The first few weeks of the COVID-19 outbreak caused me pain and anxiety. The findings said it affected those who are 60-above and 20-below. Since I belong to that demographic, I was very, very stressed. So stressed that I got shingles for five weeks. But I knew I had to overcome the fear and mental health challenges that come with the pandemic so I took all the necessary precautions.
At home, I created protocols for everyone to follow. All my staff wear masks. There’s alcohol all over the house for sanitation purposes. Everyone takes a bath two to three times a day. I had everyone take rapid tests.
On a personal level, I try my best to keep my positive attitude. I believe that everything happens for a reason. Everything is given by God because there is a lesson to learn. I tell myself that if we are to survive this thing, we need to have the right attitude and accept our reality. I have always known that I am very blessed but COVID-19 made me realize this even more.
COVID-19 has given me the chance to help and reach out to others, both personally and professionally. I have also learned Zoom, Teams and other new forms of communication. I have realized the importance and value of keeping in touch with family and friends.
I value my health very much so I continue to exercise, eat a lot of fruits and veggies, and live a generally healthy lifestyle. COVID-19 is making me a stronger and braver person. I am now more aware of everything and everyone around me. More enlightened. More appreciative of life.
“ At this point, we still do not know how to start. But the nice thing about it is that the Philippine Motion Pictures Producers Association and all other guilds have unified as a group, all trying to help each other with the new norm. ”
I take one day at a time. It is difficult to make plans at this stage because we don’t know what will happen tomorrow. But while I am still here, I am doing my best to help people in whatever way I can.
In my line of work, the film industry is one of the hardest hit. All cinemas are closed. We do not know when they will open again or if they will open at all. Film producers have many concerns. First, given the strict sanitary guidelines, we will incur an additional 30 percent in costs. Second, because of social distancing, only a 35- to 40-percent capacity will be allowed inside the theaters. Hence, we expect low box-office receipts.
At this point, we still do not know how to start. Even Hollywood is still trying to find its way around this situation. But the nice thing about it is that the Philippine Motion Pictures Producers Association and all other guilds have unified as a group, all trying to help each other with the new norm. We have been successful in creating our own protocols and guidelines that will be implemented when we resume production. Personally, though, I think it will be at least a year, or maybe more, before the crowd goes back to the theaters.
For now, we really need the vaccine. We also need the help of the government to keep the industry alive through things like tax breaks and incentives. We will also appreciate it if there’s open and transparent communication regarding certain rules not being mandated to us, as we know what the industry needs. With limited audiences allowed in theaters, producers will not be able to regain film costs. The best scenario now is to produce movies for streaming platforms. I think that this is going to be the new normal in the film industry.
Lastly, may I just say that I truly believe that God is a loving God and all that is happening now is for our own good. For our transformation — the world’s transformation. If every one of us is “awakened” by this pandemic, then COVID-19 is serving its purpose. We will have a better awareness of each other, our country and the world. We can all work as one to make things better. We can make our country and the world beautiful again. I trust in God’s ways and truly believe that at the end of the day, only good things will come out of this.
Edited by Nathalie Tomada