SOMETIME 1ST WEEK OF NOV 2005 Julia’s got Roseola (tigdas hangin) and this will be the 1st time she’ll miss a casting call. They are looking for a mestiza girl for this milk project.Not wanting to disappoint my agent, I tried referring other models by posting an announcement on SP e-group. I was thinking, that since she will not get the part, sana anak ng kakilala ko yung mapili. Kaya lang, di lahat ng SP kids mistisahin, too bad. Then my evil consience knocked,”bring her on long sleeves and knee socks. Spread the virus to other kids so by the time they pick a diff kid, she’ll be down with the measles and pick Julia who would then be a well baby”. Ang bad ko talaga! Julia fully recovered a week after. Agent Nelly called me again. Open pa daw ang audition. They haven’t picked a kid yet, 2nd week running na itong casting. So we went, and since it was on its 2nd week, wala nang crowd and the VTR was a breeze. I didn’t get any call a few days after and I thought, it was just another hello-and-thank you VTR. DECEMBER 22, 2005
Nelly: “Mommy Jazz, please bring copy of Julia’s birth certificate, medical certificate, copy of your valid ID, etc, etc..”
Ako: “teka, teka, mga requirement na yan sa contrata ha.”
Nelly: “Yup, uunahin muna yung requirements before the final VTR”
Ako: “Alin sa mga naging VTR na niya?”
Nelly: “Yung sa milk product nung November.”
Ako: “Tagal na nun ha, may pag-asa pa pala?”
Nelly: “Basta dalhin mo sa opisina bukas, we need your signature for a contract”….(this I learned is a first of 3 contracts for 1 project) “And dalhin mo ulit si Julia for a re-shoot of her VTR. Final casting will be scheduled after new year”
Puso ko: “kabog, kabog, kabog
JANUARY 3, 2006 Julia and I were the 1st to arrive at the production office for the final VTR, then our agent Nelly. 2nd model to come is a half-Belgian girl, along with her Mom, her Aunt, Uncle, yaya and 2 cousins. Populated na ang office. Parang balloons nalang ang kulang, at marami pang darating. That kid is sooo pretty, with brown hair and eyes. As in Garnier-shade sumkinduva brown. Then came a 2 year old Bianca, a curly haired Brazilian (who I first thought was Indian), with her Mom, yaya and their agent. So there’s 3 of them vieying for the part. I’ve had it with final casting before when we lost the Nido 1+ role to the half-Swedish boy, never judge other models. You’ll never know what the client is looking for.
There was this very nice kid-handler. She’s the one who helps kids to act in front of camera. She played with the kids like a day care teacher before putting them on cam. Julia was 1st. Other candidates are not allowed in the room during the VTR. I was at 1 corner looking only at the monitor and helping myself not to look at her, or she might run to me when overcome with stage fright. So there I was trying to hide myself. Ang hirap palang mag-pumigil in coaching your kid. Siyempre I want her to be perfect for the role, kulang nalang ikaw ang umarte for your kid. But learning my lesson in past castings, I keep my mouth shut and let the crew do their job.
Another familiar face is there. Hey, I know that guy, Ah, he’s the Art-Angel guy! What’s his name? He’s great in handling kids on cam. They had a teeny break after Julia’s shot which was my chance to make ‘chika’. “Hi, you’re that guy from Art Angel, what’s your name?” “Tonipet”. I always admire male kid show hosts, much like Julia likes Steve of Blues Clues. They called Julia again for the Mom-daughter shot with the Model Mommy. I wasn’t allowed in the room this time kaya Diyos ko, kayo na po bahala sa anak ko.
While waiting, I got to meet Moms of boy talents for Pediasure which is also a project by the same office. I noticed the Hug-a-Mom-attack kid. He’s Julio, a half-Croatian. I envy Lina, his Pinay Mom. They were at HK Dec 7 for a 4 day shoot for Colgate. “Wow! you’ve been to Disneyland na.” “Hindi nga eh, kasi he’s scheduled to shoot for a lollipop commercial a day after his arrival.”. Nakakainggit, I hope my kid gets booked someday. Soon I learned that Julio got the part. And since that production agency is in charge of the Abbot account for both Gain and Pediasure, they soon called our Kids Julio at Julia.
Ah finally, after 2 hours, they’re done with Julia and we can go home. I keep my fingers crossed and my eyes up in heavens. January 4 2006 It’s DOLE day. At 8AM Agent Nelly accompanied me to Dept of Labor and Employment to secure a Child Working Permit. There I met Kat, Mom of Carlos, the fallback boy for Pediasure. Fallback is the standby kid who takes the role in case the lead falls into tantrums or just can’t do the shoot. It was Carlos and Julia who got along during the final casting and I was proud to meet her. She’s pretty like Dindi Gallardo and used to model a lot in her younger days.
