Leave a comment

Code of Ethics for Online-Learning Content Creators or IOVS Phils.

*Below is a short paper I wrote for the De La Salle University Masters in Communication in Applied Media Studies. I thought it would be best to share this with the public and my students(Especially for my SHS Tech empowerment students for Veritas School) given the circumstances that more and more Filipinos today are creating and sharing their ideas online.

Independent Online Vocational School Industry

The rise of online video tutorial websites and short courses through e-books, blogs and interactive PDFs have slowly been adopted today.

The likes of www.Lynda.com, www.code.org, www.skillshare.com, www.digitaltutors.com, www.imadigitalmarketer.com, independent e-book authors and independent video producers on http://www.youtube.com are slowly changing the landscape of self-study learning.

With the use of personal computers and the internet, it has made possible for educators to teach more students even from far away places in the Philippines.

(See link: http://www.rappler.com/technology/news/109150-filipina-student-succeeds-internet-facebook-zuckerberg )

Similar to the video, I share the same dream of Mark Zuckerberg on being able to help as many people as I can through the use of the internet. For the moment, I would like to refer to these reference materials (Youtube Video Tutorials, Online website courses,  blog & website tutorials, interactive e-book short courses) created by various contributors (Evangelist, Professors/Teachers, Industry Practitioners) as the Independent Online Vocational School Industry.

           Even though this new revolution of learning is created through technology, I believe that its overall impact will still rely on the expertise and ideas of the people who create them. That is why I would like to recommend some policies that I think would help ensure that it will always serve the best interest of the students who will avail them.

What would these code of ethics contain?

Below are a few of my ideas and recommendations for IOVS practitioners to help ensure that most of the content used for education will help uplift society through technology.

Independent Online Vocational School Industry Policies

  1. The authors under the IOVS must use their wisdom and expertise to help uplift and inspire the community in the Philippines and even abroad with the use of the Internet. They should not use this privilege to cause any harm to society. (i.e. online tutorials that promote violence, terrorism, discrimination, promote false information, cyberbullying)
  2. The authors under the IOVS must always give a short profile of themselves and background of their expertise for every resource material they publish online. Their profile and background should always be related to the resource material they are promoting, otherwise they should include a disclaimer.
  3. All softwares, artworks,files and multimedia material that are included or used in these tutorials that is not owned by the author, should have permission from the owner ,if it is used for profit, or be properly credited if the author has offered to give it for free to the community. 
  4. The authors under the IOVS must promise to publish all original tutorials. Under no circumstances should an author replicate another author’s work unless the latter gives permission to do so. The author who also replicates another author’s tutorial must have probable cause and properly credit the original author. (i.e. Convert tutorials from english to tagalog/ilonggo/ilokano/Sign language, Original tutorial software is out of date).
  5. Under no circumstances that an author publicly insult, discredit or bash a fellow author or commenter.
  6. Authors should also add a disclaimer that these short courses are not an equivalent of a elementary, high school, undergraduate or graduate diploma. The IOVS can only provide certification according to the scope of the program that is provided by the  local government or abroad.  A certificate program should be at least 10-30 hours of recorded hands on training that also requires a final output to be verified by the governing IOVS representative.
  7. Authors should always try to refrain from using foul language in their tutorials.
Leave a comment

How to price your work as a freelance multimedia specialist in the Philippines.

A lot of people, especially the ones who are just starting out in the multimedia industry, have no idea about pricing their services for video production, graphic design or animation in the Philippines.And because of this, it has made the industry under-value the skills, training and time , artists have invested in their respected fields for years. Hence the start of the trend of the modern day, starving artist cliche in multimedia.

I remember a colleague of mine argued that the only people who call the shots in the industry are the producers and the clients. And the only way to convince them to hire you is to set the lowest price possible until they can maximize their profit. While I have no arguments on their objectives about profit, I find it troubling that they don’t see acquiring your skills as an investment or added value to their brand. And I don’t believe that to be hired, means having to price your services so low, that it will then be the base price for other clients to compare. Good service or skill requires fair compensation and you should not be afraid to say NO to clients if they are being unreasonable. The relationship of a client and artist should be a two-way thing and not just on the side of the client or producer.

And because of this presumption by artists in the industry (including my colleague), many oftentimes fall victim to a producer’s cheats and manipulation of undercutting and corruption. The most sickening part of though,is that artists in the industry are brainwashed to accept this as their reality.

This is also why most of our most talented professionals choose to work abroad instead.

These cheats are getting more and more common amongst the local advertising and tv broadcasting circle of producers in the philippines. They have somewhat created a cartel amongst themselves so that they can make the most profit, leaving us artists to fend for their scraps and forever be on the losing end of the table.

What if you use those same tricks of these producers in other businesses?(See Video Below)


Throughout my career, I am very much against these producers who trick new incoming multimedia professionals into offering their services in exchange for exposure, unreasonably low prices or for SPEC Work. These one-sided deals, act like a cancer that slowly kills the industry as more and more people agree to it. It is up to us to band together and to put a stop to this while we still can. Producers should not dictate the course of the industry. Artists should learn how to demand a fair conpensation for their services and band together to establish a standard price.

For this post I thought I would share with you a pricing formula I have researched from several business books that talked about pricing in the service industry. I have used this formula for almost every awarded project to me and it seems to provide a very accurate and competitive estimate in terms of valuing the right price for different types of projects.

For any type of project I handle, I look to three key things to find the right estimated value and add them all together so that I can provide my client an educated bid. Below is also a sample of a creative brief so that we can try and use the formula.

Creative Brief:

An infographic video project that is 1-3 minute long for a tech startup company. The timetable is one week and would involve two freelance artists.The script, background music, and voice-over audio are provided by the client.



(52,000)        +        (1,100)                  +  (10,620)                             =    63,720


In this area, you will need to know the total cost of man-hours. Labor has three things to consider: 1) the type of job and its hourly rate; 2) what certain level of skill it takes to finish the job or its level of difficulty; and 3) the total no. of hours it takes for you to finish the job.

HOURLY RATE – While I was at ABS-CBN IPOST, whenever we are asked to do a job, we were required to fill out a job order which contained the Type of job you are required to do. (either Graphics Animation, Graphic Design, 3D Animation, 3D Lighting & Rendering, 3D Modeling, Editing, CG Supervision, etc.).These can go up to 250 pesos per hour to about 500-600 pesos per hour depending on the industry standard. The hourly rate is then multiplied to your current Skill Level or also referred to as the projects difficulty level.  See example below

*Please take note that if you plan to work in teams, each task is considered a different person so make sure to create a separate computation per artists and add their Skill Level and total no. of hours separately before adding them all up.


       Person Name             Task             Rate/Hr       Skill Lvl       No./Hrs                 Total

Nikki                       Graphics D.         250*                3*                 16 (2 days)  =    12,000

Gerard                    Animation          400*                5*                 20 (3 days)  =     40,000


*Cost of Labor(only) for one week Project = 52,000

SKILL LEVEL – The skill level is determined by your supervisor from the outputs you produce either from your practical exam during hiring or from your milestones you reach while working at a corporation. Your skill level also increases as you get more experience through the years thus making you more valuable as you build more tenure. For now, if you are starting out as a freelancer, try to determine how many tasks you can perform and at what speeds and competency you gauge yourselves for each one. Usually everyone starts with a skill level of 1 but if you think you are an above average artist, you can bump up your skill level to 1.5 -2 ( Ex. Graphics Design 2/5, Motion Graphics 4/5, Video Editing, 4/5, Coding 1/5). Mind you the skill level can also be a multiplier to determine the level of difficulty a project is for an artist. For example, if a certain video project is just a 30second long animation but includes elaborate 3d/2d animations, one can assume that it would be very difficult to finish within a week, thus you might consider setting a skill level of 4-5 when computing for the labor cost. Pricing it higher also helps you get the fair compensation you deserve for those long nights you spend on certain problematic projects.

