Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year! 2006 In Review, Resolutions for 2007

Happy New Year!
2006 in Review
2007 Resolutions

2006 was both good and bad, but I think it's better than it was worse. I finally launched my Komikero Publishing with ELMER #1 in June, my first serious attempt at publishing comics as both art and business in the Philippines. It was more art than business, but I'm glad to say I made modest profit of it so far.

Chris de Joya

I was disappointed that a few projects didn't push through, specially the ones involving Timawa and the Lake Legends. I feel that in regard to those projects, I did my best, and fulfilled my obligations, but circumstances beyond my control saw these projects fall through, at least for now.

I also discovered a great interest in video as a way of expressing myself. The interest was there for a few years, specially with the arrival of digital cameras that made shooting videos easy and convenient. It took You Tube to ratch the interest up several notches by giving me free storage for my ever increasing video files, the means to display them, and get feedback. Towards the end of the year, I've made around 60 videos, a couple of which (Trese and HIDE) I could possibly consider short short films. Those two allowed me to experiment with storytelling in a medium other than comics, and it's an experience both enlightening and educational. I have no doubt I will continue to experiment with video storytelling. In truth, I've already begun the third one, called "TRUE LOVE", where a few Komikeros helped out.

Alan Gallo
It's a blast having a Gallo send art about a comic book about chickens, a story about a family of chickens named "Gallo".

My favorite quote of the year comes from Mark Twain:

“Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

Yes, this is directed at a couple of anonymous bloggers who really have nothing good to say about Filipinos doing comics today. It's tragic that they believe they know what they're talking about, but the truth is, they're so out of touch, not only of comics today, they're also out of the touch with the facts. They make so many factual errors to support their arguments it's no longer funny.

They believe they're open minded, but in truth they're blinded by their prejudices, misconceptions, false expectations and false assumptions and they don't even know it. And that is their tragedy.

It will be foolhardy to reason with people like these, people who will twist the truth (or what they believe to be the truth) to suit their own agenda.

I have already spent enough time trying to explain myself and what I do, and still encountering incomprehension, condescension, and derision, all I can do is shake my head. To dwell any longer in their presence would be unproductive, and would keep me away from doing what I feel is more important, and that is creating. I no longer have too much time left to do my work, and I'll be damned if I let them waste a single minute more.

It's truly unfortunate that a few gullible people will be swayed by what they're saying, but I have great confidence that most Filipinos will be intelligent enough to discern the truth for themselves so I will leave it up to them.

I'm more thankful for people like this and this, who are although critical of my work, they write objectively and judge my work honestly and free from bias.

Romeo Tanghal
It was such an honor last year for the great Romeo Tanghal to spoof me and Elmer at the Philippine Komiks Message Board.

OK, resolutions.

I wasn't very much into resolutions, but having actually fulfilled a couple I made back in January 2006, I'm beginning to think it could work. You just have to remember and make it happen, I suppose. The list is up at my old personal blog.

It's in Tagalog though, so apologies to non Filipinos. The list was done jokingly, but I'm surprised I actually did a few.

Anyway, the one I fulfilled the most was to be more honest, specially with art critiques. It turns out I became more honest with lots of other things. Perhaps some people were turned off, and I know that a few "fans" are no longer "fans" after receiving some unapologetically honest critique and advice.

I think I shot my mouth off far more than I did this year about things I'm sure people would hate me for, and probably deprived me of some opportunities. But like I mentioned here, I don't care.

If I feel there's something needs saying I will, and damn the consequences.

I resolve to be even more honest this year.

But I have to be careful though, some friends are already saying I'm becoming this grumpy old man of komiks. Sure, I can be grumpy, and one day I'll be really old. But I'll never be bitter.

I resolve to work harder.

I think I've wasted too much time last year. I can't afford to do so again this year. So I will cut down on all the things that have distracted me, from anonymous bitter bloggers to too much TV and Internet.

I think I have to do a certain amount of work every single day. I can't let a day pass without doing something work related, and I can't let a day pass that I don't draw anything.

I resolve to be better with email.

I do appreciate getting email from all kinds of people, but more often than not, I tend to not respond right away, taking mental notes to respond later. Having the forgetful mental state that I have, I sometimes forget to respond at all, even to those I really want to have responded to. Starting today, I will try to respond right away to email I get so I don't forget. Except when I find your email annoying, offensive, or unduly familiar (if we haven't met yet).

Here are resolutions I am making for those sending me email.

-Don't textspeak please. What's the rush? Write normally and write well. Don't contribute to the decline of Philippine literacy.

-Don't send me chain letters. I hate chain letters because more often than not, they are thinly veiled blackmails and threats of bad fortune if you don't do what the letter says. Unbelievably, they're sent by friends. FRIENDS. As a friend, why are you threatening my life with bad fortune? Some friend you are.

-Don't send me "Click Here Only If You Have Time For God" emails. I delete every single one of them unread. I have time for God. I just don't have time for people who presume to speak for God to me.

-Don't send me art to on the pretext of wanting my critique but in truth you just want praise. Because if your art isn't very good, you'll have one of the worst days of your life when you receive my reply.

Rod Samonte

How about this, here are resolutions of things I will *not* do.

I continue to resolve not to have a cellphone.

Early last year I decided to stop using a cellphone. After several years of using it, I realized I was becoming someone I didn't like, and it was becoming the source of a lot of unnecessary stress and grief.

I don't have a problem with the idea of a cellphone per se. In fact, I think it's very useful in times of emergencies. I believe it has made it possible for people to survive in situations they would never have without a cellphone. It has now become an essential "need".

I just don't like that this "need" is being abused and taken advantage of for the sake of profit.

Just how many times in your lifetime will emergencies arise that will make the need for a cellphone essential? What is the proportion of those essential phone calls or texts in comparison with the hundreds and thousands of calls and texts you make that are superfluous and unnecessary?

Why do those cellphone loads expire in a few days, in a month, in a couple of months? Why can't a 100 peso load from a card last up to a year? Why expire at all? Why not just let it run out normally? Why are you being forced to use up your load in such a short period of time? Is it food that will rot when you don't eat it?

Why are certain non-cellphone related services/promos now available to only those with cellphones?

The bottom line is, I resist the idea of being asked, no, FORCED to spend money on things I don't need or want.

Next January, I will review if I have fulfilled my resolutions or not.

Happy New Year! I hope everyone will have a happy, safe, and prosperous 2007!