I still insist I have nothing against gays. Don't misread me, guys.

May 1, 2009 at 9:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. You know, they said in the seminars that as writers we also have to learn how to research our material and not fake it. How I wish I had our kind of guts to go "undercover" as it were. Lucky for you, you were able to meet those nice people.

We were also told to try some acting lessons as well so we could appreciate the actior's point of view when reading the script. That way when we write we could also "act" it out in our heads.

But its the research thing that's really my waterloo I think. Am not an extrovert that's why I chose writing for a living. I like the solitariness of it all, you know? Well, I guess it has its downside in that you'd be cut off from the outside world...but after reading your "undercover" experiences, I guess I should also immerse myself in the water as well.

"This is when I found out how they managed to nonchalantly go to bed and have sex with clients, both with "real women" and "not so real women". They all have some sort of SHUT OFF VALVE like in a faucet. They developed the skills of pleasuring the clients without feeling anything inside. Everything was mechanical, something like a technique an actor uses to deliver an interpretation of a character he is playing. It's akin to Mechanical acting, not method acting: To feel, or not to feel."

Man, what are you saying here? You mean, YOU TOO actually learned and know how to do this "shut off valve like in a faucet"? Fantastic. REALLY? Your devotion to research and to your craft boggling. I'm not sure I could go to that extreme just for the sake of "research". Then again, I don't know. Haven't tried it. What's it like anyway, this "shutting yourself up like a faucet"? Loveless couples in worn marriages have been known to do the sex act mechanically so I guess this must be what you mean. But then, don't you think its know, dehumanizing? I mean, trading flesh without mutual exchange of emotion between two sad, lonely people? But I guess one really has to experience it to find out.

Change of topic: how people really speak in real life has been my waterloo also. Dialog. I have a grasp of how the middle class in this country speak, its the lower classes that am still trying to study. You know, the one thing I notice about the lower class is that they're usually SILENT and not talkative. Maybe its because of their being so poor as not to be that sociable and talkative? So am studying their actions, their habits. Silent film ang nasa mind ko whenever I take notes and see them.

I'll try to look for that Mon Oncle Antoine you mentioned. Sounds familiar. Is that a coming of age story? 1970s film?

I love great 1970s films. The Conformist, The Spider's Strategem, Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Revenge of the Pink Panther...

Lately, I've discovered this great Italian film: CINEMA PARADISO. WOW WOW WOW. Why can't we make inspirational, bitter-sweet films like this, No? Why all the sex, the depression, the depravity, the gayness, the poverty...ugh. CINEMA PARADISO is probably my no. 1 film of all time, with LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL a close second.

I also enjoyed your story about meeting TIM HUTTON. :D Ha ha ha. He was pretty famous in the late 1970s, no?

My turn: during the "100 films 100 years" film fest, I was watching LOS OLVIDADOS and during the intermission, the guys in my row got up and took a leak. So I went as well. When I came out, a tall, friendly-looking mestizo guy beside me, asked: "Pre, naiintindihan mo? Depressing no?"

I looked up to him and said: "OK naman siya."

"Pag pinalabas yan dito, di kikita yan."

"Ba't nyo naman nasabi yon?"

Then he just looked at me quizzically, smiled and returned to his seat.

After the show, when we all got out of the movie theater I saw the tall, long-haired mestizo guy met by his son, JANNO GIBBS. It was RONALD...something, I forgot the surname. A well known supporting actor and the father of Janno Gibbs.

The one regret I have to this day, is STILL not being able to see a great Filipino film of the 1950s which was also shown during that festival: Gerry de Leon's "The Moises Padilla Story". Sayang. Instead, I got to watch Kurosawa's the SEVEN SAMURAI which was alright but if I had known that SEVEN SAMURAI would proliferate the DVD bangketa pirate stalls in Manila, I wouldn't have watched it in the first place.

Have you seen the Moises Padilla Story? Is it any good?

May 2, 2009 at 5:55 AM  
Blogger TheCoolCanadian said...

Research is very important in writing. It opens doors in your head and it also makes your material look authentic.

