Out of Place

Being a communication arts student, I’ve just encountered our fifth major course—Scriptwriting for Radio and TV. Our block have just learned how to pitch ideas and put them into writing. We were also made familiar with different video techniques and audio cues, so we briefly viewed episodes of TV series or even scenes from movies to figure out such technical things. I’ve observed my classmates being so interested in TV series and/or movies that it is usually the way by which we discuss the topics we had in Scriptwriting. 

Even when it’s not Scriptwriting class, I would hear them talk about a series they were following and marathon-ing, or a movie they have just watched, and much more on the celebrities that act on those series or movies. Be it How To Get Away with Murder, or Pretty Little Liars, or Game of Thrones, or Star Wars, or Civil War, and a lot more that I’m not familiar with...And I just feel overwhelmed, alienated.

Even within the family. I think Ma and I are the odd ones out in terms of film, although we do like and prefer quality films. The rest are so into movies. Even Pa has a regular “Night at The Movies”, like what American stations have done decades ago on primetime. 

And here I am, a communication arts student who—among others who have film, or television, or advertising in their specialty—has a peculiar interest in what seems an abandoned media and will most likely work for that field someday. I am just so different, and I can’t but find myself out of place—OP.

But I surely don’t disdain everything TV and film. In fact, I have watched films and have followed TV series. I was even fascinated with a few of them.

(Clockwise) Images from the films: Dead Poets Society, Chariots of Fire,
The Pursuit of Happyness, and John Q

Feature presentations and matinees

During my summer vacation periods in high school I would watch films—not on DVD or even from a torrent file, but on HBO and Cinemax (sometimes from Star Movies too). I even subscribed to a weekly newsletter from HBO and Cinemax sent via e-mail. 

Later on, I would visit the website of both channels and browse through the movies they would broadcast. As soon as I chose a movie I would like to see (after reading the synopsis), I would take note of the schedule, and I would likely catch most of those movies. 

As long as it was vacation, movies were a part of my activities. Thanks to cable I watched movies such as Dead Poets Society, Chariots on Fire, Tron (both old and new versions), John Q, Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs, Sucker Punch, and even Beastly and The Pursuit of Happyness. Thanks also to the movies Misery and Christine, I got more interested in reading Stephen King’s works. 

But usually I would look for vintage movies, and I would always expect them every afternoon on Cinemax. They call that segment Movie Matinee, if I’m not mistaken. On that slot I viewed various crime/spy, adventure and (mostly) science fiction films, though sometimes I found them hard to understand (especially the crime films). I was so fascinated with the science fiction flicks I saw on that timeslot—The Incredible Shrinking Man, Five Million Miles To Earth, The Blob, Earth vs. Flying Saucers, and Journey to The Far Side of the Sun

But for me the most memorable film I was delighted to watch on cable (because I’ve been wanting to) was 2001: A Space Odyssey. My father found the movie weird (mostly for the sound effects and silent scenes), though he recognized how antique it was. But I did like it at that time I picked it as my favorite movie when I was asked about it in my sophomore year.

Later in my fourth year, when the cable was converted into a digital box, I chanced upon films from My Movie Channel when it was still on air. I really liked that channel for the quality films they feature. Too bad it went off air last year, probably for lack of audience and profit. There I viewed For The Boys, The Five Heartbeats, A Christmas Carol (from the 80’s), and S1m0ne

(Clockwise) Images from the films: For The Boys, The Five Heartbeats,
S1m0ne, and A Christmas Carol (starring George Scott)

Series and sitcoms
I also got into some TV series on some cable channels. There used to be 80’s shows on 2nd Avenue when I was in my 2nd year high school which I used to follow. I would watch Small Wonder in afternoons, featuring the girl robot living with a small family. Early in the morning, there was also the stories of riding the roller-coaster ride of growing up from The Wonder Years and the young Neil Patrick Harris working as a physician in (incredibly) his teenage years in Doogie Howser, M.D. 

