interviewed by a friend

I’ve done a lot of interviews before as an HIV advocate. When I came out as a person living with HIV to the world, it seemed people only wanted to interview me and feature me for that. I didn’t mind. I was an advocate with a mission to preventing people from getting infected with what I had. It was my mission, really. I didn’t mind.

But then, when my super-duper good friend Cat asked to feature me on her blog, after she saw Sonata, and ask me about being a scriptwriter and how we ended up putting the film together, I was so nervous. Not only was it on the day after we had the special advanced screening, so I was struggling with so many emotions and feelings, but it was the first time in a very long time that I had been asked, as a subject (not as a friend or on casual conversation) about my process as a writer. I became so self-conscious all of a sudden.

Being interviewed by G Toengi for Rappler right before the Sonata screening (photo by Cat Juan Ledesma)

Being interviewed by G Toengi for Rappler right before the Sonata screening (photo by Cat Juan Ledesma)

Right before the Sonata screening, a family friend, G Toengi had interviewed me on camera for Rappler about the film and, again, I was so nervous. I can’t imagine why since I’ve been interviewed on television before, many times actually, and I’ve gotten used to it. It wasn’t like I was asked to act; I always felt that interviews were easy and natural for me already because I just had to be myself and I am so used to just being myself and being honest during interviews, regardless if it was for print or television or any other form of media.

I think it is because it meant so much to me, the film, and that what I say during the interview would somehow reflect anybody’s perception of the film. I think that’s why it was so daunting.

Answering Cat’s questions made me really think very hard about the whole process of getting to this point. She wasn’t just asking me questions about the film, but also the experiences that brought me to this point — my life as a writer, and all the challenges that came about that brought me here. The questions were very revealing, to me more than anyone, I guess. Some things you know, but until you articulate it, are never really realised. You aren’t aware of it and when you do, because of the articulation of it, that you come to fathom exactly the full breadth of it all.

It takes a friend, I think, to cull the deepest nature of who you are. A stranger doing the interview wouldn’t know the intricacies of what you went through as a person and the choice of words, the appropriate way of phrasing a question can bring out more than someone who doesn’t know you.

I am so grateful that Cat would take her time to write a blog entry about me and my film. Sonata has become a landmark event in my life. Her friendship, somehow, is found within the scenes, as with all my friends and family. Breaking down the film, Sonata is about love and life, and to be truly honest to the work, I had to go down to all the things that make up my life and all the things that I love and pull that out of me and put it on the page. So, yeah, Cat is there somewhere.

I’m thankful.

Read Watch: Sonata by Cat Juan Ledesma here for her blog entry and an interview with me as a scriptwriter; probably my first ever interview for my art, and not for my advocacy. It would have to be Cat. It would just have to be.

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