Meeting Ricky Lee

It was always a blissful dream of mine to meet Ricky Lee. One of the few writers whom I personally look up to. One of the few people, who I would say, really made an impact in my life and greatly influenced my passion in writing.

I’ve volunteered for the first time in this year’s Cinemalaya. I have friends who have been volunteers before, and I am slightly jealous of them whenever they exchange stories about Cinemalaya, so when one of my friends signed up to be a volunteer, I asked her to tag me along.

To be honest, I am not a big fan of Indie Films. I have little interest in it and I would definitely choose mainstream movies over it. But all that changed when one of our professors started to teach us how to watch films, not for entertainment, but for us to use what we’ve learned through our Language and Grammar of Film subject–and it just so happened that indie films are a great way to exercise them.

I wanted to become a volunteer mainly because my classmates had a lot of stories about their interesting experiences as volunteers, and also the perks of being able to watch the all the films for free since they have a production pass I.D. They would also talk about meeting directors, writers, and actors/actresses. I’m not going to lie, I almost shit in my pants when they disclosed who they were.

So, my usual first day as a volunteer started in the most unexpected way. The Arts and Education Dept., where we are assigned to, gave us the liberty to roam around and familiarize ourselves with the theater locations. Since it’s way too early, we just decided to look down on the main lobby from where we were standing and talk about what might happen today.

We were happily chatting when I looked at the first floor’s stair and noticed a man in a green polo shirt and jeans, comfortably sitting at the side, talking to someone, then he suddenly stood up. I squinted my eyes and I started freaking out.

“Si Ricky Lee ba yun?” (Is that Ricky Lee?)

I tugged my friends shirt but my eyes followed him walking at the center of the main lobby. There weren’t a lot of people, so I could clearly see him, but I wanna be sure.

“Ewan ko! Saan ba?” (I don’t know! Where?)

But it was a futile attempt to confirm whether it is really him or not, since one of my friends have a poor eyesight and the other one doesn’t know what he looks like. I asked them to come down with me, but before that we returned to our department and I asked one of our supervisors if Ricky Lee is there and he happily confirmed. Guess what I did, of course, I freaked our even more.

I was running down the stairs and my friends were teasing me while we were getting closer and closer to him. I automatically blurted out a ‘good afternoon’, heart beating like crazy and all. I shook his hand and at that moment, I swear, I will die happy.

I asked him about his upcoming free script writing workshop, which I signed up for, and he told me that November is really the month of the workshop and the September 4 is just the registration process. I told him that I am hoping to get in since I am doing a script for our Film Writing and Production subject, but he was very honest in saying that a lot of people signed up for it. But hell! I did not care about it, he’s in front of me now and I am talking to him! I asked for a picture and I was smiling like crazy when I said goodbye to him.

That’s not the end though, turns out Ricky Lee would always be present during Cinemalaya. The second time that I met him, a lot of people was asking for a picture with him. My reaction was the same, star struck as fuck! When I approached him, it was obvious that he remembered me and immediately posed beside me.

Now, I guess God knows how crazy I am to talk to Ricky Lee because no one approached him after our picture was taken. I took yet another opportunity to start a small talk with him about my writing dilemmas.

“Kung ikaw mismo hindi mo maramdaman, may mali. Revise pa. Isip pa ulit,” he said regarding my problem with how to put the right emotion in a dialogue. (If you yourself can’t feel it, then there’s something wrong. Revise again. Think again.)

And as the persistent little fan girl that I am. I asked about the workshop again.

“Alam mo, sa dami ng naga-apply, iniisip ko na yung mga hindi maa-accommodate sa una e bibigyan ng chance. Magkakaroon ulit ng workshop para sa kanila,” he smiled and patted my shoulder. (There are a lot of applicants and I’m thinking that the people who would not be accommodated in the first batch, would be given a second chance and I would organize another workshop for them.)

I guess my problem was solved. I was all smiles while I opened other topics such as his Gawad CCP Para sa Sining ng Panitikan, last September 17, 2015, for his outstanding achievements and contributions to the Phillipine arts and culture. For an artist who has written a lot of critically acclaimed movies, plays, essays, and novels, Ricky Lee is the most humble and sincere person that I have ever talked to.

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