Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Project 365 (348/365): On Philippine TV Magic

.:348/365: On Philippine TV Magic:.

There’s a lot of magic on Philippine television lately, and in this case, I’d want to focus mainly on non-exposure features of magic, for starters.

Philippine TV has had its fair share of magic programs, whether they be full-blown TV specials, or even regular TV shows. Currently, Wow, Meganon has segments featuring Jeff Tam and Wanlu, albeit Wanlu has focused on his ventriloquism at this point.

Nonetheless, there has been a lot of television airtime featuring magic from Filipinos, and it’s a bit funny and sad that in terms of fresh ideas, the regular TV shows have a lot more of them than the TV specials, seeing how nearly every single TV special aired so far has been a spiritual ripoff of a western one, and that practically every single effect that has been performed has been done before in a western one. It’s not even just the fact that these effects have been shown before, it’s that all the pizzazz and sizzle from the previous ones were stripped away in the localized performances.

Newsflash: one doesn’t need high production values to make an effect theirs, no matter who else did it first. It’s a bit disappointing to find how uncreative things can get, when a simple brainstorm between myself and Jay Mata for the Christmas show yielded us the perfect hook for our prediction finale. That didn’t even take much time from us, and yet we already had an original spin to a classic effect, which I honestly found to be disappointing.

That being said, there’s no question that Philippine TV magic has been getting better and better as the years go by. Slicker production values, more cutting-edge effects, and in the positive cases, a very respectful sendup to magic as an art form. You can’t really ask for more from the good ones, but the bad ones tend to leave a lot to be desired, and would almost make you long for more exposure shows instead, because at least, the masked magician does the magic well before he tells you how it’s done.

There’s a lot of room for growth in terms of Philippine TV magic, and perhaps, come next year, we just might get it. Let me state for the record that I felt my guestings on Ruffa and Ai as well as The Sweet Life were among my best mainstream guestings mainly because I really felt that they respected magicians as a whole. We were treated humanely, and nobody once walked up to us and asked if what we did were merely tricks, and they never even called what we did “tricks,” for that matter. Come to think of it, except for maybe one guesting on a show I’d rather name, I had very good experiences with each of my guestings, and the last one I had, where I was featured on Tek Tok TV courtesy of Vince and Hannah, where I actually went and paralyzed the latter for a few moments, was one for the ages.

Overall, there isn’t much difference between the magic we see on Philippine television to those abroad. Production values shouldn’t be that important to begin with outside of good camera shots, because really, if you’re not Criss Angel, you should really be doing TV magic that can still be done live. Unless you want to do a silly teleportation effect you’d have trouble selling as legit.

One thing I wish magic spectators did more on Philippine TV, though, was to be more like the Japanese who practically shriek at every single magic effect, male or female. To be fair, though, compared to Japanese audiences, any other audience is practically stoic right next to them. Weirdly enough, the Japanese are traditionally quiet when watching wrestling. Go figure.

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