Tuesday, June 16, 2009

REALITY TV: THE TRUTH BEHIND THE CAMERA

When I graduated in college, I dreamed of landing a job in a television network. I knew the glamour, fun and loudness of the entertainment industry will match my versatility and peerless talent. And so I braved myself in applying.

After months of waiting, I got a call from a television network wanting to hire me. Despite my competitive academic record, I was offered to start as a P.A. Yeah. A Production Assistant. As some people describe it, "ang dakilang taga timpla ng kape" or "utusan" during shoots.
I accepted the most-coveted or to-die-for job. To me, all the descriptions and horrifying stories on being a PA were just myth not until I became one.

Some of my friends disagreed with my acceptance of the job. They knew I deserve more than that. Then again, I stood by my decision. To me, starting from the bottom is the key to learn and succeed in the rat race. I was overflowing with idealism. I was hungry for experience. I was thirsty for exposure. I was driven to be a successful media practitioner. Sadly, I walked a path blindfolded.


Geared up for knowledge and experience, I started rough. I began as a production assistant under a reality talent search. I was paid 6,000 a month which was not even enough to cover my daily expenses. In fact, the allowance I was getting from my parents was even way beyond higher than what I could earn. 

On top of that, since I was not a regular employee, I was not given an overtime pay even If I stay almost 48 hours “awake” in the office just to complete an episode. 

Since I wanted to prove I can shine in my chosen field, the benefits and monetary compensation became secondary to my slavery. Then again, it was also passion that moved me more.


The stereotyping on PAs as “taga-timpla ng kape” hit me during my early years. Well, I didn’t have the chance to prepare coffee for anyone but I had a different experience; I was asked by my boss to buy bananacue for merienda. 

And truth be told, there were a lot of instances wherein I was tested to my fullest. I redefined “multitasking” at its unimaginable form; I delivered a CD to a celebrity’s house (from QC to Paranaque), I had to book sponsors a day before the actual shoot, I got to cover a job for my laid back segment producer and a lot more “magical” and “outrageous” tasks beyond the work description.

Sadly, tears became my constant companion which the bathroom regularly witnessed. At that point, I realized, I found HELL on earth. I suppose that’s even an understatement.


Soon, the show ended and I was moved to a Sunday variety show. I handled the dance rehearsals while again doing “multitasking” at its fullest and foolest. While I had the artificial encounters with some celebrities, I also met the monsters and dragons in the workplace. And just when I thought I couldn’t handle anymore the people, politics and pressure, I attempted to resign. Upon attempting twice, my boss accepted my letter.


Good heavens, as the creative head spotted my credentials, I was offered a writing position in a soon-to-open singing search. Thankfully, I started enjoying my job. My head writer trained me and my brain was again sharpened like an old pencil.


The show ended and I was moved to a Sunday Infotainment morning show. Since the network had some internal financial issues, we had cost-cutting. From being a writer, I became a writer/segment producer. Frankly, I enjoyed it the most. I was learning a lot and I became happy with the whole people in the team. 

However, the inevitable surfaced. The load of stresses ate me. At age 23, I became burned out. And so, after nights of contemplation and enough savings on my bank account, simultaneous with my Mom's death, I let of go of my dream job. I resigned.


I spent the two years of my career in a television network. And in those two years, I didn’t only learn TONS of technicalities and creativity in television production which I take credit for where my career is heading right now, but I also saw the shocking truth behind the camera which each aspiring media practitioners should know. Indeed, the devil wears Havaianas!

 Honestly, I didn't regret working in a television network. I learned a lot. I matured enough which led me to see the world in a different and wider perspective. It even compelled me to make a mission: enlighten future media practitioners.


Now, let me share to you some of the powerful and unspoken realities behind the boob tube which I jotted down during my hellish days and nights. I guess if you work in a network, you can totally relate on this!


1. Learn to eat dirt. It’s a very filthy world.

2. Politics and Show Business are Siamese in nature. They are inseparable.

3. Attitude problem is a virtue. It’s your greatest and strongest weapon. Foster it!

4. The best housemaids and house boys come from television production. They are all around and low maintenance.

5. Once they call you “Dai,” be proud coz your already part of the “all around” circle of kakatus or kakatulungin.

6. Day off is a crime. You are always proven guilty no matter what. No questions asked.

7. Hydrocephalus is the most common illness among rising or newly-promoted production staffs. It’s incurable and it becomes worse rapidly.

8. Kissing and licking your boss’ ass is an art so master it! It’s a surefire act for promotion.

9. Production life sucks at the same time challenging. Be sure you have health cards, insurances, and even 10. memorial plans. Trust me coz they are life saving even in your most death defying taping days.