NO. OF HOURS TOTAL –  This is the total number of hours you need (or the total estimated no of hours if you are asked for a fixed pricing) for you to complete the project. Be aware also that a person cannot work straight for 24 hours, so 8-10 hours per day is the maximum amount of hours you should consider. If you need to finish a project sooner, you might want to consider hiring extra help to help share the workload.


Overhead expenses are the costs of all of the tools and resources you need to be able to do the job. As a freelance consultant, you would only include the equipment and software you use. Otherwise, if you own a company, the overhead would include other things like Rental Cost, Electricity, Internet Connection, etc.

EQUIPMENT FEE – This is calculated by adding up all the costs of the tools you use for a project ( Example: Canon Cameras, Tablet, Mouse, Laptop/Editing Machines). After you have added up the cost, determine the lifespan of these tools and divide them by the number of years you think they will last until you need to replace them. (Example: MacBook Pro: Php 150,000/ Lifespan 4 years = 37,500 per year or Php 102/day). By adding this to your cost, you will have the funds to upgrade your equipment before it breaks down without having to use the money you earn from LABOR costs. Trust me, this will be a lifesaver in the future.Because I remember one time, during one of my projects, my laptop was already 4 years old. In the middle of the project, it suddenly stopped working with only 2 days before the deadline.That day I ended up buying a new laptop using my savings for almost 3 years. Lesson learned, I hope you won’t experience the same thing but its best to always come prepared.


Equipment Fee:

 Nikki  Macbook Pro      (240 pesos for 2 days)

Gerard Macbook Pro     (360pesos for 3 days)

SOFTWARE FEE – There is a saying, a designer who uses legitimate software attracts good clients and discourages bad ones.

A lot of software companies today offer a monthly fee as low as 2000 pesos a month for a whole bunch of different jobs. Charging your client for software fee lets you negotiate a good downpayment when you explain to your client that the downpayment includes purchasing the software(s) you would use for the project or else you cannot start.This helps weed out the problematic clients.


Php 2000/ per month Adobe Creative Suite

Nikki Adobe Creative Suite ( 100/day for 2 days = 200 pesos)

       Gerard Adobe Creative suite ( 100/day for 3 days = 300 pesos)

MARKUP ((LABOR + OVERHEAD) * 20%-500%)

My multimedia business students often ask me, what are the benefits of being employed versus being your own boss. Well, this is it, your markup price. When you are an employee, you are only paid for the work you have done for the month or the project but, if you are a freelancer, the markup is added to the money you earn from labor. It can start out as 10-20% of your overall cost from Labor and overhead; or if you have built your reputation for years, you can raise it to 100%-500%.A lot of freelancers often wonder why even though they have been in the industry for so long, they are just breaking even with their cost of labor and overhead and don’t seem to have the resources to upgrade and grow their business. That is because most of them forget to add a markup price to their costing. Lots of other business add markup to their prices to help grow their business.

With the markup price, you can stay competitive and provide a  fair cost estimate to a project without sacrificing your compensation. A freelancer could choose to raise or lower their markup to match the client’s budget. By altering the Markup range and not the labor plus overhead, one can be sure that the work is not undervalued and you are fairly compensated.




This is the most time-consuming and toxic part of a project. Having to come back and re-work( or sometimes start from scratch) all the things you have done for a project.To help limit this step and stay profitable, I usually state in the contract that my initial bid includes of 4-5 Minor Revisions or 1 Major Revision.


Minor revisions are fixes after the project that are easy to do From the start I make it so that the client knows what these are. See example below

Allowed for  Minor Revisions:

1) Change Font,Font color, font size,Text Position,Text Layout,Text contents.

2) Change Background Color/Background Layout

3) Change Sound

4) Change Design of Graphic Elements for 1-4 items.

       5) 1-2 simple changes in animation



Major revisions are the fixes you do to a project that is very time-consuming and difficult to do especially with a tight deadline.

Major Revisions are considered when the client asks to:

  1. Re-Layout of all of the Graphic elements
  2. Re-design of all Graphic elements
  3. Re-Animation of the entire video
  4. Or redo an animation for a particular part of the video ( this will be on the artist’s discretion)

Whenever you engage with a client in the Philippines, I know most of the time their payments will be delayed. To compensate for this you want to move on to the next project as soon as possible to make up for lost time.But being bothered with endless revisions even when the project schedule has passed, makes it difficult for you to do move on. Most of the time you might end up with 4-5 projects all on top of each other with the same deadlines because they have compounded on one another through time.

Less Revision, Lower Price

To help avoid this I make it a point to tell my clients that as an incentive if the project is done within two weeks, I can give a discount of 5-10% because they have requested fewer revisions or no revisions at all for the project. That encourages them to be more careful in their instructions and be less flaky on their mood swings during approval time.This in turn also becomes beneficial for you as a freelancer because now, you are free to entertain other projects after two weeks and avoid compounding with other project schedules.

Pay now, discounted price.

Another thing I do to help avoid this problem is to give incentive or discount to clients who pay-up-front from the start of every project.When a client pays up front I  give a 5-10% discount from the initial costing ( which I deduct from my markup).That way even though the price is discounted, as more projects pay up front, this, in turn, will help increase your cash flow allow you be more profitable.

Moving deadlines, Higher Price

One of the things that are most deadly with working on projects is moving deadlines from the client’s side. This is because you take in more costs as the deadline is changed to a shorter or longer timetable.

A) If a project that is set for a 1-week timetable and adjusted to 3 days shorter compared to before, the artist will need to do a lot of overtime to finish the job.This, in turn, will add more working hours to the cost. These additional hours could also make the difficulty level to increase because the artist also needs to work faster. One way to help reduce overtime is to hire another freelancer to share the load. But all in all, making the deadline shorter increases the cost of the project by an estimated 40-60%.

B) If a project that is set for a 1-week timetable and was adjusted to extend beyond that because of revisions will also take in costs for you because you will be working on extended hours already. If the client exceeds the agreed revisions agreement, I ask them to pay about 5-20% of the total cost per week. Having to do revisions for past projects on top of new ones limits your focus in doing the job which might get you into trouble later on so try to discourage them anyway you can.



Leave a comment

Piracy for art’s sake: The ethical paradox why freelance designers who use pirated software still assert copyright protection in the Philippines.

*The following article is a research I have written at De La Salle University in 2015. I have however shortened most of it to help make it more blogger-reader friendly.

Digital Artists and their tools

According to the journal of Thomas, Lee and Danis entitled, Enhancing Creative Design via Software Tools:

“Effective and innovative designs are extremely lucrative… The world is changing rapidly…there is a widening gap between the degree of flexibility and creativity needed in order for individuals and organizations to adapt”. (112)

They explained even further saying that,

“ Software tools can help… [organize] the creative process…[by] providing people with a rich array of appropriate strategies, knowledge sources, and representations… in providing the right level… [of] motivation for the task at hand”. (112)

These statements from Thomas, Lee and Danis, in this author’s opinion, is what best describes, how software is able to help the businesses of today’s new digital creatives. It clearly has revolutionized how they design, create and execute their artistic talents. However, according to The Gray Side of Creativity, a journal written by Mali, Ellis and Welsh, they said that, “ creative individuals [often] differ…in terms of the degree of cognitive flexibility”.(77). Cognitive flexibility is the ability of individuals to reconnect given information and restructure knowledge in multiple ways depending on demands, and enables creative individuals to switch their approach to meet the needs of the situation at hand. (Mai, Ellis, & Welsh, 77). They explained that creative individuals must often think outside of the box and go against the conventional ways of thinking to stay creative (Mai, Ellis, & Welsh, 77). This term of thinking outside the box by Mai, Ellis, & Welsh, can be related to Abbing Hans’ statement about, “Artists Resembling Magicians” (29) from his journal, Why are Artists Poor. Hans states that, “Artists use their imagination to create illusions”. (29). But with the arrival of machines and software tools, it has ultimately reduced the value of artworks made today by professionals (Abbing, 306).

