Sunday, August 01, 2004

artsy fartsy

television


The truth is, while I enjoy a mindless Saturday doing nothing as much as the next guy, I'd really rather engage in new activities that stimulate my mind. By necessity I am focused on my businesses during the weekdays, so I enjoy other things that make me think in different ways - as my means of relaxion.

Nikki and I met with the members of the small creative pool that is handling one of the TV show we're developing for the local market. A half-hour comedy series is not easy to write, and it is vital that all preliminary steps be performed correctly before even a single word of dialogue is written. I helped guide the group in creating the character sets, determining the foci and names of the characters, the principal sets for the series and formulating the mix of the initial pilot. I'm advocating a master storyarc with three minor arcs (of varying degrees of importance) that all dovetail and resolve in the final act of each episode.

We have high hopes with the skill sets of the people we've put together - from executive producer to director to the writers.

We'll see how it goes.


film


If you like documentaries and are tired of the much-acclaimed Moore docu, go and see "Imelda", easily one of the best docus produced that I've seen.

We caught a screening at the Podium and it was simply superb. It helps that the key figure, our most famous First Lady (previously one of the 10 Richest Women in the World), is a fascinating study in contradictions. I am impressed by her story, told fairly, with all her naivete and ambition and heartfelt philosophy on the role of beauty. Creatures so compelling are inadvertantly rare, best viewed in a hothouse environment of time and context.

With very minor flaws that do not detract from its quality, "Imelda" deserves all the acclaim it has garnered, including an award at Cannes for Excellence in Cinematography.

With our minds enlivened by the film, I was delighted to bump into Flim later, and of course we spoke of the medium. After some ribbing about my seemingly Khavn-idolatry (because of my now-yellow hair), we talked about Fritz Lang and the reason why Philippine cinema is stunted.

I encouraged Noel to start making more films (his last acclaimed one was 1993's "Necro Concerto"), to let his eye loose on the unsuspecting viewers again. "I'm retired," he claimed. I told him that he could retire the man but not the eye. With multiple awards and screenings in Berlin, Japan and other countries, I don't see why he can't add his quirky films back to his to-do list (in addition to his MTVs and such - speaking of which, kudos to Avid Liongoren for winning Best Director at the recently held MTV Philippines Awards show).

Speaking of docus, National Geographic is looking for pitches for their new shows. I've been asked to pitch for a couple (Secrets of the Dead, Inside) but while concept development is not terribly difficult with the right mix of minds, I don't think I have the discipline or time to actually go and be involved in one. Also, if short films tickle your sensibilities, Cinemalaya is offering a number of grants if you knock their socks off.


grafiction


I saw the first four pages of Carl's finished colored work for Siglo: Passion, and it is an exciting departure from his "established" style. His choice of palette is restrained but bold, with color underscoring the intensity of the balloon-less story.

Over at Jeremy's, I was impressed by a single panel of his finished Siglo: Passion art. His palette is muted and wider, bringing to life the details and textures of the millieu. I thought his black and whites kicked ass, but this is just awesome. What rcoks my boat even more is that it is my story he's illustrating.

For most of us who are used to working in greyscale (due to printing costs), color is a new experience. Tobie's quirky lines hum with energy, infusing Quark's story with an off-kilter vigor that strikes between the eyes.

I cannot wait to see everything together - Marco, Gerry, Jonas, Ariel, Hai, El, Zach, Andrew, Reno, Lan, Ed and Joel.


fiction


After much prodding, I'm reinstating the informal "Living Workshop" I begun last year, wherein participants and I learn from each other the process of writing fiction.

I believe in conversation and exercise as key approaches to teaching and learning. Critique and analysis are futile without action.

I look forward to writing with this small group.



after-dinner theater


To cap off an artsy day, Carl and I took the stage in front of a small audience at Music21 and performed a pair of Broadway tunes, complete with emoting - just for laughs. When I realized that everyone was giving their best, I cajoled Carl into going in "performance level" and thank goodness, we managed to pull the songs off to appreciative applause (or maybe just polite applause LOL).

I miss acting. Truth be told, I think I love acting onstage as much as I love writing plays. There is a certain adrenalin high in performance, in giving paper characters life. I miss my days with Repertory Philippines, performing at the Insular Life, the William J. Shaw and other venues.

All in, a great day for the artsy fartsy in me.

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