Blue jets and sprite lightning!
WONDERBLOG - Ping Medina () - April 17, 2010 - 12:00am

A good friend of mine, Zig Marasigan, a creative force at Star Cinema and also a young professional I trust enough to give screenwriting workshops at our learning center, once asked us all a question: What is the one attractive thing in a woman?

I was already processing preferences like tsinita, smart-not-intelligent, slender, crazy, and exciting, etc. But when his turn came, we all unanimously agreed to what he believed: “Passion. Nothing hotter than a woman with one great passion.”

I discovered my passions after I stopped school. Although it’s good to have a fallback, especially if it makes your parents happy, I realized I could never work well within strict rules. I had a chance to go back to university but decided not to hassle my parents with the expensive tuition.

You could say it was an intense time in my life. I needed to prove something big. So with absolutely nowhere to go, and now as the only direction, I made a silent vow to myself: If nothing happens to me before I turn 22, I would either end myself or go to the provinces, working a blue collar job as a mysterious person with no origin, hiding in shame.

My original plan was the life of an underpaid yet overworked screenwriter. I wrote a few short scripts, only one got produced. I tried writing a full-length, but the concept wasn’t working; it simply wasn’t flowing. I even got hired for a passion project, with good pay for a month — that didn’t work out also.

Some of the most brilliant people I know, my age or even older, have failed at a lot of things. No matter how brilliant you are, even if you have so much electricity crackling in your body that you’re literally almost about to burst, if you don’t know which way to point that energy, you’re as good as a tesla coil striking anything that moves.

Always remember, passion is a false display without great purpose. What is a major driving force in your life? Your purpose can be a lot of things. Love for family and a duty to provide for them. It could be love for country, to make Filipinos proud. Or it may be romantic love.

I acquired the skill of portrait drawing quite by accident. This was basically the fault of a wonderful woman and something that led to an intense passion for her. My goal was to make her a portrait as a graduation gift, to be given on her last day of college. But there were some complications. One, this woman didn’t know I existed. And two, portraiture being the hardest for all the intricacies of the human face, I was simply an idiot at it. 

But as the saying goes, you do what you have to do. If you don’t charge out into the lightning storm, keep yourself holed like a wet puss shaking in your boots, afraid of the great bolts of lightning that will inevitably strike you, how will you know if your soul will ever catch fire? I simply had to learn.

I was lucky (or brave) enough to mingle (or lock horns) with my passions at an early age. If my father had theater, my training ground as an actor was student films. But a relative of mine once scolded me for having such inclinations, “Why go to those auditions? Have you seen Richard Gomez in person? They have perfect skin like gods.”

Now, I must warn you, this is the darker side of passion. You might feel like the Greek god Zeus, ready to smite a thunderbolt on anyone opposing you. This has been definitely used as a great force to many success stories, but use it with caution. If you do get past all negative thoughts, once the bad feelings fade away, all that will remain is a genuine love for the craft, even if you started out for the wrong reasons.

And I could very well say that for myself. The start of my career in acting is a classic example of a great opportunity met with good preparation. Luck brought me to an audition and landed me a wonderful role in Ang Pagdadalaga Ni Maximo Oliveros, which went on to become a landmark in the independent film industry.

Chasing those storms wasn’t such a bad thing. It was a journey that saw me diving into a lot of strange holes. Most of the time, faith has lured me out into the open, long enough to get struck multiple times. But if you believe those great bolts won’t kill you, they become weapons of your own.

If you are embarking on that great odyssey, never leave home without a jar of bottled lightning. Smite anything that moves against you. Warm anything that gives mutual respect to you. The energy is already there; you can create lightning.

* * *

For any of passion projects, please do approach me —

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