IN the current business environment, innovation plays a very significant role to remain competitive and relevant.
For Christopher Cahilig, president of public relations (PR) company Insight 360, adding new knowledge and skills to his usual core competence has provided him an advantage over the rest of the pack.
Cahilig believes a PR practitioner should be able to understand new ways to communicate and offer clients fresh ideas to interact with their market.
Cahilig is now getting raves for his short films, such as My McJim Trilogy —Bag, Pitaka (Wallet) and Sinturon (Belt), which are now competing in 13 international film festivals in the US, Australia, France, Italy and Venezuela.
“Being a responsible PR professional, I should also understand new ways to communicate a message and offer clients a different option even if it is [an] unfamiliar territory to them,” Cahilig said in a recent interview with the BusinessMirror held in Makati City,
“You need to offer services that will add value to your clients. As a result, I will not be confined to the usual format of PR [practice],” he pointed out.
Being flexible is another asset for Cahilig, as he can work on projects with limited budgets. Aside from giving him psychic income, Cahilig said small projects “bring out the best in him.”
Equipped with directorial skills, Cahilig offers other services such as marketing and public relations documentaries, short narratives, and vlogs, among others.
As a talented short filmmaker, Cahilig is aware that viral videos nowadays dwell a lot on the “twist.”
“A twist gives instant gratification but doesn’t leave anything in minds and hearts of the audiences. My narrative structure follows traditional forms of storytelling,” he explained.
He said the characters go through a process of change as the film also depicts the brand subtly in the narrative, often as a metaphor.
“When the brand or product is organic to the narrative, people don’t mind seeing them. They don’t get turned off,” he said.
His film Pitaka had a strong Filipino element as it portrayed the story of a hardworking young man who sacrificed his own aspirations to provide for his younger brother’s needs—and how the younger sibling showed his gratitude to kuya in the end.
Cahilig, also the producer of renowned indie film Echorsis, said Pitaka broke the two-minute rule of videos that go viral.
“It is very unlikely for lengthy videos to become viral, or even watched in full, because of the short attention span of netizen,” Cahilig said. “But Pitaka, which runs for a little over eight minutes, captured the attention of many Filipinos because it is their story, their families’ story—and a story that I believe is worth telling,” Cahilig exclaimed.
Presented by McJim Classic Leather through its “Get Reel” online campaign, the video, which was uploaded on May 11 last year, garnered over 17 million views in six months.It garnered nominations in San Mauro Torinese International Film Festival 2018, Cefalu Film Festival in Palermo, Diwa Filipino Film Showcase of Seattle 2018 and Culture of Life Film Festival 2018 in Memphis City.
After Pitaka, Cahilig followed it up with Sinturon [The Belt], a short film that tackled marital infidelity. Cahilig said the short film was intended as a parody on porn flicks told with wit and humor.
The video reaped 10 million organic views in one week, which boosted McJim’s sales in the holiday season in 2017. Last but not the least, the Bag is the third and in in McJim’s series of viral videos posted in April. The film highlights the relationship between a “straight man’s” (played by Wayne Avellano) friendship with a gay guy [portrayed by Ross Pesigan] through the challenges in his love life.
With the success of these short films, Cahilig proved to the doubting Thomases that even short films that last beyond the regular time frame will capture a wider audience if the material is good.
“Don’t underestimate the audience because they are smart. At the end of the day, when I made Pitaka, I just wanted to say the message for the film,” he said.
“I don’t want to compromise the message and the emotional investment of people with my work because I have to follow the 2.5-minute time frame. If the material is good, it will get through,” he stressed.
Cahilig has high regards for the millennials because they will be the dominant force in the near future. Moreover, he said if somebody wants to create a large impact for the future, they should talk to the millennials.
The movie and music producer, short film and music video director, social entrepreneur, talent manager, published poet, blogger and political adviser does not see anything negative on the “I” attitude of the millennials. Having a staff dominated by millennials, he knows quite well the situation dealing with this group.
“I don’t think they have the “I” mentality. I think it’s just really a matter of their background. As the talent manager of 143 singing groups, I have observed that millennials have different views, opinions and perspectives on different issues,” Cahilig explained.