Here's a little observation.
As a teenager in RP, I watched movies all the time. Foreign and local. Good and bad. There's one musical-drama directed by ARTEMIO MARQUEZ (I could no longer recall the title), but it starred EDDIE PEREGRINA. In the film, Eddie's little sister was hit by a car. Eddie flagged a jeepney to help him take his sister to the hospital. A good Samaritan driver offered to help and Eddie and her sister were now off to the hospital.

Next sequence, we see the jeepney entering the gates of QUEZON INSTITUTE on E. Rodriguez Blvd!
Well, when I saw this, I gasped! Why would anyone take an accident victim to QI when the whole country knows that QI is a TB hospital? There's no one there to fix a severe trauma case. I was watching this tagalog film with my friends, and when I said: "Ay, QI! Nagkaroon bigla ng TB yung bata nang mabangga ng kotse. Nakaka-TB pala kapag nabundol ng sasakyan ang tao!"

Everybody laughed and the heavy drama suddenly became a comedy on the part of the audience.

Lesson learned: If there's something that doesn't look like a duck, chances are – it is NOT a duck.

Cinema Paradiso is indeed a wonderful film, and you must have watched also those NEO-REALIST films from Italy. Despite its brief run - 1943 to 1952 - the heavyweight films of the period and the principles that guided them put the Italian cinema on the map at the time and continue to shape contemporary global film making. Though after the industrialization of many countries in the world, this school of thought had dissipated from highly-industrialized nations and was replaced by the French New Wave, but neo-realism lived on in the third world countries, including the Philippines. The era brought us some really heart-rending films directed by Cesare Zavattini, Luchino Visconti, Michaelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Roberto Rosselini to name a few.

One of the best neo-realist film for me is GERMANIA ANNO ZERO (Germany Year Zero, 1947)by Rosselini. It has a more personal feeling for Rosselini, influenced by the death of his eldest son in 1946.

Set in the rubble of Berlin, the film has a young protagonist (rare for Rossellini), a 15-year-old who lives with his father and sister, who falls under the spell of a pedophile. The kid was eeking cash from the sale of the scammer's Third Reich memorabilia. Potent and unbearable images make the desperation of the city absolutely clear. Early on, a horse lies dead in the street, probably hit by a tram, and people matter-of-factly carve-and-carry its meat away. Corrupted on all sides, the boy eventually resorts to the most desperate of measures. This one is an extremely powerful film and a must see for everyone.

In the French New Wave era, my favorite is Francois Truffaut's JULES AND JIM. The acting alone by Jeanne Moreau is more than enough to make you like this film.

In the Philippines, my favorite film directors of the 50s are GERARDO DE LEON, LAMBERTO AVELLANA, CESAR GALLARDO, GREGORIO FERNANDEZ & MAR S. TORRES.

I've seen almost all Gerardo de Leon films. My favorite is El Filibusterismo with Pancho Magalona; Sanda Wong with Jose Padilla and Lilia Dizon; The Moises Padilla Story with Leopoldo Salcedo.

Btw, if you're into Italian Cinema, you should also watch PIER PAOLO PASSOLINI's films. Except for SALO, I liked all Pasolini films: MEDEA with opera singer Maria Callas (amazing film); 1001 Arabian Nights (visually beautiful); Oedipus Rex (riveting); The Gospel According to St. Matthew (Profound); Accatone; Mamma Roma; Love Meetings (all endearing); Teorema ((as sureal as Buñuel) & Canterbury Tales (hilarious). SALO (Disgusting). Did you know that Bernardo Bertolucci was Pasolini's assistant for several years before he became a director himself?

In the Philippines, the 1950s produced very good films, got worse in the 60s, became good again in the 1970s and then from 1980s upwards, became dismal.

The Filipino film directors I worked with that I liked were: Ishmael Bernal (TV), Lino Brocka (TV), MARIO O'HARA (TV), JOEY GOSIENGFIAO (MOVIE). I worked with other film and TV directors but since I didn't like their style of directing, I'll leave them out of my list. He-he.

