Last January I attended the Graphika Manila 2016 Conference on Creativity. They had a mix of twelve international and local speakers lined up for the two day event.
- Benjamin Su (Pixar)
- Tosh Kodama (Imaginary Forces)
- Luke Choice (Velvet Spectrum)
- Matthew Ecina (Blind)
- Timothy Goodman
- Gemma O’Brien
- Si Scott
- Patrick Cabral
- Valerie Chua
- Harvey Tolibao
Graphika Manila 2016
The decision to attend this years Graphika Manila was a no brainer. When I saw that someone from Pixar was coming, I just knew that I really needed to go.
All of the speakers during the Graphika Manila 2016 were very inspiring, but my favorite was from Pixar animator Benjamin Su. He is a seasoned animator who has worked on animated films like Sony’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Pixar’s Toy Story 3, Brave and Inside Out.
Su took us on a quick tour around the Pixar campus, showing photos of the Steve Jobs Building — the main atrium that houses all of the Pixar employees, in which Steve Jobs designed with the thought of having everyone meet and interact in a central place.
Pixar employees also have the freedom to customize their workspaces, not your average bring some toys and photos to decorate your desk, but a full tear down the walls to construct a new building. There were photos of an office that looked like jungle full of vines, another a castle, but my favorite was one that looked like a crashed airplane.
Right outside the atrium is a giant statue of the iconic Luxo Jr. , from Pixar’s ground breaking short film of same name. The 22-acre campus also has a park with an amphitheater, a tennis court and a pool.
Su also shared about the importance of feedback. Where in, Pixar has created a culture of openness where everyone is free to share ideas and opinion. Candor is encouraged, being honest to push forward the story to become better. It’s one of the key elements to what makes Pixar stories great. This also is mentioned constantly in Ed Catmull’s book, Creativity, Inc. — go read this!
The most inspiring part of Su’s talk was when footage of his daughter running around came up, side by side with footage from Inside Out. Su’s daughter’s footage was the reference for the animation for toddler Riley scenes. Bonnie from Toy Story 3 was also referenced from Su’s daughter. I was really amazed how his daughter inspired the work, then in the end the work will inspire his daughter. A circle of inspiration.
Imaginary Forces director Tosh Kodama — coolest name ever, who shared their process from rejected ideas, storyboard concepts and final renders. IF is responsible some of my favorite opening titles, namely the titles for Person of Interest — which elements were also designer by Ash Thorp ( Graphika Manila 2014 speaker ) and the titles for Marvel’s Jessica Jones.
Goodman shared some of his very funny instagram posts.
He also did the 40 Days of Dating Project which was a collaboration with his friend Jessica Walsh. It was an experiment where the two of them dated for forty days.They also have another project called 12 Acts of Kindness where they performed random acts of kindness in the streets of New York.
Harvey presentation was also unforgettable. Harvey was the last speaker on the second day. Before Harvey’s talk, I felt the audience was already tired from all the creative inspiration thrown at them. Then suddenly the lights were dimmed down, fight music was slowly building up — the emcee spoke. “Here is Harvey Tolibao!” Spotlight on Harvey as he was walking up on to the stage, the music now all at full blast and the crowd cheering wildly. The halls of SMX felt like a sports event.
Harvey is a comic book artist who has worked with top publishers as Marvel, DC and IDW. He has worked on the Star Wars comics, What If – Civil War, Psylocke and Green Arrow.
Harvey’s presentation started with a video of his daily routine, starting from his home then walking and commuting going to his studio office — which was on the fourth floor of a building that doesn’t have an elevator. Everything in Harvey’s talk was inspiring — from his humble beginnings to how practice, persistence and passion leads the road to success. Harvey drew everyday, he drew on everything, he drew everyone.
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Harvey speak before at the Graphicon Davao 2015 event — I also met his wife Juli and son Zod. His talks are very inspiring and funny. I’m thinking if he wasn’t a successful comic book artist he could become a stand-up comedian.
The Graphika Manila 2016 Conference on Creativity was held last January 30-31, 2016 at the SM Mall of Asia Convention Center. Graphika Manila 2016 was fantastic and inspiring but I wish there was more — workshops during event day, booth rentals offered to local talents to sell their shit , stuff from Wacom, Adobe and any other art/design related supplier, software and tools companies — maybe they tried all this on past events and it didn’t work?