Carlos and the participants of ‘Bubog at Karga: An Introductory Acting Workshop’ for background actors at the Cinematheque Centre Manila.
Carlos and the participants of ‘Bubog at Karga: An Introductory Acting Workshop’ for background actors at the Cinematheque Centre Manila.

Did you know that the first official celebration of Labor Day in the Philippines was held at the Cine Oriente along Azcarraga Street (now C.M. Recto) in Manila on May 1, 1913 (National Historical Institute Historical Calendar)? It seems to me, even then, that cinema has played a role in gathering people together and in being a venue in moving causes forward.

While it has been my personal mission as head of the national film industry to strengthen the programs we established to push forward workers' rights — fair wages and fostering the culture of safety in the film and entertainment industry (we are still waiting for the final approval of the Eddie Garcia Bill until now) — I believe the other facet of championing our film workers is by professionalizing our talents through education and skills training. By giving our workforce the avenue to elevate their skill sets, we get to open more windows of opportunities for them that will positively affect their economic and artistic possibilities and career options.

The backbone of the Philippine film industry is its film workers — not just the big actors or the esteemed directors and producers, but also the gaffers, the camera men, the background actors or bit players we know as extras, the makeup artists, and everyone else who toil in the background so that the bida can truly shine.

At the core of the Film Development Council of the Philippines' mandate is to promote and support the development and growth of the local film industry by formulating policies and programs to ensure the economic, cultural, and educational development of the Philippine film industry. The agency seeks to encourage the production of quality films and to conduct film-related events that enhance the skills of the Filipino talents.

FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño-Seguerra with respected director Rahyan Carlos, the only accredited Chubbuck Technique mentor in the country and Star Magic Head of Training.
FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño-Seguerra with respected director Rahyan Carlos, the only accredited Chubbuck Technique mentor in the country and Star Magic Head of Training.

That last sentence got me thinking, however. Knowing that good outcomes can only come from good raw materials, perhaps another way of thinking about this would be: The agency seeks to encourage the production of quality films through conducting activities and events that enhance the skills of the Filipino talents. In the last five years, we have been on a continuous lookout for ways to support our workers through policies and programs, like the FDCP National Registry and Safe Filming program that would make government support and assistance more accessible to them.

'Bubog at Karga' for background actors

With the aim of developing capacity-building activities and enhancing film workers' craftsmanship, we are excited to share with you our three-part workshop series for actors and talents, professional actors, and directors, writers, and producers, respectively. This week, we will be culminating our training for our background actors who were taught by no less than the only accredited Chubbuck Technique (pioneered by Ivanna Chubbuck) mentor in the country and the Head of Training of Star Magic, direk Rahyan Carlos. Direk Rahyan facilitated the entire run of the acting workshop "Bubog at Karga: An Introductory Acting Workshop on the Chubbuck Technique."

I had the opportunity of attending direk Rahyan's masterclass workshops numerous times here and abroad, and I am a believer of his commitment and expertise. I am thankful that we got the chance to share the opportunity with 25 background actors who made the cut for this batch. This leg was done in hybrid format with the first part conducted online as a fourteen-session workshop every Monday, and will be culminated by in-person rehearsals and a final recital this week.

This series was only a dream. Now the dreams are being realized with the help of people who share the commitment of creating a sustainable, conducive, and uplifting environment, especially for the more marginalized sectors of our industry, this time for our overlooked background talents. While it is true that acting is about passion and talent, it is also about continuous learning and hard work. Retooling our background actors' skills is empowering them to face the challenges of the competitive and evolving entertainment industry. It also decreases and lessens their vulnerabilities as workers.

Knowledge is power

It is my commitment and the FDCP's goal to provide educational initiatives to upskill our workforce for how can we professionalize this industry if the workers are not equipped with the skills and tools to be good at what they do? And while my hope is for the industry sector and the government to normalize the conversation of working together to improve the lives of its workers inside and outside of the workplace (and for the Eddie Garcia Bill to finally be enjoyed by film workers), I hope that talents and technical staff from the entertainment and media will also support and participate in programs that are being conceptualized and organized for them.

I cannot express enough how proud I am of this batch of background actors for the Bubog at Karga: An Introductory Acting Workshop. I saw their dedication to elevating their craft by persevering to finish their training against the challenges of logistics and schedule. They saw a chance to improve themselves and they maximized it. They did not settle.

The transition from the background to the foreground as professional lead or supporting actors starts in training. It takes hard work. I myself also started as a background talent and from experience, those who seek to improve must respect the process and go through the consistent and tedious task of metamorphosing into their better selves—specifically for this case, as better equipped, more effective actors.

Knowledge is power, the more mastery we have, the better opportunities open for us. And training to advance one's mastery and capability does not only level up the skill set, but more importantly, builds up the artists' self confidence and respect for their craft. Consistency in learning not only builds the career, more importantly, it edifies the self.

I would also like to use this chance to invite our professional actors, writers, directors, and producers. We are cooking up training and workshops especially for you in the coming months. To the other sectors of film workers, let us talk on how we can help you strengthen your talents and skills. Let my commitment to do everything in my power to professionalize and maximize the potential of workers — technical or creative, in our industry be my show of solidarity.

We at the agency would like to express our love, support, and appreciation to our Filipino film workers one training event, one upskilling program at a time. We are rooting for your successful and fulfilling career. It is because of you that the Philippine film industry remains growing and evolving in the past one hundred years of its existence.

Mabuhay ang mga manggagawa. Mabuhay ang mga manggagawang pampelikula ng Pilipinas!