Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Better than "triumphing over evil" is "actually doing something good"

I was with Baguio Insider's Lisa Araneta at Alfredo's last night and apart from the very interesting politics in the Cordilleras (that most people seem oblivious to), we talked about the most recent "triumph over evil" and the bigger job of "actually doing good."

Temporarily suspending everything else that can be said about the current administration, I'd like to point out that  the administration seemed quite responsive to the issue raised against Willie Revillame and his show Willing Willie.  The DSWD and the MTRCB stepped up on this issue -- but all the while, I was wondering, what did the KBP do about it? 

I mean, PANA registered its stand on the issue but KBP seemed quiet on this one -- or perhaps, I missed it.

Anyway, having worked in two TV stations and several video production houses that produced TV shows, I know it is easier to stop running a TV show than it is to build one up.

I can mention at least two TV shows that I was involved in as writer/director/producer.  One was "Slipstream" by Race Fans Incorporated which was intended to be a "Tunervision meets Beavis and Butthead" TV show on Philippine Circuit racing and another was "Gene's Cuisine" produced by Des Ching's Gemitry Productions with Chef Gene Gonzales.

And I can tell you, everyone involved in both productions gave everything they could to make the shows as good as they can.  The producers made the pitches to advertisers and brought in the funds, the production crew wrote, shot, and edited the show, the hosts tried their best to deliver an interesting performance each time we shot, and everyone else helped towards making a good show.  But despite all the best efforts, the two shows eventually had to sign off for one reason or another.

A TV show (like a blog) is something that you learn to love like a child and when it comes time to let go, it can be a very emotional thing.  Then again, as far as cutting continued losses are concerned, I think the decision to stop airing a show is an easier one than figuring out where else to get funding or where else to cut costs.

Right now, I think that it has been proven that writing to advertisers and relevant government agencies can stop a show from being aired.

What I am wondering about is whether the same energy can be harnessed to keep really good shows afloat or make really good TV shows on TV gain the audience that it needs to remain afloat.

At this point, I think a discussion with Better Philippines over good Filipino films contains a couple of good points and the chief one that I can remember right now is actually question that he asked me: "Do you even watch enough Filipino Films in order to make a credible comment on the state of the Filipino Film industy?"

I had to admit... I only watch the trailers on TV, but rarely do I go out of my way to spend a hundred or more bucks to watch one.  Did I watch Rosario? Nope.  Did I watch any of the critically acclaimed Filipino films? Nope.

But the patronage of good films is a more direct way of supporting it.  On the other hand, patronizing good television shows follows a more indirect path.

One solution that has been applied to Filipino music is the requirement that all radio stations play at least one  OPM or one song made by a Filipino every hour.  It has its good points and bad points.

One is that it automatically gives exposure to Filipino musical artists and perhaps with enough exposure.  On the other hand, like a dole out, it gives something unearned and it is doubtful that mere exposure will lead to a TV show getting an audience.

I mean, jeez, what if it's like Manoling Morato's "Dial M".  If none of you have heard of that show, that alone can prove my point.

Hmmm...  Moving on...

The thing is the days of TV being a tool for informing and educating the masses seems to be over -- long over.   

Whereas before, one of the points given to coming up with a Tagalog newscast or vernacular newscasts was so that the ordinary citizen would tune in to the news and thereby become more informed -- perhaps, even educated in certain ways.

But at some point, when Marimar together with slew of tele-novelas came about and dislodged TV News (as well as Public Affairs).  News and Public Affairs, which actually was the former king of all networks back then, started airing either before or after primetime.

At some point the networks, revived by the Aquino Administration, had changed its mission from creating an informed citizenry to serving up whatever draws the biggest audience and thereby, the biggest earnings.

Even News and Public Affairs had to be remodeled into a more marketable form.  Hence the aberration of TV News Anchors being depicted ala CSI or some other proto-typical hero in a spy-action movie.  News and Public Affairs was no longer News and Public Affairs... It was News as Entertainment and entertainment, not in the classical sense, but news that titillated and aroused base interests -- sex, violence, greed, etcetera.


Anyway, here's what I am really wondering about.

Can TV networks and perhaps all media organizations actually band together in a common mission to fix the dysfunctions of Filipino culture?


Anonymous said...


bp said...

the tv networks are in this industry to make money. nothing wrong with that.

i think the solution is simple.

they can still continue to produce their standard fare: game shows, telenovelas, etc. they need only adjust the values they promote in these programs.

take for example willing willie. i don't see any reason why it can be used to promote good values when it's really very, very simple.

instead of rewarding dramatic back sotires and stupid behavior why not reward real brilliance.

pattern the contests on quiz shows. omit the portion where the contestants have to say something dramatic about their lives. give out rewards for achievement.

the idea that the audience should even lift a finger to support worthwhile shows is a cop-out to me. producers should stretch their imaginations and figure out a way to make their programs attractive and profitable while slipping in some good values in there.

their in this business so it's their problem figuring out how to attract people to their product.

of course they can easily say that what we're offering right now, which is crap, is what sells. that's a cop out.

with regard to newscasts, i recommend the following book:


it basically proves that tv newscasts don't have to be the way they are right now. read the reviews to find out more.

as for the entertainment programs. i dare say that our tv producers are just taking the easy way. they're just proving that they lack imagination.

now, the other idea about tv networks banding together for a common goal. now that's a good idea.

they can do this while maintaining competition. banding together could simply mean agreeing to certain standards.

i for one would like to see the networks agree to the following:

that english language programming should not be dubbed to tagalog.

that emphasis should not be on dramatic, sob stories but on how people triumph over challenges.

that newscasts should be rid of showbizy elements. that back to basics straightforward news is better.

that newscasters and reporters are not supposed to be celebrities.

that victim mentality should not be promoted and encouraged.

etcetera, etcetera.

it should be easy for them to come up with a complete list of guidelines and standards. they need only envision what sort of culture filipinos need to have so that this country of ours will become truly great.

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