Just like you, we here at the Candy HQ are big On the Wings of Love fans, too. Aside from James Reid and Nadine Lustre's epic pairing, one of the reasons why we were excited to see OTWOL when it aired last August was because of director Antoinette Jadaone. Does her name sound familiar? It's because she's also known as Tita Witty and as the director of brilliant movies like Six Degrees of Separation From Lilia Cuntapay, Beauty In a Bottle, Relaks, It's Just Pag-Ibig, and everyone's favorite hugot movie That Thing Called Tadhana.
We recently got the chance to talk to the very busy storyteller during a free screening of Tadhana at the UP Bahay ng Alumni and the launch of her book The Arrow With a Heart Pierced Through Him, and got to chat with her about what it's like every day on the set of the top-rating TV series. Listening to Direk Tonette talk about her passion for filmmaking and storytelling even if it can surely be trying sometimes gave us a whole new appreciation for the work that goes through movies and TV shows.
So whether you're just curious about her work or would want to pursue your dream of working on the TV and film industry, you've got to read Direk Tonette's words and take a lot of notes, Candy Girls!
As the show's director...
"I'm in charge of the overall vision of On the Wings of Love. I have a co-director, Jojo Saguin. Vision naming dalawa yung show. Kung ano yung kalalabasan ng On the Wings of Love, it is with my approval."
What's the first thing you do once you arrive on the set?
"I ask where my assistant director is kasi the assistant director tells you what the first sequence is. S'ya 'yung nagsasabi kung ano 'yung i-ti-take nyo, kung sino'ng artista na ang ando'n, kung nag-breakfast na ba 'yung mga tao. 'Pag nahanap ko na 'yung AD ko, maaayos ko na kung ano'ng kailangang gawin sa set."
Please describe your typical day on set.
"I arrive on set at 7 A.M. then we have breakfast. We start shooting at around 8:30, 8:45, or 9. It depends on the circumstances or kung gaano kabilis 'yung setup or kung okay and ready na ba 'yung artista. We usually pack-up at 3 in the morning the next day. And then after taping, susunduin ako ni Dan (READ: she's referring to Dan Villegas, her boyfriend who's also known for movies like The Breakup Playlist and English Only, Please). He always picks me up from work and drives me home, mga 30-45 minutes chikahan kami tungkol sa trabaho, kung ano'ng nangyari sa buong araw kasi usually it's our only time to be with each other kasi pareho kaming nagwo-work.
The next day, papasok ulit ako. I get home at around 5 A.M. the next day. I sleep and then I have pre-production for the taping the next day. Usually 'yung pre-prod is at 2 P.M. but before or after that, I preview the episodes to be aired that day and the next day. I give my notes sa editing but kapag may time, mag-i-edit talaga ako. Pero most of the time, dahil wala nang time, pini-preview ko na lang 'yung edited version. Sinasabi ko 'yung notes ko, notes sa shot, or 'pag may shot ako tapos bakit wala do'n. I do that before the pre-prod or after the pre-prod. After no'n dinner, chika chika, the next day, another taping day. Usually, 'yung taping days ko for On the Wings of Love are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The other days are usually for pre-prod or for movies."
What do you usually do during your free time or if you have a free day?
"Nanonood ng sine, nagpapamasahe, at kumakain. Gusto kong nagfu-food trip."
What's your most memorable story on set?
"I think 'yung first time kong makita si Piolo Pascual. Hindi ako usually nasa-starstruck sa artista kasi nakakatrabaho ko sila lagi. Pero kasi si Piolo, no'ng unang bumaba siya sa van n'ya 'yung parang may wind and slow-mo. May star presence talaga siya. May mga artista na 'pag nakita mo, 'Ay gwapo naman niya.' Pero si Piolo talaga, parang na-startstruck talaga ako. Parang, 'Wow!' Aside from that, ang bait talaga niya."
Do you have any rituals before going to sleep?
"Wala, madali akong makatulog. Madali akong makatulog talaga, pwede akong mag-text and bago ka pa maka-reply, tulog na ako. Effortless akong matulog."
Does your course in college matter in the industry you're working in?
"I think factor na nag-aral ako ng film to be a film director kasi doon ako natuto ng film theories, film language, alam ko 'yung history ng film, shot sizes, shutter speed. Nakakatulong kasi meron ka nang pinanggagalingan. Pero itong mga bagay na ito, kung gusto mo talaga maging direktor at di ka nag-aral ng film, matututunan mo 'yun. 'Yun nga lang hindi kasing intensive na kapag nag-aral ka ng film. Pero kaya 'yun. Pwedeng mag-join ka ng film courses, workshops, pwede ka magbasa, gumawa ng pelikula on your own. Pero ang mas mahalaga, kung ano 'yung ginawa mo sa knowledge na meron ka. Balewala naman 'yung four-year course na meron ka kung hindi mo siya gagamitin sa tamang paraan. I think yung pinakamalaking tulong na nagawa ng four-year course ko, aside from film theory, is early on na-cultivate na yung love ko for film. Since first year ko sa college, sobrang mahal ko na 'yung film. Gusto ko na maging director sa start pa lang, nadadagdagan lang every year 'yung pagmamahal ko sa kanya. So noong grumaduate ako, buong-buo na 'yung pagmamahal ko sa kanya. Feeling ko 'yun 'yung pinaka-factor. Kasi when you're studying film and you have the same passion as the people around you, parang ang sarap-sarap mag-aral at matuto."
What's your advice to aspiring directors or people who want to work for TV and movies someday?
"Start from the bottom. Don't be afraid to take on the smallest jobs in the industry you like because the goal is to get one foot inside the industry. Work your way from the bottom to the top. Mas mamahalin mo 'yung industry, 'yung pelikula, 'yung pagdi-direct kapag nanggaling ka sa time na nakikita mo lang 'yung director at 'yung mga tao sa paligid mo na ginagawa yung trabaho nila. Mas ma-appreciate mo siya pag director ka na kaysa yung nag-direct ka kaagad. Lahat ng learnings ko as an assistant kay Direk Joyce Bernal (renowned movie and TV director who worked on 10,000 Hours, Bakit Hindi Ka Crush ng Crush Mo?, My Faithful Husband, and Once Upon a Kiss to name a few) feeling ko hindi pa siya enough training ground no'ng nag-direct ako. Parang feeling ko, wala pa rin akong alam no'ng nag-direct ako, so papaano pa kaya kung hindi ako nag-training, hindi ba?"
"I think most people now are so into their goal. Baka feeling nila if you want to be a director, 'yun na agad. Pero sa akin, I think the best way is not to be a director first. Be an assistant, an editor, apprentice, or PA, and then years later, when you finally get to direct your own film, you'll realize how important those experiences you have as an assistant and the people you got to work with and the relationships you've had with them are. You'll realize how important it is kapag andoon ka na sa taas kasi itong mga taong 'to, ito 'yung nakasama mo noong mababa pa ang sweldo mo, noong assistant ka lang ng mga tao. Itong mga taong 'to, magiging kakampi mo kapag nag-direct ka. Kaya noong nag-direct na ako, when I worked with the same people I worked with noong PA pa lang ako, kakampi ko sila ngayon. Kasama mo silang lahat sa narating mo at hindi ka makakarating doon kung wala silang mga taong tumulong sa'yo. Mas okay yun kesa nasa tuktok ka pero mag-isa ka lang na masaya."
On the Wings of Love airs Mondays thru Fridays after Pangako Sa 'Yo on ABS-CBN.
Know more people you want us to feature on the website? Let us know in the comments because we always love hearing from you. :)