Monday, December 14, 2009

Intermission: Nightcap

Well, it's been a good, albeit extremely busy week. Did my job, and then some. Couldn't take that day off to sleep, but I managed to sneak in 10 hours in the middle of a six-assignment-weekend.

To top it off, I finally went to see my very first movie, MySpy. It won't win any awards, I think, but I am happy that it is not as bad as some people made it out to be. At least, it's not that bad to me. I'm biased, though, cause I wrote it.

I guess it's like having a kid. No matter what, you'll still like your own kid.

I wasn't really worried about people's perception of the movie, only my own. I was afraid that I would hate it. I didn't. So that was good.

Seeing my name in big letters also gave me a hard on.

Writing the movie was a humbling experience. I didn't know how things worked in pre-production for a full feature film, where I spent most of my time.

I mean, I did TV and animation before, and I thought movies were just very long TV shows. It is, and it's not. Just like how writing poems and writing articles and writing books are totally different. How writing for a newspaper is different from writing online. The idea is the same, but a lot of things are quite different.

Truth be told, I agreed to write or do anything, mostly to see how things work. I accepted jobs writing books, to see how that comes about. I wrote TV stuff to see how that works. Ditto for movies, and going back years ago, how to do articles.

I started taking pictures, to learn how to do them. Stock up on the theories, and go out there and do shit. I have loads of theories. Testing them out may or may not be pleasant, but there is really only one way to find out.

I guess, I am blessed, and I say that with gratitude, not with hubris. Not with arrogance.

Way back when, I wanted to do cartoons. Animation. I wanted to do emo-fu.

So I went to an animation company, amongst 52 other companies I applied to. They gave me a job to do this and that. I wrote my first animation script - in fact, held in my hands the first script of any sort I have ever encountered - when I was 22.

I was part of a team that went to a TV station and told them we wanted to do something cool. They told the team they wanted something more IT-based. Because the minister at the time was into IT.

And so we did, and I was paid money for my first written words. Previously, I was paid doing food reviews with food and only food. Food was my only payment, the food that I ate for the review. It was quite pathetic, but hey, you gotta start somewhere.

After the 52 applications were sent, I went to six interviews. The first one was with NSTP. I did not know what doors that would open.

The other five were with various companies. I got the cold shoulder from magazine people. I did not think I would ever be working with magazines ever again, until I helped make the prototypes for four magazines three years ago.

There were also really weird writing jobs. Insurance companies were looking for someone to re-write forms, because a lot of people who fill in insurance forms can't spell, or can't read. Goes to show well... something, when I did not get that comfy job.

I also began to see that everything in this city needs to be written. Menus, buntings, scripts, books, magazines, journals, TV, movies, whatever. If something was written, somebody must have done it.

The only thing I wanted to do, was write, and get paid for writing. I did not really have any aspirations to be this or that or whatever. Oh, wait. That's a lie. I wanted to write comic books.

I remember the look on my family's faces when I told them, fresh off my finals at UM, that I wanted to be a writer.

"What do you want to write?!" came the hysterical question.

"Comic books," I said.

Now, imagine the hysteria reaching a crescendo. A high F.

I admire Neil Gaiman. At 22, he failed to get his books published, so he became a journalist for eight years.

"Being a journalist taught me how the world works," said Gaiman. "Best training I ever got."

Hanging on to his every word, I decided to be a journalist. I wanted to see what he saw.

I gambled everything. My degree was in Computer Science. I know how to write programmes. Sorry, I KNEW how to write programmes. The new languages the young kids use in programming is now some Mesopotamian gibberish to me. I do have a Rosetta stone, but it will take a while to catch up.

I mean, nested classes, CSS? What the fuck? Back in my day, cascading style sheets were a dead-end user click and download on Dreamweaver. On Dreamweaver! Do they still make those?

Gaiman's first comic, I think, was the Stonkingly Comic Comic Relief Comic - and that was the short version of the name.

I guess my path has driven me somewhere else, other than Gaiman's. But the lessons are there, if I choose to see it.

Oh well. I am happy. We shall see what happens next. Not with dread, fear or unrealistic optimism. We shall see.