No more early morning commutes. No more braving the god-forsaken savagery of the MRT. No more slavery to the chronological accuracy of the bundy clock. No more transcriptions and shotlists of never-ending tapes of footage. No more. At least for now.
I may have stopped from doing shotlists, the running time of my brief internship may have come to a screeching halt, but the things I learned from pursuing and having an internship started way beyond the moment I typed my first time code and punched my timecard.
Being an intern for the Living Asia Channel, a travel and lifestyle oriented cable channel, is not how I perceived my summer internship would turn out. I have always dreamt of being part of an advertising agency, a public relations firm, or even the corporate communications department of some channel. But not in a travel and lifestyle cable channel. But competition and unreasonable choosiness from my part got the best of me. Getting over the frustration was my first lesson. Looking beyond veneers and the office location was my second.
Just like any simpleminded student, unscathed by the harsh realities of the real world, I was led to believe that the more popular the media outfit, the better the internship. Being an intern for LAC taught me one important lesson: big things do come in small packages. Size of office and popularity among people don’t matter. It’s the people you work with.
Tons of shotlists. That is the bulk of my work in LAC. It may sound mundane, but it’s not. Stop. Look. Listen. That is the mantra of shotlisting. You stop the player (actually just pause, but you get the idea), look at the time code and correctly identify the shot, then listen intently and correctly transcribe interviews if there are any. With every time code you see and frame of footage you view, you actually discern quality over quantity. Plus there are the much-awaited transcriptions of interviews which will test every fiber of patience in your body. Research is also an important part of the process. You can’t correctly identify a good shot if your facts are wrong.
During my brief stay, we were also taught minor video editing. I had the chance to do the roster of events for the whole month of May. The roster is but a short sequence of animated frames. One of the editors showed me how to tweak the frames based on the already created templates. Very minor for video editing but at least I was able to get a shot at it. Because of my work, the project manager also assigned me to do research for the content of the sequence for the month of June. Everything for TV is indeed made way in advance.
Dabbling in scriptwriting was perhaps the work which seemed closer to home. But writing for TV is a far cry from writing for print. Time and time again this difference has always been said by professors. I have also proven this inside the classroom, having taken up TV Journalism just two sems ago. But actually doing it for a set of editors was a different thing. You have to go over miles of shotlists and mountains of footage to get that elusive perfect shot locked and loaded. Lock the appropriate shot to the correct voiceover, and make sure the shot is loaded enough with drama and sense to be appreciated. Every shot has to be a silver bullet. Thankfully the script we made for one of LAC’s segments is at par with the head writer’s expectations and is even under consideration for airing.
Perhaps the most exciting part of working for a travel and lifestyle channel is the traveling part. Unfortunately due to security reasons we were not allowed to go on location shoots outside Metro Manila. We were fortunate enough though to be tagged along during the month long coverage of the Zamboanga Peninsula Fair organized by the Department of Tourism and held at Clamshell Intramuros. I was able to come along for two days.
It was great having to experience actual coverage during the internship period. I was able to practice my photography skills as well as observe how actual video coverage is done as well. Of course, keeping in touch with the reality of the industry, we were also able to enjoy the perks of being members of the press: free food.
Working for LAC, I was able to prove firsthand the many theoretical aspects taught within the confines of the classroom. Broadcasting may be different from print in many respects, but both follow the basic tenets of journalism. Journalism through travel may not be as hard-hitting as straight news journalism, but both deal with people, social realities, and the environment.
As I skimmed through footage after footage of shots from various places all over the Philippines, I was able to see how beautiful our country is and how diverse the people are. Our country is teeming with culture and yet we don’t seem to appreciate it. That perhaps is our biggest difference with our Asian neighbors. I saw how other Asian countries would harmoniously preserve their culture and traditions as they pursue the future. Back in the Philippines we forget about culture and traditions, thinking it would hinder us from pursuing development. How wrong we are.
It may sound cliché to say that I have learned valuable life lessons during my internship. But I did. I was able to get out of my comfort zone by working with students from other universities. In the workplace you are all doing the same thing regardless of your university. It is not true that students from UP have an advantage. In the real world, packing a diploma from UP is not enough. Dealing with people is. At the end of the day having a good transcript can only get you so far. The real world is fierce with competition, and you can’t just use grades as your only weapon. Skill is not synonymous with good grades, and the more skills you have the better equipped you are.
At least for now I don’t have to face the real world again. I can prepare again as I go back to the university. But this time I know, good grades are not enough. They never are. A thick skin is what I need to counter all the frustrations I may have to face as I deal with employment in the future. Popularity is but a synonym to common. Prestige can be found in small ways.
This is not a stop to the live shotlist of my internship life.
This is just me hitting pause.