Wednesday, January 11, 2006



Intro to Raket. “Talent” ang ID ko sa GMA. It means I’m being hired by GMA but not quite an employee. Freelancer bale. Sa mundo ng showbiz - raketero.

Nabubuhay kaming mga raketero on a per project basis. Ito ang tinatawag na raket. Depende sa dami ng trabaho ang dami ng kikitain mo. Sa TV, ang raket ay ang TV show. Bawat TV show would typically pay per episode. Kapag nag-absent ka, ‘yung sumalo sa’yo ang kukuha ng suweldo mo. Kapag sinusuwerte, ‘yung TV show nagbabayad ng retainer fee for being part of the writer’s pool on top of the fee that you get if you write an episode.

Bilang Talent, walang power ang network na pagbawalan kang rumaket sa iba. Puwedeng rumaket sa TV show in another network, corporate AVP, events, commercials, press release, print article, concert, theatre production, wedding, brochure, cd-rom, website, souvenir program, barangay beauty pageant…basta kelangan ng writer puwede mong patulan.

Dito nakakatulong ang connection ko sa GMA. Lalo na nu’ng bata-bata pa’ko. It builds credibility kasi when they know you write for a network.

Bilang raketero nafi-feel ko na God takes care of us. If a project is about to end, or if I’m running out of funds laging may tumatawag with a project. Parang alam Niya na kelangan ko. He’s like the best Agent ever!

How’s the pay? Ikaw ang magdi-dictate ng fee mo. Dati nagdi-dictate pa’ko ng fee pero ngayon sa dami ng mga writers d’yan, I try to be accessible by telling them “bahala na po kayo” when asked how much I’m gonna charge. Ginagawa ko ‘to usually sa mga nakatrabaho ko na before. Meron namang nagsasabi na agad ng ibababayad nila sa’yo. Depende na lang sa’yo kung gusto mong humingi pa ng dagdag. Meron ding namang cases na talagang nagdi-demand ako ng talent fee kasi medyo mahirap o unusual ang nire-require nila.

I tried applying for a teaching position pero the school was offering me a full-time PR work instead. I never asked about the benefits pero the take-home pay wouldn’t even amount to half of what I would be getting on a good month doing rakets. That wouldn’t make me keep a 9 to 5 job, no! I may not get “good month’s pay” everytime but just the fact na I have the opportunity to is far better than an assured regular income. It’s like choosing bayong over pera kahit mas sigurado ang pera kasi puwedeng jackpot naman ang nasa bayong. A better analogy is choosing laban over bawi kasi choice mo namang lumaban, eh. Kung gusto mong kumita ng malaki, maghanap ka ng maraming trabaho. Lalaban ka talaga. Kapag pagod ka at sa tingin mo you can survive naman with a little less muna, puwede ka namang magpahinga. Sabihin mo lang meron ka pang ibang ginagawa o ipasa mo sa kaibigan mong nangangailangan ng raket. Karma points pa!

Freenlance, free time. Ang pinakagusto ko sa pagiging raketero eh hawak ko’ng oras ko. I don’ have to drag myself to an office every single day to clock in 8 hours sa bundy kesyo may gagawin ako sa office o wala. At since pagsusulat ang raket ko, puwede akong mag-work kahit saan. Deadlines notwithstanding, up to me rin kung kelan ko gagawin ang isang project. Madalas a project would start with a face-to-face briefing from the client and then nabubuhay na sa calls, texts at email ang lahat. May mga clients akong I don’t get to see until I pick up my cheque.

The Raketero Strategy. Ang nakikitang downside ng nakararaming traditionally employed eh ‘yung kawalan daw ng security. Hindi mo nga naman alam kung may project ka o wala sa isang buwan. Siguro masuwerte na lang ako’t hindi pa’ko nasi-zero. Being a raketero is like running your own one-man corporation. May mga panahon na mahina ang benta, may mga times naman na patok ka. This pushes you to do a good job everytime para bumalik ang client with more projects. Mabubuhay ka kasi sa referrals so don’t burn bridges, and always put your best foot forward. It’s all about establishing and maintaining relationships.

There is No Downside! Ang isa pang concern sa buhay-raketero eh ‘yung kawalan ng SSS and other benefits. Well, puwede ka namang mag-member sa SSS kung gusto mo. At least kusa mo ‘yang ina-allocate from your earnings at hindi automatic na kinakaltas sa’yo. Isa pang benefit ‘yan: you usually charge a net fee so bahala na ang client mo na magdagdag ng taxes mo. (Siyempre, you still have to be a good citizen and file your taxes, ha).

Not to be pessimistic pero sa economy natin shaky na rin ang ating social security system. Baka hindi mo pa makuha’ng hinuhulog mo pag-retire mo. I’ve instead invested in a private insurance firm for my own retirement and insurance funds. Still, I don’t see this as a solid net to bank on in the future, more like forced savings. My mom thinks it’s wise to get one, so kumuha ako. OK naman siya for me.

Hindi ko pa naman masyadong nafi-feel na disadvantaged ako na wala akong SSS, Medicare, isang sakong bigas at kung anu-ano pang benefits a regular employee would get. Basta you manage your finances well ayos ka na.

In Conclusion. I’ve been a raketero since I joined the workforce and I can’t imagine myself being tied down to a regular job as of the moment (If I get offered a bossing position with a handsome compensation package, why not, ‘di ba?) Kung hindi ako ganito, hindi na siguro ako nakakaakyat ng bundok, nakaka-row, nakakapag-train, nakakagimik ng Monday night (or any night that I want)…I like the freedom! At kung tulad n’yo akong naniniwalang there’s more to life than work, why devote a big part of your days to it? Humanap ka na lang ng raket and be in control.

Sa States naman, instead of raketero, consultant or temp (temporary employee). It all depends upon the project involved and the employer. Usually, springboard ito to be hired as a fulltime employee. Downside ng mga temp at consultant, walang stock options at usual fringe benefits.

From the very start of my going to work many moons ago sa New York, somehow I never bought into the idea of "job security." I always thought that we create our own security by continually developing our skills and if necessary, attend classes to gain new knowledge. I was right, dumating ang panahon sa America na naging uso ang arbitrage (huge companies gobbling smaller ones) causing massive layoffs, downsizing, or jobs being outsourced. It was pitiful and scary, especially for those counting on their seniority and pensions. Presently, unpredictable na din ang SSS situation doon; lagi na lang tinataasan ang age for eligibility.

I only know of a couple of writers while in Manhattan; they both lived in my apartment building. One worked for David Lettermen. Sabi nya sa akin noon under contract sila for x amount of years. However, very sensitive ang network sa copyright properties nila. So, for the talent (or writer) he may work for other production companies when his contract expires, but he has to clear first what he could take with him. Case in point: When David Lettermen switched from NBC to CBS, he wasn't able to bring the name of his show, including some sidekicks (Harry "Bud" Melman to name one) and even some of his notable schticks and spiels popularized when he was with NBC.

By the way, Rey, I enjoy your entries. You remind me of the talented young people I used to meet in New York!

Eric aka senor enrique
wow! if one of the talented young people you've met in new york writes for david letterman then wow talaga! salamat po.

naisip ko tuloy ang aking mga dream writing jobs which happen to be american tv programs - the Miss Universe Beauty Pageant (hehe baklang-bakla) and the Oscars. gusto ko ring mag-pa sa Amazing Race para lang malibot ang buong mundo.
amen sa lahat ng sinabi mo about freelance work.
I have been looking for sites like this for a long time. Thank you! film editing schools
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