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Saturday, August 13, 2022

The OTJ: The Missing 8 Experience

07/20/2022 09:38:00 AM

There are certain milestones in life which are truly timeless and remarkable – at least, for one’s personal satisfaction. For some, seeing their name published in any publication is already a mark; others who would be featured in a still photograph is another; and for select people, getting credited in a project – be it a full movie, music video, or a TV or radio program – is already like a stamp that can’t be erased from their memory. 

As someone whose name became bylined in album inlays, four magazine articles, and an opinionated essay that was casted in an e-book, plus photographs being used or reposted by some of my musician friends (few of which are legendary names), perhaps being an extra talent for a movie-slash-mini series is something I never thought would’ve happened in my life. I already quit my aspirations to be part of a film and TV production anyway. 

Nevertheless, it still happened just four weeks before the world stopped its usual ways due to the pandemic. 

It was a long day, with a 3:00 AM calling time at the garage of Reality Studios in Quezon City as a start. Hundreds of people, including yours truly, traveled in a massive convoy for almost two and a half hours to a wide field somewhere in Naic, Cavite – just to shoot a scene for Erik Matti’s On The Job: The Missing 8. Veteran actor John Arcilla, who played Sisoy in this installment, recalled it as supposedly one of the last shooting days – only to be delayed further when lockdowns practically halted every production work, making everyone jobless for a while.

It was a goddamn 17 ½ hour grind to capture everything that you saw at the latter minutes of Episode 4 of OTJ in HBO Go. Shooting at a broad daylight in noontime and afternoon wearing a camera lace along with my old sleeveless hoodie that got lost after that shooting day. Yup, that was quite a freaking memorable day. 

Fast forward to 2022. Of course, I have been wanting to see this show so bad that I had to fight TicketWorld when a mishap happened upon purchasing my ticket through them. After all, I personally clamored to see this movie no matter which cinema they will be shown, especially that I’m on the frame for quite a few seconds.

It was a sunny Friday afternoon at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Personalities from performing arts, media, and fans were inside the halls for the first of only two screenings of this movie at the big silver screen at the main theater (Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo). Not to mention, this event dubbed WAGI! has finally happened after weeks of delays and rescheduling due to the situation in the metropolitan area.

The movie started around 5:30 in the afternoon and ended before 9:00 in the evening, with no intermission. As a movie, On The Job: The Missing 8 ran for nearly three and a half hours – a rare feat for filmmakers unless you’re Lav Diaz. Matti called this iteration his angriest work, and I’m not surprised why, despite the lack of physical fights, sex scenes (although it’s way unncessary), and some inconsistencies on the details within multi-framed scenes. 

There was a short Q&A talk with Matti, Arcilla, other personnel of Globe and Reality Studios, and host Ces Drilon that took place after intermission, as well as the formal presentation to the Filipino crowd of the Volpi Cup on stage, the award given to Arcilla last year at the Venice Film Festival. 

It’s always a typical one thing to say you’re “Proud to be Pinoy” when a certain actor managed to win a distinction which was one given to the likes of Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Wesley Snipes, Ben Affleck, Brad Pitt, Willem Dafoe, and Sean Penn. But as someone who ‘stans’ (as these kids used to say it) Arcilla since Metro Manila, it’s no surprise that he’s a surefire hall of fame actor in the national entertainment industry soon. 

Hey, it’s also great to see people like musical scorer Francis de Veyra and even direk Erik Matti himself at the venue – especially with the latter flaunting a Metallica shirt. Hey, you know someone’s a cool dude that way, eh?

But more than that – and on a very personal level – it’s always surreal to see yourself framed in a scene inside a big screen (as big as CCP’s) more than just seeing the exposure alone at a digital streaming platform running in either your phone or computer. Feels like I should’ve taken out my phone and screen-capped that one (but of course, it’s against the house rules). Not to mention, when your name is also listed at the closing credits? Oh, shit! 

THAT, definitely, is one of the marks I made there.

Author: slickmaster | © 2022 The SlickMaster's Files

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