This was the first ever (and I believe the last) short film that I starred in. Directed by Charm Nogot, After Hours, showed the struggle of a drug mule to escape and survive from the authorities that hunted her down.
Smile for the cameruh.
First stop, RECTO.
In Recto, everything is for sale.
Before we shot the film, I never really wandered in Manila. I was anxious as Recto was crammed with sidewalk vendors selling flashing signages, cheap, pirated goods and stolen gadgets , big banners of girls “starring” on that night’s “show”, room rentals with 100-peso hourly rate and of unwanted, suspicious glare from random bystanders. I’ve heard about Recto and its infamous tales of danger and trade and it’s not the right place to let your guard down.
Camera. Focus. Check.
But that night was kind. Aside from Shin’s afro getting pulled by kids who’re curious to know if it was real, everything went pretty well. We ran, up and down, to and fro, again and again, several flights in the underpass and dodging strangers on the streets to get not that perfect but just right first person point-of-view shots that we needed.
Next, MAKATI AVENUE.
The strip was fabulous and ostentatious. Big gleaming bar names, very inviting. Local girls in skimpy clothes, VERY inviting. Foreign meats smelling crisp dollars, very VERY inviting. Not for us, of course. I got to experience being hitched and I was like wearing long-sleeves, tights, oxfords and dark-tinted shades. What’s up with that? Did my look gave any signal that I was “open for transaction; your place or mine?”
Anyway, we started filming again; just me walking around looking cool and spaced out -extremely difficult role, isn’t it?
Art Director, Shintaro Lopez and Production Manager, Ivy Sinugbuhan looking like pros.
We continued rolling the camera, sneaking few shots of the streets and bars, though the cops already ordered us not to. Yeah, we are outlaws. We didn’t have a permit. Like, do we need one? It’s not like we’re gonna exploit the place or something.
The “Smoking Scene” was taken in Filling Station. It’s a pretty neat restobar. Vintage collectibles and memorabilias adorned every inch of the place. The food was also divine.
The culprit, our director, Charm Nogot giving us the talk.
Quick break. All-cheese pizza for dinner and frozen Brazo de Mercedes for dessert.
The Gross Part, IVY’S LAVY.
So this is the scene where our drug mule was almost cornered by cops that she opted to throw the drugs into the toilet.
I don’t know how Ivy’s Mum was going to react if she saw what we did to her squeaky clean toilet.
We had a really hard time getting drugs coz the team looked like we just hit puberty. Just kidding. Those were just sugar in condoms. Yes, condoms. Super thin. Really suave *wink wink*.
Three balls of sugar/drugs and something else clogged this poor throne for a day. Thank God, it got fixed before Tita Grace found out.
So they trashed the lavy with acrylic paints, nicotine stash and urine (Shintaro’s special touch, bravo).
If blood tasted that sweet, I’d understand why vampires loved it.
No, she didn’t have menstruation. Apparently the heroine was shot while trying to escape from authorities. That explains the blood. How to make the blood? We’ll discuss that next time.
Lastly, PET NAMES.
As we all know but some refuses to follow, drugs are illegal. So the stubborn creatures created pseudo names for them. These are the three of those.
I enjoyed making it. Have you ever felt your whole body was so dead tired that you might pass out but your spirit was damn elated and fueled that still you keep on pushing, asking for more? Yeah, I felt that. I also discovered new and old friendship. Those crazy, obnoxious, funny and sweet psychos-in-the-making were so fly. We’ll be dominating soon mofos! The best part of it all was that I remembered my first love, the only thing that I knew I was good at –ART. I guess God really has his special ways to shove you back on track.
The storytelling was not that established yet but I commend how visually awesome this shit is.