He explains that,

“new techniques, especially those produced by the digital revolution, could very well portend a process of the demystification in the arts…digitally produced…music, images and moving images [or movies/film] will be cheaper to produce and to distribute than their predecessors… Moreover fragments of older artworks, be it legally or illegally [created or acquired], are increasingly being incorporated in newer works , thus rendering authenticity an even more relative concept”. (Abbing, 306).

This research from Abbing’s journal is very alarming because he contemplates that although these new technologies have made the jobs of digital creatives easier compared to the past, it has also brought them the problem of having their livelihoods being devalued and at the same time their works being copied or easily reproduced by others who have access to the same technologies. Abbing has realized from his research that technical (re)production has enabled a massive production of artworks at low prices (307) ,which may also explain why some artists tend to change their cognitive flexibility (Mai, Ellis, & Welsh ,77) and think of various ways to always stay ahead and be competitive in the freelance market including, not paying for the softwares that they use to create their artworks.

Studies about Software Piracy

According to Yoon, researchers have regarded digital piracy as unethical behavior(405). As a result, several other studies employed ethical decision-making models based on ethics theories (Yoon, 405).

Among these were,” the theory of reasoned action (TRA) by Fishbein and Ajzen in 1975; the theory of planned behavior (TPB) by Ajzen in 1991; the theory of interpersonal behavior (TIB) by Triandis in 1979; and ethics theories, such as the general theory of marketing ethics by Hunt and Vitell in 1986 and Ret’s (1986) four-component model of ethical decision-making”. (qtd. in Yoon, 205).

Yoon’s analysis posits that,

“Digital piracy … [poses] a significant threat to the development of the software industry and the growth of the digital media industry”. (407).

Yoon’s “TPB [Theory of Planned Behavior] is an extension of Fishbein and Ajzen’s (1975) TRA or Theory of Reasoned Action”(407). This theory explains that,” a person’s behavior is directly influenced by… [his/her] intention…[and is] determined by [their] attitude, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral controls”. (Yoon, 405). This means that a person will likely favor to behave or act in certain ways if he or she thinks the action would best benefit their personal interests (Yoon, 406). Yoon also added to his research Hunt and Vitell’s (1986) ethical decision model(406). According to Yoon, this model of Hunt and Vitell (1986), is from a general theory of marketing ethics which focuses on the reasoning process used by individuals and postulates that ethical judgements are determined by both deontological and teleological evaluations. (406).

According to Hunt and Vitell (1986),

“Deontological ethics focus on the central role of duty and moral obligation and justice theory…[while] teleological theories are based on the intended outcomes, the aims, or the goals of a certain action”. (qtd. in Yoon,407)

These study can also be related to Ralph B. Potter’s research about ethical foundations and perspectives, where in according to Potter,

“ Any single decision involves a host of values that must be sorted out…

   These values reflect pre-suppositions about social life and human nature…

   To value something, means to consider it desirable”. (2)

Potter then argues that,

“Our values are never pure… [and people] tend to become defensive…and rationalize [their] behavior when [they] violate them.”(8)

Potter sees values are what motivate most human actions. (Potter,8).Potter even suggests that most of the time,

“professional values are inscribed in power…[and] generally, they operate in their own interests”.(8).

     One example Potter explained in his research, was people who were involved in the media industry. He regarded them as individuals who undergo conflicting values and are under demanding and ambiguous situations. Potter tells us that these media practitioners often times must make decisions quickly and without much time for reflection (7), which results in some actions that are deemed unethical.

From these different studies on software tools, piracy and behaviors, the author of this research now would like to find out why there is a cognitive dissonance between artist copyright and piracy. For an artist to steal pirated software for their livelihood, the author would like to find out which values and loyalties are activated. What is the reason they do not change their ways and why do they feel that they have the right to still be protected by law if their works are created by stolen tools? 

With considerable study and investigation from several scholarly journals available, the author of this research has chosen to use Mali, Ellis and Welsh’s theoretical model from their book The Gray side of Creativity.

According to Mali, Ellis and Welsh’s research, they argued and that TAT or Trait Activation Theory has implications for the relationship between creative personality and unethical behavior”(76). Their research focused on how the creative process triggers an artist to do unethical actions(77); also quoting Gino & Ariely (2012) saying that ” creative thinking [has proven to have] increased unethical behavior”. (qtd. Mali, Ellis and Welsh, 77). They concluded that creative personality can encourage unethical behavior, but it is much stronger when creative personality is activated by aspects of the task at hand. When creative personality is activated, individuals are more likely to come up with justifications that increase the chances that they will act unethically. (Mai, Ellis, & Welsh, 84).

At the end of Mai, Ellis, & Welsh’s research they have suggested further research to their study using the self-concept maintenance theory. This theory from Nina Mazar, On Amir, and Dan Ariely’s journal, is about how external and internal rewards work in concert to produce dishonesty (3). The title of their research (Mazar, Amir, & Ariely) even sounds very close to this author’s own topic which is entitled,” The Dishonesty of Honest People: A Theory of Self-Maintenance.

Why this research is important

Software Piracy and Copyright infringement are two criminal acts that are very rampant among the media industries in the Philippines today. According to research, the use pirated software is unethical.(Yoon, 405). If digital freelance designers in the Philippines continue to use pirated software, it will pose a significant threat to the development and growth of the software and media industries (Yoon, 407). We must devise ways to stop it by investigating the root causes and use this information to find a solution.

This study aims to extend the research of Mai, Ellis, & Welsh’s journal about The Gray side of creativity, by applying the self-concept maintenance theory they have proposed from their inquiry. By interviewing experienced new media professionals and using the self-concept maintenance theory, we hope to find out three key questions: (1) given the opportunity, will creative people use pirated software instead of legally downloaded programs; (2) why do people who know that their actions are dishonest, don’t update their self-concepts or don’t feel guilty about their actions  (3)  what is the root cause of their dishonesty.

Review of Related Literature

The self-concept maintenance theory: Why are honest people dishonest?

According to the  general discussions of Mazar, Amir, & Ariely’s study, “ people in almost every society value honesty and maintain very high beliefs about their

own morality, yet examples of dishonesty can still be found everywhere in the marketplace (33)

Rooted in the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes and Adam smith, they believe that individuals carry out dishonest acts consciously because of expected external benefits.(Mazar, Amir, & Ariely, 5). According to Mazar, Amir, & Ariely’s research, people consider three aspects before committing dishonest actions: 1.What they can stand to gain; 2. What is the probability of them being caught ; and 3. What is the magnitude of punishment. (5)

Honest people committing dishonest acts are often torn between two competing motivations: gaining from cheating versus maintaining their positive self-concept as honest individuals”.(Mazar, Amir, & Ariely, 8). Researcher suggests that people are able to solve this dilemma by finding an compromise between these two (8) so that it can still be acceptable to as they say, eat their cake and but still have it to. Mazar, Amir, & Ariely posits on two mechanisms of self-concept maintenance: Categorization and attention to standards (8).

In categorization, people tend to label dishonest actions into levels where in they believe are forgivable mistakes in society ( Mazar, Amir, & Ariely, 9). Under categorization, there are two main factors that encourage it: ease and inherit limits. Successfully executed, these two help avoid triggering any negative self-signals that might affect their self-concept, which will therefore not get updated.(9) But the danger continuing in this mindset is that “as the degrees of freedom in the categorization increase, so does the magnitude of dishonesty a person can commit without influencing his or her self-concept”.(Mazar, Amir, & Ariely, 9-10).

