lost my head

On September 11, Sonata opened in SM Cinemas nationwide. On September 11, my head exploded. I was a complete and total mess. I was attached, almost on a molecular level, to my cellphone, checking the updates every five minutes and trying to find any news or report on social media regarding how people were taking Sonata. I was vulnerable and defenceless. My soul was hungry and needy for information. I wanted to know if people went out of their way to watch and if they enjoyed themselves.

Cherie Gil as Regina Cadena (outtakes from Sonata shoot, photo by Junjun Montelibano)

Cherie Gil as Regina Cadena (outtakes from Sonata shoot, photo by Junjun Montelibano)

I was a slave to the Internet those first few days and every time I saw something bad, my heart sank, and it was buoyed only by the others that praised the film, but only to be quickly destroyed when another Tweet would appear that tore it up.

This whole social media thing is awful for artists. Why can’t we just let our artistic work free and be free of it completely? I was prepared already to just let it go. But somewhere along the way, I began to care. I wanted them (the audience, the film-goers) to love it as much as I did. I wanted to get it. In that little moment, I kinda lost it. I lost my head. I lost everything that I had been coming towards most of my life: this sense of grounded-ness and security. All of it, gone on opening day.

Like a whiny, teen wanting everybody love him. It was that all over again. The neediness, the desire, the self-absorption. Love it! Love my work! Love me! Ugh! It was a sickening display of artist putting himself before the art. I worried myself to the point of getting sick and getting sick of my own self-centredness.

My Dad had to slap some sense into me. He reminded me about everything that we had talked about a while back. We love what we did and we know that it is the best work that we could put together in the time and resources that was available. We love the work. We love Sonata. We are proud of this movie. And that is all that is really needed.

And slowly, I’m pulling myself back together, because I’ve unraveled at some point. I’m pulling every random thread of me back from the strange places they all went to.

Soon, I’ll have my head back firmly on my shoulders and I’ll look back at the past few days and laugh at it. Right now, there’s still a little bit of shame, a little bit of embarrassment. I really lost it there. Felt like a complete and total amateur. Regardless of the mental and emotional preparation I made right before the movie opened, I still fell into that trap.

It’s my first film, really. I hope it gets easier next time. I hope it does.

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