Silencing my realm for focus under a lampshade on my study table, my aunt suddenly gushed right in to my room. “Nen, there’s an audition this Sunday. I think you might want to come, ” she said. “Audition?” I asked with my eyes wide. ” Yes. Go out and give it a try! ” she insisted.
Whoever knew me so well could probably jump right into conclusion that I would accept the invitation without a second thought. Of course! I love talking to fellow hopefuls during auditions. I love the feeling of getting nervous and excited at the same time. I love to think of all the possibilities that could happen from a single step. I love challenges and the sense of fulfillment that I get in conquering it. Uhm ..I don’t know. I never felt confident about me in everything but the idea of presenting myself to people and showing to them what I strongly believe in makes me so alive.
And so, that was me, and it has always been that way.
MARCH 16, 2014
—- 5am Woke up early because of the vibration caused by my phone. I took it by hand and read that I have just received a text from a friend whom I invited to accompany me that day. It was just a short message from her stating that she can’t come with me because of an important matter. It was saddening for a moment. But still, I felt determined to jump right out of my bed and do my daily rituals. With or without a friend, I AM GOING.
—- 6am Everything went fine and normal at home. Really. Yet, on the jeepney that I rode on, I was sitting deeply afloat; fully preoccupied of things just like, “Am I really going?“, “what if I misread the details and the audition proper was not to be held on the place where I am about to go ?“, “or what if I was the only person there on the venue?“. A lot of thoughts were boggling but I kept my pace, breathed in and smiled again.” I am used to this. I ain’t afraid neither nervous,” I told myself in repeat.
—- 7am From afar, I already saw hundreds of people waiting in line. Some were chatting with their friends, some were on their phones while others were answering the information sheets distributed by the staff. Auditionees were from 18 years old and above and I just turned 18 that time so it was kinda intimidating for me. To somehow make me feel at ease, I put up my sweetest smile and wore my heart out on my sleeves. Right away, the bubbly side of me mingled to everyone I came across with.
—- 9am The audition proper started on the mall’s atrium and we were told that it has 3 stages. The question round, on-cam intro, and finally the panel interview. Since they only have 50 answering machines, auditionees were grouped into 50. I was on the third batch and there were about 700-800 auditionees that time.
— 10am Sitting on a plastic chair, I went to start a conversation with a businessman on my left side and an engineering graduate on the right side. We talked about anything randomly from the weather, cars, their work up to what brought them there. Now, I felt calmer for I have made casual friends on the venue.
—- 11am And there it went, 10 questions with only 10 people per batch to pass for the next screening process. The first question started rolling and so on. I have to admit it. Of all the questions presented, I didn’t know a single answer. I was dependent on my gut feels the whole time. No expectations. Battling out in the sea of professionals; fully experienced and equipped with the knowledge for them to pass the first stage was already an edge for them. So who am I to compete? For me, the cameras around, the people and the feeling it gave me was already enough for an experience.
The questions have been presented and done. Now, with our ears on the sound system and our eyes on the wide screen, the speaker started to speak.
“ The top ten for this batch are…..”
Voila! I saw my name at number 8! Signifying that I shall proceed to the next round. I was never ever a fan of taking photos back then but since I found it funny and rare, I took a snap and sent it to my mom. After that, the staff told us to wait for further instructions.
—12pm Lunch time came and they are still on their fifth batch of auditionees. I was thinking of going home knowing that I only bought a few pennies on my pocket. When I say few, I say 20 pesos. So, 20 pesos minus jeepney fares? 6 pesos. With that money I bought a bread to suffice my grumbling stomach. Still, it was not enough for the hungry me. Sad.
—1pm This time, I started chatting online to my mom, aunt and cousin about how I badly wanted to drink a glass of water. I envy my fellow hopefuls because they got their family and friends with them; bringing them food and the support that they need. To change my focus, I kept scrolling through my phone; reading inspirational quotes from my favorite Facebook pages did help a lot.
—2pm I came across with this woman who was on her early 30s, of Filipina height, red lips and with a wavy long brown hair. She was a woman of great ambition and deep sense of purpose. She worked abroad, away from her kids for how many years just to support their studies and was about to go back abroad that time. But upon hearing this opportunity, she decided to postpone it for a while and give chance to her biggest dream since high school. And it was to play on this game show. I was even amazed when she elaborated to us the hosts, the year it went on hiatus, and the jackpot questions. Fire was intensely burning on her eyes; a projection of how badly she wanted it. Perhaps, this could be her time. I thought to myself.
—3pm The second screening was set to happen at fifth floor. Unlike the first screening, the feels were more personal because you have to proceed to a room, all alone. And from there, you have to speak in front of the cameras. I was reflecting on my lines while looking down below from 5th floor to ground floor. The question round was not yet finished but the stage was being set already for an event later on with some guest performers from a well-known TV station. I badly wanted to go home because I felt hungry and tired already, but whenever I think of the opportunity and how far I have come for that day, my heart would always say that I have to stay.
— 4pm This is it! The second round started to which you are about to answer this question: “Bakit ikaw ang karapatdapat maglaro sa Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” in 2-3 minutes. I reflected on my lines again immediately while the staff started to call names, one by one.
— 7pm It was about two hours when I got called. I stood up confidently and proceeded to the room.
And now, facing the cameras with all the studio lights, the lapel mic, tv monitors, the staff and crew. I started to market myself enthusiastically. Everyone on the set including the ones whose taking their deliberation on the side were on smiles during my moment. The cameraman even gave me a thumbs up sign and a loud “very good”. And so, I assumed that I passed the 2nd screening. Hahaha
— 8pm After everyone was called, people flocked outside the audition room, waiting for the management’s next announcement. And there I was too, feeling excited for my name to be called, hopefully.
Out of the hundreds of people who have auditioned, 15 hopefuls have to remain.
The staff started to announce names in no particular order.
only 7 left
slowly losing my faith
then, at 12…
OH MY GOSHH! I raised my hand in excitement; I cannot convey my feelings that time. The staff continued to call for more names to complete the set.
After that, we were given a sheet of paper again and were asked to retouch for an on-cam interview. Each interview lasted for about 10-15 minutes. Out of 15 finalists, the management has to choose a single auditionee who shall represent the whole Mindanao in Metro Manila with Mr. Vic Sotto as their game show host. We were told to be texted if luckily chosen.
Days passed, but sad to say, I didn’t received any. It was just a week after when I finally knew who made the cut. And it was the woman whom I talked to before the on-cam intro; that woman of great ambition and deep sense of purpose. She dreamt of playing for it since she was high school and it was on her early 30s when she finally put that into a reality. “Dreams do really come true“, I whispered to myself. Today, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow might not be the day but you have to trust His timing. Up to this day, she reminds me that success doesn’t require age limit. You can, at anytime of your life, achieve anything that you have ever wished for IF YOU ALSO HAVE THE COURAGE TO TAKE THE PLUNGE. I may have not gotten the spot to represent my city, yet I earned a valuable lesson; and that was even more rewarding.