Working Works

The other day, I was having my rather late lunch at a nearby korean-deria, what we fondly call our usual haunts to alleviate the incessant hunger for shabbily cooked food, when I noticed the group of merrymakers next door. I’m barely into my third spoon of rice and yesterday’s lechon kawali, now conveniently recooked into adobo, when a burst of shouts and overall revelry came out of that videoke open-all-day-and-all-night part of the strip. Sipping some nilaga broth, I could tell these guys were singing and boozing since last night. And it was Tuesday 12 noon that I happened to have taken my lunch.

Now, don’t get me wrong.

I don’t look down on people. I don’t want to be looked down on, so I try not to be as judgmental. But on a Tuesday, the sun is scorching hot, the usual diners were just trying to ease through their food so that they could go back to their own work fearing the minutes late would take off some amount on their take home pay, but lo and behold, there’s this group of individuals, probably closer to my age than the rest of the diners, are still at it. And judging from the number of bottles on the table (and the case under the table) it has been one long night.

There are stereotypes. People who tell you otherwise are in denial. These guys will probably spend their off day sleeping off the booze and waking up with a banging hangover and their weekly wages spent. And they will be bitching.

We all need some respite. We all need some R&R. But working in the city as long as I have, I learned to limit the debauchery to manageable levels so I can work the next day, barring lack of sleep, hangovers or lack of bus fares.

Working works as long as you work on it.

In my animation days, we literally close down bars with our booze binges. Strip clubs, live bands, we took ’em all in, and we got shitfaced. And the next morning we’ll still be sober and red eyed but working efficiently. These guys, I know the type, believe me, will be looking for someone to borrow money , after getting into some mean arguments with their wives, girlfriends or parents.

And all because they can’t control the real-men-drink attitude.

A cover art study for a short story I’m working on, along with a host of WiPs that need to be done.

After I consumed a serving of rice (at least it was hot) pork adobo (at least it was tastier) and bowls of nilaga broth, I was paying for my food, when a case of unopened pale pilsen came to the table visible to me. I shook my head and added a couple of sticks of Fortune Menthol to my bill. Took a puff while waiting for change, and left the area, my ears still ringing from the usual “Zombie” videoke staple.

I walked back to the office with thoughts of why people bitch about their government, the politicians, the system and the world in general. And look, they can’t even implement a system for themselves where they can have fun and maintain a job. It’s hard work. But it comes with the territory. It will be harder if you are out of work.

I’m employed in the BPO industry. Also I do illustrations. I also Write stories. Some people can’t find jobs because their diplomas and degrees dictate job preferences.

I’m not saying I’m better. But through all the slides and slips, the hard falls and bumps, I have not blamed anybody but myself should I find my ass whupped by life.

So I got back to the office, my current task still need a lot of work, so I get on with it. Thinking I should buy myself a bottle of brandy when this is over.

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Leap of Fate [Faith?], Anyone?

Leap of Fate [Faith?], Anyone?

Why the title?

Hmm. I’m not really sure.

Maybe  things lately have been just that: close yer eyes, clench them fists and just jump into, whatever it is that is in front of you.

Maybe it’s the decision to go full freelance, not really sure if there are available work for a has-been animator like me, who recently had a gig with book illustration but management screw-ups made me think twice and head on out the open door and run as fas as I can. In the dark. Not knowing the direction I’m running into.

Or maybe, just maybe, I have seen Kuroshio leaping from a corner post and slamming a straight leg down on The Bodyguard during one of the most tiring, nerve-wracking, energy draining, geeking-out thing I have done in recent years since  getting trampled on the floor while playing wrestler at home.

I’m no expert. Keep that in mind. I have met people who can distinctly point out a certain move by Tajiri on Akira. I have known officionados who are devout followers of Mia Yim. Foreigners who have asked about Ray and Leon’s opponent while briskly replying on Twitter. Googled Alia and Lady Loryfor background info. People like Mikers Litton, who graced the occasion by being the commentator, Ouel and Bombay who, true to form, are on site and hands on, even the group they’re in brought Syuri flowers and a cake. Even the folks at WhenInManila.com  with Martin, and Hub pacheco, they know more about wrestling nowadays than I do.

