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Meet the Creative Geniuses behind What About Productions

It takes a village to make a film. Not to mention, run a production house.

But ten creative geniuses who graduated with a Communication Arts degree from the University of Sto. Tomas withstood all odds and made it happen. In January 2019, “What About Productions” was born with a common goal of bringing out powerful narratives and stories to the rest of the world.

The Film Dream is fortunate to have an exciting Q and A with their Director, Dan Angelo Eligado and the rest of his creative team.

What About Productions' creative team with their talents during the film production of "Peksman"

When and How did “What About Prod” start? What circumstances led you to form What About Prod? (answers came from FR)

Our team actually began making Short Films for our Film Class in college back in 2018, but the actual production house - What About Productions, was born in the latter part of our senior year (around January 2019) for our Film Production course.

We came up with the name What About Productions because we realized that we kept on starting with the phrase “What about…” when we pitch our ideas during brainstorming sessions haha! We believe that by using that name, it really gives the production house a huge part of how we are as a team and as individuals, aside from the fact that the films we made had a touch of each of our personalities. You could say that all of those personalities put together can lead you to the long and adventurous flow of creativity that begins with “What about…”

Can you describe each member of your team? Share their strengths and special skills. (answers came from FR and David)

Erin - Our reliable executive producer! Parang BDO, she finds ways to get things done.

FR- She walks on the set and everything falls into place. Her 'madam' presence is a blessing.

Dan- The creative and masinop na Direk. As our director he is very hands-on, but still has his comedic charm! Though it was a pressure for him because this was his first major short film.

David- Supportive AD and right-hand-man in Direk. Dan and David: a perfect tandem (in everything they do, legit)

Justice- Halakhakerang Art director and petmalu na editor! Kung sa classroom, siya yung best in art.

Cla- Our all-around PD! She has a good eye for small details, and she’s also strict somehow.

Mivel and Hail- Our masipag na writers! Before we got stressed because of the film, they got stressed first!

Andre- Our bouncing baby boy! The bubbly boom operator. His funny and creative personality radiates in the set

Cha- Very organized and reliable shot lister! Thanks to her, editing was made less stressful.

What are the first few shorts you’ve created together with your team? What’s your favorite? What’s your team’s favorite?

(Answers from Direk Dan Angelo)

Way back in our film class, we had a few short film projects we did together and tested our teamwork. One of which was "Andre Artistahin." It was inspired by a film auteur where we had to apply a certain style or way of directing in the project. It was the first short film assignment given to us and also the first directing experience of Dan for our film class. And this one’s our favorite project before Peksman.

It was a bit of a trial and error for us especially in terms of technicalities and logistics because there was a so much in our plate happening at once. But we managed to pull it off despite heavy schedule. One of the lessons it taught us was to just be open to ideas and believe in the power of communication and most importantly believe in the story. For this short film "Andre Artistahin," we had so much fun doing it, like we were just laughing together because we were the actors in the film at the same time and it was funny to do weird things together especially if it’s your first time. Perhaps this was one of the reasons that our team managed to stick through together, and it was a solid foundation to establish our connection and harmony. It was the time where we learned our differences, our own work ethics and social cues.

In what ways did those involved help you/ create challenges for you? (referring to the adorable and challenging characters of your teammates)

(Answers from Direk Dan Angelo)

Well, this one’s part of the process and we really had to deal with our differences in terms of personality, phasing, and work ethics. We really had no issues being part of the same group because we were already blockmates since 2015 so, part of us knew each other so well. But despite being friends and blockmates for four years, clashing of ideas and concepts was really inevitable. And factors such as time pressure and multi-tasking were really making us super unsteady in the beginning. Some of us really had this strong and bold personalities, some were just going with the flow, and some were focused more on different aspects of academics. . And one of the most important thing we did was we never invalidate each other’s input on the matter because what is important for us is to give everyone a chance to be heard and a freedom to speak their thoughts.

