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Ricky Lee: Non-writers can also be storytellers

Ricky Lee: Non-writers can also be storytellers

The first time I got hold of Ricky Lee’s scriptwriting manual “Trip to Quiapo” in 2016, I felt like I became a member of a (not so) secret club. Every person I look up to in the film industry can call Lee as their mentor so it was cool that I also got to experience it myself through the pages of what everyone calls the bible of Filipino scriptwriting. 

When I found out that “Trip to Quiapo” was being turned into an iWant online series, I got pretty excited, and not only for those who dream to be a Ricky Lee apprentice. Sticking my nose in the book every once in a while, I know how it doubles as a self-help read not only for writers, but for everyone else too. Especially in these [2020 voice] trying times. 

“Ngayon na napaka-unsure natin sa maraming bagay sa palibot, hindi natin alam kung anong kinakaharap natin, ano na nga bang silbi ng mga ginagawa natin, malaking tulong ang storytelling kasi natutulungan tayo ng storytelling na mag-make sense at maintindihan ang sarili natin at ‘yung nangyayari,” he says. 

He also believes that “Trip To Quiapo”—the show—also isn’t something writer-exclusive since storytelling isn’t just limited to aspiring writers or writers for a living.

“Hahanapin mo kung saan mas akma ‘yung boses mo, ano ‘yung unique voice mo na mas makaka-comply sa hinihingi ng platform na ‘yun, sa dami nang platforms na ‘yun.”

When I ask for advice on how young people can find their own voice—especially in an online world saturated with words—he sees the positive side of it all. “Napakalaking oportunidad sa atin lahat kasi positive sa ‘kin na ang dami-daming klaseng platforms na bumukas. Ang dami-dami mong pwedeng puntahan. Hahanapin mo kung saan mas akma ‘yung boses mo, ano ‘yung unique voice mo na mas makaka-comply sa hinihingi ng platform na ‘yun, sa dami nang platforms na ‘yun.”

What could help all of us, no matter how complex the process, is to dissect what’s inside. “Optimistic ka ba, pessimistic ka ba, naghahanap ka ba ng diskurso, o gusto mo ba ng entertainment na nagtuturo pero hindi mabigat ang diskurso? Gusto mo bang mag-reach out o gusto mo bang mag-reach out sa ‘yo?” he said.

“Whether TikTok, news, vlog, post sa Twitter at Facebook, lahat ‘yan may elements ng pagkukwento.”

“Kasi kung ano ‘yung nasa loob mo, marami pang mahahanapan ng platform na pwedeng mapuntahan. I’d like to say na lahat ng platforms na ‘yan, in the end, ang pundasyon niyan pare-pareho ng elemento ng pagkukwento,” Lee says. “Whether TikTok, news, vlog, post sa Twitter at Facebook, lahat ‘yan may elements ng pagkukwento.”

Shot like a reality show, “Trip To Quiapo” is a five-episode masterclass in which Lee shares his knowledge about building stories—from finding inspiration to sealing the final draft. Directed by Treb Monteras (“Respeto”) with Enchong Dee as the protagonist, this series will tackle Lee’s 40 years in screenwriting. 

If the well-loathed creative block has been visiting you frequently, take this gift from the country’s most awarded screenwriter. All you have to do is press play on the iWant website or app starting today. 

Art by Yel Sayo

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