I didn’t really think much about what happened on the first shooting at Light TV. There were other projects coming in and I was all too happy to brood over an anticipated dismissal message from them.
The promised “update” arrived last Wednesday, May 13th. Miss I—texted me, requesting me to meet-up with her the following day “half-way,” “after lunch,” at Robinson’s Magnolia. I knew what her intention was anyway, so I suggested a call instead. Why waste my time and energy for a message that could be easily delivered even through a simple text message?
The phone-call transpired Thursday, exactly a week ago. I already had a few guesses of how they would try to convince me of being ill-suited for the show even after hiring me without an interview. Would it be my eyeglasses? My poor performance? My corrections? My confusion of what a “prayer to minister the viewers” is?
These were their reasons for kicking me out:
- “You’re using words unknown to our target audience.”
This is NOT even true.
Now, I had known that refusing to mention “g-d” would be an issue, so I already had thought of a way not to mention it without inducing aversion from the production and marketing team. So what did I do once I had acquired permission to alter the script? I used “the Almighty,” “the Creator,” “the Most Sovereign One,” or “the Most High” – appellation that famous preachers, like John Piper, Charles Stanley, Chuck Swindoll, Joel Osteen, Eddie Villanueva, and more others use – titles that hymns themselves, such as “Come, thou Almighty King” and “Gloria in exelsis Deo,” feature – phrases and words that not only could replace g-d without compromising my Yahwism, but were also well-known.
(ON A SIDE NOTE: Ever realized that the Satan is the “god” of this world? But could never be “all-mighty”?)
I refrained speaking till Miss I– was done talking, and she went on explaining how I had to “understand” that the target audience would be composed of both Christians and “un-churched” people, and such terms would not be comprehended. “Tamad ang tao mag-research” was even one of her statements. I couldn’t believe my ears! Not only had they concluded that the majority would be too dumb to gather that “Jesus the Messiah” is “Jesus Christ,” but they also concluded that people are too lazy to work on expanding their knowledge! Excuse me, but is it not rather preposterous to look down on people so much?
The most awful part about this “point” of theirs is that they must have thought I was Messianic. Twice they had asked me, “Are you Messianic?”; twice had I answered in the negative. Still during that phone-call, Miss I— asked again, “Messianic ba kayo?” to which I sighed a “No.” I had explained my position: I am NOT Messianic. I do not observe the Sabbath or other Jewish feasts. I just like using the Name and showing the world Whom I was identified with – no to ambiguity! Was it too hard to believe? Or were they not paying any attention to the things I had said? Or did they think had lied the first time? If they had cast doubts on my beliefs, why didn’t they ask me early on, then and there? If they didn’t like Yahwists, why hire me in the first place?
We respect your belief… pero dati kasi may Messianic program kami na bumagsak ang rating.
Was she pertaining to the program organized by Mr. Antonio Basa (an acquaintance of my acquaintance)? The one which won three consecutive Anak TV Awards (as I was informed)? The ratings of which Light Network had claimed to have plunged but couldn’t provide a rating sheet to prove so?
Gumamit sila ng mga masmalalim pa talaga na words.
I didn’t use any deep words in my slot, much less any of the “deeper words” the hosts of that Messianic program used.
Again, I repeated (yes, re-repeated): 1) I AM NOT MESSIANIC, and 2) when did I use the “unknown” words they accused me of using? What were the “unknown” words? I’m intrigued. For the last time, I reminded Miss I– that I did not even use the Name itself to redeem them from any rating problems they were so concerned about.
- “Your pauses are too evident and distracting.”
Yes, there were parts were I stuttered because I had to edit the script whilst the teleprompter scrolled on. But once I did, I immediately asked for a retake, and thus all rough takes were eliminated.
I was explaining this to Miss I– when she said,
Ah. Masmahihirapan ka kapag on-the-spot.
Sigh. There’s a difference between having an outline in your mind so as to babble spontaneously and having to re-edit a script appearing on the teleprompter on-the-spot.
- “You have to be 100% committed.”
For example, may gig ka the night before. Hindi mo agad masagot ‘yong text ko.
Yes, there was a time I couldn’t reply at once because I was at a gig and was probably onstage when they texted me asking who would accompany me the next day so they could “buy” food. (And mind you, I know K—— didn’t get to answer at once, too, because Miss I— has a follow-up message that goes like, “Girls, please text back.” Was she reprimanded, too? Or was it just me?)
If I were not 100% committed, I would be late for appointments and meetings.
If I were not 100% committed, I wouldn’t reply to their text messages once I had read them.
If I were not 100% committed, I wouldn’t sacrifice sleep to memorize the script.
If I were not 100% committed, I wouldn’t have had my eyes checked at an optical shop at once so I could canvas for the cost of my contact lenses.
If I were not 100% committed, I wouldn’t cancel some of my projects just so I could comply with their given, prone-to-erraticism schedules.
If I were not 100% committed, I wouldn’t give so much of my time to them prior to a formal signing (which never happened).
If I were not 100% committed, I wouldn’t care to edit and improve their script for the betterment of the show as a host who knows her boundaries.
I am a musician, illustrator, and writer. Yes, I am busy with other matters; but I didn’t look for time for “River of Worship” — I made time for it because I believed in it.
Up to now I wonder what their definition of commitment is.
- “You took too long to shoot.”
Before I slept that Saturday mor-night, I secluded myself in the bathroom, set my phone’s timer, pretended I was on cam, and recited the script. For each episode, I ended up taking nothing more than six minutes. From my calculations, I could shoot one in ten… if the script was smooth.
Which wasn’t the case.
Si K—— mabilis lang natapos, Ikaw ang tagal. Siyempre nagugutom ang tao.
That comparison comment was incredibly crude, and the only thing they have implied was I was incompetent. But let me go back to my point that if the script were flawless, would I have taken as long?
- “If only you were honest about the script…”
Kung naging honest ka lang sa script…
That’s word-for-word, and it was the most appalling.
What honesty? When did I lie about the script? I was very polite to them regarding it, mindful of how the writer (whose identity was not revealed to me, by the way) would handle my corrections. They had given me permission to revamp the script.
Miss I– went on to say that I should have sent the altered script that very morning. Would it have mattered? Would it have changed their minds about my not using g-d? Wouldn’t it still be a reason to fire me?
But that’s not all…
Let’s pretend for a moment that I was this sloppy program host – pretend that it was entirely my fault why the first shoot was such a mess. The question would be: why didn’t they give me a “second chance”? Where then is the grace and mercy as expected of Believers? Why were they so easily eager to dismiss me?
The phone-call ended with a “hindi naman kasi ako part ng management team and sa decision nila,” “we would still want to work with you someday,” “siguro sa ibang show pwede ka namin ulit kunin,” “I hope hindi na-ruin ‘yong relationship mo with the company” – and other cliché tactics to alleviate any tension. All I could think of was what relief its conclusion brought.
I only write this to avoid any pretense from anyone from the said show’s management team. My appearance on Light Network was no big loss on my part; the promise of Romans 8:28 still resonates in my heart as to this decreed dissolution. I was very sad and frustrated at them for a while, but looking back now, I’m happy I’ve got nothing to do with them. Because if I would never compromise on the beauty of the Arts, how much more on the Truth?