In local movies, I became friends with:

Down to earth. He was the guy who taught me how to use 1 centavo to work in pay phones (it was 10 centavos that time to make a call), but Al told me that it was our secret. And did it ever work. He-he.

Most fun-loving guy, extremely rambunctious, almost hyper active, but very smart. I really enjoyed his intelligence when we would sit down and talk. We had this little game that resembled TOPPING in stage acting. Topping means when actor A delivers his lines, Actor B should speak in a higher voice than Actor A. This is used in stage acting to build the scene. But in our little game, we used synonyms or antonyms. An example:

"Hey, did you know that so and so actor was dumped by his girlfriend because allegedly, his private part is very small?"

Then I would say: "you mean, minute?"

Then he would say: "Minuscule"

Then I would say: "Tiny?"







and we would end up laughing so hard that Butch Plata, the assistant director of Gosingfiao then, would say jokingly: "Mga luku-luko, magtigil nga kayong dalawa".

Most kind. A very beautiful person, but very sad inside. Every time we see each other in showbiz functions, we would sit in one corner and we would talk about our favorite topic: Life and Death. Even when the event is happening in Mother Lily's house in Greenhills where almost all the actors and actresses of Tagalog movies attended, Alfie and I would just sit in one corner, discussing the after life, and the meaning of our existence here on earth. In 1981, we're supposed to have a reunion in California, but it didn't happen. a few months after I left RP, tragedy struck.

Well-disciplined. Eddie Mesa sure know how to teach discipline. Mark would come to the set well-prepared. Knew all his lines and the characterization. Very polite and his good upbringing is evident. A genuinely good guy.

A cool guy in every way. He's one guy I know who didn't seem to have any hard feelings with anybody.

A good friend of mine way back when when he was still playing basketball with my neighbor, basketball player Mon Godiz. I wrote a script for TV to introduce Mitch and I convinced Mon to appear in the film I wrote for Regal, Bedspacers.

The silent type. Joey was my sparring partner, so to speak, when we both used to work out at the YMCA on Arroceros, Manila. He didn't talk much with the other people there, but when we were working out, we talk non-stop and the other guys think were snobs, not knowing that we're just both turned off by their unreasonable bravado and loudness. In this sort of environment, the switch off valve I learned with the Avenida boys really worked well. Ha-ha.

Oh, by the way, the actor you were talking about is RONALDO VALDEZ. I've seen him many times before and we greeted each other, but since I was just a teenager when I was in RP showbiz, I was more inclined to mingle with the younger set then.

There you go, man. Writing is all about living life. If you want to write but don't like to live fully, it would be impossible to do it. So, live and write – but don't live to write like what the mafia wanted you to do. Screw them.

May 2, 2009 at 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"On the same note: Every time the Philippinmes join the international filmfests, the films are all about KAPUTAHAN, KABAKLAAN, KA-JUETENG-ngan, KA-ISKWATER-an and ka-BASURA-han.

Kakagigil! Akala tuloy ng mga tao sa ibang bansa, WALA NANG NATITIRANG TUNAY NA LALAKI SA PILIPINAS! This, being said, I still insist I have nothing against gays. Don't misread me, guys."

I think I can answer that. During that same "100 years of Film" Manila Festival, a forum was conducted presided by Eddie Romero and Nick Deocampo. The topic was how could Filipino films penetrate the foreign market.

You wouldn't believe this, but both Romero and Deocampo espoused that since the Philippines was not technically savvy in special effects, it instead concentrate on SEX because it has universal appeal.

Am not kidding. This is true.

That is why you see a lot of local indie films right now with controversial sex topics or acts making the international rounds. Its an actual policy to promote SEX as a local foreign film product.

When I was given the opportunity to ask a question to Romero and Deocampo in the panel, I commented that this is not the case with Hong Kong cinema with their martial arts kung fu/action films. Well, they poo-poohed it as an exception. But look at where Hong Kong martial arts/action cinema is right now! They are now an accepted genre by cinema audiences worldwide while we're down here---STILL concentrating on selling SEX and depravity as a film product. I wouldn't be surprised if Eddie Romero and Nick Deocampo are still in the thick of it, implementing and refining this out-of-date policy.



