Sunday June 14, 2015

1-13Last June 13, Viva Entertainment’s bosses Vincent del Rosario (President/COO), Valerie del Rosario (VP for TV Production  & Creative Research, and Viva Digital), Vanessa del Rosario (Marketing Officer), and Big Boss — Vic Del  Rosario were in Davao City to audition new stars for its various entertainment platforms.

Public auditions for its online platform were held at BluGre Cafe, Landco while private auditions were held at the Marco Polo hotel. Local indie folk pop artist Thea Pitogo was one of those signed onto Viva Records for a record deal.

FilminDavao’s Editor in Chief Jill Palarca had an exclusive interview with Miss Valerie del Rosario, VP for Viva Digital, TV Production, and Creative Research.

F: What took you this long to consider Davao?

V: Recently, we put together this fleet of networks under Oomph. We have Oomph Radio and then we have OomphTV on Youtube. It’s where we discover new talents from all over the Philippines. This is one way for us to bring in new blood. We came down to Davao to conduct auditions because we believe there’s a lot of untapped talent to be discovered here. And we want to bring them to the mainstream.

F: Is Viva looking for a particular genre of entertainment or type of talent?

V: We’re looking for anything and everything – from actors, singers, standup comedians… we’re even looking for new directors and writers who want to have a break in the industry.

F: Is Viva expanding to a new kind of entertainment?

V: Yes because now in the digital age, entertainment doesn’t need to be all on traditional TV and cinema.

F: What kind of trending talents is Viva interested in?

V: With the digital age coming in, people can now decide who they want to support. Trends are not dictated solely anymore by media giants. When you watch TV, you see the same stars over and over again. But when you go online, you will see that there are a lot of popular personalities. Case in point Donnalyn Bartolome known in the Philippines as the SMS aka Social Media Sweetheart. She is a popular YouTube video blogger as well as a singer-songwriter and rapper. She’s not on mainstream TV yet but if you check her Youtube channel she has more than a hundred thousand subscribers and her music videos gets millions of views. People who go online have the power to choose who they want to watch unlike on TV where viewers don’t have much choice. Viva wants to tap into the younger audience who are looking for new idols who they can easily relate to.

F: So if that’s the case, Viva is looking for stars who also know how to create their own content.

V: Yes. But of course, with a little collaboration with us. People we sign up on this online platform can get to collaborate with other talents and brains from the network that will eventually give them more exposure.

F: So is it safe to say that Viva is taking away that “too manufactured” factor from the equation that’s scaring away some artists?

V: In a way, yes. It’s the same principle as audiences can get to choose what they want to watch. On our online platform, our new “stars” can choose the kind of content they want to create but of course Viva’s role is to help these stars manage their content; guide them on how to make their personas better. We’re veering from the traditional “management style” that stars are overhauled.

F: So what’s the business model for this set-up? How can the talents get compensated for their craft?

V: Well, the bigger picture is still to bring them all to mainstream. The usual routes like getting an album deal, a movie or hosting career.

F: So basically, what Viva is doing is to help young stars develop their audience through your online platforms then when they’re ripe for the picking elevate them to the mainstream Viva platforms.

V: Precisely. The idea is to start small and go big.

F: How do you think these Davao auditions will turn out?

V: We believe there’s a lot of talent here. We just came from Cebu last week and there were mostly singers I guess because when they hear Viva, they initially think recording deals because of Sarah Geronimo. We’re also hoping we could discover new filmmakers.

F: Let’s talk about that. You mentioned earlier that Viva also manages directors and writers. Off-cam talent management is something unheard of in Davao City because to be honest despite the large pool of filmmakers in Davao and Mindanao there’s not much of a commercial industry for films here. What can you offer?

V:  Viva currently has about 20 directors under its Artists Management. Since Viva is pretty much a production company, our pool of directors and writers get first crack on the projects we have. For example, a music video for a Viva recording artist or a new TV show that we have on one of our cable channels. There are a lot of video projects to be done.

F: Are the video projects all in Manila? How will you utilize the Davao filmmakers if that’s the case?

V: We can always fly them in for projects if we really believe they fit the bill. We could also have locally-produced projects here.

F: What’s Viva’s take on independent films?

V: We definitely support independent cinema. We believe there’s a lot of new talent; good storytellers to be discovered in that pool. That’s why we’re going around.

F: Mindanao filmmakers are known to be very hardcore “artistes”. How will you approach this and encourage them to try mainstream?

V: With any form of entertainment or art for that matter, the important thing is to always go and reach a bigger audience. To reach out to a bigger audience doesn’t necessarily mean being a sell-out. You can still tell your stories the way you want it but you still need to consider the bigger audience. I believe that it’s every filmmaker’s dream to have people watch whatever movie they make. You know the old saying that you do something for the soul and you also do something for the pocket? But even if you’re doing something for the pocket, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re already selling out. We at Viva have always been very encouraging with our directors. We always ask them, how do you want to do it? At the end of the day, we should meet in the middle. Healthy collaborations work that way. As for current filmmakers in Davao, we would love to showcase their feature films on our movie channels. We’re looking forward to collaborations with the filmmaking community. 

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Viva Entertainment’s VP for Viva Digital, TV Production and Creative Research VALERIE DEL ROSARIO and FilminDavao’s Editor in Chief JILL PALARCA

***Are you a filmmaker looking for a break on the mainstream? Email us at admin@filmindavao.com

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