Acclaimed screenwriter, playwright, and novelist Ricky Lee is in the midst of training over two dozen writers from GMA Network’s Public Affairs department. Also participating in the 12-week workshop are some of the network’s executives and a pool of writers from its Entertainment Group.
The in-depth workshop began last Feb. 5 with Lee sharing his talent and insights on how to craft stories for television and films that capture and move the audience. He is also helping participants develop their individual and group storylines.
Lee said the idea of training a team of Public Affairs personnel was intriguing to him, “Working in News and Public Affairs, they should draw their stories from their rich reservoir of real experiences and insights, so they will have a distinct voice.” This voice is what he is now helping the group create.
“I find the workshoppers to be very open and receptive, which makes the workshops very exciting and challenging at the same time,” he adds.
Lee, who turns 73 years old last Friday (March 19), is considered a visionary in the Philippine TV and film industry. He has penned over 180 scripts that include Himala (1982), Salome (1981), and Brutal (1980). He has frequently collaborated with esteemed directors Lino Brocka, Ishmael Bernal, and Marilou Diaz-Abaya. He has also written several books — among them Trip to Quiapo, which has become a must-read for aspiring scriptwriters.
He is a recipient of more than 70 awards, including the 2020 Camera Obscura Artistic Excellence Award from the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP). He is a Hall of Fame awardee at the Metro Manila Film Festival 2019 and was named FDCP Film Ambassador in 2017 for winning at the 2016 International Film Festival Manhattan. He is also one of the 100 Centennial Awardees by the Cultural Center of the Philippines and was given the Natatanging Gawad Urian Life Achievement Award (2003), Gawad CCP sa Sining para sa Literature (2015), and UP Gawad Plaridel Award for Film (2015).
Lee has been giving workshops for budding scriptwriters to help them reach their full potential in the field of writing.
Meanwhile, GMA Public Affairs has been producing groundbreaking and innovative shows on television. Some of its award-winning public affairs programs include Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho, Wish Ko Lang!, Imbestigador, I-Witness, Reporter’s Notebook, and The Atom Araullo Specials among many others.
Recently the department has begun to produce innovative primetime drama series and is currently airing rom-com Owe My Love on GMA and time-traveling fantasy The Lost Recipe on GTV. This year, GMA Public Affairs is also set to launch the romance mystery Love You Stranger and action-adventure Lolong.