If you’re interested in writing—writing for film, more specifically—you’ve probably always wanted to score a slot in the free scriptwriting workshops Ricky Lee holds at his own home. I, for one, haven’t gotten the chance to be part of them. But I did get to participate in his three-day screenwriting masterclass at the University of the Philippines Diliman last year.
“Don’t write when you’re in the mood. Write to be in the mood,” remains one of the best pieces of advice I got from the Philippines’ most awarded screenwriter. It speaks volumes to budding storytellers like me—the kids who’ll likely experience frequent bouts of self-doubt (and deadass ugly drafts) before whipping up a satisfying script. But we’re the people Lee is not giving up on. That’s why he makes it a point to teach every year.
Now, the icon is more motivated than ever to train a new batch of storytellers—despite the physical distance. On Mar. 23, it was announced that Lee will be holding a free online writing workshop. Happening on Apr. 8, 15 and 22, this workshop aims to gather 50 participants. “The philosophy that guides all of my workshops since 1982 has always been about sharing. Now more than ever we need to share stories, and we need to share talent,” Lee says when asked what inspired him to offer this workshop.
If you’re at least 18 years old and a Filipino citizen, you’re already half the battle. To secure a slot, submit a letter of intent and a writer’s bio to [email protected].
But what exactly is Lee looking for? “Beginning writers are most welcome,” he told us. “In fact, those who have attended my workshops need not apply anymore, since they’ve undergone this already.” I don’t know about you, but that spells a pleasant hello to all first-timers.
If this is a beginner’s course, then what’s going to be covered? Lee says that this is a “very basic” workshop, tackling the process of finding or creating stories and the rudiments of effective storytelling. Sounds like a solid springboard.
This workshop also serves as a fundraising campaign for the displaced film workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In collaboration with the Director’s Guild of the Philippines, Lupon ng Pilipinong Sinematograpo and Lockdown Cinema Club, this initiative will aid low income/no work, no pay workers in the film and TV industry. Think production assistants, utility personnel, grips and more. They need us more than ever.
Stretch those writing muscles, because the deadline is on Mar. 27. But before you hit the send button, keep this post-it note from Philippine cinema’s living legend: “Naniniwala ako na writers who create stories should also be concerned sa plight of those people who become subjects in his stories.”
UPDATE: They’re opening three batches for the workshop because of the influx of applicants (the fanbase is strong in this one.) The first batch will be on Apr. 15, 22 and 29 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m./ 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The second and third batches will be on May and June respectively.
Header photo from Ricky Lee’s Facebook page