All posts by Web Master

Why Filipinos Love Koreanovelas

Filipinos love Korean pop culture, a fascinating realization when I got into the Philippines. From music to film to television, most observers pin the blame on Koreanovelas why the Latin American telenovelas’ popularity fizzled out.

It’s an interesting observation how, upon closer look, most of these K-Dramas (short for Korean dramas) have plots similar to local teleseries. If this would be the case, why most Filipinos are willing to turn their backs on local soap operas in favor of K-Dramas?

1. The plots are simpler.

Boy meets girl. They fall in love. They separate. Girl gets amnesia and they meet again. Boy is disheartened that his lady love can’t recognize him. Boy has a clingy admirer who acts as if she’s the girlfriend. Girl has a clingy admirer too. The only thing lacking are guns, goons and gold. And this is the plot of “Stairway to Heaven”.

Why Filipinos Love Koreanovelas
Stairway to Heaven cast; Image by Wikipedia

Switch the roles where it’s the boy who gets amnesia and girl is disheartened that he doesn’t recognize her. Same clingy baggage though. Same result – they still end up falling in love and the amnesiac ends up remembering everything. Still, no guns, goons and gold. And that’s the plot of “Winter Sonata”.

The closest thing that a K-Drama could get to a goon would be found in a different soap, “All About Eve”. Other goons are found in large numbers in sageuk dramas, the Korean equivalent of period dramas. In typical romance dramas like the 2 dramas mentioned as examples, if ever there is violence, it would be either the clingy girl or the clingy guy that would provide the action. No backup needed as either villain is already psycho.

2. It can get surreal without going too surreal.

Dead characters come back to life, new identities forged, babies switched and vengeance plotted. Just remove the baby-switching act and you have the gist for the hit K-Drama “Temptation of Wife”. Put back the baby-switching act and you get a nice summary of “East of Eden”. Both dramas are not fantasies.

Why Filipinos Love Koreanovelas
East of Eden title card; Image from Photobucket

It’s like having the mind-blowing plots of Melrose Place in a Korean setting, just remove the sex and skimpy clothing. Staged death scenes, cat fights and identity theft all in the course of presenting a story that’s beyond your imagination. It’s crazy but the kind of crazy where you can get some believable acting. In fact, some scenes are filled with restraint that it can get you thinking that no matter how stunned and shocked the characters are, the restraint is still there. Also, less guns, goons and gold for the same reason how psycho the villains already are. The only way the lead characters can possibly outplay the villain is by going crazier.

3. Familiar plots get tweaked

Usually, the adopted daughter is poor and her biological parents are rich. In “Autumn in my Heart”, it’s the rich girl who ends up adopted and the social climber classmate who hates her is the biological daughter. K-Drama doesn’t hesitate putting depressive spin on plots that we are already familiar with.

Why Filipinos Love Koreanovelas
Temptation of Wife title card; Image by Wikipedia

Also, “Temptation of Wife” is more like the classic Tagalog film “Babangon Ako’t Dudurugin Kita” (I Will Rise Up and Crush You). The man dumps his wife for a prettier and richer woman. Wife gets lost and finds fortune in her new household. She then uses her vast resources to avenge herself against her estranged husband and the woman who took him away from her. Again, no guns, goons and gold since all that is left for the estranged wife to do is watch the competition break down by itself. Also, she ends up falling for her knight-in-shining armor. At least she didn’t return to her husband after accomplishing the revenge plan.

4. Gender benders

While Japanese drama (or J-Drama) is already rich with gender-bending plots from manga. K-Drama has a way of making some remakes their own. It’s easy to see anyway how male Korean actors are so beautiful, they already look like androgynous models. So when “1st Shop of the Coffee Prince” (released in the Philippines as “Coffee Prince”) soared to the top of the ratings, you could tell how the market is ready for gender bender soaps.

The coffee shop owner wanted to avoid the dates that his grandmother keeps setting for him. So he asks his barista (that he mistook for a guy) to pretend to be his gay lover. The barista accepts the deal since she needs the money. Of course they fall in love which begs the question – if the barista is a guy for real, would the coffee shop owner still love him?

It’s the same conundrum that occurred in the K-Drama “You’re Beautiful”. A girl was asked to pretend to be his twin brother after the latter’s cosmetic surgery operation got botched. It was an ill-timed incident as he fronts a K-Pop band with a career ready to launch. The girl agreed since she thought she is helping her brother this way. She ends up getting too close with a band mate and you can see how effed up it could get.

Even the sageuk genre is not spared from the gender bender type of stories even just partly. The largely fictional version of the life of the Hermit Kingdom’s first ever female head of state, Queen Seon Deok, featured the young Deokman (the Queen’s nickname) as a street urchin who got into the palace and got passed off as a young boy. She entered the military and only discovered her true identity as the next in line to the throne. Of course her fellow private end up falling for her which really got him confused as to his sexuality. It must have been a big relief the moment he discovered the person he fell in love with is a woman after all.

