Thursday, August 12, 2010

reluctant communicator

You may not all believe, but I was not supposed to be a Media Practitioner – a communicator. I wanted to take up theater arts back in college but they said there was no money there, so I took banking and finance. I shifted to accounting because my aunt told me there’s a great opportunity for me to enter the banking business if I have an accounting degree. But soon, I shifted to marketing. Commerce was not my cup of tea and mass communication is the closest subject to theater arts. I remembered my mom told me that she was surprised that we lined-up at the college of liberal arts during graduation and not in the college of commerce. She said she forgot or did not know I finished mass communication. My first job was with PETA and then transferred to tv5, to IBC13-Vintage TV to GMA-7 and the rest was history.

When I decided to finally enter the formation life, I wished to be sent to mission or assigned to a different task – anything but media works. I wanted to try a different field this time and move away from my past job. But our God is a God of surprises and I was lead to the Pauline Family. There is no escaping the media for me now. I was given the chance to teach Media Education to the high school students of Jesus Good Shepherd School, one task I was so grateful of. I dream of giving the youth a head start in media consumption and media management, because they would be the future producers media managers. Start them young and let the good media flourish like that of the Lebanon cedar. Talking and teaching media to the young was a lot of fun, you shepherd them in the right media consumption by critiquing TV show and teaching them to produce their own music video and short film. Our last year’s video fest was a success; they now produce video for their other high school subjects.

I was also blessed to have been part of the AV apostolate and assigned to socio-cultural activities. I was given the chance to share the little that I know about production work- writing and directing. I just hope I am training my brothers to be the best media producers that they ought to be. I guess those who worked with me especially who were part of many productions and was under my class know me by now. Mediocrity has no place in media work, especially if it is Media apostolate. “Hindi pwedeng pwede na yan”. Pay attention to details and put yourself in the place of the audience. “Naintindihan ba ni Aling Barang ang ginawa mo?”.

In producing segments and media materials, one must consider the effect it will do to its audience. “Kung wala namang epekto yan, wag na lang gawin!”. “Natawa ba sila, naiyak, na in love o na bless kaya?”. Who is the Sender, what is the Message you want to communicate, from or to what Channel it flowed through, who are the receiver and what will be its effect or feedback.

In my previous job, it used to be Edward. Taking the suffix ‘ward’ means ‘towards’, so it was towards Ed. Towards me, me and me. Now I pray that It would be Christ ward, towards Christ. That I may be able to point and lead people to God: back to God and towards God by sharing myself or by simply being there and letting them know that I am always there for them, though separated by space and time. And that Me as the medium becomes the message, that I maybe a blessing for others, always. That I may remind them of God’s comfort and grace.

During the sem-break, Christmas break and summer vacation, I was given the chance to work again in GMA-7. As director for outside broadcast of Unang Hirit and director for the GMA Election coverage in Masbate. I noticed something was different in me, it was no longer the sir Ed or direk Ed that they used to work with. It was seminarian Edward. Different not because I am much holier now or saintly, I still shout at my staff if they are not following my instructions and still is demanding and perfectionist. During break time or standby time in my live coverage; my staff used to approach me for questions. Ranging from “sir, why did u decide to enter the seminary, na heart broken ka ba?”, “how is your life inside the seminary different from the life outside?” It was like tito Boy Abunda interrogating me. From my personal life it will then be shifted to their lives, issues concerning their personal lives. “Hindi napo ako laging nagkapagsisimba at tinatabaagan na po ako sa pananampalataya ko, pano po kaya yun?”, and “napapagod na po ako sa buhay ko, ano kaya ang gagawin ko?”. On one occasion, one of my hosts approached me and told me that he plans to get married next year and he hopes that the Lord will bless their relationship and that he plans to do other things apart from being on camera. I treasure these occasions, a lot. Not because I am a sucker for emotional conversations but because I know these people needs affection and concern now more than ever, and they saw in me that someone who will listen to them and pray for them. I may not give the right answers at all times but for I am there, in that moment – that here and now channeling God’s grace and comfort to them.

In my prayer, I always ask God to make me worthy of this ministry and vocation – the priesthood. I usually ask “Sino ba ako para lapitan nila at hingan ng payo, ang sabihan ng kanilang problema at mga hinaning. Ang hilinging ipagdasal sila at maging prayer warrior nila.” I receive private messages from facebook, chat, text messages from friends and relatives asking for comfort during their times of distress. Like when a friend’s mom just died, another friend lost a father, another lost a job, another needs financial assistance, a relative is sick or wanted special petition.

In one time, I received a message that my friend was in a brink of separation. His husband who is a sea man called me up and said he wanted to jump into the sea because his wife doesn’t want to see him anymore and that she is leaving their home. Caught by surprise, I asked God’s guidance. I told him to relax, try to walk around. Clear his head of negative thoughts even for just 10 minutes and not to do anything that he would regret soon. Loose a job or worst loose his life. I told him to pray hard that day and try to see what the Lord was telling him in that situation and to go home as soon as he can to talk to his wife personally. I assured them of my prayers, I prayed hard for them up to the point of crying to the Lord to heal their relationship. Now, they are OK. I have not heard from any one of them again after they got reconciled.

Before, I used to beat and meet deadlines for my company, to bosses who demanded output right away. To the point that i do segments in a mechanical manner. Shoot, write, edit and air my segments. Now, it is pray, write, pray, shoot, pray, play video and pray again that I will not have any glitches. Now, I report to a boss who is the Master, way, truth and life. The communication model is still SMCR but the now I see it as: the Father is the sender who sends the Son, the Son becomes the message of salvation and the Spirit as the channel of grace and the effect is salvation. The feedback that we ought to give and do is to know God, love God and Serve God.

Maybe, I was brought here because I have yet to take part in producing a grand production number in God’s program – to help in saving his people through spreading His word. I realized that we, like the angel of the Lord, must be heralds of the good news. Like our father the apostle Paul, must be zealous in spreading the word of the Lord. And like our Primo maestro, must use the fastest and most efficacious means to bring Christ into the world. Whom do you communicate to? What do you communicate? Or do you communicate at all?

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