HITTING PAUSE

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.

INTERN[AL] COMBUSTION

Looking for an internship in the media industry is like looking for a good pair of jeans. It sounds easy to do, there are after all lots of stores to choose from. There are different kinds of jeans: slim, straight, boot, flared, etc. There are different media institutions to choose from: broadcasting, straight news, magazines, public relations, and advertising. Unfortunately, just like the perfect pair of jeans, the perfect internship is hard to find. And I want perfection.

“Learn to compromise! *slap” – Alba, 2009

I don’t do compromises. That is one of my major (Victoria Beckham accent please) weaknesses. It is hard for me to settle for less. Why have something you don’t really want, that is what I always say. I have always wanted to have an internship in either an ad agency or a PR firm. Sadly, I never got any of those two. Ad agencies are very picky and PR firms are not very accommodating. Of the two ad agencies and four PR firms I contacted, only the corporate communications department of ABS-CBN called me. Sadly they didn’t call me back for the final interview. Imagine my frustration. I didn’t apply for any straight news agency. It’s not my cup of tea. So with just a week before Holy Week, I frantically sent out resumes to various companies, from Ayala Land to Summit Media. I never got a call.

Holy Week came and passed. Summer classes are about to start. I have to have an internship. Part of me doesn’t really care if I don’t get one. I can always get it next summer or next semester, maybe I’ll get into a company I want. But reality bites, and it bites hard.

I used my last ace: Living Asia Channel. Living Asia Channel has always been the last resort of UP Journ majors who can’t go into the companies they want. It’s not that it’s no good, it just lacks popularity and prestige…as of now (well, at least according to my fellow Journ majors)…compared to other locally produced cable channels kasi, its not yet as widely known.

April 13, 2009 Monday – went to LAC’s office in Makati. Journ majors from UP were being oriented when I came in. I knew most of them. There they were, looking around the office, whilst I was just about to pass my resume. I passed my resume and was told to call the next day.

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April 14, 2009 Tuesday – first day of summer classes. I still have nothing. Nada. Zilch. Went to internship class lecture. Was told of what to do. There I was enrolled, paid and legit. With just one problem: no internship. Cherrie came to me with an idea: apply for Thomson Reuters (they have just posted an ad for interns that day). I sent my resume thru email and hoped for the best. I also sent a resume to Bounce Magazine, courtesy of KJ. Come afternoon I called LAC. They told me to go to the office the next day at 9.

April 15, 2009 Wednesday – coerced my dad to drive me to Makati. EDSA in the morning is hell on earth. I was 15 minutes late. Waited for 20 mins. before the Production Manager, Maam Annie, called me and told me to go with the other interns first while she finishes something. Met fellow UP interns, knew most of them (Tina, Eric, Kat, Chui, Donna, Aileen, Karz, Shiela) except for one (Danna…now I know her). Helped Tina, Eric and Kat with the shotlist they were doing. After an hour another new intern came: Andrei, also from UP Journ. Then Maam Annie went in, asked us what schedule we would like then told us to watch an episode and look for postproduction problems, then made a shotlist. Just like that I now have an internship. No initial interview, no briefing, just a cordial smile, a timecard and an assignment. In just one day I went from being a summer bum to a student intern. Left at around 5. MRT was hell. Sardines. We were like effing sardines.

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April 16, 2009 Thursday – woke up earlier than usual. I decided to brave the MRT to Makati. Office schedule is from 9-5. My mom gave me a 100 pesos MRT pass, the one you can use over and over until the amount expires. Arrived at MRT Q.Ave station at around 8 am. Boarded the actual MRT at around 8:45!!! Driving in EDSA in the morning was purgatory compared to the hell known as MRT!! The trauma was just incredible. I was harassed in every bit of my being. The smell, the line, the crowd. It was all unbearable. Got off the Ayala station. Followed Kat’s directions and rode a jeepney bound to Washington. Got off at the right stop: Rufino Street. But made the mistake of going to the underpass. Got lost around the other side of Ayala. Rode a cab to Leviste Street where the office is. Suffered a bout of Makati traffic congestion. Arrived for work an hour and a half late.

“Ang manly nung horse” – Kat Cortes

Work is laidback. The editors are all nice. Continued the shotlist I was doing the other day. Then Maam Annie called me and brought me to one of the video editors. I edited the upcoming list of events around Asia for May. Just my second day, and I was already doing video editing (however minor it was…I used a template). Spelling was tricky, and they jokingly said that every mistake I make would be deducted from my internship grade. Finished the job in an hour. I left early with Andrei and Kat. Arrived at the station around 4:30. The MRT was thankfully less packed. I was still harassed, but not too much. Saw orgmates Melai and Harry come in from the Ortigas station. Had merienda with them at Trinoma. Apparently they just came from an application for a call center job for the summer. Hurrah for them.

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April 17, 2009 Friday – I had the sense to leave home earlier. Arrived at Q. Ave station around 7:15. Got in the train after just 10 minutes of waiting. Record time so far. I actually GOT IN the train by using my own two feet. Normally I would just be pushed by the people behind me, not knowing if my appendages are still intact once I get in. Train was already packed but at least I got in early. Won’t be late for work.

MRT Advertisement:

Girl: (high pitched girly voice) Ugh, ugh, ang taas naman ng hawakan sa MRT. (The handlebars are too high in the MRT)

Guy: Sa akin ka nalang humawak. (Grab me instead)

Girl: Watta!!! Ang laki mo!! (What the?! You’re big!) Para kang tempura ng Tokyo Tokyo (You’re like a tempura from Tokyo Tokyo)

I had to suppress my laugh from what I just heard. Imagine hearing that while riding in a jam packed train. The guy beside me was staring at me while I had to suppress giggling. The ad played again and again and again and again… (Ang laki mo!)

Arrived at office only to find it still closed. It was only 8. Talk about early. Only two editors were there, and they were also waiting to get in. After 10 minutes of awkward silence and small talk, the office was finally opened. Continued doing shotlist, finished six tapes worth of footages by lunch time. Left at midday for UP to attend the graduation committee rehearsal. I volunteered as an usher again for the second year in a row. Saw Ana Tan at CMC, talked about Japan (Thanks!), fashion, internship, DZUP (will reach Batangas once transmitter is up and running), FOPC (thankfully abolished!), and her brother (hahahaha!). Met with Ivy Cay at Trinoma around 4. Chatted a bit while looking for a suitable water bottle for me. Bought one. Separated ways. Went home tired but happy.

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So that was how my first week of internship went. Relatively well, if I say so myself. Something happened though on Friday, but I won’t talk about it yet as it is still too premature. For those itching to know, it has something to do with the possibility of having another internship. That’s all. As of now I am drinking lotsa apple juice and practicing the right stance for me not to fall while not holding on to anything. MRT I will conquer you someday.