the IT list #4

“the IT list” A series of posts that highlight the various stuff, old or new, that I’ve been doing… reading, watching, eating or simply obsessing over recently. It’s my personal countdown.

the IT list #4
I haven’t had the chance to post any list for the month of November; so consider this as a “blanket” countdown for the past 30 days:

#ONE
This book had a title that I seem to be familiar with but haven’t really heard anything about. Whatever drew me toward it, I’m simply glad to have bought The Perks of Being A Wallflower; because it turned out to be SO GOOD. It’s one of those books that struck me as a genuine coming-of-age story. The protagonist’s narration is in the form of letters to a friend… much like a journal. You are then brought into his world where he’s mainly an observer; but somehow through his friends, family and teachers, he slowly gets pushed in the experience of living. I LOVE it so much, it made me cry. I felt like such a dork for it; but it’s proof how much I got into it. Definitely a must-read.

#TWO
I went through a documentary phase the past month, where I got hold of as many critically-acclaimed documentaries as possible and watched them one after the other. Some of them may be controversial as to its truth (Catfish); but there wasn’t a film that I didn’t love watching. Some may have simply entertained (My Date With Drew), others made me feel repulsed with its revelations (Food Inc.); but all of them made me learn certain things about the world. I highly recommend taking a break from Hollywood magic and exposing yourself to some real quality stories.

Other documentary films you should check out not listed here: The Wire, The King of Kong, The September Issue.

#THREE
They just won The Sing-Off; but I’ve been rooting for them since they broke out of the competition with “E.T.”… I think most of us were. Pentatonix is futuristic a cappella in a small package made up of only five people. Scott, Mitch, Kirstie, Kevin and Avi are my new idols. They are fantastic at arranging any song by putting in a signature “surprise” with every performance. It could be a cool breakdown in the middle, a remix with their voices, an abrupt silence… No matter what, what they do is AWESOME. The group remained consistently great with every episode; and I love them for it. I’m so happy they won. I’m looking forward to what their recording contract allows them to produce. I hope it’s as good or even better than their performances on the show.

Just so you get exposed to their talent (if you haven’t already), here’s one of my many favorites, Video Killed the Radio Star:

#FOUR
With the release of the complete film collection on DVD, I was brought back to my love for J.K. Rowling’s beloved series about a young wizard named Harry Potter. I re-watched all 8 films, including special features, in the span of a few days. I was reminded of how special the stories and the films have been not just for me, but for the world. I will forever be a fan.

#FIVE
Brilliant comedic chops paired with a beautiful face? It was quite disorienting but turned out to be even more effective in making me laugh. Petra Mahalimuyak is Ashley Rivera’s alter ego, a fast-talking woman with a terrible “p” and “f” defect, who gives you instructions on how to apply make-up, even how to dougie. Her biggest hit? How to Dance in a Club, which is funny and helpful at the same time.

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Gift-Giving Guide

It’s nearly December; and I’m almost done with my Christmas shopping, which I’m very proud of. It’s a good sign that I will be able to avoid all the incoming chaos in the city’s many shopping malls. It’s pretty chaotic now, I have to admit; but we all know it will get worse in the coming days and weeks.

They say it’s part of the fun to “shove” your way through shopping for Christmas gifts; but I think more fun is had from buying presents that have been carefully thought of rather than grabbing the first thing that looks good or is a best-seller slash hot item of the moment.

Christmas Is In The Air: Lego Christmas Tree at SM The Block

The past few months have been pretty slow for me, so I gladly took on the task of buying early. I’ve personally enjoyed thinking of great gifts for the people I love, young and old. And since I’ve had the opportunity to mull over what I wish to give this year, I’m sharing a couple of things, corny or practical, that I learned along the way.

1. Ask for help.

I have five nieces of varying ages; and I recently realized how much harder gift-giving has gotten since they’re now a bit older. The ages between five and ten are much trickier in that they’re developing their own tastes and are just starting to discover hobbies that they may or may not develop upon entering adolescence. So don’t be afraid to ask for help.

For the past couple of years, I’ve developed the habit of clearing my gift ideas with the parents. This is so you’re sure that they don’t already have that item and that what you’re thinking of giving is something the kids will appreciate. You may also ask the adults what their children are watching, reading and playing at the moment, because it will allow you to have more ideas on what to give them. If you’re thinking of buying them clothes, parents are a good resource to get the size and style right. Moms and dads could also give you specific gift choices based on what their kids have been eyeing on recently. They also know what their children have too much of and what they might need. They will appreciate you asking; because it means you’re really thinking about the gift.

