On my Cinemalaya script

A TEASER poster for RESPETO before release at Cinemalaya 2017

SO  my film script for Cinemalaya 2017 entitled, “RESPETO” has finally been realized and luckily enough it’s been getting positive reviews. This has snowballed into an avalanche of questions, both from fans and the press, on the toll it took on me while writing the script. So here’s the low down, or in hiphop vernacular, the 4-1-1.

I wrote the entire film script of RESPETO sequestered all ALONE in far-flung Tagaytay. I had to cancel gigs, bookings, meetings, and worst of all, shut off my cellphone–just so I could finish it at the soonest possible time. Then I had to immerse myself in the slums for a week. So I frequented Payatas, Pandacan, some parts of Caloocan and Tondo, Manila. Eventually the script had to go through eleven (11) revisions even before principal photography.

I had to personally self-financed the entire writing process and production in the very beginning since Cinemalaya required me to submit a full script before even being considered. So technically and obviously, I was compelled to NOT do it for the money–since there wasn’t even talks about the budget in its inception. Furthermore, in order to guarantee the effectiveness and the dramatic life of the script, I even financed four separate script readings and the early auditions for the roles.

Every time there was a major script revision, I had to assemble a team to read the script aloud back at me. I wish to personally thank all the actors who read for the parts and my NDMstudios team for helping out. Just to guarantee the authenticity of the language and dynamics of the characters before the CCP auditions and principal photography, I still have towering piles of the photocopied “Respeto” scripts cluttering the work space in my studio.

Most of the main title characters (e.g. Hendrix, Doc, Breezy G, Mando, Connie etc.) were all names and characters I created with a personal significance to me. How and why? I probably will never tell.

Much was expected from me by the writing community since I am a Multi-Palanca Award winning writer and is the playwright of the cult-classic, SubText. That kind of pressure made me obsessive-compulsive through the whole writing experience–but not to the point of inanity of finding plot holes every single page (because no matter how good your script is, people will always find something wrong with it–especially professional nitpickers).

To write the script, I got inspiration from the works of National Artists: Virgilio Almario and Bienvenido Lumbera, Frank G. Rivera, and some of the rappers that I’ve worked with–since I dabble heavily in wordplay and rap in some of my songs as well.

Just want to thank everyone who’s been sending me their gracious compliments! To all, I hope you find true friends who would truly recognize and RESPECT your hard work and efforts–most especially if you were the only one who was there with them, when they were just starting out with practically nothing.