May 4, 2009 at 8:26 PM  
Blogger TheCoolCanadian said...

Hmm... no wonder we get here a glut of sex films from Manila. Showcase, a Canadian film & TV production company, bought several films from Manila, namely: FETCH ME A PAIL OF WATER (PILA BALDE); CURACHA, THE RESTLESS WOMAN (CURACHA, ANG BABAING WALANG PAHINGA); SKEWERED (TUHOG); INSURANCE AGENT (SEGURISTA); and many more.

All these, by the way are about SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION. Then we also get MACHO DANCERS, and their DANCERS FILMS sequels. That's why whe people see that the film is from Manila, rest assured that it's either GAY, or SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION. Curacha, for instance was just senseless. I mean, I just don't get this very loooooong scene of Rossana Roces walking nude from the ferry to the streets, an overextended scene featuring to us her vagina, her boobs, the details of her pubic hair and so on. And for what? I don't get it.

May 4, 2009 at 9:00 PM  
Blogger cpsanti said...

again, these are really amazing tips ;-) i'm trying to crank out a novel myself and these are some tips that i can also reasily apply. thanks for sharing your experience with us! ;-)

June 21, 2009 at 7:19 PM  
Blogger worthsense said...

To Pidong:

Sa nabasa ko sa 1 American book a few days ago about TV Writing, I think kulang ka sa agent/manager. If that's the case, I'm surprised an agent was never mentioned in ABS-CBN workshop. 10% ang makukuha ng agent sa bawat script na mabebenta at sila ang nagbebenta no'n sa network. I think binarat o ginoyo ka ng headwriter sa ABS-CBN for making some FREE o P7,000 lang (sa laki ng kikitain nila dyan, talagang dapat malaki ang bayad nila sa'yo). Ang job ng mga agent ay para ma-prevent ang ganyang klase ng bullshit na imbis na malaki ang kita, konti o wala. Sila ang tatayong representative mo at pwede nilang ireklamo sa taas yan, lalo na kung kilala sa ABS yung agent mo. Sila rin ang nagsasabi kung may assignment o opening na project. Sayang nga lang at mukhang walang Writers Guild dito sa 'Pinas na pwede mong ipose do'n na sa'yo nag-originate ang ideya. Pwede mo pang idemanda kapag ganyang hindi ka nabayaran.

Sya nga pala, ibinebenta ba ng ABS-CBN ang mga lumang scripts nila (sa soaps, sitcoms, gag shows)? Gusto ko sanang bumili para malaman ang format nila.

Sa susunod, hanap ka ng agent. Just make sure na hindi sila myembro ng federasyon/gay mafiosi na sinasabi mo o close sya ng mga yon. Tungkol sa nabago ang script, kahit sa Amerika daw, ganyan. Yung scripts ng mga freelancer, pina-polish (sa atin, pinapapangit)/rewrite at nagiging unrecgnizable.

(Kung hindi minention sa workshop ito, I'm surprised again:) 1st rule of TV Writing: You play by the rules until you're in the position to tell them what to do. Wala ka talagang power or freedom to insist your ideas and demands hangga't freelacer ka pa lang at hindi ka pa nasa mataas na katungkulan bilang regular staff ng writers committee.

Si Ricky Lee pala ang headwriter ng ABS-CBN. A few weeks ago, nakita ko yung libro nya: Scriptwriting Manual by: Ricky Lee- A Trip To Quiapo. Nung binuklat ko yung libro nya: puro mga old-fashioned style/lessons in scriptwriting (panahon pa ng Martial Law). Hindi k nga binili. Hindi purket nanalo sya, ibig sabihin na non, magaling nga sya. I think, kaya sya nanalo ay dahil mga kafederasyon nya yung mga judges o walang masyadong kalaban.

Pero kahit na oportunista, saboteur ng show sa kabila, pa-exclusive at walang malasakit ang ABS-CBN, I still want to work with them dahil overcrowded na sa GMA 7. Sa ABS-CBN, puro na sila mga nagkakalat at wala na silang magandang maipalabas.

