30 October 2008

Manila Times column for 31 October 2008 "Pulse of the populace pumps the pen "

original post here.

By Libay Linsangan Cantor
Pulse of the populace pumps the pen

I believe writers—and those working in some form of media or other—should always be in touch with today’s trends, developments and advancements, even those that happen or take place outside of their milieus. The pulse of the populace will always influence what happens next in our society.

In the past months, I interacted with different individuals who have established some form of business addressing communication needs of people. There was one group of friends who ventured into graphics design while one was starting up as a video postproduction group. There was another individual who wanted to focus on documentary filmmaking while another pair of filmmakers consulted me regarding establishing their own video production outfit.

Regardless of their group/company’s focus and expertise, I only had one advice to all of them: be in touch with your audience. That entails studying their target market’s behavior, habits (especially their buying habits, if one is into some form of advertising/PR line), even dreams, aspirations in life and other connected things.

We in the media should always be in touch with our specific medium, and study others as well. For instance, creative film people in big studios always get their pulse via television, and they utilize that TV-film connection to widen their audience reach. Traditional print media practitioners have been keeping themselves up-to-date by going into a related field—online media. And it’s no secret that those in the advertising world study almost all aspects of their society just to be in touch with how people live their lives.

Yet some media practitioners neglect this “intersectionality” study/approach and comfortably (or stubbornly) stick to what they know and what they are familiar with. That’s the right approach— for failure. For instance, I was surprised when one team said they do not watch ads aired on local television yet their production work is geared towards advertising to people who watch local television. How strange is that? A cultural worker cannot be disconnected with the culture where his or her work evolves and revolves.

Writers in the media/arts field should think about this “intersectionality” and pulse most times. It also helps if literary writers could look into these things as well. These are the things that are “written in” by writers who, basically, should really be keen observers of life.

But with the matter of being consumed by the so-called “audience impact” of one’s work, that’s another matter altogether. We’ll discuss that next time.

Comments? Suggestions? E-mail libay.scribevibe@gmail.com.

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