In between all of this, Echo (Jericho Rosales) came in to be the Red in my head. I had worked with him on the film Santa Santita, Baler and only last year, on Viva Film’s ABNKKBSNPLAko?! So we fairly knew each other and on the professional side. But his best friend Buji was someone I was closer. Buji is the guy who taught me how to surf in the ocean and he guided me in the surfing world. And later on, we would go on and start on a surfing documentary film co-prodiced by Coast Thru Life, a company co-owned by Echo.
When Red got in, one of the first people I called was Buji. I needed to get the script to Echo and it was tricky because Echo had just gotten married and had a crazy busy schedule so you don’t just get to send a script to him and expect him to read it, you need a way in. In hindsight, I doubt if we’d ever get to Echo had we not have known Buji. At least that’s what I think. (So thanks Buji!)
Later on, our schedules would never synch for creative-coffee meet-up so we decided to just talk on the phone. I was in front of Flotsam Jetsam hostel in La Union and Echo had plenty of questions about the story and how we were going to do it but he generally liked the project. But he never connected that I was Jay the AD in Santa and Jay the Cinematographer that trained under Lee Meily on the films where we had met, as I learned later on. He just said, “I’m in” and we had our Red.
I still remember the phone call middle of the night. Lilit Reyes called and asked me this question in Tagalog – Is it ok if you choose another title for your film? He later explained why and I agreed to go back to my old title Red, it made a lot of sense. But that question. He never actually said we’d gotten in Cinemaone Originals, it was sort of implied. It was one of those weird and strange phone calls you get that changes your life and you never forget because you had been waiting for 6 years to do another film and this meant you were going to do one. But later on in the process of putting your film together, casting would prove to be the one big hurdle that sort of defines what film you’re going to make.
I still remember that feeling when Echo said yes. I called my girlfriend Maita right away and said “Finally, we have a movie, Echo said yes!”