So, it was a way of balancing these diverse characters and that eventually lead us to a unified priority and as we usually say, “para maitawid lang natin ito” and as much as possible we wanted to surpass this challenge as a group where no one is left out

One of the mantras we had that made us sturdy was that, when we look back to this particular part of our time, we want to remember good and fun memories together.

Also, what we needed was a good leader and our producers, Erin and Felize really managed to get things through and ensured that the harmony of the group still exists. From time to time we needed to have a little bit of a pep talk to ourselves or self-encouragement to push us through and to wake up knowing that each day we were closer to the shoot date and closer to the festival.

Perhaps this became a way to know each other more and also a huge factor of knowing more about ourselves and the things we needed to work on and improve as individuals. It was more of a character development for us being part of the group as we go through the journey of Peksman. Looking it back today, it was a major growth for us all.

Direk Dan Angelo Eligado of "What About Productions"

Can you tell some trivia about the films you created?

(Answers from Direk Dan Angelo)

They were all of the same genre: Comedy! We tried to do something different, but the way we are as a team leads us towards creating something in the comedic side. I guess, it actually reflects how we are as individuals. Since we don’t really give off that serious kind of vibe (but we’re serious naman with work)

Share a story or funny anecdote that you’ve discovered with your team while creating your films.

(Answers from Direk Dan Angelo)

More than the hustle of making films, it is the bond and the memories we created together that we treasure the most. All the hesitations were gone, and we were just being real and all it needed was acceptance and understanding from everyone in the team. Because it is important for us to get loose once in a while to tick off some stress and to free our minds.

Looking back, the funny thing about our team is that, sometimes we exaggerate things and tease each other a lot. One of our favorites was when we act for our short films. It was like looking at your friend turning to a totally different person and it was funny-weird witnessing it. Then we laugh. Sometimes you really just need a good laugh.

Also, I remember, we were preparing for the outdoor set of Peksman (school field), and I was there standing, observing everyone. And it was nice seeing everyone running around, doing their part in their very best. And then I see Andre holding the Boom mic, Felize running with her radio, Justice and David carrying the props, Mivel taking our behind the scenes, then Erin taking good care with talents, Charlene marking every take with her dope sheet. And everyone did not disappoint. All our preparations and adjustments really turned into a good teamwork. And we were happy about it.

BTS photos during the film production of Peksman

What are your unforgettable moments while doing your films?

(Answers from Direk Dan Angelo)

I always believed that it is the small things that turn to be the most important part of experience that gives everyone something to hold on, and partly a coping mechanism for us all. It may be a bit of a hassle during that time, but looking back now, what I miss is all the meetings and brainstorming na kailangan naming isingit palagi, and all the sleepovers we had, and all the times we had to eat together. It was a family kind of bond that we built together and every time we remember it, it gives us light in our present time.

What are the film awards that you and your team have won over the years?

(Answers from Direk Dan Angelo)

We won the People’s Choice Award during UST Communication Arts Students’ Association (CASA) Sine Reel 2019. After which, we were a finalist in the Lift-Off First-time Filmmaker Sessions 2020 based in the United Kingdom. Also, just recently, our film has been chosen to be part of the showcase in the UST Communication Arts Students’ Association’s Sine Reel 2020 partnered with IWant TFC. So we will be streaming on IWant TFC soon.

Describe the feeling when you learned that your team won. What did you realize after garnering those multiple awards?

(Answers from Direk Dan Angelo)

We made the film for our Film Prod course, so getting a good grade for our finals would be a great reward already; but the film received so much love, and appreciation to the point that people voted for our film to receive an award; and later on, it was chosen to participate in a multi-national film festival. Saying that we’re happy or over-joyed is an understatement. We don’t think words would completely describe how we felt for being granted such honor.

