The coronavirus has brought the world to its knees. Its crippling effect is felt everywhere — more so, in the entertainment industry. Admittedly, being entertained does not fall under the basic necessities of food, clothing and shelter. As a result, the entertainment business has been left to fend for itself.
This is most unfortunate. Entertainment employs millions of people. It has enriched lives, given honor to the country and brought happy times to everybody. This has been so during wars, revolutions and other difficult periods in the past.
The affecting beauty of a moving film as well as the funny, few seconds on TikTok can bring respite from worry, lighten depression or make isolation tolerable. Survival is now our priority but entertainment also has a purpose and has always served it well.
I experienced this personally when the rug was literally pulled from under my feet when the country went into quarantine. Shoots stopped. Theaters closed. Events were postponed indefinitely. Box-office revenues disappeared completely. Workers were instantly displaced, deprived of income. But then, like a light in the dark, there was music.
I became a film producer when I formed Viva Communications 39 years ago. But before that, I was making music. I was 20 years old when I thought of putting up Vicor Music with my cousin Orly Ilacad, and while I became successful in other areas of entertainment in the ensuing years, my love for producing Filipino music never faltered.
“ We are living in challenging times. It is a fact that this pandemic will leave us forever changed. I’d like to think though that once we have realized and analyzed our past mistakes, change will be for the better. ”
Technology has made music easy to create and make available. This time in quarantine has resulted in an explosion of new recordings. The music never stopped. These come both from new creators and big-name artists. These have made isolation an exciting time.
After all these years, I still feel a thrill listening to new sounds and end up wondering how I can turn them into hits and later on, classics. Now, if only I can use these sounds to score a motion picture or to be able to watch the artist perform them live. I am hopeful that those times will happen again soon.
We are living in challenging times. It is a fact that this pandemic will leave us forever changed. I’d like to think though that once we have realized and analyzed our past mistakes, change will be for the better.
In the midst of our quarantined existence, we at Viva have been looking into possibilities that might help jumpstart the entertainment industry back into at least a semblance of its former self.
People cannot go to the movies so we bring the movies or concerts or the news to them. That means content is available to consumers anytime and anywhere, whether through their huge home theaters or the tiny screens on their mobile phones.
Modern technology has created digital platforms, which now have streaming or video on demand. Most of these are for free or cost only a fraction of a ticket price to the cinema or to a concert. The huge increase in online usage these past few months makes this a most viable option.
Also being considered is enforcing social distancing for audiences while watching an action-packed superhero franchise or a horror thriller in moviehouses. Maybe viewers can be safely ensconced in a vehicle while in a drive-in theater to enjoy a show featuring their favorite artists.
“ Then let us not discount the resilience of the human spirit, which has already survived wars, genocide and other pandemics. We will survive this. ”
We should also not count television out. It is a most accessible and affordable entertainment outlet. Filipinos may not mind not being able to go to the movies but they cannot be without television.
Of course, while we are now provided with the alternatives that will save entertainment, there still remains the problem of how to create content. Content is what those outlets need. To produce that, we have to be sure that we will not endanger the lives of the performers, the crew and all those creative minds who put those shows together.
The task is daunting but I am sure that we will be able to find a way through this. Prayer helps. It has no boundaries. It will take time but advancements in science can eradicate this virus. Just like it did others before. Then let us not discount the resilience of the human spirit, which has already survived wars, genocide and other pandemics. We will survive this.
Moving forward? We certainly are. And we will emerge strong, happy and just like before, entertained. Meanwhile, let us enjoy the movies we missed, the shows we have always wanted to watch again and let us keep the music playing.
Edited by Nathalie Tomada