Friday, December 11, 2009

Super Inggo at ang Super Tropa Production Notes: Mainstream Versus Indie

The discussion goes on:

This is a early ratings. I would like to see the rating after ep 10 and so forth. People may start looking at this out of curiosity, so we can't trust the data yet.

Of course, people are looking at it out of curiosity. That’s always the first thing any new show tries to achieve, to get humongous ratings for the first few episodes and hopefully hook the audience and make them love the characters and the story enough for them to stay. After episode 10 are episodes 11 to 13. Pinoy TV series only have 13 episodes per season.

I am reviewing this as an Anime Enthusiast. I am not surprised, nor un aware of the market share of Anime in our country. Much more for dub animes. So, I am speaking on behalf of the anime crowd who reads this.

You belittled Super Inggo at ang Super Tropa by calling it mediocre. For saying it’s not worth talking about. For implying that it’s not a big deal. Sure, it’s bakya and it’s not for the hardcore otaku. Sure, you have the right to air your own opinion about the show. But you’re being nearsighted. If you want to see truly awesome mainstream Pinoy cartoons within your lifetime, animated shows and movies that can compete with Western and Japanese products; and if you want to see a lot of them, not just a squirt every decade, you have to understand that it’s going to come from entities with the money to make them with regularity and the resources to promote them to ensure that they sell well. Like network TV. So the show IS a big deal. You don’t have to like it, sure, but dismissing it as unimportant in the development of the Pinoy animation industry is a grave error.

Then you write because of the money? Please, i understand that you need to put bread on the table. But, if you have a good story to tell, why don't you publish it on the internet? It may not give you a pay check, but once someone sees this as a good idea, people may start accepting it, and thus ends up being a trend. Social Media is a very good vector for New ideas, share them and let's see if the people will accept it.

The things I write and create for myself are out there and blessedly not earning me a single dime. I also blog. And I have no beef with that. But let’s go back to talking about animation…

I wrote about half of the series and supervised the stories and scripts of the other half as its head writer. I turned down a few more profitable teleseryes like The Wedding. In an industry where writers are a dime a dozen, that’s pretty insane. Does that imply that I write for television because of the money? Of course not. I wanted to make cartoons. I knew my creativity would be boxed by the requirements of commercial television but what the heck—I wanted to make cartoons. I wanted to be in the middle of it all where I can, bit by bit, inject the awesomeness I wanted to see. You’ll see that with the darker episodes in the series. I recognized that I wouldn’t be able to affect the development of Pinoy animation by pitching highfalutin concepts to non-mainstream entities that don’t have the money to produce animated series with regularity. If I wanted to be in it I had to work within the mainstream system.

But those were adaptations from the comic series. It's not a animated original series like dayo. I'm not a clairvoyant, but if you break the cycle, then it means you made a worthy achievement. Which is good for the local animation industry, and to the filipinos in general.

We are breaking the cycle by creating and airing an animated show that is so far selling well. Again, I’m pointing out that we’re setting the stage here. We’re providing the platform upon which the game will be played: We make this show and prove that it’s a sound investment to make an animated series. The other network does the same and attempts to make a better product. We improve our product or make a new, much better one to throw at the competition. So on and so forth. Animated shows emerge with regularity. Other outfits join in the fray. Filipino animators and writers get hired. Now let’s look at it from another attack: we make a really awesome animated series that otakus would cream their shorts over (believe me, we have mind-blowing concepts in our laptop hard drives just waiting for the opportune moment to be viable). The masses understand it about as much as Aling Bebang who sells fruit down the street understood what the heck Evangelion was about. The series flops because it’s only the otakus watching it. Advertisers won’t touch it. The network vows it’ll never make another animated show before 2019. We keep on watching foreign animation, dreaming that someday we will be able to contribute significantly to the art form. Everyone loses.

That's the reason why i appreciate Indi films more than the mainstream ones. Paranormal Activity only cost 50,000 to create, yet was able to achieve a box office sensation. Same goes for SAW. That was also the same reason that the people at Dayo told me when i asked them one time at Y4IT convention last September. It's not a matter of money, it's like people want instant gratification from their work. Like i told you above, use the internet at your advantage. Create a story, then publish it on youtube, or a blog.

Paranormal Activity, The Blair Witch Project, and Saw are extremely lucky breaks. They’re the US film industry’s version of a winning lottery ticket. For every Paranormal Activity there are a jillion abysmal indie flops. Commercial flops, of course. I’m not talking about artistic merit. Because of the track record of indie products commercially, the giant companies who have the money are not looking at them as worthy of big investment. I’ve had my share of hungry adventures when I was in Mowelfund so I’m not totally unfamiliar with the indie scene. It was there that I recognized that I must work within the system if I wanted Filipinos to watch more kickass stories. That’s how things will evolve: artists with new ideas applying them bit by bit within the mainstream.

Look, I’m not belittling Dayo’s contribution to the budding industry. Dayo is important. But its failure to make loads of money in the theaters only made producers even more scared of animated products. What we need right now are animated shows and movies that will make money so that producers would be easier to convince. That’s Super Inggo at ang Super Tropa’s job. A few more successful animated shows and producers might be more open to more daring projects.



  1. "I wrote about half of the series and supervised the stories and scripts of the other half as its head writer."

    I demand an obligatory Cthulhu episode, at the beach, with lots of loli tentacle action. Yes Squiddles, I know you want to.

  2. Me and writer Christian Vidallo actually wrote something almost exactly like that but network executives tortured us with bolt cutters until we revised it into an episode called Supah Ferwisyo. Watch out for it.