I’d always be willing to accommodate people’s requests to review films, books, and other material, but my procedure probably differs from those of other Pinoy practitioners: I’d prefer to be pointed in the direction of the text and buy it myself, with the option of inspecting it further before deciding whether I should proceed with the purchase. The next stage is where I attempt to engage with the work, and if I wind up disagreeing fundamentally with its premises, then the only comments I’ll make will be in private. In some cases I find I have no disagreement, but that arises from a lack of empathy on my part; in this instance I’d prefer to wait rather than dash off my impressions (as my younger self would have done). In films I try to watch more than once, first as an ordinary viewer (OK, fan) and later as a geek, with notepads to scribble on in the dark.
I’m fortunate to have always fallen in, since the start of my post-collegiate media career, with critical and production practitioners who try to maintain praxis as their ideal, based on the recognition that the separation between the realms of art and criticism is not just artificial (both are crafts and both require critical perspectives) but also ultimately harmful. Finally, I am content to have reached a professional state where I do not need to charge for any reviews I write, save for the ones that entail extraordinary expenses; in most cases, I instruct the editor to find a progressive (preferably women’s) cause to which my writer’s fee may be donated. For by our fruits we get to be known – is all I can maintain for now.
Former (and, less rarely, current) students who wish to request for a recommendation for a program of higher study or a job position may convey their request directly to me, if I had informed them earlier of my willingness to do so, and if I have sufficient lead time to draft and finalize a letter. Students for whom I had not offered to write recommendations may also request me directly, but they will have to remind me why I might have overlooked them during the term when they enrolled in my subject(s). In general, I would discourage the following types of former students from making requests: those whose only claim was receiving an A-level grade or occasional word of praise from me; those whom I had supervised for any intensive research or creative project but who had been unable to complete the effort; those who intend to apply to more than one institution – i.e., if a scholarship application requires you to pick two or more programs of study to apply to, determine the one you prefer the most and ask me to write a letter to that program only.
I will need the name, position, and location of the person or group that the letter must address, and any aspect of your record (which you should provide me with) that you think should be emphasized. I cannot guarantee that I will be able to complete complicated or expensive procedures of submitting recommendations unless I am assisted by the requester or her/his representative. While it may be possible for any other student to find a way of getting a recommendation out of me, I will be unable to write anything beyond a standard statement to the effect that the student took my class and was able to finish it with a good grade (if my records can confirm this), unless I had been convinced or reminded that the student had showed exceptional potential and interest during or after the semester(s) of our acquaintance, via a project I had overseen.