Why is it the ‘best time’ to pursue creative fields amid pandemic?

Charmie Joy Pagulong - The Philippine Star
Why is it the âbest timeâ to pursue creative fields amid pandemic?
Grammy-nominated international music producer Lugo Gonzalez.

MANILA, Philippines — There are several reasons why it is still relevant to study courses in the creative industry despite the slowdown of the entertainment business amid the health crisis.

According to the executives and mentors of online learning platform Artkipelago, now is the best time to pursue creative interests through online learning to cope with the digital revolution, which is necessary if you plan to explore the business side of it and express one’s artistic talent to improve mental health.

Jay Adlao Block, a member of Artkipelago’s board of directors, acknowledged that the entertainment business was one of the sectors severely affected by the pandemic. However, enrolling in a virtual class for creative fields is “more important now because a lot of us are looking at ways on how to pivot to somehow extend ourselves to what is available now technologically.”

Noting the rapid transformation into digitalization, she said during the online launching of Artkipelago, “Being able to bring all of these things into a platform and make it accessible to everyone has been a boon. Before the pandemic, to teach something in a workshop, for example, Jim Paredes, where I learned my songwriting classes, it has been quite effective.”

However, doing face-to-face workshops would have limited his reach, she added. “But now that it is available online, you can get on his class, and be able to communicate, interact with him. That’s one thing. The reach of education through online platforms has been expanded.”

Singer-songwriter Nyoy Volante.

Jay urged those who want to explore their creative skills, this is the perfect time to do it because “it’s not a 9 to 5 job anymore” under the new normal. There’s plenty of time to follow your other interests and it’s also good for your mental health, she furthered. In her case, she took a songwriting class because she wanted to be productive. “I’m not used to not doing much. So why not explore something that side of me and discover if there is something there for me. So this (Artkipelago) has given me an opportunity and I’m thankful for that.”

Filmmaker Jag Garcia, Artkipelago’s mentor for Introduction to Production Management course, pointed out the “savings” you can get from signing up for online workshops. He explained, “You save on organizers, venue and importing equipment to other places to conduct a workshop, say in Cebu or Dumaguete. But in the past two years that we’ve been locked in, a lot of professional workshop givers and teachers and all of that are kind of busier.”

He continued, “This platform is actually the best time to be exploited by the people who want to learn. It’s cheaper for them. It’s cheaper for organizers to organize so we could pass the savings on to our potential students and clients.”

Comparing the physical workshop to a virtual one, he said that in the latter, the medium “allows you to go back to the video (where you left off).” For example, “you didn’t get what the mentor said or missed the important thing the speaker said, you missed it forever. That’s what happens in a real workshop.” Whereas in digital learning, “you can go back, go back and go back (to the video) until you really get it.”

He also observed some good things that came out of the pandemic in the film industry. “Filming used to be what they call pa-morningan, (the artists and the crew take) 30 to 36 hours of shoots. You exhaust everybody on set. You try to do it as cheaply (and shorter) as possible but at the risk of everyone’s (physical) health and mental health.”

“The new rules that came out from the Film Development Council of the Philippines and from the government have actually forced productions to be more professional. Because now, you’re teaching the people how to do it properly,” he furthered.

Jim, who is also teaching The Giving Artist: Stay Creative for Life and What Drives A Song? Purpose-driven Songwriting courses, talked about how online platforms, such as the Artkipelago, brought everyone together from across the globe in one digital space.

“You can have students from different places in the world. I have students who have signed up in Australia, Philippines, and Indonesia. (They are) coming from everywhere with different ideas. It’s very enriching for other students because they see different perspectives and different approaches to music. I do research on their music to be able to understand where they are coming from,” stated Jim.

Musical theater stalwarts Menchu Lauchengo-Yulo.

Holding virtual workshops “democratizes a lot of things,” explained Jim. “Because everybody is given the chance to attend the class that would normally just cater to, let’s say, an Ateneo classroom, where I used to teach. But now it’s really wide open and you learn from each other.”

Artkipelago’s educator-in-chief Rina Marquez elaborated, “With everything that is going on right now, this is very relevant because a lot of schools and businesses are all shifting to online platforms and you do need a lot of creativity in order to thrive and be ahead. So yes, the courses of Artkipelago are quite relevant and, if I may say, very exciting because you have multiple disciplines here.”

Here are some of the music courses Artkipelago offers: Home Recording: Producing a Demo Like a Pro by Gino Cruz; Mastering Music Creation: A Crash Course on Songwriting & Music Production by Jay Durias; All-In-One: Discovering a Different Approach to Making Music by Grammy-nominated international music producer Lugo Gonzalez; Freestyle Rules: Basic Improvisation on Guitar by Itchyworms guitarist Chino Singson and Launching Stars: Introduction to Music Management by UK-based Geoff Langston, and Wanted: Songwriter – Creating Music for a Client by Nyoy Volante.

Artkipelago courses also include Show Don’t Tell: Become an Effective Screenwriter by Wanggo Gallaga; Intro to Content Creation by Jako de Leon; and An Intro to Musical Theater by Audie Gemora and Menchu Lauchengo-Yulo.

The Creator’s Toolkit category includes Creating Your Personal Headspace by Geoff Langston; Creative Innovation Through Design by Dino Ignacio; and PITCH CRAFT: The Basics of Selling Your Creative Work by writer JB Tapia.

Artkipelago was founded by music maven Twinky Lagdameo, live events producer and software developer Jay Adlao Block, music executive Ian Monsod and composer Gina Tabuena-Godinez.

(For more details, check out their website www.artkipelago.com).

Audie Gemora.


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