How writing in different genres and formats taught me that every story matters.
I debated with myself for years: which genre and format of writing would be the worthiest of suffering? One thing is for sure, storytelling has no limit.
Finding the platform
I became exposed to different genres and formats of storytelling through taking Literature in college. Before I graduated, it became clear to me that I would write things that would matter someday. I wanted to share my knowledge to the world by writing about relevant topics that will challenge society through storytelling. I was a young girl with a head full of dreams.
After graduating, looking for a job was difficult. I was now swimming in a bigger pond. Anything was supposedly possible, but overwhelming doubt and fear often overcome me.
It was a difficult process to find one’s footing in the real world. Where do I fit? What should I write about? Why does it matter? There is only one way of finding out, and that was to explore.
Riding the wave of TV production
After several interviews, I landed on my first job in a broadcasting network as a concept developer.
TV production introduced a new world of storytelling to me. There was now a target market we had to reach through our stories. Our brainstorming involved questions like “what would they like?”, “would they understand the mechanics?”, “would this appeal to the audience?” My way of thinking started to always be for someone else, always thinking about everyone but myself.
The transition to being a scriptwriter
After a year, I started transitioning from concept developer to being a writer for non-narrative format TV shows. From a grand audition show to reality show then to talent reality show, I realized one common thing: it’s always for the contestants and viewers. Again, where am I in this story?
Reality and talent shows required me to write scripts for the contestants in such a way their unique stories would be highlighted. But I thought to myself, this is not my story. This is not what I want to be heard for. Am I losing my voice?
I started to feel a sense of dread with what I did. But I had a job to fulfill and I finally decided to learn to love the job.
Embracing the reality
Like a new person, I started to really listen to the contestants I had to write about. They would talk about their dreams, the hardships they went through, what inspires them to continue their fight in the show. I realized we were similar in a lot of ways.
Writing about them started to become a joy, especially when the richness of their story translated well on television and inspired viewers. Listening to the various stories of contestants and auditionees stripped me of my hubris. It wasn’t just about me. Their stories mattered, just as much as the topics I wanted to write about.
This is what dramas are made for
I made a major shift in 2020, after I was contacted by a friend to join her in her new drama series outside the TV network I worked for. I got really excited because I love fiction.
It was not only a totally different format, but also a different genre. I learned though, even if the stories and characters are not real, they are still based in real life. Surprisingly, whenever I create characters, I was always reminded by the people I interviewed and wrote about in the past.
Whether it was a teenage mom, a millennial CEO or a young boy from the province who wants to be a famous rapper, there was no life too ordinary not be talked about or be heard.
While I jumped from one genre to another in various attempts to find myself, I found something else: a new purpose in the field I chose to commit my life to. To be a vessel of stories from different people of all walks of life. To write about them and for them in whatever way or form. Writing now has become an act of service.
As for me, I discovered different sides of myself whenever I shift point of views. In the end, storytelling is the reshaping of one’s self and the world, time and time again.