Why Filipinos Love Koreanovelas

Predictability is good. But simplifying them because you have a story to tell instead of trying to improve an already interesting story is way better when it comes to presenting these KDramas. Luckily for the local productions though, the popularity of KDramas is already waning. It can be either saturation point or even Korean producers run out of tricks. Either way, most Filipinos today would still settle for the KDramas than what is offered at the moment on primetime TV because some story-tellers knew better how to present their productions. Could this be a new breed of colonial mentality?

Analyzing the difference between local soaps and K-Dramas helps learn about the market that it is catering too. It turned out to be more interesting than initially predicted. It must have been the final pointer that really set off the interesting factoids. I enjoyed scanning through the comparisons as much as you do. Just don’t forget to like my official Facebook page, Kuya Manzano FanClub. Gracias.

How to be a Good Actor

Please read the title again as I would like to make myself clear – I am offering advice on how to be a good actor, not how to be a major superstar. Before even aspiring for that lead role in your dream teleserie, ask yourself first if you have the talent. Be serious when you ask yourself that.

How to be a Good Actor

Know the difference between a celebrity and an actor. A celebrity does not always mean “actor” as this would often be defined by the media coverage you attract. An actor does not always mean “celebrity” as some of the most talented actors don’t even get the media mileage they deserve. In this vein, you should be aware that having the talent and the looks are not enough to make it big in Tinseltown.

If you see yourself acting professionally for the long term, you need to prepare yourself for failure. Besides, a long-term career as an actor is not always a guarantee. Even winning talent search competitions like StarStruck can’t guarantee the starring roles in soaps and meaty roles worth the awards. It even happened that some of the runners-up end up having better acting careers than the “grand winners”. And it all boils down to attitude.

How to be a Good Actor

You are never too good to skip workshops and training sessions. Sure, acting the part has an element of faking the emotions but that doesn’t mean you will just let it look fake. If you want to go the method acting route, go. But Anthony Hopkins mentioned the side effects of this routine that you can read here. If you’re willing to go miserable and grumpy for the sake of getting a role right, then suit yourself.

Then again, that’s where the workshops come in handy. You are not limited to only one role. If ever, you get to explore all kinds of roles by just letting it all out there. Versatility is good especially if you plan to overcome all objections and silence your critics to kingdom come. Who knows if you end up discovering your type of role?

How to be a Good Actor

Headshots are good since you need some photos to send to agencies. But a portfolio to back up the headshot attached in the email would be more than helpful. Experienced actors, even if an agency just saw your email, would be interested to screen you after you give them an idea of what you can do. First impressions come from the kind of headshots that are attached to your portfolio. But that doesn’t mean you’d ignore spicing up your portfolio too. Make it interesting. If ever, adjust it in a way that would get the agencies interested in hiring you by matching it to the vacant roles that they are trying to fill. Once an interview and screening is scheduled, you know you did your part well.

How to be a Good Actor

Opportunities don’t fall from trees. You find them. There are events that you can attend either for work or for leisure where you meet people within the same industry. It was mentioned in this article “Marketing Your Play: Questions That Shape The Vision”.

Events where you are plugging your project give you an opportunity to meet more people. Some might need actors for commercials, for short films or for feature films. Agents looking for someone to cast in a soap or a variety show might be there too apart from the press who knew someone somewhere somehow. A friend of a friend of a friend goes a long way and the next thing you know, you belong to the inner circle of the industry.

How to be a Good Actor

It’s mostly a social media thing. Some netizens, even if they meant just constructive criticism, still resort to creating dummy accounts so that their feedback will not be taken personally. On the other hand, some self-imposed critics lash out at certain actors for allegedly not having enough acting chops to dish out at a certain role. What if the role required restraint? What if there is no need for histrionics to come up with a believable performance?

Not everyone with a negative feedback meant ill intentions. Feedback is the best way where you can tell if you did a certain role right or if the acting is believable. Believability as opposed to exaggerated theatrics still wins the day. Learning to differentiate the honest comments from comments that just wanted to ruin your day is the clue when it comes to finding ways to improve your craft. There will always be negative feedback, ill intentions and dementors (to borrow that term from Harry Potter) that will eat your happiness. But in the middle of all that crap, genuine feedback still exists. That’s where you start to view your craft artistically then.

How to be a Good Actor

There was a manager who was blunt enough to tell her ward “Let’s be honest here. You don’t look nice. You look like a brat with nothing good to do. Accept villain roles and see yourself getting employed constantly”. It risked getting the actress typecast into villain roles in teleseries but she eventually learned the type of roles that suited her. While as an actor, you will not always be stuck in a certain kind of role, much of your repertoire will lean towards it simply because of the way that you look and the skill that back up the look.

