MANILA, PHILIPPINES – At the end of our shoot with Congressman Toff de Venecia for the upcoming adoboTalks Podcast, we asked him what his vision for our creative industries might be. His answer was simply for a future where kids could tell their parents that they wanted to have careers in creative fields, and the parents would support them without any hesitation.
The moment he said this, our director Ivan peeked up from behind his camera, meeting my eyes with his. We shared the same smirk, and silently gave the good congressman our snaps of approval.
See, like many creatives in the Philippines, Ivan and I had the shared experience of telling our parents what we wanted to do with our lives, only to be met with questions of concern rather than encouragement.
“Are you sure? Wouldn’t you rather be a doctor instead?”
“You know there’s a reason they call them ‘starving artists,’ right?”
“Why not have a real career, and make art your hobby?”
Like many creatives, we couldn’t really blame our parents for being less than enthusiastic about our callings. We know as well as they do that a career in any creative field here in the Philippines comes with serious uncertainty. It’s been this way ever since I could remember.
And then 2023 rocked the creative economy like never before.
Between the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, the numerous layoffs in the wake of widespread adoption of AI, the massive push for content creation that completely transformed how business is done, one thing became clear: our creative industries aren’t ready for the future. Technological and cultural disruption happens way too quickly for us to keep up.
It hurts to admit it, but our creative industries in their current state are unsustainable.
When adobo’s editorial team huddled together to determine our theme for 2024, we knew that we wanted to address this while staying true to our core: to be The Word on Creativity. In order to do so, however, we had to tweak our mindsets a little.
See, being The Word on Creativity these days isn’t just about making sure everyone’s in the know about what goes on in the creative economy. There’s a certain weight to that phrase; there’s a sense of responsibility. If we wanted to live up to that title, we needed to make sure our words had purpose. We needed our voices to help steady the ship, so to speak, in the midst of all this tempestuous change.
We needed 2024 to be The Year of Creative Sustainability.
This year, adobo Magazine is exploring how we can adapt to an ever-changing creative climate. We want to educate, enable, and empower creatives at all levels and of all backgrounds. We want to connect them with brands and decision-makers who create opportunities for them to shine. We want to do it all in the hopes of establishing a more sustainable environment for the creative economy at large.
And just like the greater sustainability movement, we’re taking a holistic approach to Creative Sustainability.
Throughout 2024, you’ll be seeing stories on self-care for creatives, on upskilling, on remarkable marketers willing to share their wisdom. You’ll read about cultivating safe spaces within our creative environments, and developing an enriching milieu for everyone involved. You’ll learn how to nurture your own spirit of innovation, and why critique is necessary for its growth. We’ll be raising the level of discourse on all creative pursuits with more reviews and deeper analyses.
We’ll dive into policies and global creative agendas, from the Creative Industries Development Act to the UNCTAD’s Creative Economy Programme, and see how they can inspire other systemic improvements within our fields of discipline. You’ll see how we can work with new technologies like AI without losing the humanity of our craft, and without replacing human work. You’ll discover the value of commitment in creativity.
The adobo SheCreative Network will continue highlighting the important roles women play in leading our creative industries through a series of enlightening panel discussions. Our upcoming adoboTalks Podcast will feature conversations with high-level creative minds sharing their wealths of knowledge and experience with our audience. The adobo Magazine Festival of Ideas will be making its grand return as a live event, bringing together students and professionals alike for a day of pure, unadulterated inspiration.
We’re strengthening our touchpoints with art, music, film, theater, design, literature, culture – pretty much every creative industry you can think of – while never losing sight of our north stars in brands and advertising. We’ll be engaging with the creative economy from the local to the international stages, and underscoring the role that business plays in helping creativity thrive. We’re keen on building bridges between the Philippines’ many talented individuals and brands looking for fresh new voices.
You’ll be seeing us at Pride. You’ll be seeing us advocating for mental health, for alternative methods of achieving work-life balance, for creative workers’ rights. Our hearts will be on full display in the hopes that we’ll inspire others to care, too.
We want to bring to light the many struggles our creative talents face, with a heavy focus on finding sustainable solutions for each. Writers shouldn’t have to take on multiple side hustles just to make rent. Film directors shouldn’t be forced to shoot full-length features in just two weeks because that’s all their budget will allow. Musicians shouldn’t have to leave their bands because they can’t afford to support their families otherwise.
Why do we have all these world-class animators, but only a handful of original IPs making it on the global stage? What can we do to make sure our cultural performers are better appreciated here, in their own home country? How can we help our video game studios create the Next Big Thing?
We’re digging deep into these issues and more because we can and we should, because creativity is the single-most important resource we have. Our ability to imagine is what lets us come up with solutions for all our problems. Our skill in bringing ideas to life is what determines the success of all these efforts. Creativity is the primal fuel that drives our world forward.
Creative Sustainability is how we make sure we don’t lose that resource. More importantly, it’s how we make sure we don’t lose our creatives.
At the end of the day, everything we do in our creative industries is about people. The ads we craft, the songs we write, the films, the books, the plays, the dances – all of these are an act of human connection. We communicate through these myriad ways to share our thoughts and emotions with each other. Creative work is important because it’s what binds us together.
Creative Sustainability allows us to build a world where parents won’t hesitate to support children who want to spend their lives producing creative work.
It’s a really, really big idea. It’s as ambitious as we can possibly get. But who else is going to take on this challenge, if not The Word on Creativity?
As our President and Editor-in-Chief Angel Guerrero puts it, “As an independent publisher, adobo Magazine has been a long-tenured advocate of the creative economy. We’ve been relentless in our pursuit of excellence from our magazine’s inception, and we’ve managed to keep that fire burning as we enter our 18th year.”
“adobo‘s story truly is one of Creative Sustainability. I can think of no one better to share that story than our lean, smart, savvy, and enthusiastic team.”
It’s going to be an exciting year at adobo Magazine. And hopefully, one that inspires lasting changes in our creative industries.