05 December 2008

Manila Times column for 05 December 2008 "The Ricky Lee experience"

original post here.

By Libay Linsangan Cantor
The Ricky Lee experience

Perhaps every Filipino scriptwriter could narrate a “Ricky Lee experience” of their own, as it is impossible to circulate in the local scriptwriting spheres without chancing upon one of the greatest Filipino scriptwriters of all time.

This is mine.

As a UP film graduate, my friends and I would always go out and explore anything cinema-related back in the mid-1990s. But when I shifted my energies to literature, this exploration lessened and was replaced by literary-related explorations with new writer-friends.

One such writer friend took me to a big house in Xavierville subdivision in Quezon City to help her writer friend who was coming out with a book. It seemed that many people were volunteering to help this friend, and I was surprised to learn that it was Ricky Lee who resided in that house and who was working on a book—Trip To Quiapo: Scriptwriting Manual ni Ricky Lee, perhaps the only credible scriptwriting resource book focusing on scriptwriting for Philippine cinema. I was happy to discover some of my film friends were also there to lend a helping hand.

So I grabbed a highlighter, slumped on the work floor, and proofread away. I only helped in a couple of sessions and never came back, hence the absence of my name in the list of volunteers. But it was okay. Meeting the man who scripted Himala was great enough for me. That was 1998.

In 2003, a film friend who was working for ABS-CBN called and asked if I wanted to join his creative development group (CDG) again, as we were both in one five years earlier. I obliged and sat with newbie/existing/wannabe writers under the guidance of Lee, the creative consultant of TV soap operas. I wasn’t sure if he remembered me from before, but I think I left a mark that time, for I was the only one actively writing with lesbian storylines woven in the stories I pitched. He liked the lesbian angles as he said they were something new. Nobody has ever written extensively—and positively—about lesbian lives, hence my niche.

Of course my pitched storylines were rejected as the networks always worked with tried and tested formulas back then (goodbye homosexual storylines). Again, I opted to go back to the quiet and more comforting world of literature and entertainment/lifestyle journalism.

But, as I will find out later, my Ricky Lee experience will not end there. Tell you more next week.

Comments? Suggestions? E-mail libay.scribevibe@gmail.com.

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