What to avoid, however, is approaching the kids. Before, I asked them directly what they might want for Christmas. Now, I no longer do that because in my experience, kids are impulse buyers (especially the younger ones). They point to what they want and with such short attention spans nowadays, they get over playing with the gifts by New Year’s. It would be such a waste. I’ve witnessed this a couple of times with the gifts I’ve given. I don’t want it to happen again. Unless what they want is practical (and it rarely is so), I’d rather not give exactly what the kid wants. It should be a balance between what they like and what they could enjoy for a long time.

2. Get Personal.

When it comes to giving gifts for friends, getting personal will always be appreciated. An old picture or a whole picture book for that matter… Anything that brings back memories is never a bad idea.

This year, with all the time I had, I put together picture books for my best friends. With words and images, I summed up a friendship that has lasted a long time; and I’m hoping they’d love it.

I went to PictureBooks for this gift idea. I’ve recently received the photo books I’ve put together; and they look great. To think it was so simple: order online and have it delivered to your home or office.

3. Research.

Online research has become a valuable resource for me this year. Recently, I noticed that my older nieces have developed a love for reading. However, they stuck with one or two series only. I decided to give them books as gifts; but I wanted to introduce them to other types of series and genres.

I took to the Internet and searched for well-known books for their age bracket; and I found the perfect choices. They were not only critically-acclaimed but also well accepted by parents. After purchasing my gifts, I cleared with the parents to be sure that they won’t buy them in the coming weeks.

Customer reviews online are an important source of information about any item you may decide on buying. I initially wanted to give the Angry Birds Knock on Wood game and buying it online. However, certain reviews gave me second thoughts; so I decided to buy a classic board game instead, one that had a number of positive feedback despite being a game that has existed for a long time.

There are also a number of gift guides popping up all across the web. These are a great source of inspiration for that next great gift for your parents, siblings or friends.

4. Buy Online.

If something’s not available in the retail stores, try online. Online shopping is becoming more and more popular in recent years; and trusted sellers are not that hard to come by these days. Personally, I never go wrong with ebay.ph and the Multiply Marketplace. You just have to spend some time making sure that you’re buying from a reliable source with a number of past customers and positive consumer feedback.

I recently bought a hard-to-find item online; and with it being delivered directly to my doorstep, what could be more convenient?

5. Be Sincere.

Nowadays, they say Christmas is only for the kids to enjoy. All we adults do is burden our pockets with the expenses. I usually think this; but this year, I’ve appreciated the art of gift-giving and how great it feels when I’ve finally settled on a present. It has become my own version of the holidays.

I feel like I’ve put significant effort in the gifts I’ve bought this year. I’m really looking forward to seeing the look on people’s faces once they receive their gifts. And if you are sincere in putting thought into your gift, it will show. This is when the saying, “It’s the thought that counts,” rings through.

And with that, good luck on the shopping. The countdown begins… Happy Holidays!

Shooting in 3D: Part One

After almost three months of storyboards, test shoots, planning, shooting, sound design and editing, the first ever 3D commercial in the Philippines has finally aired! I’m genuinely proud to have been part of it. I’ve tried my best to keep my mouth shut about this project; but now that it has been broadcast, I’m proud to present project “JUBILEE.”

It is directed by Paolo Dy, with director of photography Larry Manda and production designer Butch Garcia. Production house: Straight Shooters Media, Inc. 3-D equipment care of RSVP Film Studios, computer-generated graphics produced in Underground Logic, post production done in Post Manila, sound design by LoudBox Studios.

Important note: YOU WILL NEED RED-CYAN 3D GLASSES TO WATCH THIS COMMERCIAL IN 3D. You can get a free pair of Ariel 3D Glasses from specially-marked packs of ARIEL 3D DEEP CLEAN in supermarkets and other outlets.

With this being a special sort of project, I plan to write about it in bits and pieces. For now, I would just like to recognize the team behind this awesome commercial and thank them all for the hard work, the time and effort! We did it!

Team "Jubilee"
The 3D Rig (aka The Star of the Show): Can you see the 2 RED Cams?

