National Artist Ricky Lee Shares How He Deals With Negative Feedback

Ricky Lee Rebelde 22

Even Ricky Lee gets negative feedback on his drafts.

Lee, who was recently given the title of National Artist For Film and Broadcast Arts, wrote the scripts for some of the country’s most famous films, including Himala, Anak, Manila by Night, Brutal, Moral, and more.

He shared how he deals with negative feedback at this year’s Rebelde Class, a series of accessible film workshops hosted by Rebelde. The National Artist was the mentor for the Masterclass in Storytelling.

Lee said, “I’ve gone through all the puna, from the first time na nagsulat ako when I was in high school hanggang ngayon. Napupuna pa rin ako.”

Lee shares an interesting tidbit: when he wrote the 1980 film Brutal, a friend asked him, “what happened to you, Ricky?” He never understood what that friend meant, but the film when on to receive 13 nominations at the FAMAS, Gawad Urian, and the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). It won Best Actress for Amy Austria (FAMAS and the MMFF) and Gina Alajar (tying with Nora Aunor for Bona at the Urian), and Best Director for Marilou Diaz-Abaya at the MMFF.

Lee understands that criticism like that is part of the job. In fact, he actively seeks it.

He reveals that he’s currently writing a sequel for his collection of stories Para Kay B  and he says that he sent it to five readers to critique. All his novels have readers who comment. On top of that, he has copy readers and editors. He gets their feedback and addresses the parts that they say need work.

Lee shared, “I benefit because I keep an open mind. Even if masaktan ako, lagi kong iniisip, ‘pag gumanda yung trabaho, ako yung magbe-benefit.'”

He also share, “yung mga papuri sa trabaho ko, hindi nakatulong sa akin. Ang pinaka nakatulong sa akin ay yung mga puna.”


Lee was joined by J.A. Tadena, an award-winning cinematographer known for his films Mano Po 2, Smaller and Smaller Circles, Keka, Gagamboy, Shake, Rattle and Roll 8, and other blockbusters. Tadena mentored the students in the Script-to-Screen Cinematography Masterclass.

Rebelde, founded by filmmaker J.E. Tiglao, is a collective of movers from the Philippines who make films and film-related events. It is also a community united by its love for cinema, and for the past nine years, they have been conducting film classes and workshops to make film education accessible for everyone. In the past, they had big-gun mentors such as Pixar director Ronnie Del Carmen, the late Ms. Cherie Gil, Erik Matti, and more.

Be a part of the Rebelde community by joining these exclusive workshops and get a chance to meet established filmmakers as your mentors. For inquiries, you may reach them at or visit their Facebook page @rebeldeph.

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