by KB Meniado
Flipping the Script is the second release from the #romanceclassFlicker imprint, and dare I say again, it’s flipping engrossing. It has a well-paced plot, no-nonsense writing style and sharp voices. And the hate-to-love teen romance between two aspiring filmmakers? Worthy of LizQuen level of investment. This homage to the Filipino film industry is a definite must-watch, especially that it’s injected with real-life experiences (is there any other way to write, really) from the author, Danice Mae P. Sison, who’s a film grad herself. Read on to know more!
Miri dela Merced’s film director grandfather and Pabs Paglinauan’s studio head grandmother had a huge falling out that ended Lolo Ikong’s career. At seventeen, Miri finds herself in the same summer film internship program as the down-to-earth film studio heir Pabs, whom she’s decided to automatically write off, just because of his lineage. As Miri gets a crash course in her expectations vs the reality of what it’s like to work on a real movie, her true feelings for Pabs become harder and harder to ignore. In between attending outdoor screenings of classic Pinoy movies and battling monster production assistants together, can flipping the script on a decades-old grudge be only a few sequences away?
Danice Mae P. Sison realized she wanted to be Harriet the Spy when she was very young. Since then, she has been digging out from real life experiences, pop culture obsessions and her growing TBR pile of young adult and romance books for inspiration. She works in pay television as a channel manager, and has previously contributed as an author on the anthology Start Here. Flipping the Script is her first book.
Hi, Danice! I can remember us talking about this with Romy in October of 2018… and finally, it’s here! Congrats! The first thing to ask of course is this: Which scenes from the book are your personal experiences? Was it hard to relive some of them, or was it cathartic to do so?
There are *a couple* of scenes that were *ahem* somewhat directly lifted from personal events, but the part that was *slightly* triggering for me would be writing Ate Armee [a kontrabida]. Like her whole vibe calls to mind very unpleasant memories of some seniors in the biz I’ve encountered as a young media intern. Sadly, there are (and always will be) people like that not just on a film set, but in any workplace, I think. The good news is, as we get older, we learn to use the correct tools to deal with people like Ate Armee.
“Expectation: that I’d get to observe the best practices of real film workers up close in a controlled environment, preferably an indoor studio. I’d get to learn about the art of filmmaking—from screenwriting, to cinematography, to editing. I’d get feedback on concepts I’ve been developing and be mentored by industry professionals and up and coming directors. Reality: honing skills in standing by and waiting for instructions, getting used to call-times at the butt-crack of dawn, running around a movie set sticking strips of masking tape to the ground, sleeping on any available surface, and growing a thicker skin from getting yelled at by an irate over-caffeinated, sleep-deprived production assistant.”—Miri
Ate Armee sure awakened some of the demons of my past, lol. Kidding aside, now that we’re talking film, do you have any strong Pinoy movie recs for us, ahem, young ones, to see?
The films that I included in the book are great movies to start with. I saw Batch ‘81 (directed by Mike De Leon) when I was my characters’ age and my mind was blown pretty much the same way theirs were. It’s a heavy film, but I find that I need to see it every so often. It’s about a young fraternity pledge that bites off more than he can chew, but there’s a larger message there about the dangers of blindly following/subscribing to a whole mindset. I think any message that reminds young people to think critically for themselves is important, especially today.
I think I also saw Moral (directed by Marilou Diaz-Abaya) for the first time around that age, and the themes found in that film are still relevant—friendship between female friends, love, self-respect—[and] those resonate. Plus, it’s always a trip seeing the world through an analog, pre-internet lens. YAs of the now should also check out the very first Shake, Rattle & Roll movie for fun. I like to imagine that Lolo Ikong might have contributed something to the film franchise!
Speaking of contributions… If your books* had the opportunity to be adapted into the silver screen, which producers and actors would you like to be in it with you?
I’m about to namedrop some famous director friends because I will always want to work/collaborate with them, but especially for a project like an LGBTQIA+ movie for young adults: Jade Castro, Irene Villamor, and Tara Illenberger. I grew up learning about the teenage years watching John Hughes and Amy Heckerling movies, so any film project I’d want to produce needs to have that feel—funny, smart, treats teenagers like human beings that have their own identities, dreams, thoughts, fears and ambitions.
As for actors I would like to work on a project like that, I would like to work with non-celeb Twitter folk who are dying to act. I know you’re out there! 😉
“I feel something shift between us. We don’t look at each other, but it’s like we both come to an agreement at the same time, and our hands come together, our fingers intertwined.”—Miri
One day, right 🙂 We’re all young at heart but how was your experience putting yourself back in a teenage mindset? Have you ever imagined Pabs and Miri at your age?
Hahaha! It’s not a secret, but based on people’s reactions, I’ve learned to reveal my age like a well-timed punch line. I think in a lot of ways, I never left my teenage mindset. I think of myself as an “adultescent,” really, especially in terms of where my tastes are directed. I guess it’s because I haven’t forgotten what it was like being younger. There’s a quote I came across about people being the current age they are while also being all the ages they once were, and I relate a lot to that. I can only hope that when Pabs and Miri get to their middle ages, they don’t lose the sense of fun they have right now! I certainly hope Pabs doesn’t grow up to be like Uncle Killjoy! And also, I hope they’d get enough sleep once they’re my age.
“Maybe you’re too focused on what you aren’t learning than what you actually are.”—Tetet (Miri’s bestie)
In your blog, you talked about your seven-year itch, and your 15-year WIP. What would you tell kids of today about enduring, overcoming, and succeeding?
Do you. Go at your own pace, and be kind to yourself. It will never be too late to do anything you set your mind to. Eff the haters, lol!
Anything to share? :)