Shopping Diary #6: Pottermania

I bought these things a few weeks apart; but they do have something in common… They’re both Harry Potter-related!

I’m a bit of a Potterhead; and these two purchases are pretty substantial (read: expensive) but DEFINITELY worth it in my opinion. These are both in my Christmas Wish List; so I’m really happy to have given myself these “gifts.”

FULLY BOOKED
Harry Potter: Page to Screen
Php2,995

This book chronicles the complete filmmaking journey that Harry Potter took… from the words written by JK Rowling into a once-in-a-lifetime film franchise. We are guided through the whole process. Learn more about how they chose the screenwriter, director and cast. Find out about character design, production design and special effects that successfully brought everything to life. It’s all there and so much more. It has a lot of wonderful illustrations, pictures and anecdotes that give fans like me insight into the making of all the films. Working in production myself, it’s even more amazing to read and find out about how Hollywood made movie magic happen.

ASTROPLUS
Harry Potter: The Complete 8-Film Collection
Php4,200

I have never been this excited to own a complete film collection since the Lord of the Rings set I bought over three years ago. I waited to own this ever since the first film came out in 2001. After ten years, it’s finally out… All the films have been finished and the complete story of Harry Potter has been translated to screen.

This set has 17 discs in all. Each of the 8 films consists of their respective two-disc special editions; and there’s a bonus disc entitled “Hogwarts’ Last Stand,” which is a 35-minute featurette about the making of the final film.

At this price, each disc is approximately Php247, which I think is worth every penny. I was so excited that I decided to re-watch the entire series since purchasing the set. I’m now on the special features of the second film.

I don’t know if a  better sort of collection will be released in the future; but this one’s pretty good enough for me. All the films are packed with special features; and it’s all placed in a neat box. After all, I think ten years has been enough of a wait to have the complete collection in my hands, don’t you think?

I absolutely love this set. Anyway, I’m off to continue my movie marathon… Can’t wait to finish everything!

Side Trip: Mayon Volcano

Before going home from the Ad Congress, we decided to take a trip to Mayon Volcano. It proved to be well worth our time. The volcano is no longer a perfect cone; but it is still beautiful. It was a bit cloudy when we got there; but it didn’t stop us from taking pictures. Let me share with you the sights we took in:

We had to walk a certain distance to get a good view of the volcano due to the damage done by recent typhoons. We crossed a makeshift bridge and passed a running river on the way.

Once we got there, the volcano was half-covered by clouds. We took some pictures but decided to stay and wait for the skies to clear up a bit. Thankfully, the waiting paid off. It looks amazing…

After our Mayon Volcano experience, we stopped by Embarcadero de Legazpi for lunch and got through the Global Gutz Zipline. For only Php150, it would be crazy not to go on it. The line goes over the sea and is approximately 350 meters. As we got closer and closer to the top, the windy air became stronger and stronger. I was pretty scared; but we were already there so I had no other choice but to do it… And I did! It was pretty awesome.

We really enjoyed ourselves. It was a short day trip; but a good one. Never pass up a short detour because there are a lot of great places to explore. And when you’re only a couple of hours away? Why not?

#AdCon22 : Change The Game

How do you change the game?

This is the question that The 22nd Philippine Advertising Congress (#AdCon22) kept answering again and again over the course of the 4-day event. To their credit,  the organizers stayed true to the theme; and we witnessed a number of firsts for the industry. For me, these were the highlights:

1. Staying at CWC

I’ve been to Camarines Sur before (Caramoan); but the trip was ruined by typhoon. So I was happy to get the opportunity to come back, but now in the famous CWC. It’s the first time that the congress is being held at CamSur Watersports Complex; and it’s a pretty awesome place. It’s got great accommodations and the people there are helpful.

Our company was one of the few who got to stay inside Villa del Ray. We booked the Wood Cabins, which were really charming and rustic but still modern. The medium cabin we stayed in was pretty big for two people, we were able to fit in as much as five! It’s air-conditioned and comfortable. We hit a couple of snags at the beginning where there wasn’t enough water; but it was fixed soon enough. The room also appears pretty new in that it lacked furnishings and there were no hangers; but I didn’t mind. I still loved the room.

As for the other amenities, I didn’t have a chance to wakeboard, swim or do any sort of watersports activities. Between the seminars, talks and going around the booths, we just didn’t have the time or were too tired to do much else. That is one big “sayang” for me. I wish we had more opportunities to go off and actually walk around CWC.

