MANILA - A Filipino overseas worker based in Qatar never thought that the big break he was waiting for would come knocking on his door in the time of pandemic.
“Hindi ko ito ini-expect pero I was dreaming na sana magkaroon ako ng big break sa arts,” said Gene Magat.
And it was not just any break. It was an opportunity to work for one of the music industry’s talented artists, Grammy winner Billie Eilish.
“Initially, na-contact ako ng isang Australian director na si Andrew Onorato thru IG. He invited me kung puwede akong mag join sa isang huge project. Naghahanap sila ng background illustrator similar to Ghibli films vibe,” said Magat.
Magat became part of the international team that worked on Billie Eilish music video for her latest song, "My Future".
The music video has been viewed over 42 million times on YouTube.
He came on board in the last week of June and began working for the music video’s background before its launch in late July.
Magat has been posting his artworks on his IG account since 2017. It was this hobby that caught the attention of Onorato.
He said he was inspired by the works of famous Japanese illustrators Oga Kazuo and Nizo Yamamoto.
His job may look easy, but Magat said he clocks in around 6 to 9 hours just to work on each artwork for the music video.
“The director required a color theme na I need to stick with, doon ako medyo nahirapan. At first, bibigyan ko sila ng rough, then if it's ok to him, proceed na ako sa final background,” he said.
All in all, Magat said he worked on 20 artworks for the music video’s background.
Two other people worked with him but the background was mostly his artwork.
The 46-year old said that while he was ecstatic, it was his two children—a 19-year old daughter and 11-year old son—who were most excited to learn that he would be working on Billie Eilish’s music video.
“Yung panganay ko excited talaga,” said Magat. “Malaking role, kasi ako ang gagawa ng world ni Billie sa mv (music video).”
Magat is currently working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I enjoyed the whole time noong ginagawa ko ang mga backgrounds. I never felt any stress,” he said. “If you really love what you do, there’s nothing to worry, lahat kayang ma-accomplish.”
The OFW works as a graphic designer specialist for real estate. He is likewise thankful for having an understanding employer who supported his project.
“Kinausap ko yung boss ko before the start of the project. Naintindihan niya as long as I can work with them both,” he said.
Magat, from Los Baños, Laguna, has been in Qatar since 2003, and had worked for 4 different companies. He has been with his current employer since 2008. His family joined him in Qatar in 2005.
Magat is looking forward to more similar projects in the future.
“Looking forward na makagawa rin ako ng sarili kong projects like ganun kalaki,” he said.
He advised fellow OFWs to continue improving themselves while waiting for their big break too.
“Continue sa pag-pursue ng dreams. Hone your skills and talents,” he said.