Out of the Comfort Zone

Last Sunday (Sept. 4) was something I’ve looked forward to that I’m also nervous about. It was #TripToQuiapoKinse’s screening and interview @ UPFI. Coming to UP that rainy Sunday was my last toss of the dice. But, you know what, whether I get chosen or not among the thousands of dreamers who came to the screening and interview, I will be equally thankful for all that I’ve experienced. The experience I had there is enough to make me grateful. It’s a one-for-the-books experience I could have missed if I didn’t go. There are a lot of fears I conquered that Sunday. Good job, dear self. (pats self on the back) Thank You, Lord!

It has always been my secret dream to either write a book or a screenplay. Well, it’s not a secret anymore. Hehe. That’s why when this free film scriptwriting workshop opportunity came, although I don’t know where I got the courage to sign up the initial application forms, I signed up. Wew!

How all of this started

Last June, I went to a retreat where I met Aly. She was assigned to the breakout group I and my friend, Demi, facilitated. In one of the getting-to-know-you activities of the retreat, I shared my dream of either writing a book or a screenplay. Aly who happened to work at Star Cinema in the past knew about this dream of mine and encouraged me. In June 30, I received a Facebook message from her about Ricky Lee’s Free Film Script Writing Workshop. Woah! Ricky Lee ‘yun. She told me, “Just in case na gusto mo :),” with the Google form attached. I found it amazing that we were just talking about these dreams the other day and then here comes an opportunity to make those dreams a reality.

Although delighted, I honestly felt fearful at first. I was afraid to step out of my comfort zone and try pursuing my writing dreams. Takot agad, ‘di pa naman nga sure kung makakapasok. Hehe. It took me five days before I filled up the initial form. OA ko nga, name, address, email, & other basic information pa lang naman hinihingi that time. Typical fearful Flok. But, I thank God for intervening. Great opportunities like this one only knocks once. It’s something I would have regretted if I didn’t even dare try. I told myself, “no more whatifs.”

A few days after, we need to fill up another form. Fear and worries kept murmuring in my mind again. “Ayyyy, Sundays ‘yun, ‘di ka makakapagworship service.” (which was then answered, there’s CCF & VCF Katipunan I could attend.) “You have a wedding to attend in November, ‘di ka naman makakapagcommit if ever.” “If pumasok ka, paano ‘yun?” I was so filled with worries that weren’t even there at all. I was worrying too much. Because of all the thoughts going through my mind, I prayed to God to give me a direction on this. That day’s devo gave me an answer but to a different question, so I kept praying. It was one friend’s devo recommendation that hit me strong, it said, “Lay aside the weight of tomorrow’s trouble. Fear for tomorrow kills our faith today.” Bull’s eye.

That night, I prayed to God as I filled up the second form, “Whatever happens, Lord, I lift my writing dreams to you.”

The submission requirements

The murmurs of “wag na lang kaya” are still there as I was looking at the questions blankly. In fact, I submitted the final form two days before the deadline. Nasimulan ko na, ‘di ko pa ba itutuloy? I also reminded myself I already prayed for this, and “no more whatifs” diba nga? As I answered the questions in the form, I also got to dig deep into my heart and got to know myself more — what I value, what I learned and relearned through life, what makes me happy, what makes me sad, what I like, and many more. Answering the questions is already an experience to be treasured.

The screening & interview day

The night before the screening, I was redirected to my verse during my LET and I personalized it, “When I come to UP tomorrow, Lord, if You will, please grant success to the journey on which I have come.” (Gen 24:42)

My Sunday started by attending the first worship service. Amazing pa kasi that Sunday’s message was about trusting in God with our “out-of-the-boat” experiences because He is limitless; of things we could be missing if we’re not stepping outside our comfort zones because of fear instead of trusting God. Sakto!

I was supposed to go to UP alone pero I prayed din naman na if God can send me someone who can accompany me, much better. And, thankfully, God sent Demi. Yay. More than the company, she encouraged and prayed for me too.

Before we left Malolos, it was raining real hard … as in. Pero when we arrived at UP, ambon na lang. Thank God at ambon lang kasi medyo naligaw kami at medyo inikot ang oval going to UPFI. Hehehe. Pero sabi nga sa #TripToQuiapo, yung nagkanda-ligaw-ligaw siya ‘yung mas mayaman sa experience at kwento. Totoo nga. That medyo-naligaw moment was my mini trip to my “Quiapo.” Naligaw man, nakarating din. Hihi

After getting the printed forms submitted via Google docs, aspirants were asked to write a story with the six elements given (radyong gumagaralgal, madreng lumuluha, motorsiklo na nakatumba, torotot na gawa sa film reel, sunog na diary). Woah. On the spot. I think I finished writing mine after an hour or more. Hehe. Right after submitting the papers, I waited for my name to be called for the next step: the interview. #nervous #asdfghjkl

We were called in groups of five and a staff accompanied us to Plaridel Hall. The interviewers there were directors. 😱 While seated in the waiting area, a woman asked me, “Estudyante ka pa?” It all started with that question and we got to know a few things about each other. Hehehe. We also happened to be of the same faith and of the same church rin. Of all people no, kami nagkatabi? Amazing. Because of her, I forgot that I was nervous. Whew.

While waiting, I also saw Bb. Joyce Bernal. Yie! I only get to read about her through Direk Jadaone’s blog and it made me like her character as a director. Hihi. I was startstruck or should I say directorstruck? (nyek)

Then, Sir Ricky Lee came to check on everyone. He was so soft-spoken, palangiti, and so mabait. He even asked us while we were waiting to be called for the interview, “Okay lang ba kayo dyan?”. Eeeeeeee. Napakamahinahon.

After waiting for less than an hour, our group was called for the interview. Our group which consisted of a theater actor, a recent Palanca awardee, an experienced writer, a young writer, and me someone who just loves to write was interviewed by Direk JP Carpio. Oh oh oh. Kakaba no? They were all experienced in the industry already as compared to me who just dreams. Hehe. The interview experience wasn’t HR like. Haha. We were asked to think of story concepts for different film premises Direk would give. But, my favorite part was the “duktungan ng eksena”. Direk started with one scene and the one seated next will give the next scene and so on. We’ve got two rounds of that. I super enjoyed that part. I felt sila rin. Hehe. The experience was awesome. Before we parted ways, Direk asked as one last question. (non verbatim) “What will you do if your writing or script gets rejected?” I said, “I’ll still keep writing…”


I was not my usual self that Sunday – well, in a really goooooooooooooooooooooooooood kind of way.

The typical Flok I know was fearful. I used to have so many fears and insecurities. These fears and insecurities didn’t totally disappear though, but little by little, and with God’s help, I’m learning to overcome them.

On the 4th of September, I conquered the fears of intimidation, trying something new, being surrounded by smart people (hehe), the place that is UP (hehe again), interviews, and making a big step outside the box I made for myself in the past.

Whatever the result of the screening will be, the experience is already a “win”. The experiences and realizations I had that day were already blessings. Whether I get a “yes,” “no,” or “wait,” I’ll still be thankful; I have already prayed for that writing dream eh, I know God knows what’s best for me. I’ve already done my part which is to throw the dice, how it will fall is up to the Lord na.

This one-of-a-kind Sunday is one big step away from my comfort zone. It’s one of those out-of-the-boat / out-of-the-comfort-zone experiences I will alwaysssssssssssssss remember. 📇

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