Before the show | Investigator’s opinion
I rush to take the MRT Ayala train, halfway through my daily south to north adventure while editing my spiel script. I watch the passengers intently, thinking about where they go based on their attire, or if they would have a day as hectic as mine. As a television writer, I have always believed that everything I write should be connected to my audience.
My heart would then start to beat faster as I approached the Quezon Avenue station. The war is about to begin. I’m going to step into the chaotic world behind the midday show where I work.
Now all of the above is only part of my story as a writer. After our television network closed, I was one of the workers who struggled to find a new job. COVID-19 has silenced my once very noisy world.
At home, in my own space, I slowly build my interrupted career, trying to calm myself down so things get better. It’s very difficult to go back to the beginning. I can still hear the sound of the darts, the applause of our audience and the commotion behind the cameras. In an unknown silence, I try to rebuild myself and continue what I started.
I feel like I’m standing on the sidewalk. Everyone walks around me as I am lost and distraught at 29 years old. I never thought I would experience such uncertainty in my career. I can not move. It is very dark.
In an effort to move forward, I tried to accept small gigs outside of my home network. Most have failed. At one point, I stumbled upon some abusive transactions that ended up getting my work for free. I was introduced to the brutal world of unprotected self-employment, before a law was passed to protect entertainment workers from such predatory practices.
Sometimes I feel like I’m plagued with bad luck. Or, to be positive, maybe there are things that are really beyond my control?
Someone told me that everything, whether good or bad, happy or sad, will happen. Winter is about to end. My wait will end. So while I wait by my fireplace, I will keep my writing fire lit until I feel the heat of summer again. I will remember everything that is part of “before”.
Before the show, I wanted to serve my fellow Filipinos.
Before the show, I was thinking about what would make them smile.
Before the show, I wondered if my job would alleviate the hardships they go through every day.
Before the show, I was preparing for a battle that was unusual for others. A fight against my own grief and my own sadness, to make others happy.
Before the show, my heart was full of hope that the stomachs of our audience would be filled with joy, if not physical nourishment.
Before the show, it was my dream to become their “rest”.
Television production is connected to our guts. We have our dreams for ourselves and for our audience. As cheesy as it sounds, I consider myself to be someone who writes from the heart. And though it’s been a long journey to find my way home or find my way to a new home, I will walk again. I will fight and prosper once again.
Silence will not overcome me if I continue to speak through my work. The battle is not over yet.
And I will do and feel the exact same thing… “before the show”.
William Bautista, 29, is from Muntinlupa City. He is a former scriptwriter of midday shows and a member of the ABS-CBN Concept Development Group. He now works as a freelance writer.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to access The Philippine Daily Inquirer and over 70 titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download from 4 a.m. and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.