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What I Learned As An Intern For Directors Antoinette Jadaone and Dan Villegas

I will have to say that it is by far one the best decisions I have made in my whole life.
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Before I tell you how I was able to attain my internship with directors Antoinette Jadaone and Dan Villegas, allow me to share a story with you all. The first few weeks of freshman year in 2018, I was in the middle of math class, when a friend of mine sent me a post: Fan Girl Casting Call, a film directed by Antoinette Jadaone.” For a while I didn’t care about the “no phones in class” policy, and for some reason my heart dropped and immediately told myself, “I have to audition for this.” This was a huge step for me because my chances were slim–but I was hopeful.

Come audition day, I remember getting so nervous, I didn’t know what to write on the application form, which photo to choose, and whether or not I should smile with teeth when we were called inside the room.

Later on, I remember getting out of the room, and my heart dropping when they gave us the "we'll be in touch" spiel.

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For days, I went crazy thinking about that audition; I was distracted during family dinners. In class, I couldn’t think about anything else; I constantly checked my phone for Fan Girl updates. A week or so in, as I realized that maybe this just wasn’t for me yet, my insanely supportive family constantly reminded me that this was just the first of many more rejections. And so I went to adoration every day, asking God to help me and guide me to the right path. And so He did.

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Weeks after, Direk Tonet posted an Instagram story that changed my life. Lo and behold, she was looking for an intern and immediately I took that as a sign. Not thinking of whether or not this internship was for Fan Girl, I just knew this was God’s way of telling me, here’s the first step to your plan. Go and take it. Then one day, I remember getting a text during our weekly game night at home saying my internship was going to start next Saturday. I screamed my lungs out and even cried a little more than I should have.

This internship under Project 8 has taught me a lot, but there are eight things that significantly stuck with me and truly live out today.

Being responsible, resilient, and honest will save your life.

These are obviously a given for any work setting, but these qualities mean so much more than we think, especially in the film industry. Responsibility is more than just submitting quality work at a given deadline. It is about coming to work even before your call time, knowing your priorities, taking initiative, and being attentive when someone on set needs help. It is about being open to other tasks and allowing yourself to learn and try new things.

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Resilience is also very important because working in the industry is very challenging and is definitely not an easy job. You always have to be ready for whoever or whatever problem you encounter.

Honesty is something that I learned is very important because when you absolutely have no idea what you are doing, ASK! Not only will it help lessen any possible damage, but it will also save you time.

Everything is worth doing, if you set your heart to it.

It was from working with Direk Tonet, Direk Dan, and the rest of the Project 8 team, that I truly understood what passion and dedication meant. In this industry, it is inevitable to meet people who are strict, hard to please, and who have a different work ethic. Sacrifices will be made; be it family time, nights out with friends, important events... Sometimes your “me time” consists of you sitting in a coffee shop still working on current projects.

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In other words, working for this industry is absolutely no joke. You will be physically, mentally, and emotionally drained, but if you know in your heart you love what you are doing, why you are doing this, and who you are doing this for, then it is absolutely worth it.

You are more than just a label.

On set, I realized how blessed I was to be surrounded by some of the best and most influential people in the industry. I am blessed to be working with a team where they constantly remind you that you are not just a PA, an AP, an AD, a DOP, a producer, or even a director. One thing that Direk Dan always told me is that they train people not to be like them and instead be better.

In my internship, I am constantly reminded and encouraged to ask questions and to voice out my opinion and no, that won’t hurt me. I always feel included as they bring me along to different sets, meetings, focused group discussions, oculars, and events. This team made me realize that hindi LANG ako dancer, hindi LANG ako HUMSS student, hindi LANG ako COMM student, hindi LANG ako intern, hindi LANG ako bata. It’s because when we finally learn to accept that, we will then be able to not only earn the respect we deserve from the people we work with and for, but also discover a side of us that we can only see when we break out of our comfort zones.

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The film industry is not for the faint of heart.

At some point for any field or profession, it’s normal to be scolded at, receive constructive criticism, and to feel physically and mentally drained. In the industry, you will be slapped with reality that people will be better, wiser, and smarter than you. I realized that everything is done for a reason, most especially to make us understand whether or not what we’re doing is either wrong or not enough.

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The greatest life lessons come from personal experience, not just from stories told, which is why we never stop learning. To realize that then again, you are so much more than what you know yourself to be if you just allow yourself to step out of your comfort zone.

In a world filled with egotistic and ignoble individuals, choose to be good and different.

This was something that not only Direk Tonet and Direk Dan, but the rest of Project 8 repeatedly told me on and off set. They constantly reminded me that in any field or profession, there will be individuals who are egotistic and ignoble and it’s almost impossible to miss them. So once I step into this industry they constantly remind me to be good to whoever I meet no matter what title they uphold. Be different in a sense that I should always stay true to myself and uphold the values that not only I live up to, but as well as the values I learned from them as well.

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“It’s a blessing to know what you want.”

I clearly remember the day that Direk Dan Villegas, Direk Pao Orendain, and Ms. Adi invited me out after a location ocular for a commercial shoot. It was that day that I remember them asking me what I really wanted to be by the time I graduate college. After telling them about my plan and my goal of becoming an actress, one thing I will never forget was when they told me “At your age, it’s a blessing to know what you want. So use it to your advantage.”

From this talk with them, I learned that sometimes we need to re-assess ourselves, our plans, and decisions to know what exactly our priority in life is. For me, I found that surrounding yourself with wiser individuals by career and by years helped me understand myself better. It helped me discover a side of me that I never thought I had, and it truly helped me understand people and situations in different perspectives.

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It’s never too late, so do it now.

I remember the time I first told Direk Tonet and Direk Dan about my goal of becoming an actress, they told me that I should start working on that now. “It’s good that you are here with us and you want to learn, but you have to start working on becoming and actress, too,” Direk Dan told me. It was from them that I learned that you should never doubt yourself. Yes, there will be people in your field of profession that will be better, wiser, smarter, and more experienced than us but we should always keep in mind that we are in no competition with anyone but ourselves. It is always just a matter of being a better version of yourself every time. So instead of making that hinder us, it should inspire us to start working on our goal now.  

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Never be afraid to try things alone.

In all honesty, it was only in college that I learned how to completely step out of my comfort zone and push my limits. Anyone who knows me would know that despite the fact that I am very out-going and friendly, I still have a tendency to be shy. So doing things alone kind of scared me because I get anxious that I might get judged or criticized then I won’t be able to fully open myself up. However, by the time I got to college, I really challenged myself to do whatever it takes to reach my goal of becoming an actress even if that meant being alone or doing things way beyond my comfort zone. I became an intern for Directors Antoinette Jadaone and Dan Villegas under Project 8, signed with Candy Magazine, and even became an acting student under ABS-CBN’s Star Magic. It was from these experiences that I learned the value of trying something new even when that meant doing it alone. I am able to immerse myself in different environments without any hesitations nor influence from anyone.

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Sam Samarita
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