In attention to standards, research suggests that when people are taught or attend to their own moral standards and are very much mindful of them, they feel more guilt for their dishonesty and will update these actions according to their self-concept. (10)

However, when individuals are inattentive to their own moral standards, meaning they are mindless about it, their actions will not be measured relative to their standards, and therefore, their self-concept is less likely to be updated, and their behavior is likely to diverge (10) meaning, if they don’t know its wrong or there is no incentive or punishment for committing dishonest acts, they will most likely continue to do them without feeling resentment.

In summation of Mazar, Amir, & Ariely’s research on Self-concept maintenance theory hypothesizes that:

  1. Dishonesty will increase as individuals pay less attention to their own standards for honesty.
  2. Dishonesty will increase when individuals face situations that are more easily categorized in honesty-compatible terms.
  3. Given the opportunity to be dishonest, individuals will be dishonest up to a level that does not force them to update their self-concept.


Software Piracy in Creative Industries.

According to the film documentary called Pirates of the under ground,

“A lot of people like the idea to get something for nothing. Most people use these programs as a sampler before buying. But there are still the people that just don’t care and feel that they’ve been betrayed by the industry. And they feel that not enough is being done to persuade them to stop.”

The documentary film talked about how pirated software is being pirated with the use of people from inside their own corporations.They even described the steps in detail on how they pirate them, recounting that the,

“Media that is found online line before its found in stores is acquired directly from people inside movie studios, recording studios and software companies. Once the media has been acquired, it gets converted into a digital format and then posted to the top websites. From there the file starts to show up on the IRC network as well as the hacked FTP servers.After that we start to see them trickle down to the popular peer-to-peer services like kazaa, vuze,etc…”

The statements from the beginning validates a journal study of Antonio Rodriguez Andres from his research, Software piracy and income inequality. He states that, “Economic inequality seems to have a negative significant effect on national rates of piracy”.(101). According to research, the IPRC or the International Planning Research Corporation, the estimated world piracy rate for business software applications is currently at 39% back in 2002. Worldwide losses for application rose to $13.07 billion from $11 billion in just one year (From 2001-2002)(Andres, 101). Andres states that, because of technological advancement, it has greatly reduced the costs of copying, and also increased the availability of technologies to pirate these products.(101). He concluded from his research that, “income has a negative and significant effect on piracy rates”.(104).Andres added that,” nations with more equal income distribution have higher piracy rates… the coefficient on rule of law is negative and statistically significant”.(104)

According to the journal, Creativity, copyright and the creative industries paradigm, Ruth Towse cited WIPO or the World Intellectually Property Organization stating that , “The classification of the creative industries… unsurprisingly places copyright at the center of its model, with the core copyright industries”. (463) This meant that creatives by nature should be instinctively drawn towards upholding all copyright requirements, including using softwares, and that “copyright is [their] basis for creativity” (qtd. in Towse, 463). But Towse explains that the implied casualty in the terminology described is misleading and that economists have been at pains to avoid the idea that these industries are dependent on copyright. (463). Furthermore Towse posits that copyright should consider two elements to be more effective. These are economic and moral rights. According to Towse, by providing these two elements, economic rights will generate extrinsic rewards; and moral rights will provide intrinsic rewards, thus making copyright more agreeable(465).

This research by Towse is interesting. Because it validates an interviewee from the film documentary stated before (Pirates of the underground), that there are people that feel they are betrayed by the industry and feel that not enough is being done to persuade them to stop. And once they are faced with these situations that would threaten their survival, according to Mai, Ellis and Welsh, “creative individuals may be able to use their cognitive flexibility to reinterpret questionable conduct in self-serving ways”,(78) meaning that because of their desperate situation economically and with minimal support by society, they choose piracy.

From the journal, The Grey Side of Creativity, findings showed that creative personality can encourage unethical behavior, but its effect usually is much stronger when their creativity is activated and creative individuals tend to most likely come up with justifications that increase the chances for them to repeat it. (Mai, Ellis Welsh, 83)

Software Piracy in the Philippines

From the research of Tilman Baumgartel, he quoted the International Intellectual Property Alliance in 2005 which said that “the growing piracy business has made the Philippines one of thirty-one countries worldwide, that supposedly have a large market for illegal software than for commercial use”. (375) This is shocking because it means that pirated digital goods are apparently selling more than those that are legally available in the country. How can this be?

According to Baumgartel, “production hot spots of bootlegged DVDs and CDs seems to be in China, Indonesia and Malaysia, the Philippines were on the “priority watch list” of the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA)”.(375) ”According to a recent newspaper report, film producers were forced to pay 200,000 pesos to movie pirates in order to keep them from selling the entries to the Metro Manila Film Festival during the festival (San Diego 2006)”(Baumgartel, 375). Baumgartel research tells us more about the complexity of corruption concerning piracy in the Philippines; even divulging from reports that the head of the OMB himself, which is former action-star Edu Manzano, is cutting deals with these pirates.But despite the disturbing accusations in the news, Manzano never even denied the reports. (Baumgartel, 375). Baumgartel then states that,” it is safe to assume that the piracy situation in the Philippines is not going away any time soon”.(375) especially with the benefits piracy has given. Baumgartel describes that , “Film biffs are happy to get their films from these illicit sources, because it gives them an unprecedented access to film” (376); to which many films found in the pirate markets, are not even officially released via legitimate distribution channels in the Philippines.(376)

When Baumgartel tried to investigate the source of these pirated goods in the Philippines, he reports that the information he needed was very difficult to obtain (376).”Most of the traders were unwilling to talk about their trade, and those who were prepared to talk knew surprisingly little about where these disks came from, where they were manufactured, [or] where the original films came from”, said Baumgartel. (376)

“The type of piracy…we see developing in southeast asia is an obvious result of the technological and economic aparatus that has spung up as a result of international fiscal and political globalization”. (Baumgartel, 377) This statement from Baumgartel, matches other studies mentioned in this paper about digital piracy driven by an individual’s desire for self preservation (Mai, Ellis and Welsh, 78 ; Towse, 465; Andres 101; Mazar, Amir, & Ariely, 8) . Ultimately ,the creative, do-it-yourself-aspects of digital media, which have been hailed by many media educators and computer evangelists has allowed for the mass production of illegal media.(Baumgartel , 378). Baumgartel  also stated that ,

“digital information is very different from physical goods such as crude oil or rice, because with digital material – unlike with foodstuffs or other raw materials – there is no scarcity. A digital file can be reproduced and distributed for relatively low costs. Piracy is therefore an important case in point where the price of digital data, that software manufactures or DVD producers ask is challenged”. (380)

Baumgarte then concludes from his research that with,

“the mobilization of moving images that both international and Philippine piracy has set in motion seems unstoppable at the moment. The government lacks resources – some might argue even the will – to effectively reduce piracy.”(395)


The methods for collecting data for this research will be: (1) conducting a personal interview with  veteran digital freelance designers who use pirated softwares; and (2) cross-reference their answers to the self-concept maintenance theory and determine a qualitative analysis of the collected information about their experiences.

Scope and limitations

For the purpose of this research, personal interviews will be handed out to volunteer digital freelance designers to help investigate the study. The interview questions will be designed to answer key factors from the self-concept maintenance theory, to help try to address the roots of using software piracy in the creative arts. From the self-concept maintenance theory, the term “dishonest or dishonesty” will be directly related to using designers choosing to use pirated software and asserting copyright protection. This answers of the interviewee will then be cross-referenced with the self-concept maintenance theory and analyzed using qualitative research.

Although it is the desire of this researcher to have a broader collection of information to help with this study, due to the limited time and financial constraints, the author of this research was only able to conduct one interview. However, to compensate for this limitation, it is the hope of this researcher that because of the extensive experience and knowledge of the selected interviewee, their insights will provide a substantial information to be able to accomplish the minimum objectives of this study which is to discover their ethical positions on why they use pirated software and assert copyright protection.

