Monday, October 17, 2011


One thing people ought to realize about working for the entertainment industry (read that as Showbizzzzzzzz ) is that your life tends to be overrated.

It is overrated because the common folks think that being part of film and television includes most if not all of the following:
(A) You cavort only with the most beautiful people, fantasized and adored by millions while you can spend quality time sipping coffee with them on posh sets, swapping intimate stories and appreciating their Rolex watches and Hermes bags.
(B) You live the privileged and glamorous life because your monthly paycheck is tantamount to the gross annual income of twenty call center agents who are now suffering from anemia because of their inhuman schedules.
(C) You drive fancy cars, wear designer clothes and shoes and get photographed at the slightest provocation despite your real stature in the pecking order of the showbiz hierarchy.
(D) You have the private cell numbers of Mother Lily, Tita Malou, Boss Vic, Boss Orly, Sir Deo, M'am Roselle, Tita Wilma, M'am Annette, Tita Cory, Miss Linggit and, of course, Dear Ate Charo.  It is almost assumed that they send you daily text messages that include, "Hi! How are you na? :)" or something like that.
(E) All your clothes are free because you have hired a stylist (like no less than Liz Uy, Pam Quinones or Alyanna Martinez) to dress you up as if Raymond Isaac, Jun de Leon and Niccolo Cosme are about to corner you to a pictorial even while you are nibbling on a bag of Boy Bawang in some remote corner of the earth.
(F) You are living in Paradise because there is nothing more that you can ask for.  Ano pa? The fact that you are in first-name basis with Anne Curtis, play Extreme Frisbee with Derek Ramsay and has been invited to Bimbi's next birthday party, is there anything more you can ask from this present incarnation?

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Working for this industry is nothing like that.  It is this larger than life sort of illusion that distorts not only the lifestyle but the life itself.  It would be pointless to insist that it is a lot of hard work.  It would be fruitless to explain why being public property (which means every little thing you do is subject not only to scrutiny but to all possible interpretations and interpolations of malice) can be such a hassle.

Yes, there will always be people spending endless hours looking at infinity and wondering how it feels to be:
(a) Unable to walk down a street or enter a mall without being mobbed by a kazillion people wanting a piece of you or having a photo option or yearning for an autograph;
(b) Walking down a red carpet wearing your Francis Libiran gown gown or Randy Ortiz tux while a sea of screaming fans are willing to offer not only their virginity but also their blood to venerate your importance to the Universe;
(c) Capable of buying anything you want --- like entering Zara, Mango or Topshop and spend two hundred fifty-thousand pesos just because you are depressed --- or ask a buyer to get you an authentic Hermes Birkin 32 (alligator ha? ) so that will not feel so out of place the next time you bump into Greta somewhere in the corridors of the ELJ Building at ABS;
(d) The subject of an eight page spread in Yes Magazine where you can display not only your posh residence (interior design and landscape thanks to noteworthy artists as well) but also your baubles, bangles and beads are laid out like a treasure trove for the salivating masa to envy.

Ah, but that is best at fantasy level.  Try leading the life.  Try being that magnified object --- like a paramecium pinned by glass slide and observed by a public microscope. Then you will know the price you have to pay in order to be able to afford all the luxuries.

Worse than that perhaps is what people expect from you.  

In all honesty --- and with brutal frankness, any human --- regardless of greatness of disposition, largeness of heart and dedication to be canonized by the Vatican as the Patron Saint of Happy Thoughts and Sunshine Disposition --- is not blessed with the ability to smile relentlessly, endlessly and unconditionally.  But that, unfortunately, was never genetically conditioned for any stage of the evolution of the homo sapien.

But ironically that is what is expected.  Somebody who has decided to live and make a living in that stellar sphere where mortals are mistaken as gods must:
(A) Always be available and amiable to his/her fans.
(B) Tickle the interest of his/her followers by providing glimpses of an exciting (love)life.
(C) Never show any sign of fatigue, irritation, mood swings or --- God forbid! --- anger, exasperation or disgust especially to the most loyal and diehard fans. Also include the general public --- that encompasses people who have no sense of fascination or fondness for said idols as well.
(D) Play it safe and cool with all the denizens of media, especially the entertainment press --- most especially those who go out of their way to (d.1) concoct blind items about a star that is so ambiguous and uncertain that the scandalous press release might as well include the real initials of the creatures involved, (d.2) make write-ups that specifically bash and diss the celebrity, excavating scandals (both real and concocted) just to make waves of news and  (d.3) just make one's life unbearable and miserable.

That is the way it is.  That is also why I do not exactly envy actors and actresses because sometimes most of their lives are spent not in perfecting their craft ... but insuring their statures as celebrities.  Having all those Urian, Star Awards, Famas and YCC trophies do not really mean a thing when it comes to the politics of studios.  After all, real talent is only 30% of the formula for success in a showbiz career. 35% is luck and the other 35% is on how good you suck up to those who get you up there --- and make sure you remain on top as well.

And for those who work behind the scenes, the occupational hazards are different. 

Production people are almost expected to have the range of up to the minute knowledge of everything happening in showbiz to embarrass writers and researchers of The Buzz and Juicy Express.  Regardless of age or economic class, the curiosity for the private lives of actors and actresses has reached a point of collective obsession.  

There is this insatiable hunger for learning the latest salacious piece of news ... if not confirming assumptions, presumptions and rumors.  This includes unwanted pregnancies, cases of physical abuse, clandestine relationships and the whole can of worms.

And because you personally know the people involved ... there is still some sense of ethics that should be practiced, some embarrassment that tells you not to say anything. But, of course, that is an exercise in futility because they will badger you with the same questions over and over again.

But there may yet be a distinct way of surviving this irritating curse. For instance, one question endlessly and tirelessly asked from me is: "Is it true that ________ is gay?"

To end what could be a tedious thread of succeeding questions, I reply: " No, he is not gay. He actually f---s goats. And I heard he is very good at it."

After the moment of stunned silence and perhaps nervous laughter, the topic automatically changes.  The purpose has been served.

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