If you're a Filipino in the Arts & Media industry then you know how lonely it can get.Perhaps you were the only Filipino in the Film program at your University, or you're the only Filipino at your Marketing firm, or -- you're the only one in your family that chose to enter the Arts & Media industry and you're the Black Sheep because everyone else has "real jobs".
In the middle of one of Toronto's heaviest snowfalls, a group of Filipino Media Professionals got together for the very first "Wine & Cheese-mis" networking event to talk about experiences just like that. They came from the fields of Television, Film, Radio, the Music industry, Digital Media, Animation and more, and represented companies like MuchMusic, CityTV, MTV, CBC, Rogers Media, Guru Studios, The Score, Warner Music and M30.
What could succeed in bringing so many people out during one of the biggest winter storms of the year? Perhaps it was the desire to connect with others from the same background who have followed the same path.
Although the times are changing and many more young Filipinos are entering non-conventional professions, seeing other Filipinos in the fields of Film & TV, Music, News and Marketing is rare... and sometimes, it's just nice to talk to another Filipino.
The idea to meet up came together when my MTV meeting with Anthony Reyes of Warner Music Canada ended early -- and so we decided to go for a midday beer at the corner pub. It turned out that Anthony's sister is Kris Reyes, Reporter at CityTV. The two of us remarked how cool it was to be talking about 'work' with another Pinoy and how cool it would be to meet other Filipinos also in the same field. Anthony told me that he and his sister have also had the same discussions. We finished our beers and decided from there that it was time to pool our contacts.
Fast-forward a week and we had a list of about 20 Filipinos working in the Arts & Media Industry -- we weren't ALONE at all! We just hadn't found each other yet.
As inch upon inch of snow accumulated on the city streets, discussions ranged from "how I ended up in the biz" to "what I'd really like to do next", to "who we mutually know", and eventually, "what positive things can we do now that we have this network"?
By nights end, our new organization was dubbed "Filipinos in Arts & Media" (or F.A.M.), and we've committed to meet again very soon over food and drink to talk a bit of shop, share more stories... and figure out how being in contact and knowing each other can benefit all of us and perhaps other "black sheeps" who'd like to follow the same paths we did.
Are you the only Filipino where you work or go to school? Are you pursuing a non-conventional career? Do you sometimes feel like you stick out like a sore thumb or that you have a hard time relating? What do you think the benefits being part of a network can be?