Two Sundays ago, five aspiring writers received their laptops from film and television writer-director Benedict Mique. It was a heartwarming moment to witness how a random act of generosity in the late ‘90s by National Artist for Film and Broadcast Arts, Ricky Lee, spawned numerous acts of kindness. In case you missed it, Lee helped jumpstart Mique’s career when he lent him Php21,000 more than two decades ago so he can purchase a personal computer for his writing jobs. Mique, with Lee as a mentor, has since produced award-winning TV projects and films.
In late November 2022, Direk Benedict, his industry name, launched the giveaway by seeking entries from writing enthusiasts in need of the devices. He chose the winners based on their stories and sample writing pieces. Justine John Delima, Nicole Audrey Co, Kenneth Paul Mendiola, Nazarine Manuelle Gonzales, and Shania Vonzel Legaspi turned out to be the deserving recipients of the laptops.
“It feels good how your single act of kindness multiplies. I think it’s also more satisfying because Benedict is a very good friend. Of course, you would want your friends to operate with the same mindset of not just thinking of one’s self but also of others,” Lee said in the vernacular when asked for his reaction to the giveaway. The multi-awarded screenwriter was present last Sunday in the awarding of prizes.
When asked if he remembers lending Mique the money to buy a desktop computer, Lee admitted, “Actually, Hindi.” The softspoken national artist continued to explain how he became a go-to lender by colleagues back in the day. He explained matter-of-factly that it was possibly because he had a more stable job as a creative manager or head writer. “Usually, the writers are struggling,” Lee added but clarified that he was speaking about the writers’ status years ago. “Another good thing about what Benedict is doing aside from addressing the writers’ lack of resources is empowering them because a lot of them are shy and do not assert for themselves. It’s a big thing that there are people in positions like Benedict who reach out to them.”
“One reason I also did this giveaway is to project a more giving and helping industry. While there are a lot of generous and helpful people in the industry, there are also ones who are greedy and selfish,” Mique shared. “I think this is a good opportunity to give to others and if they will feel good about this, then maybe, they will also help others as well.” It was revealed during the interview that both Lee and Mique have been helping people for years without anyone knowing.
“Benedict is not only giving a laptop, but he’s also giving a part of himself,” Lee enthused. He added that offering to mentor the five young aspiring writers makes Mique’s pay-it-forward move even more special. “In this industry, it is so difficult to give yourself and easier to gatekeep,” Lee explained. “Beyond the laptop, the message he’s sending out to these young people is that they are not alone and will get support.” Mique formed an online group for the winners and he is keeping his line open to guide them through their writing journeys.
These days, following his stint as a unit director for the recently concluded Mars Ravelo’s Darna, Mique is busy with Lonewolf Film, a production company he owns. It is the one behind Kim Molina and Jerald Napoles’ Girlfriend Na Pwede Na project and is currently part of an international movie to be shot abroad and the production of at least two upcoming series.