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Entertainment writing in the Philippines as labor case and other issues in forum

What is more effective, using the Filipino language or the English medium in entertainment writing? What is the difference between a tabloid and a broadsheet in entertainment pages?

Why is showbiz reporting a popular culture? How does a common man share a common space with celebrities?

When and how does a woman writer assert herself in the gender playground of show business? Is a female movie journalist indeed discriminated in the male-dominated sphere of the entertainment industry? Still, how do women set themselves apart from the LGBTQ+ population in arts and culture?

How do movie reporters earn their keeps? Does entertainment reporting as a job enjoy privileges as PhilHealth, 13th month-pay, bonus, sick leave, maternity leave as in women writers etc.?

These are some of the questions and issues deemed interesting one can get about the fascinating and intriguing world of entertainment writing in the Philippines as the UST Publishing House hosts a symposium billed as “Entertainment Writing in the Philippines in the Advent of Social Media” which will unfold on Thursday, October 17, 2019 at the Central Library Auditorium Miguel de Benvides Library of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) at 3 pm.

Entertainment writers Danny Vibas, Pilar Mateo, Art Tapalla and me make available a discussion on the many sides of showbiz reporting.

The idea of a forum started when controversial Fil-Briton filmmaker Jowee Morel launched an environment advocacy called Arts4Earth and he thought of holding an omnibus activity on the cause like book reading, art exhibit, cleanup drive, tree planting, seminar and workshop on waste segregation, plastic pollution, the launch of the teaser of the documentary film “The Mystical Land: Lucban, The Story” etc.

Being part of the project, I wrote letters of request to various offices like the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), the University of Santo Tomas publishing unit, the Quezon City Public Library (QCPL) and all of them answered favorably but it’s only the UST which has signaled the green light of the program.

CCP and QCPL haven’t finalized yet their participation and collaboration with the project.

Because of some limitations, though, UST has crossed the art exhibit portion. Although, presumably, there are so many open spaces for painting shows in the school but it’s not a simple negotiation to pursue.

And so a more workable plan was designed by Prof. Ailil Alarez, Director of the UST Publishing House and her associate Ned Parfan when we met a couple of months ago. The book reading from my second book, “Expose Peryodismong Pampelikula sa Pilipinas (Movie Reporting in the Philippines)” was immediately approved by the management together with the showing of the teaser of the doc film.

There are still copies of my research which are left untouched in the shelves I wanted to help dispose it once and for all like selling and marketing them.

Still I wondered a booking reading and a showing of a trailer would be so short an event I thought of a symposium about movie reporting since my book mainly tackles the subject.

I called up UST and Ned was the one who picked up the phone. I quickly offered him the idea of a forum on the aforementioned topic and he positively vouched for it for Prof. Alvarez.

Although it’s still an activity, a symposium isn’t a laborious task unlike a concert or an art show but it should also entail an adequate preparation and substantial effort and effect.

Since Danny, Pilar, Art and I are always, more or less, together these days because colleague Dave Rojo has been toying an idea of a Youtube gig, I simply put us together. I called them up individually and asked their participation in the talk and they easily gave their commitment to it.

I assigned each one of us the topic to be discussed in the dialogue. I would elaborate on entertainment writing as a popular culture while Danny would explain the bilingual use of Filipino and English or the mix of the two major media of communication in showbiz reporting.

In as much as Pilar is, obviously, a female, it’s an exciting revelation if she could talk about her sexual politics in running around with the gender actors in the entertainment media.

Of course, Art is known for his penchant for the downtrodden and the marginalized he would seem best to lecture on his craft as a labor situation and not simply as a glamorous profession. How will he fare well in the discussion adapting his objective analysis of social classes pervasive in the entertainment arena and the realities of social contradictions in the thick of things?

At first, UST chose to hold the even at the Custodio Hall of the Education Building but later on, Alvarez and Parfan opted to parley at the UST Central Library.

It’s now all set with Communication Arts majors from the Faculty of Arts and Letters and other guests attending the forum. I asked Ned if he could emcee the event and moderate the Q&A portion to which I told him pointblank I couldn’t pay him for the jobs. He affirmed the roles, though.

Ailil will deliver the opening remarks.

When I was posting and sharing the story on social media award-winning actor Richard Quan liked the gig. I told him, “punta ka (please go).” He then replied “yup” which meant yes. But later, he sent me a Facebook Personal Message (PM) saying he couldn’t attend. I said it’s alright although I already wrote about his presence in the papers.

Jowee, initially wasn’t about to go even if he is the director of the documentary film and said he would just send his nephew Carl who is being trained by him on camera and editing works.

Later, Morel signified his intention to share his attendance in the forum for spiritual support to the group and would just find a way to ease his mobility problem from travelling to Manila from down south.

Beauty queen and actress Maria Isabel Lopez would want to involve herself in future symposia when she returned from the US and internationally acclaimed director Brillante Ma. Mendoza is in Turkey for the 2019 Bosphorous International Film Festival as President of the Jury he couldn’t come naturally.

In the next forums, let’s hope for the best.                    

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