The strange fading in the number of entertainment producers hereabouts gave diminished leisurely activities around town leaving concertgoers with no choice but to settle for home movies and outdoor fun. The unexpected paucity of concert producers could possibly be due to the high cost of production packages that previously incurred voluminous pecuniary loss on their part and the indolence of others to take that excruciating travel time to the concert venues.

Call it ambitious and ruthless but dipping one’s hand into concert production is one hell of an investment. Just like any other businesses, it takes a heart of stone and a strappingly driven will-power to be able to sustain the painstaking demands of this trade… not to mention the related convolution and intense day-to-day quandaries one has to face.

All these and more await on the lap of the producer concerned and to minimize the pressure of burden, a production is normally operated by more than one individual.

Investors or partners are invited to form a solid power to activate and control the established entity.

Since the dawn of time, the partnership of husband and wife had existed and “living” together beyond the environs of their domicile wasn’t new at all. The couple’s tandem builds a more intimate relationship that becomes the paramount foundation to accomplish amazing things and achieve unimaginable success drawn from a common interest.

Despite the current bleak trend and dubious scenario, husband and wife tandem of Roberto “Ogie” Mendoza and Melissa Rubio Mendoza dauntlessly faced the challenge, unmindful of dispiriting words from fretful associates, and hand-in-hand they established Mountaintop Productions, LLC.

“Actually it was somewhat to give way to my husband’s inclination towards music. He has that innate fascination and love of music… although we were already involved in a few concert productions earlier,” Mel shared, readily clearing the air in between sips of iced tea.

“We started as merely co-producers with Luxen Entertainment, an LA-based production company owned by a friend… just to test the waters. We have staged concerts that featured Basil Valdez, JaDine loveteam, Erik Santos and Angeline Quinto, and The Stylistics… and found out it was emotionally fulfilling and lucrative, as well,” Ogie said, instantaneously augmenting his wife’s statement.

Commonly, silent competition and power struggles often arise between people in cases like this but not with Ogie and Mel. The dynamics and tensions of working together could swing out of control at any given situation especially upon coming home from work and family matters have to be addressed simultaneously. How does the Mendoza couple face such situation?

“In times like these, we tried to keep our cool and prioritize what is best. We handle it with utmost caution and keenness,” Mel replied glancing at Ogie who merely cast a wink in conformity.

It is inevitable to incur conflicts between couple partners where addressing it is indispensable in order to keep communications open for harmonious set-up and smooth implementation and operation. What could be their secret formula to relentlessly staying pleasantly together?

The couple exchanged meaningful momentary looks as if trying to gauge who’d react first… then Ogie took the table. “There’s no secret formula in harmoniously handling a partnership business, it’s all about knowing each other’s capability, aware of each other’s responsibility, setting together the company’s aims and goals, and acknowledging each other’s idea and suggestions.”

Mel, who was zealously all ears to every word her husband had to say, couldn’t just remain silent and blurted in a low but audible tone. “If I may add, we both have to swallow our own ego and pride sometimes and realized how much better the business would be with each other’s input. We also try – not really try – but earnestly compliment one’s strong point,” she added to fortify her hubby’s pronouncement.

Many would want to believe that the couple behind Mountaintop has good organizational dexterousness instinctively equipped with a diplomatic demeanor and great marketing skills due to the unprecedented successes of their produced concerts: Regine Velasquez-Ogie Alcasid at the Townhall in Times Square and just recently, “This 15 Me” (Sarah Geronimo) at the Colden Auditorium in Queens, NY.

Personally, I guess their inherent charisma and tactful interpersonal relations facilitated a lot to catapult them where they are as the current most thriving show producers.

Although this writer has long been aware how concert production runs but for the benefit of acquiring more information and personal know-how, I curiously queried about how the enterprising duo operates the business.

