22 Jan 2010

It Ain’t Over ‘Til The Fat Lion Sings

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What do you do when you’re trapped in a catch 22? This is the story of how some things should be better left said, and how we shouldn’t take goodwill for granted.

***

The day is December 29, 2009. It starts of as a typical day. Enter frame me checking my Facebook and Nico being slumped in front of the PS3 playing Prince Of Persia. Towards the later part of the afternoon, I exchange a couple of text messages from a certain *H*NG (a person) from a certain **TL*O* (a production house) inquiring my availability to do the makeup for a 3 day TVC shoot from the 13th to the 15th of January, 2010 for 3 celebrities. The texting progresses into a phone call, as *H*NG rings me to further inquire about my rates, and as I to further inquire about the details of the shoot. A few phone calls later (3 more to be exact), and a very bizarre question after (“Are you the same person as Barbie Chan?”), everything is settled, and a booking is made for the 13th of January, 2010 for that 3-day shoot.

Cut to: calling my 2 trusted assistants and begging them to give me their skeds instead of the other jobs they’ve already booked; having to say “no” to 2 other TVC shoots that coincided with the 3-day booking; and the not-so-often “pleading” with the executive producers/associate producers of my new teleserye to free up my shooting days to accommodate the three days.  After 2 weeks, everything is fixed, and all is set for the 13th of January, 2010.

Camera fades in. It is the late morning of January 12, 2010, and I wake up from an all-nighter the day before.  The clock reads 11:15 am, and just then, I remember that no one from **TL*O* has ever gotten in touch with me in the past two weeks to give me the details of the shoot tomorrow.  So I ever so casually text *H*NG and ask for the call time and location for day one of the 3-day booking. In less than 30 seconds, I am greeted with this surreal reply:

to which i respond with:

and to which she answers a very brief:

V.O. over the thought balloons: What happened? Why wasn’t I told earlier? If I hadn’t texted, would they have remembered to tell me I was cancelled? What kind of professional forgets to do that? What will happen to my wasted days? Where will my assistants get replacement jobs for the days they lost? Where will I get a job to compensate for these wasted days? Will everything be made right by a simple “I’m sorry po”? Who’s to blame? Who’s in charge?

I call a few colleagues and ask for their opinions. They seem to unanimously suggest that I charge a cancellation fee seeing that, officially, I was only cancelled less than 24 hours before the said day. I keep my calm, and make the necessary phone calls to the people involved, but to no avail. They feign ignorance to the matter: it is simply not the production’s, nor the production house’s fault, but merely the fault of one of its freelance production assistants. *H*NG phones me her dramatic apology (which of course, to a teleserye actor means nothing simply because I do this for a living and can see through the truth even over the phone,  aside from it not addressing the cause of her lack of common sense), and offers nothing but an apology. I get none of that same apology from **TL*O* or from any other person involved in that production (but for *A*A who was hired last minute to get things going smoothly).

Time lapse: one week. Intercut me texting *A*A and getting the same response: **TL*O* will not shoulder your cancellation fee. *A*A promises to approach the executive producer *OCH**** and ask for possible solutions to the situation – something she doesn’t have to do but still does because we’re friends. Same response: **TL*O* couldn’t care less. In the meantime, two assistants, who’s bread and butter rely on the number of working days they book, are made 3 days jobless; I am as well; several favors were asked from very powerful TV executives in vain; and a production house practices the art of deadma to its highest level.

Today is Friday, January 22, 2010. Today would have been the day I would have collected my cheque for that shoot (if, of course, the CE was approved and the client paid on time). Instead, today, I am writing a blog entry about that incident with *H*NG & **TL*O*. Instead of it being another typical day, I wake up fighting the urge to hurl my makeup kit to their faces in anger, not for myself, but for my assistants who not only lost jobs because of me, but also lost a certain degree of trust from me. Today, in a fit of paranoia, I collectively look at my schedule and check if there are any other shoots that I need to re-check the booking of, instead of trusting those who have in the process become your friends; that they will never let you down. Today is the day I muster up all my strength and my will; my distrust and my disgust; my rage and my wrath, and say: NO ONE DESERVES TO GO THROUGH WHAT I WENT THROUGH. Not in advertising at least, where we all pretend to be professionals.

Today, I throw off my balcony in Serendra my limited edition Shu Uemura Makeup Kit in Red and hope that with it dies my hatred of those people and the situation into which they’ve so inappropriately shoved me. I hope, unlike I am, it survives unscathed and without bias; and that whoever is fortunate enough to pick it up, much like this blog entry, makes good use of the lesson that goes with it.

2 Responses to “It Ain’t Over ‘Til The Fat Lion Sings”

  1. despe says:

    chan, suggestion ko : dalhin mo sa kinauukulan. walang ibig sabihin ang mga p.a.’s pag datung na ang usapan. you deserve a cancellation fee because of the pa’s negligence or mere stupidity. kung kailangang ibawas sa talent fee nya, gawin. kasalanan nya, dapat bayaran nya. yan ang problema sa industriya, hangga’t makakalusot, lulusot! they may not pay you a full amount, but at least a certain percentage of the original fee. ngayon, pag mga bossing na ang dumedma sayo, the best revenge ay back biting!!!!

    • Ricci Chan says:

      naku Des, pinaabot ko na sa kinauukulan. ayaw nilang bayaran. in fact, hugas kamay sila sa issue. kasalanan daw ng PA na freelancer. ang point ko: di ba sila nag-hire dun sa freelancer? so she represents their company? i asked for 50% of the package deal. ayaw. deadma. hay.

      wish you were here mare. i never had this problem with you on the helm

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