Things I learned about Child Labor Laws
1) 50% of the kid’s talent fee should go to a trust fund,
2) It’s 4 hrs/day (on cam), 20 hrs/ wk working hours for a child,
3) there must be a suitable rest area and medical access if needed.
I also signed the contract for Abbot Laboratories for Gain plus milk. But the contract doesn’t state if Julia got the part or will be the fallback. Lead gets 100K (oops, may taxes and agent’s cut pa po yun), fallback: 10K. I’m home by 10am. At 2PM, Nelly called to say that Julia got the lead. YYIIIIPPPEEEEE!!!!
January 6, 2005 Workshop day We showed up at the agency office for a workshop to be conducted by the child handler Lolot and her assistant Piso. Julia ran to Tonipet the moment she saw him. There was also Bianca the Brazilian kid who will be Julia’s fallback. I have to leave Julia with her handlers and they’d play script related games. There were pictures, flachcards, etc. Mostly, she was made to point at pictures of “pink flowers” and “butterfly”. Shooting will be on Monday (Jan 9), call time is 6am. Huh?
Shooting day1 Jan 9 2006, 5:15am Nasa kanto ako’t nagaabang ng taxi. At this time? I feel like hooker waiting for a customer. My outfit is far from sexy. If my husband is here we wouldn’t have this problem. Ang tagal na, wala pa, we need to make it to the caster’s office at 6. Lord, send me one please. I think God heard me, pinabalik niya yung isang taxing hindi ako pinarahan. Hindi daw kasi ako sexy. Passed the house first to pick up Julia from bed, straight to the cab. We were at the caster’s office at 5:40. Ang Mommy, talagang professional. Julia was up and ready to play. At 6, we’re all at the co. van bound for Tandangsora QC. Julia, Nelly, Bianca, her Mom, yaya and their agent, the co. driver and me. Julia and Bianca quickly became friends.
We arrived at this garden venue for weddings and receptions. There are these big trucks with crew unloading iron rods, cables, generators, etc. I thought, “aba, popular location shoot siguro ‘to. I wonder what they’re filming.” Yun pala it’s all for the Gain plus shoot. And my baby is the star. “Look Julia, all these are for you.” Julia has no idea what it’s all about. All she wants to do is play and enjoy. We had plenty of time before the shoot so I took Julia and Bianca around the garden, throw bread pieces at the pond, for the swans and ducks and schools of goldfish. There are different tropical birds too. “Mommy, kain muna kayo nila Julia” called one staff.There’s this wide selection of catered food. Ang sasarap. Danggit, tapa, etc, etc.After breakfast, we stayed in the bridal-turned-make up/dressing room.
Then came Sarah, the young and pretty model mommy, followed by what seemed to be her older sister, as white and pretty as she, carrying a makeup kit. It turned out later, she’s not her sister and she’s not even a ‘she’. It’s the make up artist Mai-mai. My, she’s, er, he is even prettier than me. If I didn’t hear him speak, I’d still be living in a lie. Julia’s turn on the make up chair. Surprisingly, she was behaved. I let her hold her puppy doll for security. Why do I have a hard time just combing her hair? She’s just too scared to misbehave with other people I guess. With her hair in curlers, she and Bianca started their workshop with Lolot.
So on with their learn/play workshop. Learning my lesson before, I leave them alone and watch quietly. Lolot:(scattering pieces of colored papers) “Give me the color pink!” Bianca’s folks: (pointing at the pink paper) “O ayan, ayun Bianca o, over there!” (handing the piece) “eto, give it to her.”
Shooting started at 9:30. “Mommy, layo muna po kayo, hindi niya dapat kayo makita.” Tonipet advised me. Ganun pala yun? Baka nga naman mag tantrums pag nakita ako. Position ako with the guy doing the recording. Facing the monitor’s the closest I can get to my daughter. Hirap maging stagemom, pinagpapawisan ako while praying “galingan mo anak. galingan mo anak, Lord guide her please.”. The kind crew kept offering me refreshments, pero tensed talaga ako, I can’t eat. Tonipet (the assistant director) teamed with Lolot are hidden behind the pink flowers.
Julia: (for the 3rd time) “pink flo-!-ubo-ubo-ubo!”
Other wow mali takes: Julia picking her nose, lifting her skirt (colorful yung underpants niya eh, and she’s not used to wearig skirt), raising one leg, and the worst: running away. Director:”Ay, nag walk out.?” She just can’t understand why she has to do the act over and over. Unforgettable stage mom moment: When they gave her a “dede” break (the milk bottle has to be handed by Piso, I need to be out of her sight). Julia was on Lolot’s lap taking her bottle and happily making “kuyakoy” while Tonipet and 1 lady account executive were reminding her of her lines, Mai-mai retouching her curls and Piso fanning her. Parang artista talaga’ng anak ko with all the people around her and she without a care. Bawal magkuha ng pictures so I kept the detailed scene in my memory. Super cherished.