For us it is the result of the collective hard work that we put through together in Peksman. And we were more than privileged to be given a platform where we can showcase not just our work but to share our story in a bigger and even global audience because not all filmmakers are given this kind of opportunity. And, of course, we are thankful for the never-ending support of our friends and family in our craft and the things that we do, and for always trusting and believing in us – this is what made us strong all throughout our journey.

But beyond the face of recognition and awards, what is important to us is to be able to share our story and some affect people’s lives, the way they think and the way they feel. It is to be able to present the audience a different perspective in seeing the world and our realities. And with that, we are more than grateful for the opportunities.

How did you decide to continue with creating more films?

(Answers from Direk Dan Angelo)

As of now, our team doesn’t have any plans for future projects under What About Productions, but the experience of having created an amateur film surely a dream in each of the team members. You may or may not see films from What About Productions in the future, but the influence of the prod house, and the urge to tell more stories will bare fruit through its members.

Although right now, I am still in the process of gathering experiences in the production by creating contents and doing freelance work and in that way I am also building my portfolio as well as building my connections in the industry.

How has this experience(s) impacted the decisions you make today?

(Answers from Direk Dan Angelo)

Running a production house isn’t something you would imagine doing during your college days, let alone produce a film with a team! Nevertheless, we could say that the whole experience was a taste of how we are as professionals in a vast industry. The only difference would be the fact that during that time, we were students, but now, our decisions have real and dire consequences that we have to be accountable for. The experience taught us how to be careful of our decisions; when and how to make them, and as well as still see and appreciate the fun in anything we do especially now we’re young adults.

Also, one of the major impacts that these experiences has taught us is to look beyond the surface of anything around us. To keep on searching for meaning and purpose in our lives in a way that we can be more open to ideas and discourse of what’s happening around, and understanding and wisdom will follow. it is giving ourselves an in-depth perspective on looking things differently and as well us sharing these lessons with others.

What would you say to others who find themselves in a situation similar to yours?

(Answers from Direk Dan Angelo)

Kaya n’yo yan! At the end of the day, kayo-kayo na lang ang magtutulungan talaga, and you can’t bring someone down because in the end, whatever happens, everything will reflect in the team.

Direk Dan Angelo Eligado during the film production of Peksman

What’s your Film Dream (Answers from Direk Dan Angelo)

What is my film dream? This one’s hard to answer. What I only know is that I dream to tell a story that is brave enough to affect and touch people’s lives, to create awareness and somehow to open their hearts and minds to the reality that we’re facing. To put away their blindness and dissolve societal boundaries and see the rest of humanity. Right now, we need story tellers that are honest and deeply grounded to their nature. It all boils down to how rooted you are in your culture, nation, and identity. This is my dream, and I may not be able to create my dream film soon, but in my mind and in my heart, I am already in the process of self realization and understanding the diversity of life, the stories that we live in and the stories that make us alive. Life creates stories and stories gives meaning to life. I am still hopeful. Right now, I gotta do what i gotta do, to stand up for truth, for what is good, for my future, and for that film dream I still have to share.

Message to aspiring story creators and filmmakers?

(Answers from Direk Dan Angelo)

Keep on dreaming. It is never too late to tell your story as long as you believe in it and in yourself. And eventually, as you go through your journey you’ll find the right people who are willing to be with you along the way – having the same goal and mindset to create and tell stories. And this reminds me of a line in Ratatouille that says: the world is often unkind to new talent, and new creations. The new needs friends. I always believed that you never work alone in this industry, it’s always been a collaboration with different people in their own field of artistry.

Creating something may not happen in an instant but perhaps, by having enough courage to push yourself beyond the limit, you’ll have an experience that might change your life forever and that you’ll eventually treasure the most. And I hope, despite all the things happening around, the desire and passion in you to tell stories and your appreciation and pursuit to the meaning of life and humankind remain.

Lastly, I hope you enjoy your journey and the process that comes along with it. We still have a lot to learn and a lot more to tell. Keep your eyes open, we’ll get there!

Follow What About Productions' facebook page and get a glimpse of their creative world. Click HERE.



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