“Actually, we rely on our instincts and initially figure out the concept and full repertoire of the show being offered by the promoter before greatly relying on concert-goers’ opinion,” Mel started with exactitude and calmness, and continued: “I believe the public’s pulse has to be taken with utmost consideration since they are the ones who would patronize the show. Then, once cleared with the possibility of accepting the offer we scout for the perfect venue that is accessible to the public and that meets the demands of the production.”

“We are literally hands-on in all aspects and in the entire process of production. I like to believe we are not really good at it but we’re gradually learning the ropes of the trade… and getting familiar with every detail, the pros and cons, and having the real “feel” of it now,” Ogie, who has been just calm and listening, appended with candor.

After all has been assessed from project management, booking big name stars, budgeting, marketing, talent procurement, venue, technical aspect, ticketing, security, sponsorship, logistics, legal matters, and other demands of production, Ogie and Mel could not just be in a corner and wait for what will ensue.

“Believe it or not but I handled backstage situation to ensure a smooth flow of the show, supervised the technical and staffing aspects and attended to the last minute changes. I could not afford to stay unruffled in a nook. But what gave me a sigh of relief was when I peeped through the curtains and saw a full-packed audience. Instantly I regained strength and my spirits soared high,” Mel said, sounding thrilled but controlled.

After an almost five-month project preparation and execution, how does the couple get rewarded?

Ogie voluntarily responded hastily. “Being able to achieve our goals, box-office-wise, is already a significant feat we’ll try to replicate in our next project. It was a rewarding accomplishment for all our efforts and hard work. But the sweet feel of success could only be fully appreciated when shared with the people who helped us in the promotion and production. We duly recognized everybody’s effort that contributed to the success of the show. We celebrated it with an intimate gathering at home,” he said.

Mel won’t be left unheard. “Upon reaching another significant milestone and as soon as we settled every post-production responsibility we are accountable of, we took a breather and enjoyed the thanksgiving celebration with family, staff, and friends,” she quipped.

If there’s one major advice they could give to a couple who want to enter into a business partnership of any kind, what could it be?

“Put your trust in each other’s capability … listen and respect each other’s opinion, and enjoy each other’s company, and while working and pitting talents and skills try to discover each other’s strength and weakness,” Mel said, giving her share based from her own experience.

“We create our own spaces. Being business partners doesn’t mean we have to be together all the time. We focus on specific spot and worked on it separately. After an argument on a goal, heated or mere petty, we tried to patch it instantly and come up with a productive result that will be beneficial for us and the company. We could not allow atrocious emotions to affect us since we’ll be both retiring on the same bed,” Ogie responded.

After having learned about the couple’s business acumen and skillful stratagem, knowing them up-close and personal will indubitably offer a more interesting insight of who really are they in person. Let’s get deeper into the subject.

It was easy for the couple to meet since destiny had it that they both went to the same school, UST – he, in the College of Fine Arts (Commercial Fine Arts and Advertising, 1980) while she at the College of Education (BSE-HE, 1982).

The inevitable introduction happened in her dorm when Ogie came along with his brass band members one evening… and that ignited the spark. The following day Ogie came back alone aptly armed with his “spotless” intention over Mel and before too long the two became an item after a six-month courtship.

Ogie (the eldest son of Salvador and Mamerta Ramirez Mendoza from Lucena City)  and Mel (the 4th among the 5 children of Reynerio Rosales Rubio and Monina Madrid Rubio of Pilar, Sorsogon) exchanged “I Do’s” at the Pope Pius Cathedral on July 16, 1977.

In 1985 the proverbial search for “greener pasture” enthusiastically induced Ogie to try his luck in NY where he was employed as Logistic Supervisor at Yamato Transport and the following year, Mel followed leaving behind their two kids and her teaching job at the Avanceña High School.

Their youngest child saw the first ray of light in 1990 after which their two children came and completed the family picture.

Currently, while Ogie and Mel are both with steady jobs, their children are all grown up coping  with a lifestyle close to their parents’ and treading the right track Ogie and Mel had traveled…after all, it was them who coined the family’s business entity, Mountaintop Entertainment Productions, LLC.

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