September 27, 2009 at 8:33 PM  
Blogger TheCoolCanadian said...


Agents are very common in USA and Canada for writers, but not in the Philippines. It seems to me that nowadays, RP TV is utilizing a pool of writers with head writers. That's a very messy way of doing things. In USA, pool writers are only utilized for day time dramas because soap operas are shown daily, there is a high demand for writers to write nonstop. Having a pool of writers makes a lot of sense not to run out of materials, because they cannot have a rerun in a daily TV drama. Other than this, TV shows still use a single writer for a particular episode (just like what we used to do in RP in the 1970s). This set up makes a lot of writers in RP frustrated and many quit and/or look for another kind of employment.

Well, let's hope Pidong reads your message and we'll see what he's got to say about it.

September 28, 2009 at 9:49 AM  
Blogger worthsense said...

Dapat talaga maraming writers sa soaps pero dapat, marunong silang gumamit ng common sense at hindi pathetic ung nangyayari sa bida o nakakainis ung mga istorya nila na puro sumbatan lang ang nangyayari sa mga characters at walang ka-sense-sense.

So if that's the case, then it's best na pumasok ka sa showbiz as a talent/actor before going to scriptwriting. Nabanggit nyo (at nabasa ko rin sa libro) na requirement talaga sa mga writers ang pumasok sa acting workshop para alam nyo ang emotion ng mga characters na ipoportray nila. Pasok ka sa 1 talent agency kahit di ka sisikat as a star. Ang main purpose mo lang naman ay maging tv writer. Ung manager sa talent agency ang pwedeng maging agent mo kapag naging ganap na writer ka na. Mapapagsamantalahan ka talaga ng mga bakla kung unknown writer ka lang talaga. Ang importante, may agent na magseserve as a shield sa'yo sa mga baklang yan. Kung wala mang saysay na ung pinaghirapan mo ay 100% na maipapalabas sa TV dahil pinagtulungang ibahin ng mga baklang staff writers, at least di ka nagogoyo ng mga bakla at naiimpluwensyahan to become one of them dahil protektado ka ng agency mo at may kikitain ka pa.

Yung sa nabasa kong libro, more on American TV network format ung style of writing. Sabi dun, mahirap ang gumawa ng script. Akala ko, basta may maipakita ka lang na magandang ideya, OK na. Hindi pala ganung kadali. Ang daming ikino-consider: budget ng project, time-format ng show, location ng shooting, kaya minimalized ung mga dialogues sa script. Ang dami ko namang natutunan, kaso mukhang medyo iba sa Philippine TV format. Ang gusto ko talagang mabasa ay ung sa english translated korean drama scriptwriting (kung meron man) dahil sila ang naghahari sa buong Asia pagdating sa dekalidad na TV drama/soap opera ngayon. Sa latin american soaps, ang gusto kong mabasang libro ay sa 1 colombian scriptwriter.

September 29, 2009 at 7:37 PM  
Blogger TheCoolCanadian said...


Funny how the Korean telenovelas are not even known in the western world. But, yes, they're tops in Asian countries. Though the most successful telenovelas in the world have originated in Brazil then they spread out into Central America as well.

However, if you want to become a scriptwriter, you must have the so-called "nose for stories", just like journalists who should have "nose for news".

I agree that knowing the art of acting will really help a writer create a better character, dialogue, and build-up. In fact, I usually read the dialogues aloud after writing them to listen how they sound. If they sound unnatural, I revise them. This helps a lot in scriptwriting.

There are many good books in scriptwriting that are still available. Syd Field is one author I like. He expounded more on the paradigm.

September 29, 2009 at 8:23 PM  
Blogger worthsense said...

Nakakita ako ng libro ni Syd Field about screenwriting. Bibilhin ko bale kaso more on Movie scriptwriting sya than TV writing.

Ang kinaganda ng mga Korean soaps, kahit hindi sila sikat sa Western World, yung mga stars nila, naka-jump sa hollywood. Ex.- Rain sa Speed Racer, Gianna Jun sa Blood The Last Vampire at si Byung-Hun Lee sa G.I. Joe. Meron ring hollywood film na kinuha mula sa 1 Korean film. Yung The Lake House na kinuha sa Il Mare.

