09/04/2015

When Jasmine met Antoinette

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Jasmine Curtis-Smith talks to writer-director Antoinette Jadaone about working on That Thing Called Tadhana and On the Wings of Love.


ln the middle of transitioning from the silver screen to TV, writer-director Antoinette Jadaone is a woman searching for truth in every project she takes on. Definitely not a one-hit wonder, Antoinette started as one-half of Tita Witty and took off with the breakout indie hit, That Thing Called Tadhana, which pioneered a new generation of #hugot and #feels. Today, Antoinette has been busy breeding thousands of squeals from one of the most bankable love teams of today — JaDine, head of the episodic rom-com, On The Wings of Love.

Talking to Antoinette felt like reformatting my idea of who I was and where I should be. The interview became a form of therapy, even if she was unaware of this. As we talked in the middle of a national holiday, Antoinette admitted that she took on this new creative adventure for three reasons; none of them, I learned, were the typical artistic-skill-honing bull that artists usually say.

If there’s one lesson you really take from Antoinette, it’s that you’ll really shine when you start doing the things you’re good at and really love, no matter how trying it can be.

YOUNG STAR: How does it feel, directing your own TV show rather than doing script continuity or being the writer?

ANTOINETTE JADAONE: Nag start ako (as the) script-con ni direk Joyce (Bernal) for TV. Hindi ko siya pinangarap. Di ko talaga naging dream (to direct a TV show) kasi pagod na pagod nako, paano pa kaya yung director? Kung magdi-direct ako, pelikula, kasi sa TV dun nacu-cultivate yung “pwede na yan!” Di ko nagustuhan yung ganun na culture.

Pero parang kinain ko lahat ng sinabi ko nung tinanggap ko yung On The Wings of Love. Tinanggap ko siya for three reasons: 1) JaDine —nagustuhan ko sila sa Diary Ng Panget; 2) San Francisco — gusto ko ’pag nagtravel ako may ibang purpose; 3) Rom-com pa. Itong tatlong bagay na yun, enough na para mapa-oo ako.

What’s the biggest change that you’ve noticed in moving from film to TV work?

Sa start akala ko sobrang laki ng difference. Pero wala siya masyadong difference. Yung medium lang. ’Pag pelikula, malaking screen tsaka nagbayad yung mga tao. Pero sa TV pinapanood mo minsan sacellphone, tapos yung iba naglalaba, nagluluto, kumakain so wala dun yung attention. Kailangan mong isipin na ’pag pelikula sobrang laki niya so konting galaw lang pansin yung nuance na yun. pero sa TV sobrang liit ng screen, so anong gagawin mo sa eksena para ma-keep yung attention ng nanunuod para hindi nila ilipat yung channel? Pero gusto ko paring i-preserve yung pag-treat ko sa pelikula. Ang core lang naman talaga ng TV and film is telling the story.

You seem to strike a balance between giving the audience what they want and what they need, so they don’t think of their problems. How do you make sure you’re putting out work that you both have to, and want to do?

Swerte ako na kung ano yung gusto ng audience, yun din yung gusto ko. Rom-com girl ako — Claudine & Rico, Jolina & Marvin… One More ChanceLumaki ako na mainstream movie lover. Pero kung maglalagay ako ng happy ending hindi lang dahil gusto ng audience, pero dahil gusto ko. Siguro mahihirapan ako pag may pinalagay na drama or violence. Pero pag dumating yun, pagiisipan ko muna nang matagal, hindi ako yung sunggab kind of person. Diba sabi nila “when the opportunity comes take it, kasi baka hindi na siya dumating.” (Pero) hindi ako naniniwala na dahil lang nandiyan na kunin mo na. Ayoko mag-fail. Ayoko yung pelikula ko ipapatanggal ko sa IMDB ko. (Dapat) aralin mo muna yungopportunity.

Are there more reasons — other than the three you mentioned — for wanting to direct for TV?

Sinasabi nila sakin na kung gusto mo yumaman mag-TV ka pero kung gusto mo ng soul mag-film ka. Pero hindi talaga kumoconnect sakin yung argument na pera, kahit na dati pa. Kasi kung naging factor sakin yun, dapat di nako nag-pelikula.

Goofing around: The writer talks to the acclaimed filmmaker about finding inspiration and that movie ending that’s got us all talking.

Would you do another TV project after this?

Feeling ko hindi na muna, break muna. Gusto ko muna gumawa ng indie na kami-kami sa Tadhana yung team. Tapos gusto ko pag kumita yung film, yung creative team will be given the credit na monetary. Pati narin yung crew, utility. Gusto namin i-try na properly compensated yung mga tao, hindi lang bonus-bonus.

How has working with your partner, Dan Villegas, changed the way you work?

Nagsimula kami na boss ko siya sa Bakit Di Ka Crush Ng Crush Mo, pag sinabi nyang wag ka diyan, edi wag ako dun. Pero nung nagwork na kami na director ako tapos DOP ko siya sobrang nagaaway na kami kasi pag may gusto akong shot tapos sasabihin niyang di kaya, ipipilit ko. Pero naging part siya ngcreative process namin, ang hirap lang kasi nagiging personal lang siya at one point.

How do you find inspiration for what you write?

Sa experiences ko. Sa friends ko. Ginagawa ko lang cinematic yung mga experiences. May notebook ako na sinusulat ko lang dun yung mga naiisip kong line. Yung sa Tadhana na “Seven words, eight years,” experience ko yun eh. Sa ex ko. Ako yung nakipagbreak. Sa sobrang hindi ako confrontational na tao, ang tagal kong nirehearse yung lines ko. Pumunta ako sa kanya, sabi ko “feeling ko alam mo na kung ano ang sasabihin ko” tapos ang sabi lang niya sakin “Oo, at makakaalis ka na.” Five words, four years. Dapat pala tinext ko nalang! (Laughs)

Which directors do you look up to?

Direk Joyce (Bernal), sobrang cool niya sa set. Collaborative din siya, so nakuha ko rin yun sa kanya. Sobrang open niya sa suggestions. Wala siyang ego. Ang sarap makatrabaho nang ganun. Ishmael Bernal din, sobrang favorite because yung mga pelikula niya social commentary pero may humor.

You’ve had a succession of successful projects these last few years. Has there been one that really brought you down?

Nung napanood ni (director) Lyle Sacris yung first edit ng Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay. Pangit na pangit siya sa movie. Umiyak talaga ako, kasi pangit na pangit na nga ako tapos may isa pang tao na napangitan. First film ko pa siya na talagang trinabaho ko. So for one week yung editor ko, hindi ako pinapunta sa studio. Ni re-edit ng editor ko yung buong film.

I have two interpretations of Tadhana’s ending. 1) Anthony was on his way to Mace to reconcile through the book he made for her; and 2) Anthony and Mace got together and they made the book together, so he is just on his way to show her the finished product. Am I right in either of these?

Hindi ko alam. Promise. Hindi ko inexpect na magkaka-gray area. Akala ko clear. Alam ko lang papunta siya kay Mace at may dala siyang libro. Nung pinanood ko yung Tadhana ng ilang beses na, iniisip ko lang sana hinalikan si Mace ni Anthony.

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Special thanks to Crisp on 28th in BGC.

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