Some actors start out as “character actors”. A few of them transcend into becoming lead actors themselves despite less change in facial features or very minor tweaks in the way that they act. In other words, actors like Jeremy Renner still end up getting badass roles despite getting catapulted into lead roles. You may have noticed that in “The Avengers”. Whether he’s on Loki’s side or on The Avengers’ side, his role did not wimp out or go “lamya” mode.

On the other hand, some character actors don’t succeed when trying to go the lead role route. Remember that villain on the film version of “The Count of Monte Cristo”? That’s Guy Pearce, the same actor that bagged the lead role for the underrated sci-fi film “Lockout”. While his strong features meant more villain roles (because he eventually bagged the villain role for “Iron Man 3), he didn’t get typecast in them. He was also on “The Adventures of Priscilla” playing the role of Felicia. Did he end up finding his type of role? Yes. Let’s just say he’s more memorable in baddie roles. The fact that he accepts them meant that he has acknowledged the kind of roles that suited him.

Acting is such a complicated profession. You practice the art of faking your emotions while looking genuine in them. Nevertheless it is a craft worth preserving and harnessing if you plan to do this professionally. I hope I helped you get an idea about acting as a passion. And while you’re at it, please click “Like” on my official Facebook page, Kuya Manzano FanClub. See you around.

How to be a Good Singer

Learning how to be a good singer is better than just learning how to belt out the high notes. If you plan to take a professional career when it comes to singing, the tips below would be very helpful to guide you on that journey.

How to be a Good Singer

The last kind of inconvenience you need is a dry throat. If non-performers would need plenty of water to keep themselves hydrated, what more for singers with a budding career? It would be difficult to dish out the needed notes in a song when you’re struggling with a dry throat. A dry throat is often a precursor to difficulty in the air passages due to lack of moisture. Keeping it moist would extend the moisture to the mouth and help a superfluous flow of air and voice – both elements that are crucial in delivering a credible or at least a decent performance.

And in saying water, it means not coffee or alcohol prior to a performance. You may have heard about some performers that can’t perform much when not drunk. Confidence has to be natural, not reliant on substances like alcohol. So might as well go with water. Make it at least 2 liters a day.

How to be a Good Singer

Dairy products like cheese in sandwiches and ice cream. No chocolate either. You can have that chocolate candy bar another day like the day after a performance. Before that, it would cause excess mucus secretion on the throat linings. It irritates the throat enough to make you cough or have some “paos” moments in the middle of the song. It happens in some occasions and the performer realizes it too late. But you can avoid such incidents from happening in your own event if you could avoid the confectionery at least 24 hours prior to that performance.

How to be a Good Singer

After an advice on how to avoid irritating your throat, the next sensible body part that you need to take care of is your pair of lungs. You may have read about chest resonance as an important skill that you need to harness within your body. It’s hard to achieve appropriate chest resonance when you’re damaging your own lungs.

Some singers managed to get away with smoking onstage in the middle of a performance. But the long-term effects became evident years after they did it. Shortness of breath, tightness in the chest and other negative effects of smoking that transcended into the vocal chords can be heard in how some of them sing their songs. If you would like to have a raspy voice to go with your rock repertoire, then stick to a rock repertoire. Just be reminded though that not everyone that smokes achieves the desired quality of a rock-ready raspy voice.

How to be a Good Singer

Breathing exercises are not limited to meditation sessions. Such rituals exist for performers too especially those who are reliant on their vocal chords for a credible performance. To test yourself if you have breathed well enough, try sitting upright – the stomach-in-chest-out type of posture. Then breathe in within 2 seconds. Exhale the next 2 seconds. Try counting the seconds from one to four when trying to breath in and out – 2 seconds to inhale and 2 seconds to exhale. And breathe through your nose instead of your mouth. Collecting oxygen for your lungs would be better that way.

Stomach resonance, chest resonance and head resonance – all these factors get fixed after constant breathing practice. Better air flow right from the bottom of your diaphragm to your nose and mouth conditions the upper body for a performance. Once breathing gets smoother. better vocal power is harnessed. This would mean less incidents of shortness of breath in congruence with keeping your throat hydrated for the next performance.

How to be a Good Singer

You don’t have to sing daily on an hourly basis. And it’s not because “Practice makes perfect; nobody’s perfect so don’t practice”. It’s because, to quote Placido Domingo in his episode at HBO’s Masterclass “We live with the instrument”. When you are a performer, your voice is not just a voice anymore. It’s an instrument that you use to entertain people. Whether you take care of it or not, wear-and-tear issues will set in. Of course, the wear-and-tear issues will surface earlier if you don’t take care of your vocal chords well enough. It’s also the quickest way to develop lymph nodes. Some opera singers still have a career to come back to but they don’t always sound the same as prior to the operation. That should serve as a cautionary tale to everyone who is fond of over-singing.

Glad to be of help to everyone in need of singing tips. Don’t forget to like my official Facebook page, Kuya Manzano FanClub, for constant updates. See you next article.