Text and Photos by Marz Aglipay
Earlier this year Komura; brought us a book fair that catered to readers by offering curated selection of books. This time around, Komura’s creators Kayla Dionisio and Czyka Tumaliuan has morphed Komura; into a forum without straying far from the interests of the community built around its book-fair edition which was held on 24 November at Warehouse Eight.
Each of the speakers spoke candidly about the mistakes and struggles they’ve had in pursuit of their independent projects. Much like The Press Room’s founder Kelley Cheng, who spoke about her younger self’s enthusiasm- working for free, being her own delivery person, all in the hopes of making her dream magazine remain sustainable in the long run. But the journey of realizing her vision did not go smoothly. She had to work on her independent magazine despite the disapproval of her parents and coming from an architecture background, have no experience in publishing. Despite the odds, Cheng’s magazine would eventually get picked up by Page One publishing and the rest is history.
The roster of speakers were not limited to print publishing but as well as VR and game publishing. Among these speakers were CIIT Philippines / Anito Games founder Neil Dagondon. His talk provided a perspective to individuals who seem too-idealistic to publish (release original games) in the Philippines.
His experience taking on game publishing from a local context, where there the gap between game publishers and game makers seem like an impossible void to fill, left an impression that beyond creating there is also a need for people who are adept in business that can realize independent projects come to fruition- provided that one finds the right partners.
On publishing a book “just give me a deadline” says writer Kooky Tuason. Participants were amazed by how fast Tuason can churn out a book in a span of several months. This is one of the benefits the participants were able to take advantage of during Komura; Studio, being able to interact and exchange resources with the speakers themselves.
Komura; founders Dionisio and Tumaliuan also spoke at the forum. Both had addressed the issue of accessibility of this event had, the organizers opened up about the challenges of putting up events like Komura;. They cited the struggles they’ve had with their first project “The Art of Doing” disclosing that they’ve had losses as well as have little to no profit in their events. “We’re still trying to figure out where we’re going.” said Dionisio. However, they remain hopeful that it is all part of learning how to build a community.
The conference is a necessary event for its community which the organizers of Komura should not simply box themselves into. Their constant reinvention is key to keep its community from gathering-fatigue as they identify their community of introverts who enjoy socializing. Talks such as Komura; Studio serves as a trove of information and opportunity for its audiences to grow networks- possibly to find the right partners to realize the independent pursuits of each of its community members.