The Interview

For the purposes of privacy and to help not discredit the interviewees because of the sensitive information they will be sharing to this study, their names, address, contact nos. will be omitted from the inquiry. The author will also assign a pseudonym for these interviewees for the purposes of quoting excerpts from the interview for this research.
*Because of the topic concerns sensitive personal information, for the purposes of protecting the identities of the interviewees, their real names have been withheld from the report. The interviewees’ pseudonym and profiles consist of: A) Kara, who is a producer/Media Professional and B) Kal-el, A freelancer/ educator. The individuals who have undergone this interview has no knowledge about the researcher’s topic, theoretical framework, and hypothesis. What they only know is that the questions will concern creativity, ant the software(s) they often use and information about their experiences in the media industry.
How old are you?
Kara: 34
Kal-el: 42
What is your occupation?
Kara: I’m a producer, freelance voice talent, and technical writing.
Kal-el: I’m a freelance graphics artist, animator and a professor.
How long have you worked in the industry?
Kara: I’ve been in the industry for 10 years.
Kal-el: I’ve been in the freelance industry for 18 years, in education for 20 years. A total of 38 years.
As a creative professional what values do you think will help you be successful?
(e.g. Hard work, originality, resourcefulness, perseverance)?
Kara: You need to be organized. In terms of value, you need to value your network. I think that is the first and foremost for me as a producer.You must be able to manage whatever requirements there are.
Kal-el: I think it’s perseverance and determination because the problem today is that professionals and students have a low threshold for accepting failure. So in able for creatives to succeed in the industry, its crucial that you must have these two.
As a successful creative professional in the industry what is the highest principle/value  or golden rule that you think all you share? ( Originality, Creativity, Technique)
Kara: Usually its meeting deadlines. Its unspoken rule that if you are not able to you need to find ways to make up for that. Also you should not steal. (Referring to when she was asked about artworks being used by others without permission). Credit should be given where credit is due. For you to be called an artist you need to be an originator. But there is no original idea anymore. Its considered stealing if you steal from one person but if its a number of people that you steal an idea from and then put it together on your own, then that is something original.
Kal-el: For me there are two things: 1) Artists should need know how to compromise and negotiate with regards to deadlines 2) Give credit. “Its good to steal only if you give credit.” It’s not directly copying everything, its taking out some elements and adding your own. The process of deriving works from each other,is a helping/learning process because “we need not re-invent the wheel all the time”. “Its all up to you to enhance it, to innovate it, to give it your own personal characteristic/attribute/touch.
What actions do you think are most frowned or you should avoid if someone were to enter the creative industry? What do you think is the no.1 action that should be avoided as a creative?
* Already answered in previous question.
Are there any laws in protecting artists from this dishonesty? What usually is the punishment they receive in the industry in society?
Kara & Kal-el : We do know that intellectual property is what protects individuals, not just artists, depending on the given situation (patents, copyright, trademarks). I don’t know the punishments or penalties for violating these laws. An example ( stated by Kara) is this case in aboard where in there was one artist who collated photos and artworks from different Instagram accounts; repackaged it and made a gallery and took all the credit showcasing all those photos and artworks. That put intellectual property at the heart of the discussion of the article I read on the internet.
Do you believe that softwares help creatives achieve their artistic goals?
Kara: Yes. Softwares are tools. As such, they are what creatives use to be able to create something new.
Kal-el: Yes. But these tools to help creatives were always a factor even in the past. It has  change through the course of time, but their role in creation remain the same.They are just tools of an artist. Today, these tools allow us create more things at a shorter amount of time. But in achieving one’s artistic goal, there should still always be, “the personal artistic touch” on the creation no matter how standard the process is, no matter what tools are presented or how advanced it is; “the artistic feel should always be unique”.
What are these softwares that you normally use?
Kara:  Adobe, Autodesk and Blender
Kal-el: Same with the addition of mobile and cloud apps. I’m also experimenting with other softwares because I am constantly exploring better workflows to help with my projects.
Do you think software is the key to creating great ideas? Explain.
Kara: The software is “always just the tool”. Its never the only way for you to be able to create something.The tools are more for the execution and not about the idea. I don’t agree with softwares being the key to creating ideas, I believe the source of the great idea is “its reason for creation”. It doesn’t stem from the software or the tools, it always comes from the artist or the individual(s). Creating great work for me, “It’s always the idea of the artist and him choosing which tool to use” not the other way around. Kal-el: For me it boils down, not on the tool. It still depending how well the creative of the thought process given to an artist.There is no software that can substitute for a good brain storm/board meeting to derive new ideas. Its about the creative direction, and that direction you cannot automate like a computer program, each is unique to its own. The facets of production will always change regardless of the tool, so it will always come down to the people or individuals who generate the concept. For me the next steps for the new big ideas will not be from technology but from psychological and social factors ( experiences, beliefs, cultures, etc..)
Do you think software designers are not as creative as artist designers?
Kara & Kal-el: They are very creative. The term software designers, means they are originators. They have posited ideas in able to make the workflow of creatives faster. And that is where their creativity and design as originators come from. The software designers are what makes the tools software and not the other way around.
How do you acquire these softwares? Legally or illegally?
Kara: There are some that are legal and some that are not. 70-30, 70% being pirated and 30% not pirated. This is because of the struggles we face at working with demanding clients with limited resources. It has become a fight for survival.
Kal-el: Its like this, it all boils down to your professional ethics. If for example you would want to work with a client. This client has limited resources. Now this situation can compel you as a freelancer to evaluate which software to use, most often because of the situation; I use pirated software. The irony is you want behave professionally, but the practices here in the Philippines, for me is an environment that is tolerant towards piracy. It has become a norm because it now matters for an artist to keep his profession and his(their and our) fight for survival. We are living in the third world economy with first world prices which most of the professionals here cannot afford to sustain, “hence we go to piracy”.  With the piracy, the cost we give to our clients will be lower because most of the time we do not charge the software as a factor in the costings of our work.
Do you consider using pirated softwares as a dishonest act? Explain.
Kara: Ethically yes. However, like I mentioned earlier, its about survival. If I am an artist and this is my bread and butter, how will I be able to do execute if I am not able to afford the prices being set by the market. I believe that software prices are set too high. Considering the amount I am being paid for and is what is acceptable to clients for every project, is not commensurate for me to not to be able to afford acquiring legal softwares, as much as I would want to. To stay competitive, you half to take the price of the software out of the costing.
Kal-el: Yes. Because these softwares keep changing every year and every artists is somewhat dependent on these tools, and the pain of re-evaluating your costs as a professional every upgrade. Having your costing for every project change constantly because of software prices, this give you a disadvantage in terms how can I be more competitive in the industry. If this wasn’t such a big factor, I would gladly include original software in my costing, but the reality is its too expensive, and most likely if I do include it, I would not win the bid for any project because my costing or price would go up. To stay competitive, you half to take the price of the software out of the costing.
Does your peers in the creative industry punish you or each other for using pirated softwares? Explain.
Kara: They keep mum.
Kal-el: Its tolerated. Because for most people, when download something and they use it, they think that this their way of getting even to the first world countries that are charging us way too much.Might as well get the revenue from there and bring it here to the third world country. Creatives in the Philippines want to also be competitive globally and this is how they can do it. For them including the software fees will not be price-competitive. The industry today has a mentality for undercutting artists by their clients. So to fellow artists and clients as well, it tolerated because its beneficial to both parties.*Artists like Kara and Kal-el are already trying to survive in their careers in the creative industry. And the creative industry today is in constant peril even if freelancers already took out the cost for softwares.They tolerate software piracy because it now boils down to survival as a creative professional in the Philippines.That is Kara and Kal-el’s situation. (Kara & Kal-el. Personal Intervie 2015).
Do you plan to purchase legal softwares in the future? Under what terms will you consider purchasing legal software?
Kara: Maybe. I think it would be nice that these software companies come up a system that I only pay for them whenever I use it. It will be help me as a professional because now the pricing I can give to my client will be dependent on how long I worked on a project and how long I use the softwares or tools.But then it will be a different system of payments if you are trying to learn the software compared to if you’re using it for work and profit.
Kal-el: Maybe. I agree with Kara. It should be charged by the hour or only when I save and export my final output. I foresee softwares like Adobe CC, artists being able to use the software for free up until a final output is agreed, once you export it; there will be a system of calculations that would estimate how much should I pay or how much should I charge them for my client. Software companies are mistaken for charging too much today if you would compare it to the “Economies of scale”. This means that the cost is shared by the number of users of that software. Again, I think their foresight is based on first world countries considering that today they should see it being used globally or should cost it on a global scale with several different economies across different countries all their software. Because of this, their cost should be much lower from what they are asking creative professionals to pay.
When you create art using pirated software, do you think your work is subjected to copyright protection? Explain.
Kara: Yes because the tools you use are separate from the ideas you produce.These tools allow you the ability to create, but the ideas themselves are original. Laws are setup to protect the rights of the people. But what are the fundamental rights? Basically to be able to eat, to be able to survive, to be able to live. You cannot say that any law is absolute and are able to protect everything. I feel that IP laws are more geared in protecting the companies and not about protecting the creative professionals / artists ,considering what their backgrounds are, culture, social status, etc…I don’t see how professionals can benefit on how can they use these two laws together to survive.These tools that we as professional use to survive in my opinion, the punishments for using pirated softwares should just be disregarded for now so that we can survive.
Kal-el: Yes because regardless of the software that you use, again its a tool. There is no rule that actually tells you that when you use my tool I’m covered only by this particular IP or Intellectual Property or I could be subjected in this type of punishment with regards to creative output. The use of the software for me is just processes. And processes are things that you use to come up with output. Since we are measuring creative output and not about the processes, your right to be protected for creating that output remains the same and ultimately the art is still yours. To be honest it is a conflict of ethics for some. Because on the other hand, you steal to be able to acquire software yet you get mad when your work from that gets stolen. But again, these actions all go back in artists struggling for survival. They have to find substantial income, and they are able to do it using those means (pirated software). I think people want toto correct and conform to the right ethical practices, but because the software prices don’t fit in the factors in society in the Philippines, they will continue to think the same and continue using piracy.

