Born and raised in the Philippines, Quark is not just a film and video director but also a musician, film studies professor, award-winning writer, former band director, part-time actor and University of Southern California MBA. Check out our interview with him, below.
What was your childhood like? Especially as the son of a celebrity cosmetic surgeon and a radio executive?
I actually consider myself lucky that my mom wasn’t a celebrity cosmetic surgeon during my childhood. In fact, for most of it she was… a med student. Vicki Belo didn’t become VICKI BELO until I was in college, and I’m really grateful about that. I know a lot of celebrity’s kids and it’s a really hard life. My dad also owned a radio station that played rock music (NU107) and that was really formative for me. So many of the people I collaborate with to this day I met in NU. it was a really great environment to grow up in, like a real-life Empire Records.
How long have you been involved in the film world? What sparked your love of making movies?
Wow, I’ve been involved in films for around 14 years now! That’s so crazy. I always knew I wanted to tell stories, but I didn’t know which medium was the perfect one for me. At one point I wanted to be a cartoonist, then a fictionist, then a musician. When I saw Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction I knew it had to be film. It just looked like everyone had so much fun making that movie, and it was a medium that seemed so collaborative. I started by making short films in school, but professionally I began my career doing music videos. During college I was managing a lot of bands, and luckily all of them got signed by major labels after graduation. So I forced them to get me as their video director, hahaha. At the same time I started writing scripts for a company called Viva Films. One of the films I wrote needed to be fast-tracked, but they still didn’t have a director. So I quietly raised my hand during one of the meetings and said “you do know I direct music videos and short films, right?” I was really lucky.
What’s your favorite film that you’ve directed so far?
My favorite is still Keka, which is basically a Serial Killer Romantic Comedy. I think you can get it on Netflix DVD in the States. But I should probably send you the trailer of the last movie I made, Rakenrol, simply because the quality is better and it has [subtitles], haha. It’s a movie about the Philippine rock scene, something which is obviously very close to my heart. The movie’s on iTunes and Amazon. Shameless plug!
You’re also an actor, when did you start acting? Do you act in any of your own films?
Don’t say I’m an actor, real actors will kill us both! Haha. But no I don’t really consider myself an actor, just a guy with a bunch of director friends. So I play things like “visa applicant no. 1” or “airplane hostage no. 3”. A student of mine made this big hit movie and he actually gave me a speaking part, though! I play “tinder date no. 2”, and everyone from bank tellers to security guards compliment me on the role, which is great! Maybe when I do play “zombie no. 4” in an upcoming horror film my director will give me lines, too.
As for my movies, I think I’ve appeared in most of them but only because we don’t really have enough money for extras so the whole crew kind of pops up in the movies once in a while. The only movie where I actually played a role was Keka, where I was trying to be meta and played a soap opera director.
What do you like most about your job?
That it’s not a job at all. You go to the set and you get to tell stories and work with really amazing people. And sometimes, you get paid. That’s really amazing to me.
I see you’re also a writer can you send a link to your favorite piece that you’ve written?
My favorite piece I’ve written was actually for Rogue Magazine, and it was about meeting Quentin Tarantino in the Philippines. I can’t find the link to the Rogue article, but it’s on MY LIVEJOURNAL. Yessss, so retro.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
My work is my life. I’m boring that way. Even when I’m not making stuff I watch movies, I read comics, I go to shows. I’m working with a few friends on a major internet project soon, but in the meantime I have a pet project where we teach single dads how to do hair for little girls!
You’re a singer in two different bands, what type of music do you play?
The first band is called Us-2 Evil-0, and it’s the serious band. We’ve had an album, toured Asia, been on the radio, done a few music videos. Here’s a link to a music video we’ve done. It’s indiepoppy and light and fun, and we have dance moves.
The other band is called Blast Ople, and we’ve been together for like 17 years. All of us have our respective bands like Us-2, Boldstar, Buildings and Pedicab; so Blast Ople is kind of like a superband except it’s not so super. We just play covers of stuff we loved in college like Superchunk, Sonic Youth, Guided by Voices and The Pixies. This is the one we do for the sake of punk rock.
When I was studying at USC I actually had another band filled with MBA kids called the Black Scholes, where I ended up crowdsurfing at Stanford University. That was a life milestone, hahhaha.
How did you hear of about.me and what made you sign up for it?
Dino Ignacio, who designs games for EA now, is a friend and big hero of mine. I remember seeing him post an about.me link of his on Facebook and I was just really impressed at the simplicity and design of the page. That was years ago, and I never really updated my about.me page until I took a Social Media Class in NYU and our professor, Eric Chandler, required us to develop a digital fingerprint and post an about.me page. So thanks, Eric!
What’s your favorite feature on the platform?
Unfortunately we have no control over the internet, so once someone Googles you anything from embarrassing childhood photos to some crazy drunken thing you may have done years ago could turn up first. What I like about the platform is that it’s people’s way of representing their online selves. A proper introduction to someone.
How are you using the platform on other digital mediums (email, WordPress widget, etc.)?
I use it as my e-mail signature. Though I should use it on other platforms. I didn’t know we could do a WordPress widget!
Have you used about.me to connect with others on the platform?
I’ve used it mainly to connect with my NYU classmates, but once in a while old friends and industry peeps pop up. It’s always fun checking an about.me page, and not too time consuming.
Eliana Arredondo is the Community Manager for about.me. She is a graduate of Stanford University and hates writing third person bios about herself.