“I don’t want the audience to feel like they’re being taken on a ride. I’m not in control of how they react to the story, but at the end of the day, it has to push history forward whether it’s because it entertained and made you feel better about facing the next day, or maybe it made you decide to take a stand on an issue that’s important.” Atom, well-aware that there are many different ways of reacting to a story, puts premium on legacy.
But for a man like Atom, who has been at the center of tempests, fighting the elements, always willing to get his hands dirty with the best of them, reaching the end of a story is about facing the mounting pressures and breaking down the walls. In the end, this endeavor might tell us more about how we should do storytelling, both from a documentary and a narrative filmmaking point of view.” Every story needs a storyteller at the center of it all, and Atom Araullo is a storyteller who defines reality so we can be informed, educated, and entertained.
“I think the interesting things happen at the intersections and the new areas that we haven’t explored yet,” he reassures himself, again finding the insight in truth. The bigger the risk, the bigger the payout, but also, the fallout if it doesn’t work. But the greatest thing about the relationship between a storyteller and his stories is that, as he weaves his stories together, they also end up defining the man he is.
We tried to quiz Atom’s fun and trivial side with the help of the Super Fishbowl, but it seems the journalist had a huge magnet for the serious questions—and we can’t really say we’re surprised. Let’s just say that there are a lot of stories about common Filipinos that I find fascinating.
On how they struggle with their daily lives and try to live with dignity—that’s always something I’m interested in. But aside from that, there are a lot of stories that I would never forget, including reporting on the cases filed against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in court. There are also some documentaries that I did in the past. Mahirap eh, alam niyo naman ang mga millennial relationships, ang daming levels.
“It’s just a matter of reaching people where they’re most comfortable,” he shares.
“We need to reach all of these demographics that consume different kinds of media.” For him, it’s not about focusing on a specific form of storytelling, but rather, exploring alternative modes and mediums.
But like any talented storyteller in history, he admits that sometimes he chooses the stories he tells, and on fateful occasions, they choose him. And in truth, there is always insight—a tactic Atom uses to salvage his story (and his sanity) in even the most depressing of situations.
His popular work involving disaster risk reduction obviously belonging to the latter, and his first documentary with . “I think it’s important for a documentarist to let the story speak for itself without embellishing it,” Atom stresses.
Atom, who has been doing the news for a long time, recognizes the importance of staying informed and having a grasp of current issues.