September 30, 2009 at 3:54 AM  
Blogger worthsense said...

To Pidong again:

Dapat, dun sa naka-establish/on-going na palabas ka lang gagawa ng script. Di ka pwedeng magpasok ng panibagong palabas. Magastos daw kasi yun. Imaginine na ka-cancelin nila yung palabas dahil may 1 unknown freelancer na nagpakita ng kakaibang palabas. Di ko naman sinasabing masama yon or against ako dun. Actually, pabor pa nga ako dun dahil gaganda yung palabas kaso wala ka pa kasing power/authority sa network kaya ganun talaga. Imaginine mo na halimbawa trainee ka sa 1 establishment. Sa palagay mo papayag yung manager na mamandohan mo sya dahil may maganda kang ideya? Syempre di papayag yon. Ibigay mo kung anong gusto nilang mangyari, pero lagyan mo ng sense yung istorya. So the big question is: papano mo magagawang sumabay sa on-going na palabas? Dapat pag-aralan, i-tape ang palabas at panoorin ng paulit-ulit at bumili ng mga scripts ng palabas sa network (kaya ko tinanong) para maka-develop ka ng sarili mong magandang version nung palabas. Kung ibahin man nila, at least may record ka na sa kanila. Kilala ka na nila at experience mo yan/stepping-stone kung gusto mong tumaas ang pwesto mo o lumipat sa iba. (That is: if that's "the case".)

September 30, 2009 at 4:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Mr. JM,

Could you post a sample comics script, please? Gusto ko po sanang matutunan ang sumulat nito. Thanks.

Mario T.
Ilocos Norte, Phil.

November 24, 2009 at 7:28 PM  
Anonymous DMatiga said...

mate. interesting blog. im also a newby in script writing. never had any formal training. just stumbled upon a free script writing software on the internet and decided to just play around with it. i have now written 10 pages for my first act. i have the story and arc mapped out but everyday some new ideas keep popping up. this is good right? should be. i hope so. im just a little worried that all these new things popping out of nowhere will get me all confused and lose the heart of the story. any word of advise? thanks mate.

February 1, 2010 at 3:34 AM  
Anonymous DMatiga said...

mate. interesting blog. im also a newby in script writing. never had any formal training. just stumbled upon a free script writing software on the internet and decided to just play around with it. i have now written 10 pages for my first act. i have the story and arc mapped out but everyday some new ideas keep popping up. this is good right? should be. i hope so. im just a little worried that all these new things popping out of nowhere will get me all confused and lose the heart of the story. any word of advise? thanks mate.

February 1, 2010 at 3:34 AM  
Blogger TheCoolCanadian said...

Mario T:

I will post a komiks script if this is what you need.


What you should really do is write a synopsis of your story. This way, you won't go astray. By having the paradigm applied to your script, that would help you monitor where your story should go.

February 1, 2010 at 9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First time stumbling into this blog, and I was about to recommend a struggling young writer to consider scriptwriting.

Well, by the time you read this, with tongue-in-cheek TV5 has pulled the rug under the feet of the big networks; ABS humiliated with the loss of some of its top earners (esp. WOWOWEE), but GMA keeps on producing KAK.

It's always the sad case that to get inside the local industry one needs someone on the inside, especially those in high posts: palakasan at koneksyon. Hence, of course, potential writing talent is ignored, and in turn we TV viewers have to put up with mediocrity on a daily basis.

(on that, daig pa yata ang mga local networks sa Taiwanese at Japanese, kung susumain).

At present, we have no agency system that's already in the US for decades. That is also sad.

Like some of the commentators here, I can only admire Korean and Latino scriptwriters when their superb storytelling get executed right on tape.

Going back, TV5 right now is without a doubt the upset, the combo-breaker, and most often the channel my household is tuned to. Sawa na ako sa rivalry ng 2 at 7.

December 2, 2010 at 5:11 AM  

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