General discussions 

The interview with Kara and Kal-el clearly shows what Mai, Ellis, & Welsh said about creative individuals who must often go against the conventional ways to stay creative (77).The way that the questions were answered from the report closely resembles  Mai, Ellis, & Welsh’s description from their study regarding how creative personalities are activated and that individuals are more likely to come up with justifications to explain their unethical behaviors.

According to Mai, Ellis, & Welsh’s self-concept maintenance theory, dishonesty is triggered by three things. These are:

  • Dishonesty will increase as individuals pay less attention to their own standards for honesty.
  • Dishonesty will increase when individuals face situations that are more easily categorized in honesty-compatible terms.
  • Given the opportunity to be dishonest, individuals will be dishonest up to a level that does not force them to update their self-concept.

From the interview of Kara and Kal-el, both seem to have a significant experience in the media industry (Kara with 10 years and Kal-el 38 years). Both know the same software that is most frequently used by professionals and both have acquired them by piracy. 

When asked what values they consider most on the job, they both answered that deadlines and being able to negotiate or please your client are key values to be able to succeed in the industry. But as to how these values are sustained remains questionable based on the answers they have given from the interview. From the looks of things, they had to continuously adjust their ethics to appease their clients to stay competitive. This perception has caused them to act dishonest by having categorized piracy as a forgivable offense amongst themselves. This belief can be linked to the self concept theory, about dishonesty increasing as individuals pay less attention to their own standards of policy. Because of their demanding clients, their standards of policy is significantly distorted.

The fact also that during the interview, Kara and Kal-el, were always trying to explain and validate their unethical actions with several analogies and insights, which validates the self concept theory about, dishonesty increasing when individuals face situations that are more easily categorized in honesty-compatible terms. Because they know that they are being unethical, they have invented ways on how their actions is acceptable to their own self concept.

And finally, when the researcher asked them about should artist assert copyright protection even when they use pirated softwares; they agreed to it. Its a clear sign that they do not think using pirated softwares as unethical. They argue that  softwares are only tools and not the originators of the idea, hence the idea or the individual who conceived it, should always be protected no matter what. When asked what they thought about software designers and do they think they are not creative as well, they answered no and agreed that the software designers themselves are creative but not  the tools that they make. With this answer, this researcher assumes that digital freelance designers do not value the work that is put in with these new tools, and that they are too concerned for their own self interest. The argument given is to artist-centric and focused mainly for their self preservation amongst fellow practitioners in their industry. Their answer to the last question validates the self concept maintenance theory that says,” given the opportunity to be dishonest, individuals will be dishonest up to a level that does not force them to update their self-concept.

  From the interview there was also a few more examples where in digital designers have categorized (Mazar, Amir, & Ariely, 9) their actions. On one instance Kal-el said that, “most people, when [they] download something and they use it, they think that this their way of getting even to the first world countries that are charging us way too much”.

Based from what Kal-el said, he does not only categorized his actions to levels which are acceptable, but he also is mindless to his attention to standards (Mazar, Amir, & Ariely, 10). And the way that is so close to what is said on the documentary Pirates of the underground is uncanny.

Another argument that Kal-el said ,which concerns categorization and mindless attention to standards (Mazar, Amir, & Ariely, 9 &10), is when he said that, “Its good to steal only if you give credit. It’s not copying if its taking out some elements and making the your own. This researcher is baffled by this argument. Clearly Kal-el level of categorization has reached new heights. This researcher recalls what is said from past studies that,

“the danger continuing in this mindset [categorization] is that, “as the degrees of freedom in the categorization increase, so does the magnitude of dishonesty a person can commit without influencing his or her self-concept”.(Mazar, Amir, & Ariely, 9-10).

However, from this inquiry, we have also found out that one of the biggest factors and justification, why digital freelance designers act unethically, is because their clients are undercutting them. They describe that everyone in their industry is struggling and are just trying to survive. They steal so that they can continue working in the hope that one day, they can be successful enough to stop.

It is the opinion of this researcher that maybe the root case of their unethical behavior are their demanding clients. Because even if software companies entertain their suggestions of payment, it is doubtful that the clients would agree with shouldering the software additional cost. I believe that if freelancers start charging software fees and will result of higher pricing from the previous bids, clients would ask or look for cheaper alternatives. This apathy of clients towards freelancers in the media might be because the clients themselves are dishonest too and are more concerned of their self preservation. This now begs the question, Do bad clients promote piracy in the digital freelance industry?

The author of this study suggests that future research be made with this inquiry using the TAT theory and the self concept maintenance theory.


From the qualitative analysis from the interview and with the use of the self concept maintenance theory, this researcher concludes the ethical paradox of digital freelance designers using pirated software who still assert copyright protection is very much true in the Philippines. 

Given the opportunity, creative people will continue to use pirated softwares instead of legally purchased programs because of unfair treatment by their clients. Freelancers will admit that their actions are dishonest/unethical but won’t update their self concepts because they feel that conforming to the right ethical standards will make them less competitive in the industry and make them loose their business. Freelancers think that its unfair that society wants them to follow the law but the law does not protect their survival. This causes them to create various reasons to  not feel guilty in using pirated software. Finally, the root cause of their dishonesty is their need for survival. And their survival is mostly threatened because of their unstable industry. The media industry’s unfair treatment has caused them to consider unethical practices which they tolerate because it favors a sustainable income in the future.

