All set to leave for an intensive method acting workshop at the prestigious Lee Strasburg Theater and Film Institute in New York at the end of the month, Jake Cuenca shares that he first got the idea of going abroad to study acting from a fellow actor. “Actually ang nakapag-aral dun at nagbigay sa akin ng idea mag-aral dun is si Miss Cherie Gil kasi yung anak niya nag-aral din dun. She’s taking up acting in the states talaga. Siya naman years and years of studying acting so ang sinabi niya sa akin nun when we were doing Ikaw Lamang, ‘If you are going to study acting in the states, you have to go to Lee Strasburg kasi that’s one of the best schools.’ She told me I had to have a very good portfolio and everything. Luckily I got accepted by the school so dun naman natutuwa talaga ako,” he admits.
The 16-year-old Fil-Spanish actor who earned raves for his portrayal of Franco Hidalgo, the main antagonist in the hit teleserye Ikaw Lamang, says he wants to keep honing his craft especially after undergoing a workshop under American actng coach Ivana Chubbuck. “Kumbaga nung ginawa ko kasi yung Ivana Chubbuck na workshop I had Ikaw Lamang in mind so nung tinuturo niya yun I had Franco my character in mind. Tapos parang naramdaman ko yung benepisyo nun after Ikaw Lamang. Naramdaman ko yung praises from everyone. Parang I feel as if I just want to keep learning kasi parang nagawa ko na halos lahat ng workshop dito sa Pilipinas and the workshops here are very, very good. Siyempre for me I just want to keep elarning more. Ang dami kong natutunan sa workshop ni Ivana Chubbuck eh, sobrang ibang iba yung sistema niya. Papunta naman ako sa Lee Strasburg which has a different method to study method acting. Again I just want to widen my perspective when it comes to acting. I just want to keep on mastering my craft. I want to give everyone a new performance that they've never seen before. I’ve done everything na eh. Parang I was thinking, ‘Ano pang gagawin ko?’ Like I said I’m evolving so for me isasabay ko yan with whatever I achieved in Ikaw Lamang and I want to focus more on my acting and this is why I’m going to school. ,” he explains.
Jake says he will be paying out of his own pocket for the workshop and just asked permission for a one-month leave from Star Magic as he will stay in an apartment by himself in New York city. “Personal itong gastos. I spent for everything. Kumbaga I applied for myself. It was just me and my mom. Tinulungan ako ng nanay ko na mag-apply sa school (laughs). Okay lang naman actually mas mahal yung accommodations more than the tuition pero ang sa akin kasi, nakapasok ako eh. Dun naman ako tuwang tuwa kasi they filter their students sobrang higpit nila when it comes to that so to have gotten in I'm so happy and so proud. Napag-ipunan ko naman. Nung nagsisimula pa lang ako ng Ikaw Lamang nakaplano na ako to do this so napag-ipunan ko siya ng maigi,” he shares.
When he comes back, Jake says even his colleagues are excited to see what he has learned. “Actually si Paulo Avelino nga eh sabi, ‘Oh pagbalik mo dito ituro mo sa akin lahat ng natgutunan mo diyan ah.’ Sa akin hindi ko nakikita sarili ko na nag-co-conduct ng workshop but maybe in the future di ba? Pag narinig mo kasi mga conversations namin nila Paulo at Joem Bascom, we’re so into acting and maybe one day when we’re older we can teach the new ones what our interpretation of acting is. Pero sa ngayon hidni ko pa nakikita yan with myself. Kasi ako nga gusto ko pa matuto eh. I’m not going to stop with just Lee Strasburg. Pagbalik ko I’m going to do some projects again and then I’m going to figure out what the next workshop will be. Definitely with a certificate from Ivana Chubbuck and Lee Starsburg mas madali na makapasok sa ibang eskuwela,” he divulges.
If ever he gets a chance to work abroad after his acting course, Jake says he does not want to entertain the iea just yet. “Hindi ko na iniisip magka-offer sa Hollywood, sa akin lang naman I’m more focused into learning there and coming back here and may kakaibang performances akong ibibigay sa tao. Kumbaga dati may self expectations na ako na kailangan ko ma-meet but yung mga offers sa Hollywood it’s not even on my mind. Gusto ko lang matututo at gusto ko lang i-improve yung craft ko and I want to continue mastering my craft. If something comes up there, who knows pero for me wala sa utak ko yun. I’m there to study and that’s it,” he says.
The main goal for the talented dramatic actor is to up his game when it comes to acting. “I just want to continue mastering my craft. I want to perfect my craft. Kumbaga I have this obsession with always improving myself when it comes to acting kasi mahal na mahal ko ang pag-arte. And the industry has been so good to me and I feel as if I owe it to my audience and my directors and co-actors to give them original performance, something that they’ve never seen before. Yun ang gusto kong gawin pagbalik ko dito from New York,” he reveals.