Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Gabby was the first to inform me of Preview’s new “Creative It List,” through text. Then I saw part of the list on Mich’s blog. Seeing the names, I went through a series of reactions, in my gut, my head, my stomach: from white-hot boiling rage to complete and utter stupefaction to feeling cheated to being numb.

Let’s rewind a bit.

Maybe 3 months ago, I was thinking of making a proposal to one of the magazines I write for, probably either Flip or Men’s Zone, about an “It List” for the Philippines, based on Entertainment Weekly’s annual list of the same name which profiled the “100 Most Creative People in Entertainment.” EW’s been doing it for about 6 or 7 years already, and I remember when the list was still called the “Extreme List,” back before the term “extreme” went out of vogue. As much as possible, I try to get the It List issue every year, and I’m almost complete, though someone lost two issues, which I now fear will never be retrieved. Anyway, my intentions were simple: to spotlight CREATIVE people in Philippine entertainment and art, not necessarily who was popular or attractive or appealing to a certain demographic. Through different media: film, TV, theater, music, advertising, comic books, literature, architecture, restaurants, art, online, etc. It would give me the opportunity to A) help promote deserving but unknown artists, bring attention to their works and talents (hopefully this would translate to income for them), some of whom were friends, and B) to discover talents I am unaware of. I talked the idea over with Neva extensively, as well as with Quark and Chris and several others. We came up with candidates, ways to photograph them interestingly, etc. I also sent an email to most of the mailing lists I have, asking who they think is creative in the country, and why. I also put the question up on various message boards.

I didn’t forget about the idea but it had to take a backseat to other things, like the AIM seminar I was about to take and previous commitments I had to attend to. I was also thinking of a way to propose it to the editors of whichever magazine while maintaining a sort of “editorial control” over the section itself, which proved difficult.

Me and my source of joy.

Now Preview’s new issue (Oct 2002 cover date) has its “Creative It List” itself, noted on the cover beside Pia Guanio’s breast. Of 10 profiles, 6 are on my list. Of the total 26 people mentioned, 16 are on my list (some of the others were candidates, but didn’t make the final list; others, I wouldn’t agree as being creative). I have to admit I felt kind of robbed. It seemed uncanny that so many of their entries were also on my list (though mine was longer, with more categories, and more diverse [in a word: better. hehehe… ;)]). My first reaction was that someone had talked, gotten wind of the idea and beat us to the punch. After a frenzied talking to my friends who heard about the idea (though I honestly can’t remember how many people I talked to or asked advice about it), I calmed down some and realized what could be far, far worse:

That the list of creative people in the country is so small, we hit on the same people independently.

It’s wholly possible, and now likely, that Preview came up with the list themselves. They obviously ripped off the idea from EW as well, whose It List for this year came out about 3 months ago, making it around a month before they’d begun working on this issue now out (in monthly magazine publishing, you’re usually working on the issue that will come out two months from now). But I refuse to believe that the state of creative individuals in the country is so dire that lists of creative talent by different people seem almost identical. I attribute it to the fact that there’s a lot more out there we’re simply unaware of.

At the very least, though, I still have my list, and they didn’t get my favorite entries, and our ideas for photo shoots were a thousand times better. But I’m not telling; you’ll have to ask me in person… :)

Oh, and I really wish that Preview, at the LEAST, acknowledged that the idea came from someone else. I mean, they even took the name! It’s on the cover! What, they think no one in the country could’ve seen that EW issue and put two and two together? Common decency and courtesy, folks!

Still, it’s nice that at least SOME attention is being paid to these people, and some of them are truly deserving of your respect and time and attention and admiration and adulation and money (especially Ate Cyn!).

Nonetheless, there is still a perfect Philippine It List in my mind… meanwhile, there’s a microscropic part of me screaming “I wuz robbed! Robbed, I tell yas!” that’ll take a week or two to disappear...

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