Leave a comment

The Art of the Title in Philippine Television. Part 1

A brief history on the creation of title credits in Philippine Cinema and Television

A brief history on the creation of title credits in Philippine Cinema and Television

As I child I remember sitting in front of the television, waiting for my favorite T.V. show to start. As the show begins, my heart starts raising as I hear the first notes of the intro song from the Television. I see the opening credits being displayed, showing the name of the actors, the title of the episode and the name of the show. My face then breaks into a smile because I know that this would be another great weeknight because ghostbusters was on TV.

Growing up while watching these shows on TV, I noticed that opening credits, even though they do not have to do anything with the story, always sets the tone on what to expect from the upcoming episode. If the show’s genre is a comedy, the intro visuals are usually colorful, flamboyant and playful; if the show’s genre is a drama, the intro credits colors are usually monotonous and the animations are more precise and metaphorical; if the show’s genre is a Horror or Suspense Thriller, the visuals are usually ominous and foreboding; and if the genre of the show is about Action, the visuals are more masculine and usually involves slow motion explosions.

This gave me the realization that opening credits may have a more important role in storytelling besides just displaying the names of the creators of the TV shows.

As Julia May of Smashing Magazine once said. “Film titles can be great fun. In them we see the bond between the art of filmmaking and graphic design — and perhaps visual culture as a whole. They have always served a greater purpose than themselves: to move the overarching story forward.”

From this quote, I believe that good opening credits help make the whole story telling experience complete. From its visual representation, it not only aims to present the makers of the show/movie but also tries to translate the emotion of the story from the beginning thus making the narrative introduction more memorable.

History of opening titles abroad.


Early title sequences where used by Thomas Edison to mark/label the start and end of the film. Eventually these “labels” evolved with more elaborate in design and eventually was incorporated in today’s movies.

Before investigating on Film/TV Titles  created in the Philippines from ABS-CBN during 1986, I first wanted to know how it began.

At the beginning of my search, finding articles related to film titles in the past proved to be difficult because it has never been considered as a significant part of TV and filmmaking history.

Luckily, two professors from BTK (Berliner Technische Kunsthochschule) ; Christian Mahler & Daniel Wangen also shared my curiosity on this subject . To narrate the evolution of title making, they have made a short video documentary that on vimeo.com which described the humble beginnings of this art form. Here are some of the things they said from their documentary.

The Film before the Film by Christian Mahler & Daniel Wangen

“In 1897, Thomas Edison began using a text board to show the company name and the copyright notes. Due to the similar appearance of all film rolls, filmmakers marked the first meters of the films with their names. With the advancement of the films, opening titles soon became hand written text boards that introduced the films themselves. Sometimes they were even put into decorated frames thought they were primarily included just to insure that no contract duties were violated.”

Films before  didn’t have the capability of recording the dialogue while shooting. Most of the movies shown relied on the actor’s exaggerated actions thus coining the term “Silent Movies”. To help guide the audience on continuity from multiple scenes, title cards were used to describe what happened next.

Julia May’s article,The Art Of Film Title Design Throughout Cinema History: Titles in Silent Film, added to this incite. She wrote that “Words and lettering played an enormous role in films of the silent era…these cards

[helped]  create a narrative continuity…[to aid] audiences…follow what they were seeing”.

She also said that “[after the incorporation of dialogue and sound]…slowly, title sequences evolved to become more elaborate pieces of [the] film.

This was also true according to professors Christian Mahler & Daniel Wangen short video documentary on “The Film before the Film”

From their documentary they said that: “With the development of sound film, opening titles also changed…soon actors and auxiliaries started to make appearances in the beginning of films… the opening titles had more and more gate keeping function on films…”

“In the 1950’s, these film titles became miniature films themselves and did more than just introduce the actors and their auxiliaries.”

One of the most renowned and influential title designers in the 1950s was Saul Bass. He was one of the early artists that pushed the innovation of creating title cards. Most of his works include some of hollywood’s most prominent film directors namely: Alfred Hitchock from his movie Psycho (1960) & North by Northwest (1959); Martin Scorsese from his movie The God Father (1972), Good fellas(1990) and Casino (1995); Otto Preminger from his movie Anatomy of a Murder (1959); Billy Wilder from his movie  The Seven Year Itch (1955); and Stanley Kubrick from the movie The Shining (1980).

Other renowned designers during the 1950s included Pablo Ferro,whose movies included Psycho (worked with Pau Bass, 1960) and Dr. Strange Love (1964), and Maurice Binder (He created most of the intro titles for the James Bond Films since 1962).

As films transitioned into television in the 1950s-1960s, the same narrative formula was adopted, including the use of these more elaborate film title card designs.

Professor Christan Mahler & Daniel Wangen stated on their documentary video, “with the invention of television, more and more people stayed at home instead of the cinema. This pushed filmmakers even more to reinvent the film media.”

Television was now made available to a great number of homes in the 1960s-1970s, and the demand to entertain became mainstream.

“The advent of television was a pivotal moment for title design because it forced the major film studios to invest in making cinema more attractive in order to win back a diminishing audience”. — Julia May, The Art Of Film Title Design Throughout Cinema History.

“For many years they, Saul Bass, Pablo Ferro and Maurice Binder, set the standard in film title design; until new technical developments produced a second renaissance of opening titles.”

This second renaissance of opening titles would then move from film movies to Television shows.

Introduction of Television in the Philippines.

The television in the Philippines was first introduced in 1953. Antonio Quirino, whose family owned the Bolinao Electronics Corporation thought of importing this new technology from America. He planned to use this new technology to help in his brother’s, re-election. He saw it as their secret weapon to win.

But Antonio Quirino’s plan to get votes was ineffective due to the lack of television sets in the country at that time.Ramon Magsaysay then replaced his brother, Elpidio Quirino, and became the seventh president of the Philippines.

After failing the election, he still saw the potential of television as a tool to communicating information and entertainment to a wider public. So he continued to purse its development.

The television station was called Alto Broadcasting System. It was then managed by an American expatriate named James B. Lindenberg. The programming of the channel was mostly dominated by American canned shows such as I Love Lucy, which starred by real-life couple Desi Arnaz & Lucille Ball; Candid Camera, produced by Allen Funt; and Highway Patrol, a police adventure series starring Broderick Crawford;

In 1957, the Alto Broadcasting System sold its shares to the Chronicle Broadcasting Network of the Lopezes. Now under a new management, the network was called ABS-CBN, and it became the premiere network in the country.

In the 1960s, more stations started broadcasting. These include: Rob Stewart Republic Broadcasting System, Channel 7, which today is now GMA7; the Associated Broadcasting Corporation, Channel 5; the Manila Broadcasting Company on Channel 11; and the Inter-island Broadcasting company on Channel 13.

Although there was a spur of new competition among the industry of television in the Philippines, most of the content they air were from American canned shows.

Locally produced programs had to compete with these foreign shows. In order to do so, some copied the production styles from American canned shows which included putting opening titles in the beginning of their shows.

Most of the actors and actresses of these locally produced shows crossed over from Philippine film movies. The production style and techniques on creating these tv shows were highly influenced by how Philippine film movies were made. So that is why I also did some research regarding the Filipino artists who made opening titles in the 1940s. I believe that by looking back at some of their designs, I can find a connection on how opening titles for TV are made.

Opening film titles in the Philippines (1940-1973)

From the archives of Video 28 at Quezon City, I was able to recover three movies from LVN pictures. These are Ibong Adarna (1941), Flourante at Laura (1949) and Haring Cobra (1951). All of them were directed by Vicente Salumbid and all of their intro titles we created by Teody Carmona.

Other movies which he was also involved with were Aladin (1946), Sa Tokyo Ikinasal (1948), Mutya ng Pasig (1950) and Ang Mahiwagang Daigdig ni Pedro Penduko (1973).

