A few things I learned from Direk Joey Reyes9:17 AM
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And so, when Bloggers United was given the chance to partner with OctoArts Films for a special bloggers' event, I was more than ecstatic to do the project. I've never done any film for quite some time now, except for a few documentaries and video commissioned works on the side. And since fate has led me to the field of fashion events, it was an experience that I wouldn't want our group to let go of.
To those who may be wondering how we got involved, it was because Bloggers United had previously collaborated for a few blogger-centered affairs for Ms.Cat Ilacad of Posh Nails. She is the daughter of Mr. Orly Ilacad, the founder of the said Philippine production company. And from there, I think you can pretty much tell the cause-and-effect relationship.
Initially, the plan was to do a bloggers set visit (bongga diba!) for OctoArts' upcoming MMFF (Metro Manila Film Festival) 2011 entry, My Househusband (Ikaw Na!) starring Judy Ann Santos, Ryan Agoncillo and Eugene Domingo. The idea couldn't be more perfect right? But because it's hard to work out a schedule for the actors, production and the bloggers, we decided to go for a feasible but nevertheless, a meaningful one - a sit-down bloggers lunch with one of the acclaimed writer-directors in the Philippine entertainment industry (and the movie's director as well), Direk Joey Reyes.
A very intimate group of fellow bloggers (mostly from the lifestyle and entertainment niche) welcomed our invitation. I hosted this very casual event (with utmost honor) and presented the man of the hour, Direk Joey (who else?!). It was a round table, up-close interview with direk which started with awkward silence at first but almost never ended because all the bloggers had so much to ask and Direk Joey had so much more to say.
I sat there, asked questions like everyone else and was very eager to listen to a man with depth, intelligence, humor, inspiration, experience and success. As much as I love learning, there's nothing I love more than sharing ideas and a lot of other things that Direk has imparted to us.
1. "Get to know" people.
Before he began, I was taken by surprise when Direk Joey asked each and every one of us to introduce ourselves and talk about what we blog. The simple gesture of asking for our names was more than striking to me. I'm sure I speak for almost everyone when I say we felt "recognized" because a notable person like him showed genuine interest in knowing a thing or two about us.
Why would he even bother, right? He has met and worked with a lot of smart, creative, successful and famous individuals in the first place, that it probably didn't matter who we are because he might forget about us afterwards anyway. But still, he sincerely reached out with a small talk or a funny comment as each one of us took turns to say something about ourselves. That's how he really is. He even shared that when he travels to places, he'd introduce himself to strangers!
Thinking back on how I did at the event, I remember welcoming all the bloggers and asking for their names but... I realized that I didn't even made an effort to "get to know" anyone. I felt really bad about that and it made me want to strive to be more personable and sincere when I meet other people.
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2. "Social media and exercise are better than botox."
Direk Joey strongly believes in the power of social media. In the past, there was complete oligopoly between three media channels - print, radio and television wherein people accepted information through a one-way process. The rise of new media has put an end to this kind of information control. People started to interact with what they read, watch and listen to through the new (social) media.
We are now empowered to give feedback, to inform, to influence, to express and to connect with others from all over the world which expanded people's consciousness through mutual learning. The director even regarded social media as the cheapest yet effective form of marketing by citing the viral success achieved by independent films like Kimidora and Zombadings.
The basic form of marketing is by word of mouth and Direk considers promotions through Twitter, Facebook, blogs and all other online accounts as "word of many mouths" which he sees as the most powerful kind of advertising above all.
According to him, TV trailers plus radio and print ads will only assure that people will watch the movie on its first day of screening. However, it is social media that will keep the audience coming because of the recommendations or comments they will see from online media users.
3. Film is an art while movie is a product.
I share Direk Joey's advocacy of supporting the independent film movement. He emphasizes that Indie films bring back the integrity to the role of the director as a creative agent and not just a mere employee. Filmmakers continue to create films even if there's no hope of box-office sales because they want to communicate ideas, messages, influence the viewing public or for no other purpose (art for art's sake) at all.
Meanwhile, he describes movies as mere products that you can buy from a supermarket because reality is, the entertainment industry is a business. Movies are simplified into templates (either comedy, drama, action, horror/suspense and romance) with a definite demographic target, then specifically manufactured in order to garner profit. I its formula as big celebrities + ad placements + entertaining script + production value + technology + cheap labor VS hard work = profitable same old movie.