Unfortunately, a number of delegates we knew weren’t able to stay inside the resort. The other hotels were 15-30 minutes away, which was pretty inconvenient for most of them. Buses and shuttles were provided by the organizing committee, which helped a bit. But with all the loot bags and giveaways during the sponsored meals and the trade exhibits, it would mean lugging everything around the whole day until the end of the night. Not ideal.

2. New ID

I still remember the gigantic ID wrapped around our neck during the last Ad Congress. This year, it was nowhere to be found.

The colored band/tag system that they implemented this year was an effective way to identify the delegates from the others. The tag is a waterproof, hard-to-remove bracelet that had to be around our wrists for the entire congress. It was really convenient and it meant we wouldn’t have to worry about those huge ID necklaces, which could easily be left in the room. They also implemented a biometric system for identifying the delegates. It’s a system that is simple yet high-tech, convenient yet effective… something that future AdCons could learn from.

3. The Big 3 Session

Having Atty. Felipe Gozon (GMA), Gabby Lopez (ABS-CBN) and Manny V. Pangilinan (TV5) under one roof in one session, you would think that the universe would implode… but it didn’t. And the industry was witness to a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see all three network heavyweights in one stage.

I was beyond thrilled to have watched them talk about the business of network television, the debate on who’s number one, pirating talents, the efforts to be digital and so much more. The moderators were entertaining as well: Korina Sanchez with Atty. Gozon, Mike Enriquez with MVP and Luchi Cruz Valdez with Gabby Lopez. The high point for me would have to be the first interview. Korina’s questions were direct but a bit “showbiz” enough to keep the audience and Atty. Gozon on their toes. And he answered them with flying colors.

It was a historical few hours that no one will ever forget.

4. Prizes and Parties!

The Ad Congress is known for its parties and prizes for the delegates. This one was no exception. Here are just some of the stuff the sponsors gave away:

iPhone 4S, iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Php100,000 cash, a trip to Cannes, Toyota Vios, even a brand new Mini Cooper! There were also a ton of gadgets, phones and more given away during the trade exhibits. It would’ve been more awesome if I had won something; but I’m never lucky. Still, the thrill that these raffle draws gave were a lot for the delegates to take in. It was all pretty exciting.

Other than that, there were parties every night. I had a blast dancing and mingling with people in the industry. It was a lot of fun. The music was great. The energetic vibe was infectious. We had no choice but to party all night.

*side note: This year’s party anthems would have to be a tie between Party Rock Anthem and Moves Like Jagger. During the last Ad Congress, it was I Gotta Feeling.

5. Araw Awards Craft

Award-giving bodies in the industry are always about the creative and the agency people behind them. That is why I was so happy that this year’s Araw Awards honored the production side of things through the Craft categories. Direction, cinematography, editing and casting are important factors in making a commercial film effective. I’m beyond pleased that we in production were finally being recognized and awarded for the work that we do. It was truly a game-changing move that is one of the biggest highlights for me this year.

As a bonus, our company Straight Shooters Media, Inc. bagged four awards! Two bronzes (editing & casting) and one silver Araw (direction) for “Cooking Mo, Cooking Ko!” plus one gold Araw (casting) for “The Howl and the Fussyket” (which I was part of!). Nestle Philippines was also awarded Advertiser of the Year in large part due to their groundbreaking Kasambuhay Habambuhay Film Anthology, which our films participated in.

AdCon22 was definitely historical in that it challenged the norm of this bi-annual, industry-wide event. It embraced technology and its possibilities. It recognized the need to go beyond what has been done in the past in order to give a bigger and better event for all the delegates and attendees. Here’s to the next AdCon!

22nd Advertising Congress

I’m almost packed and ready to go…

The 22nd Advertising Congress is going to be held in Camsur Watersports Complex from November 16-19, 2011.

I never know what to expect during the Ad Congress. All I know is I want to have fun, celebrate the people in the industry and look back at what we’ve accomplished the past two years. The highlight of this event is, of course, the Araw Awards, where great ads will be recognized and rewarded. I can’t wait to see the winners.

I’ll write about the Ad Congress when I get back. Until then, I plan to enjoy the experience. This is one of the few opportunities where people in advertising could just take in all the talks, join in all the activities and party to our heart’s content!