According also to his mini biography profile from IMDB which was written by his son Vint Carmona:

“Teody Carmona started working for LVN Studios in 1946. His brother-in-law, Richard Abelardo[who also directed films for LVN pictures], helped him to land a job as an Art Director for LVN Studios.“

His biggest achievement was when he won Southeast Asian Film Festival Best Art Direction for Anak Dalita on June 16, 1956 followed by Famas Best Art Direction on March 30, 1957 for the same movie. In his spare time he wrote stories. One story he made (Anak Ng Berdugo) was made into a movie. In 1961, LVN Studios decided to close, and that ended his work after fifteen years as an Art Director.”

Teody Carmona might have been the closest thing we have from a Philippine’s version of Saul Bass in terms of designing opening titles. He died from a heart attack on March 1, 1993.

Leave a comment

Have the power to always know whom to call during emergencies in the Philippines

Keep calm and press call during emergencies

Keep calm and press call during emergencies

Hero Support lets you call any emergency hotline in Metro Manila in seconds, without having to memorize or save each and every number in your phone.

The idea for the app came to be when Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines back in 2014. News channels and websites were showing different kinds of emergency numbers to the public, often with different numbers for different locations. Although the 117 hotline was established to act as the equivalent of 911 in the Philippines, it only works in certain specific cities in Metro Manila. Also, the 117 emergency hotline only connected callers to police services, which made it unfit for medical emergencies or cases of fire. ( Please also read : Cop’s advice: Call police stations instead of 117Fake calls overwhelm PH emergency hotline )

Thus, we decided that there needed to be a solution to simplify emergency calling in the Philippines. The biggest difficulty we encountered was that each and every contact number for police, fire, and ambulance services are different per province, city, or municipality. Since we could not ask all the police precincts, fire stations, and hospitals to come up with one single centralized contact number, we tried to come up with a solution to use the existing hotlines and standardize the process for calling all of them.

While developing the App, we focused on these three objectives:

1) Standardize emergency calling for all existing hotlines;

2) To design a simple and user-friendly interface; and

3) To make sure the right hotline per location is used but still being able to follow objective 1 & 2.

We believe that if we be able to integrate all three objectives with this app, it would help a lot of people especially on future emergencies.

Formally, the app is called “E-Directory” because it’s simply a directory of emergency numbers. But we gave it the nickname “Hero Support” because the movie “Sky High” happened to be playing on tv while we were brainstorming, and the name of Hero Support just seemed to fit when we heard it in the movie. We chose that nickname because we know that we aren’t the actual heroes who would be doing the saving during the emergencies, but we’d only be making it faster and easier for them to do their jobs.

HeroSupport One Button Calling

How we did it.

To standardize calling, we tapped into one of the oldest technologies that exists in telephones—the speed dial. For ease of use, we wanted the app to only have one dial button so that any user can operate it. Next, we thought of programming it to detect the user’s location at any given time. Once the user’s location is established, the app automatically loads the nearest police, fire station, or hospital number under the appropriate categories. Once the user selects the type of emergency applicable to the situation, all that is left to do is to press the call button to be connected to the nearest hotline.

Since coming up with the app, we already encoded the emergency hotlines for 16 cities and 1 municipality within Metro Manila. The app is now available for free download on the Apple App Store, and it has been getting a lot of good feedback from users. While it is only currently available for ios phones, we plan to make the app available on the Android platform soon. We are also working on getting the emergency numbers for different locations outside of Metro Manila, and we hope to expand to the rest of Luzon soon, with Visayas and Mindanao on our sights as well. We believe that the app will be able to help a lot of Filipinos in the future, especially in case a natural disaster strikes again.



How to use Hero Support

We ask for your support by liking our Facebook page and downloading the Hero Support App from iTunes. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to send us an email at info@herosupportph.com

Leave a comment

The Filipino Channel 20th Anniversary Idents


For the 20th Anniversary of the Filipino Channel, we planned to follow up from our last concept on 2012. We have gotten a lot of good feedback from our subscribers about our imaging and branding featuring some of the most iconic places in the Philippines.

From the original concept (Which was inspired from lomography and 3D Typography), we wanted to expand its application to not just TV, but also through social media.

And so we got our next inspiration from one of the most popular social media platforms today, instagram. Through hastags and a lot more shoot locations, we plan to create a bigger picture of the greater Filipino.

Also since we already executed the treatment of 3D typography, we adopted a more traditional composition. 2D text cropped into videos, similar to magazines and Instagram quotes. Later we can then resize these videos; maybe change the copy and push the videos to Instagram and Facebook.

Here are some of the screen shots. Sample videos to follow.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Digital Video Compositions by: Joel Barquez, Gerard Navarro, Edison Lucmayon, Emman Hernandez, Merwin De Mesa and Aaron

Color correction by: Merwin De Mesa, Gerard Navarro and Edison Lucmayon

Final Comp by: Gerard Navarro and Merwin De Mesa

Music by: Fred Peraz and Jay Santiago

Broadcast Design Head: Joel Barquez

Branding Idents Concept Lead : Gerard Navarro

Softwares Used:
Adobe After Effects CS6, Adobe Speed Grade CS6, Cinema 4D

Canon Mark III 5D and an Iphone 5c.


Upload Adobe After Effects Videos to Instagram.

I have always wanted to upload some of my works in instagram. I envisioned it to be a new way for The Filipino Channel to connect to its subscribers abroad.

I imagine greetings from our channel’s prominent stars, simple branding idents, snippets of our station ID and some of our 15 second logo animations filling our news feeds.

It would be awesome for our subscribers to follow us here and be updated about us on their smart phones.

Hence I started experimenting on how to upload some of our existing videos to the camera rolls of my Iphone 5 and into my instagram’s feed.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here you can see I have successfully uploaded two videos from After Effects.

I had a little bit of trouble uploading my other videos from my macbook before because most of the videos I rendered on my macbook were in Quicktime format and had a *.mov extension.

If you were to try uploading these file types to your instagram, the app would close and crash.

So I tried to a few other ways to do it until I came up with a pretty solid workflow. And I’d be happy to share it with everyone in this post.

How to upload Adobe After Effects Videos to Instagram.

  1. Open Adobe After Effects (I’m using Adobe After Effects CC). And then Import the video you want to upload to instagram in your AE Project file.Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 1.10.44 PM
  2. Then, create a new composition and add your video.(Make sure the length of your video is under 15seconds).Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 1.09.06 PM
  3. Next, while your comp is selected. Go to Composition >Add to Adobe Media Encoder.Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 1.14.27 PM
  4. Your Adobe Media Encoder now opens up and adds your AE project to Queue (You are prompted to save your project before your composition is added to Media Encoder. Just click ok and remember the root folder which you assigned your video to be rendered).Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 1.20.58 PM
  5. Currently, your rendered settings is set to save your video as Quicktime with a *.mov extension. This file is too big to be uploaded in instagram. Lets change the settings to H.264 (Click the upper left arrow of your render settings and switch it to “H.264”) and by doing this your video will be save to a *.mp4 file extension.Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 1.23.33 PM
  6. We have now set the video to be rendered at H.264 with a file extension of *.mp4. Click Render. (The green Play Button on the upper right)Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 1.26.32 PM
  7. Next, Sync your I-phone to your Macbook and open up I-Photo. On I-Photo, go to File>Create New Album.Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 1.28.09 PM
  8. I already created my new album earlier, I named it “Campaign Videos”. You can see it on the left side of the bar on my screen shot. The next thing we need to do is just to open up my finder window and find my rendered file from Adobe Media Encoder; and drag & drop your video to your newly created album.Draganddrop
  9. Next, go to Itunes and sync your Iphone to your newly created album. Make sure to check “include videos”. Then click “SYNC”. This uploads your video to your camera roll in your Iphone. sync
  10. Next, open up your Instagram App. Add a new video and select it from your camera roll. Then click next to upload.


That’s it! I hope this tutorial is a big help to anyone who wants to upload their edited videos from their laptop to instagram.

Happy uploading!