Mario A.S. Benipayo, CEO of Forerunner Technologies Inc. caught our attention on Facebook with his enthusiastic tutorial webinars for the industry in the Philippines. His channel appropriately named Pushing Faders revolves around audio solutions. During the lockdown period in the Philippines due to COVID-19, the Facebook page hit 10,000 followers. ETA chats with Mario about his inspiration and did he expect such an enthusiastic response.
What inspired you to start the Pushing Faders channel?
I started my journey into audio in the 80s and just like most in our industry, not only did I get my audio education from books and magazine that I got hold of but more so from the older guys in the industry that took me under their wing, so to speak. From working the stage to setting up speakers to working an audio console, they had unselfishly shared with me their knowledge and experience. I felt that I had to do the same when the opportunity comes. Since my teens, I just love to talk about audio (and lighting), how it works, what it does, how many ways we can do a certain thing, that sort of thing. We’re lucky now that we have the medium of social media to reach a far greater number of people, not just one’s immediate circles. Although I was early on the use of social media, it took some time before I decided to make a page that deals with my love for audio.
Pushing Faders is meant to connect people and make them involved so it is intended to be anything, a thought, a picture, a reaction, a memory, something I saw and wanted to share, just anything. Once that was created…posting photos and links was easy but when it came to doing videos, I needed to build a lot of courage to do that. Like I started posting on the Pushing Faders in 2015 but only started making videos 2 years ago. To put myself out there and make a video, that was a big leap. Although I’m more comfortable now, it’s still a challenge when I stand in front of the video camera. To make it easy, I try to make the conversation relaxed and informal. So far, we’ve gotten very good feedback on how we’re doing things.
I believe it was not on youtube in its early days – am I right? It was only on FB?
We started our Facebook in 2015, posting photos, sharing articles, just general info we can get and eventually started making videos in late 2018. And just recently, we created a YouTube channel because we kept on getting requests for it like their preferred place to look for videos. Fair enough, so we did. We are currently uploading some of our previous videos there and getting good viewership right away.
Were you surprised with the large number of followers to Pushing Faders on FB?
Yes, definitely. Hitting 10,000 followers in July 2020 was quite a milestone I think. When it happened, I and Jesso were pretty happy and treated ourselves with a good burger:)
Jesso Montejo is the one that edits the video, my co-director and the videographer. It’s been a fun ride and we’ll keep on going further.
Is there any tutorial plan or you decide what is needed and speak about it?
We use market feedback as our guide. But I know I have to have a better plan, prioritizing the plan than all the requests & questions that come in.
Currently, I try to hit on a subject and spread it across one to three videos, depending on the complexity of the subject. We don’t like having like ten-minute videos. Our videos average between five to eight minutes.
Analytics wise, viewership has been good. Most videos from mics to mixers and monitors are doing well but I think the thing about feedback control has always been the most asked.
Because of this, we have a plan to do a four-part video on-stage monitoring.
Which episode has had the most number of viewers?
The one that tackles feedback elimination with a graphic EQ on your monitors. I was not surprised at all as its really one of the most requested tutorial anywhere, anytime. You can check out the video HERE.
Although on the YouTube channel, a video on connecting mixers to the phone, seems to be the one that has struck the most interest (given that the YT channel was just recent) You can check out the video HERE.
What has the reaction been – as in feedback and other comments from followers/viewers?
Its been fantastic! The positive vibe we get back has been the energy that keeps us going. Most have said it’s the practical approach to solutions that we do, that makes them watch.
I want to believe its how I talk in a manner that is easily relatable as I have been involved with live sound scene since the 80s to the present. It also helps that I came from a time when we had not so much that we had to improvise, hack and learn along the way in the early days… I mean, that’s where I draw my thoughts from and it relates to a lot of tech and would-be tech people.
Its been easy for me to pick a topic and explain it as if you’re just in front of me. Another thing is I give a lot of effort answering back to questions asked through emails, messenger and comments. People like to connect. They appreciate it when you go out of your way to make sure their questions get answered even if it’s as simple as getting your opinion.
How often do you release a tutorial video?
Ideally, we try to post two videos a week. We also post some commentaries, some pictures in between just to keep us engaged with those that follow us.
Is there a next step to this? If yes, can you share?
There was a plan but as I have a business to run, the challenge has always been TIME. The whole idea of Pushing Faders was having a social media presence and a series of workshops that develops a person skills on the basics of setting up a system for mixing a live band. I was able to do a few, about five. But giving much time has always been the challenge as we have to run a business.
Time to plan, organize and execute. I have all these collaboration ideas with my colleagues in the industry. There is a wealth of talent and experience in our industry and a lot of them want to share knowledge as well, but most of them have a business to run. But we’ll get there. Its also good to note that the AES Philippines Section is also planning similar endeavours.
What is the takeaway you have had from this experience?
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing live sound, the learning process goes on and on as long as you allow it to do so.
Pushing Faders Facebook
Pushing Faders on Youtube channel