When AXN Beyond reformatted to beTV (which later on became Sony Channel), they aired the 90’s sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. One time I stumbled upon it, and I liked it. I knew the schedule, and I would switch the TV to that channel at specific times (usually 5:00) and have a regular laugh from the dysfunctional family of a humorous sportswriter Ray Barone. 

When I was in third year, I also saw The Newsroom at its start. I was of course fascinated at a series about a team of anchors, journalists, and producers working for a news channel. If you ever saw an FB video of a man angrily responding to the question “Is the US still the best country in the world?” (that he said it used to be), it was from that TV drama. Later on I missed The Newsroom, and somehow I drifted away from watching TV series.

(Clockwise) Images from the sitcoms:
 Small Wonder, Everybody Loves Raymond, The Cosby Show, and Taxi

When I was yet to become a college student, I would regularly catch The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. I would always wait for the segments, especially “Thank You Notes” and “Screengrabs”, then I either eat lunch during the interview segments or switch the TV to another channel. But often I finished the show.

The Big Bang Theory also came as another source of laughs. In the lives of four scientists with different ways and manners in their professions and their relationships, I would find myself laughing (with siblings and parents, thankfully). Even in these college years I would find it on Warner TV or Jack TV and set aside the work for a while. In such an often stressful life I’ve been living, I need a laugh. 

There’s also another good channel I’ve found from the box—Hits. It’s the place for old TV shows, and I am in for things vintage. I found doses of laughs from The Cosby Show, Different Strokes, Taxi, Married...with Children, and even Mad About You and The Golden Girls. I also viewed some episodes from Moonlighting and The X-Files. Oh, I hope I would have the time to catch The X-Files, but it appears I won’t have time for any marathon/catching-up while I was busy in the city, in the campus.

So far, aside from Big Bang, the program I catch when I have the chance, is 60 Minutes, the long-running magazine program comprised of 3 stories and the ticking of an Aristo stopwatch. 

And currently, I got hooked on Ang Probinsyano, the missions of a policeman turned CIDG officer against various criminals, especially against a drug syndicate, which makes the major plot of the story.

One favorite remains
I have shared to you my viewing list and favorite picks on television and film. Yet, this patronage fluctuates in time. But at the present, I’m less hooked on TV series or motion pictures as much as others are. 

While many I know are into today’s hero films or novel adaptations, which have just been viewed on movie theaters and probably have been released on Kick-A-- Torrent, I’m not into that. Many wait for the next episode of famous TV series on cable or online, but I’m just not interested in any of them. 

The particular reason I have felt negative about this is: I feel I won’t be able to bring anything else interesting to talk about, finding it difficult to talk at all. I feel and surmise that’s the easy link that could bring a conversation with someone, although I consider that he/she/they could give an ear on or express about other topics. And I can’t use the TV/movie link always. Or maybe I could try. Aside from that, I find it somehow ironic that I’m in a communications course, but I have less affinity to some of the trending media (except social media, of course). 

But wait, read: communication arts. The entire program involves a lot of fields (not mass media/broadcasting alone), it has a wide range of areas covered. And I just turned out to be liking the areas of radio and (a bit of) research. That’s the way it is. 

Of course, I find it helpful to view more series and films as I go through my major subjects this upcoming 2nd half of college. But I would less likely follow more than one series, or set my eyes on a lot of films. This happens to be the case because: 1) again, I like radio more, and 2) I’m a bit cautious and conservative with what I view, that’s why I grew less inclined to view films and series.

I should therefore stop being negative on feeling out of place. I have to embrace it. And maybe celebrate it. It’s nothing to be sad about. At least there’s someone who’s concerned with keeping the airwaves alive. Radio will remain my favorite. 

In fact, these past weeks and days I’ve been listening to radio dramas, book readings, and documentaries (yes, documentaries on radio) from United Kingdom’s BBC Radio 4. Maybe you would like to try them, for a change. Let me give you some links:

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