They gave us a lunch break before the ‘butterfly scene’ shoot. Again ang sasarap ng food, pero tensed ang lola mo so I can’t eat much. After lunch workshop ulit for Lolot and Julia while the set is being rearranged. It’s passed noon, I’m afraid Julia will feel sleepy soon, considering 5:30am siya nagising.
So Tonipet and others are keeping her mood high and happy. The butterfly scene is very difficult. Those darn butterflies can only do 2 things. To fly in the wrong direction and not fly at all. Twice it flew towards Julia’s neck and she screamed, thinking it’s a flying cockroach (black kasi yung butterflies). I can only see her at the monitor and can’t get to her. The moment I stood from my chair, I saw Lolot and the crew run to Julia and calmed her down. Poor baby, umiyak. The more I can’t get close, baka umayaw na pag nakita ako so I let the Kid handlers do their work. They gave Julia a ‘pasyal’ break to see the swans and fishes again, and a ‘lollipop’ break. Mommy model Sarah needs a break too. Her squat position was hard on her legs and she needs to stretch. During the break, they tied the butterfly with a very thin string so they can just pull it to the direction they want. Cruelty to animals ba? So on with the take. Twice may na-extra, some crew walked into the scene not knowing we’re rolling. They seemed angelic on cam with the fog, soft lights and all.
The butterfly scene seemed to take forever. In the long run, Julia won’t cooperate anymore. She whimpered: “Ayaw na Julia butterfly.” Then yawned and sat on Sarah’s lap not minding the coach and all their props. Did they ever get a good shot with all those takes? I have no idea. I’ll just wait for the release, if they ever release it. Para kasing hindi satisfactory yung last take. But then, I’m not the director. On the released TVC, they used a blue compu-graphics butterfly.
So that’s it, Julia was so tired and sleepy, we have to go home. Sayang, sarap pa naman ng merienda. I changed Julia’s clothes (property ng production yung outfit eh) and before we left the venue, we thanked everyone muna. The production people gave her a reward. Sesame street jigsaw puzzles, toys and goodies. I tried taking pictures of Julia, but she’s so tired of the camera, she won’t smile anymore. Lolot was very kind to take Julia herself to the co. van. Just 5 mins after we left, Julia was snoring.
Shooting day2 -January 10, 2005 Venue is at Gama productions, just a few blocks away from our place. Julia got plenty of rest and thank God, call time isn’t as early as yesterday. Prod. staff: ” Good morning Mommy, naglakad lang kayo?” Me:”Anong nag lakad? Nag side car kami.” Imagine my girl, the star of today’s shoot arriving at the studio on a side car. Again the food was great. I got a phone call from an SP friend Mommy Kate (Cielo’s Mom who’s starting to bring Cielo to VTRs) congratulating us on Julia’s big break. Julia was happy to see her friends again. Lolot, Phizo, Mai-mai and Tonipet.
The scene for today is a shot of Julia with a blue background. I guess it’s for the ‘rainbow-eyes’ scene. Again, I can watch her only at the monitor in the conference-turned-dining room. Seeing her smiling close-up shot on that TV, I gave a deep sigh and whispered “Anak, ang ganda-ganda mo, nagpapasalamat ako sa Diyos na ako ang pinili niya na maging nanay mo. Patawarin mo ako na minsan napapalo kita.” At home, when I told my husband this, he threw a pillow at me “Ang drama mo.” The whole thing took only an hour.
At the make up room, I met Lina, Julio’s mom. They are scheduled for the pediasure shooting to follow ours. I told her that I told my husband about her and how I envy Julio’s line of projects. “di bale, mararating niyo rin yon.”. It’s good to see her again. As for Julio, as usual, he was busy with his pocket nintendo. Lolot, one of the kindest person I know, flagged us a tricycle and bid Julia goodbye. Before going home, we passed by a supermarket to buy Julia her milk (she ran out). So to say, we just finished her shoot for Gain to buy another milk brand. Talk about loyalty.
1 week after, Dada’s home! Julia’s happy with all the pasalubongs and the father and daughter are again inseperable. Photo shoot for print ad at Dindo’s studio at Pasong Tamo, my husband finally met all the people I’m talking about. Catering was courtesy of 1 advertising staff and McDonald’s. Masarap naman breakfast nila ah. Again, Lolot and Piso was there to coach and assist. I have no idea how they do it. They are great. After the shoot, we took home lots of Mums for Lola. 2 weeks after, we all cheered seeing her on TV.