10. I-pods really works during “talak” or nagging moments especially if you wish for silence.

11. Vitamins are inadequate to sustain production life. It is best to have an iron heart and mechanical body.

12. What is the difference between seconds, minutes and hours? In the television world, you are asked to work and not check the time.

13. There is no holiday in production jobs.

14. People dearest to you will hate you because of your absence in special events.

15. The authority to “talak” or nagging is parallel to position. It’s tried and tested.

16.Talak or “nagging” dictates power. No wonder it’s the most used act.

17.Acting blind, deaf and mute come handy. After some years, you’ll see, hear and talk like a God.
18. At some point of frustration in the ratings battle, winning is a miracle.

19. Detoxify once in a while to prevent continuous decay of personality.

20. Be sure to transform like a monster at work. Life is a jungle. Don’t forget to be wild, brutal and voracious!

21. In the end of every post production, you’ll definitely become a drama king/queen.

22. Praising a job well done could possibly be a sign of judgment day.

23. Ratings are divine. It’s to die for.

24. It’s better to be a social climber in making your way up.

25. Gods and Goddesses will recognize not the paper but the small dot on the paper because they wear perfect reading eye glasses.

26. Simplicity is in. Never wear havaianas slippers. They may be stolen at times.

27. Progress can be measured through a mobile unit.
28. What you see on television is not what you get in reality.

29. Love and affection are earned through the latest gadgets.

30. Speak in meetings. It determines your career path.

31. The word of Gods and Goddesses are never to be broken and must be followed.

32. People created Gods and Goddesses in this industry and its so annoying.

33. You are a God if you know how to budget.

34.Some are promoted because of beauty. Everything is concealed of politics.

35. Beware of celebrities. Bear in mind, at the end of each and every encounter with them, even if you are right if somethings happens, you are wrong. You’re nothing but a staff, working hard for the money. 
36.Taking pictures with celebrities will never make you rich. After all, they are just ordinary people who luckily appear in the boob tube.

37. Some artists are worth idolizing but some are just damn incompetent and just beauty.

38. Some contests are just unfair. It’s the thrill of the whole competition.

39. A singing search is not about the voice, it’s about the saleability of the appearance.

40. There's no such thing as reality TV. A script is needed!
41.Learn how to budget. Befriend those who are good in handling their finances.

42. Learn to haggle especially on buying props. At the end of day, even the cheapest item with a fab appeal can give you a frown from your boss. Discontentment is always a tag.

43. Know your connections. They are your future in the business if you wish to stay forever or do freelance.

44. Walking dead people are just around the corner.

45. Have time with your self, your family and your friends. Don’t be workaholic. Remember that the company won’t build an effigy for the things you’ve done for the company when you die.

46. To some, saying sorry is like degrading oneself. So better not say the “s” word.

47. Don’t commit suicide though your work is a big factor in making you to do so.

48. Euthanasia is the most strategic way of reinforcing your team.

49. You are only good as your last project.

50. Saying “no” to any project is a sin. It’s punishable by termination. 
51. The more seductive you are, the brighter your future.

52. Celebrities keep on getting rich while you suffer in poverty unless you are a God/ Goddesses.

53. Don’t forget to smile coz you might be discovered especially if you are a handsome cameraman or sexy staff.

54. It’s hard to find true and genuine friends in this kind of business. The moment you found them, plant them inside your heart and nurture them forever.

55. Identify how many human rights are violated in the entertainment industry. You’ll be surprised to find out. Can you help me count?

56. The magic continues.

57. Well, deceit happens naturally.

58. Favoritism rules.

59. If you can’t beat it, mimic it!

60. Originality is equivalent to imitation. How funny!

61. Jeopardy is an everyday challenge. So get used to it.
Believe it or not, there's life outside a television network and I've proven it!Just beware!
Like it. Love it. Live it!

6 comments:

  1. "2. Politics and Show Business are Siamese in nature. They are inseperable."

    very true!

    ReplyDelete
  2. "2. Politics and Show Business are Siamese in nature. They are inseparable."

    --very true! keep blogging! :) advance happy birthday!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Aminin Aizza, kahit saang trabaho, isa siyang sad reality!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Aiza! Salamat sa pagbati! Mag-blog ka rin! Magiging follower mo ako! I would love to hear your stories noh!

    ReplyDelete
  5. hahaha :p love this post!kakarelate haha

    ReplyDelete
  6. Kaloka di ba! Based on experience sa isang network na mabuti pang wag ng pangalanan! Hahaha!

    ReplyDelete

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