Work of the heart: Benedict Mique promises five laptops for aspiring writers and filmmakers – manilastandard.net | Episode Movies

“Hunger to learn the craft more than ambition,” veteran television and film writer and director Benedict Mique describes what he’s looking for to train aspiring writers and filmmakers.

In an intimate group interview, the Lonewolf Films founder announced his pledge to give laptops and mentorship to five lucky enthusiasts. In the late ’90s, Direk Benedict, as he is affectionately known, received a life-changing act of kindness from Ricky Lee, the National Artist for Film and Broadcast Arts.

“Ricki [Lee] gave me 21,000 pesos when I started,” Benedict recalled graduating from college, still unable to afford a desktop computer. The award-winning veteran screenwriter, who was then executive writer, was the starting point for Benedict’s now thriving career. “That’s when I started writing for Maalaala Mo Kaya (MMK), Tabing Ilog and even GMA,” shared Benedict. Prior to the financial backing, he looked back to the days when he had handwritten scripts on the classic yellow pad paper.

Screenwriter slash TV and film director Benedict Mique

“That 21,000 pesos started my career as a screenwriter and filmmaker,” enthused Benedict. “The 21,000 pesos helped me provide for my family.” His words convey gratitude and passion as he recalled his humble beginnings and expressed a desire to give back. “If there are filmmakers or writers today who can’t afford a computer, I’m willing to give them one. I just need their names, life stories and sample work. However [potential] I’ll see in them, I’ll help develop it,” Benedict promised. He also clarified: “No promises, but who knows, maybe they can come true [the entertainment industry]. I’m not trying to make a living, I’m offering training.”

For the past 20 years, Benedict has passed on the kindness and trained writers who now have successful writing careers as well.

Benedict believes that courage and passion are the most important qualities that potential writers and filmmakers should possess to make it in the industry. This makes him credible, because his path to his current success has made him a courageous and passionate person. Far from being a kid fascinated by the films of the late Fernando Poe Jr., he walked several blocks to the movie theaters with his grandfather.

“All I wanted was to see a film camera and how it works,” Benedict recalled of his simple reason for doing an internship at ABS-CBN’s Teleserie Esperanza (with top honors from Judy Ann Santos) to get Colegio de San Juan de Letran.

Though Benedict always loved to read growing up, it wasn’t until a professor gave him a perfect score and words of encouragement for a screenplay he had written in class that he thought about writing as a career. His life was a series of doors opened by others and himself. Aside from his sheer talent, Benedict’s zest for action took him from one opportunity to the next.

“After my internship I went to ABS-CBN and asked where I could get involved in the team shoot for Star [Cinema]. Direct Jerry [Lopez-Sineneng] brought him to Baguio, where he worked as a production assistant on the film Labs Kita, Okey Ka Lang? The film starred phenomenal ’90s artists Jolina Magdangal and Marvin Agustin.

“I was the first to wake up and the last to sleep because my job was to wake up Marvin Agustin and other cast members,” Benedict happily recalled.

He later trained under other industry icons such as Rory Quintos and Olivia Lamasan.

Benedict (seated, center) with Ricky Lee, Tony Labrusca and the late Eddie Garcia during filming of ML (Martial Law)

Over the years, Benedict’s value of hard work, learning and fairness has been key to his success. He places a high value on investing time in honing and mastering a skill.

“I could have been a director ten years earlier, but you know what they say it takes 10,000 hours to be perfect [a craft]’ Benedict explained why he decided to focus on screenwriting first before moving on to directing. In this age of instant content creation, he explained, our standard of quality work should never falter.

Over time, Benedict has evolved, transforming chance encounters, real-life stories and actual experiences into television and film concepts. He believes his slow but steady journey has resulted in sending concepts to award-giving bodies abroad and creating effective one-liners that have audiences weeping worldwide.

Today, and over the years, Benedict continues to uphold the same high standards of evaluation and rigor that he inherited from his mentors. Giving feedback to improve his writers is something he takes seriously, and at times comes across as the leader of terror. “I am strict. Others may think I’m scolding my writers, but I want them to learn. I get paid for comments,” Benedict said confidently. “When you’re a creative consultant, anything you say about a material gets paid.”

Benedict is a strong advocate for fair compensation and protecting the rights of creators when it comes to presenting concepts to film outfits, TV stations and streaming platforms. He used himself as an example to illustrate the value of creative freedom: “When I present my concepts, they are like my children. If you get me, you get 24 years of television and film experience.”

Success is an ongoing process for the director of Mars Ravelo’s Darna unit. He continues to add to his list of notable writing and directing projects (MMK, On The Wings of Love, Born For You, Till I Met You, ML, etc.). Benedict also adapts to new technologies and changing media landscapes. While still busy being the wind that blows Darna up, Benedict’s Lonewolf Films is cooking up projects with Viva Entertainment, Net25 and iWantTFC.

His journey and portfolio clearly show us that Benedict’s craftsmanship is more than creativity and art. It is a progression from sustained effort to genuine works of the heart.

The director (second right) directs Joshua Garcia, Jane De Leon and crew as they tap ‘Mars Ravelo’s Darna.’

Aspiring writers and filmmakers who wish to qualify for Direk Benedict Mique’s support and training should send their submissions (name, brief life story, and example work) to benedictmique@yahoo.com.

For random thoughts, email the author at randomrepublika@gmail.com

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