It’s not that I don’t don’t really know anything, I’m just outdated.

But I was with the team that organized the Joshi+Jam Manila event. With just 45 days to make things happen, creating the posters and event name (we didn’t even have a name for the event!), made some hastily done teasers on AfterEffects and Premiere, and from thereon in, it was going someplace, talking to suppliers, and with some help from the younger wrestling fans, things went well, better than I had hoped for.

Up to the point when it was just days before the event, the ring itself was plagued with problems. From the start, ticket sales will be just an afterthought, with us, the organizers focusing on GAB licenses , working permits for the wrestlers, venue arrangements, ticketnet problems with issuing sales against offshore issued credit cards, light and sound suppliers, trucking, food. You know, stuff that happens in the background that keep the machine working without the audience knowing. We got good footage. We got people noticing. But things always seem to go haywire.

Murphy’s Law.

Still, show must go on.

Because, darn it. I could draw and illustrate meticulously. I could create UI. I could whip out motion graphics. Wrestling is something I wanted when I was a kid. I could get this done.

It’s like being an animator for TOEI Animation, doing hard scenes and cuts with shows like Dragonball and Sailormoon, One Piece and a bunch of other popular anime. I swear, the otakus and anime fans know more about the characters and the stories more than us who draw in-betweens and animate the darn thing. And in this case, wrestling fans tend to be know-it-all about their idols.

I have a better vantage point where no fan nor officionado can replace. Our team. We who worked our asses off, often neglecting personal stuff and family affairs, just to get things moving. No fan can tell me I fucked up with the arrangements while I go headbutting with the inept Ynarez staff, or when the ring provider was late in coming. No  other derping moment can replace the fact that I ate and drank and even joked around with Lady Lory and Alia, The Bodyguard and Kuroshio. Even those few exchanges with Rionne McAvoy were fandom fodder.  There’s a big difference between a blogger whose source is only what’s unravelling before his eyes, and not from behind the the walls.  They can rant and rave, they will never guess how it is to be the one turning the wheel. To be that hamster. To be among those who worry and fret about things. From ingress to egress, I was there, talking to bouncers and looking for house staff who are always nowhere to be found. When Tajiri walked in I managed to do my duties, but my will is weak.

By the time Akira and Tajiri locked hands, I was screeching and screaming like I was in the front row (I was doing this while walking the hallways and dugouts). And as the matches progressed, me worrying about the ring giving out under the intense slamming and jumping around. I shuddered, thinking if those fans from Taiwan, HongKong or Singapore got to buy tickets, the whole event would have been louder, raunchier, more animated. But you know what, even with the small audience, I have no regrets. the fans made it happen. They made the event all worth the time and effort, cliches we often hear, but it is what it is.

Two days after Joshi+Jam Manila, dealing with the last thing at hand, I was bushed.

Certainly made quite a number of mistakes with the organization and production. Even with dealing with people, so much to improve as of today.

Again, this pretty much sums up how I deal with real life: I learn as much as I can, deal with the flaws, improvise, improve and then do it again. But with better results.

Kinda like a leap of faith. Or fate. However you might want to call it.

There’s no knowing, or what to expect, until you went through it.

One thing though. I think I fucked up pretty bad with allowing fans to play around with the ring and be present while the wrestlers do a tech rehearsal. Tajiri’s still pissed off at me, I guess.

 

And Just Like That . . .

Introspection

It’s always a problem when I treat a project like my own.

If I was given a task to do, with just an idea, or a concept to work on, I try to learn everything there is to know, or maybe just enough to understand what the outcome should be. It doesn’t matter if the job is an illustration, motion graphics or web design. There is a time as the work progresses that I adopt the project as my own.

Lo and behold, it’s taking shape, exhibiting behavior, showing purpose and cadence. Indeed, we often treat our work as infants brought into the world. Forget the fact that I was hired to do it. The baby is growing.

Now all of a sudden, some nitwit thinks it could have been done better, or this shouldn’t be there. You know, pedestrians posing as analysts. Or worse, as experts. Continue reading