But even though Direk Joey works for mainstream cinema, he has still put up his own production company called Largavista to fulfill his thirst for creating sensible films that will make people think. He believes that our local moviegoers deserve a variety of selection and on the other hand, aspiring filmmakers with passionate voices need to come out that are not necessarily empowered by money alone but by creativity as well.
4. "Out of all of the MMFF 2011 entries, only three (3) movies will profit."
Even though he was saying this as a matter-of-fact, Direk Joey explains that reason why all producers are competitively vying for a slot as finalists in this film festival is because a) screening is every Christmas season and b) for one week, foreign films are banned from being shown in cinemas (which ensures a week of ticket sales).
If you take a look at the line up of movies below (with the first two movies expected to top the charts), Direk Joey believes that My Househusband is worth your time, money and slot in that "top three". What are your choices?
Enteng ng Ina Mo (Star Cinema & M-ZET Productions / Fantasy)
After the block buster hit Agimat ni Enteng (combining Agimat and Enteng Kabisote) last year, here's another fusion of two MMFF previous entries (Ang Tanging Ina Mo and Enteng Kabisote). Ina Monticello (played Ai-ai Delas Alas) gets lost in the world of Enteng (Vic Sotto) and the adventure to Engkantasya awaits.
Ang Panday 2 (Imus Productions & GMA Films / Fantasy-Action)
It will be about another quest for the Pinoy blacksmith hero, Panday (Bong Revilla) as he saves his love interest (Iza Calzado) from his evil nemesis Lizardo (Philip Salvador) and new villain Dragona (Marian Rivera). Expect this to be a so-called visual spectacle due to its "advance" CGI (computer-generated-imagery) technology is reportedly to be released on 3D.
Shake Rattle & Roll 13 (Regal Films / Horror)
On its 13th installment, viewers seemed fed up of this movie franchise. However, producers of the movie promises new twists featuring casts that include Kathryn Bernardo, Albie Casino, Mart Escudero and Eugene Domingo.
Segunda Mano (MJM Productions & Star Cinema / Horror)
Kris Aquino is back with another superstition-based movie about a second-hand item in her possession, which turns out to be connected to a ghost who can't let go.
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (Studio 5 / Drama)
After the success of Rosario, Studio 5 (funded by Manny V. Pangilinan), comes up with story of a family (starring Gabby Concepcion, Maricel Soriano, Lovi Poe, Jericho Rosales) who faces a tragedy that befalls them and moves on from it.
Hototay (Regal Films & SMDC / Comedy)
Mother Lily describes that the plot is an extension of the Mano Po series but instead of drama, it will be a laugh trip involving culinary, Chinese family and other nationalities (Indian).
My Househusband (OctoArts Films / Drama-Comedy)
Real-life couple Judy Ann Santos and Ryan Agoncillo star in a family-oriented dramedy about a man who lost his job and is forced by circumstances to take care of his family and do house chores, while his wife has to be the one to take on a job.
Why should you give the movie a chance?
Contrary to popular assumptions that this will be a stereotypical under the saya movie, Direk Joey vouches that My Househusband is the only movie the closely mirrors reality. Isn't obvious that almost all the entries are fantasy stories? Aside from that, the movie tackles a a phenomenon that is very current right now. Undeniably, a lot of households in our society today no longer have men as the main family provider.
The movie is an honest depiction of the reversal of roles happening within families - about men learning to do housework because of economic, financial and practical necessities. It's about men, enlightened at how equally hard it is to be a housewife; and a realization that the role of a wife is not just about being a mother and taking care of the house, but as an individual who is capable of being a professional.
Direk Joey explains that its concept is to defy the whole idea of Pinoy machismo and open Filipinos to the changing sex roles in the world today. He stresses further its relevance and selling point, that it deals with real people and the audience will be laughing at real life situations captured on big screen.
If there's one thing I'll never forget about all that was said, it would be when Direk Joey said that he aims for the moviegoers to earn mutual respect for the sexes after watching My Househusband. I like the thought: No more labels, no more role assignments. Just two people being good parents.
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