Tuesday, April 24, 2012


2005, Interview Session
After months of longing for home-cooked meals, dining with family members and hearing a stretch of stories peppered with gossips and animated re-enactments from my siblings and cousins, I will be back in the Philippines for a three-week vacation. To say that I'm excited is just an understatement.

Whenever I stay in the Philippines for either a short or long vacation (personal or school-related), I observed that exaggerations play an important role in Philippine Entertainment Television shows. As a former writer and producer in the kapamilya network, and now that I've been away for the country for more than four years now, I've observed that scripting has never changed especially on Teaser of Shows and Spiels during live shows, except that there's a mention of trending, Facebook, blogs, etc, which showcase participatory or civil engagement.

Read on to know the Top 15 words or phrases (that I think) which Philippine Entertainment Television use a lot to convey goodness and happiness (and most of the time mislead), which make viewers watch out and follow shows.

On Location! Feeling Camerman!
When I was starting in ABS-CBN as a writer, my boss once told me that I write like a poet. While he had no issues on my grammar, he pointed out that I need to change the style and tone of my writing. As he told me, "Nagsusulat ka sa telebisyon at hindi tumutula o nakikipagbalagtasan."

I couldn't blame my boss about his views of writing for television. The television industry has been scripted with a unique and creative tone that's different from literary genres; scripting has to be exciting, bigger and bolder. In my understanding, there's some exaggerations to get a viewer's attention.

Back in college, I was a literary writer. It was only in my third year when I had TV and radio scriptwriting classes. It was only then that I learned to tweak my writing style.

In TV writing, especially for variety and info-tainment shows, with a limited air time, a writer is tasked to produce a short, direct to the point and snappy yet creative scripts. Imagine, in 30 seconds or less, the challenge is how to grab you viewer's attention.

My experiences as a TV writer has helped me to become a creative advertising writer. Through exposure in live and studio shoots, I am able to play around with themes and approaches in writing. In print advertising, while you have the headline and the copy, television scripts have the audio and video component which is detailed with graphics, voice overs, and a slew of visual alternations.

Let me share to you the TOP 15 magical words or phrases that you hear in Philippine Television which serve as "spices" in making teasers and artists' spiel more exciting and juicy.

1. "PINAKA." The prefix "Pinaka" is one of the most abused words in Philippine Entertainment Television scriptwriting. In most shows, they use the prefix in endless styles. For example, pinaka-aabangan, pinaka-tutukan, pinaka-maganda, pinakabago, pinakamainit, etc. That's what you call "hype" to stand out.

2. "TAMBALAN NG TAON" or "LOVE TEAM NG TAON." Love teams are inevitable in television shows. Whether it's in a drama series or in some gossip shows, love teams are present to attract viewer's attention and create buzz and ratings. In this light, television scripts, which highlight love teams, mention "Tambalan ng Taon" for most of the time. But what's interesting is that for the next few months, writers will use again "TAMBALAN NG TAON" to highlight a new rising "Love team." Isn't it weird? They can just write it as "LOVETEAM NG BUWAN" or "TAMBALAN NG BUWAN." Parang flavor of the month lang at hindi ng taon.

3. "ANG PINAKAKAABANGAN MUKHA SA TELEBISYON." We always hear this especially if there's an upcoming show which will feature "rising stars." 

4. "DI MO DAPAT PALAMPASIN" or "WAG MAGPAHULI." To make that urgency among viewers, scriptwriters are tasked to use the phrase "di mo dapat palampasin."Given this statement, the viewers are invited to not miss the upcoming show - drama, variety, series, or lifestyle shows. That in analysis, you'll be left behind if you don't get to watch such show.

5. "SAMAHAN SINA _______." One of the most inviting phrase is "Samahana sina (insert name of celebrities)." Through this statement, television shows or teasers create a connection among viewers. A viewer is treated as one of the critical or significant player in the success of the show.

6. "GABI-GABI KANG (INSERT EMOTION). Phrases could go as "Gabi gabi kang paiiyakin" or "Gabi gabi kang patatawanin." Such phrases play around with not only the human emotion but it establishes consistency of what television shows can offer to regular viewers.

7. "PINAGUUSAPAN." When a show becomes the talk of the town, surely that producers wear a big smile on their face. Shows that become popular are those that rate, get more advertisers and profit.

8. "BUONG BAYAN." Come to think of it, television companies do not even have statistics that "Buong Bayan" is tuned in to a specific show yet scripting uses "Buong bayan." What's more interesting is the usage of "Buong bayan" as synonymous to "Buong Pilipinas."

9. "SUBAYBAYAN." While there's the word "Follow" which is popularized by Twitter, Philippine Entertainment Television (as I observe) uses the word "Subaybayan" or "Follow."In most drama shows or reality TV shows, "subaybayan" is primarily used.

10."NAGTEXT ANG BAYAN." Still related with the concept of "bayan" as synonymous to covering the whole country, "nagtext ang bayan" emerges through the popularization and incorporation of mobile phones or sms via voting in television talent searches. While there's no actual statistics to prove, scriptwriting uses the "Nagtext ang bayan" to shorten the possible huge numbers or list of places that actually vote.

11. "HATOL." In most competitions, the final result is the much awaited. In reality TV, what viewers do not know that producers actually influence and manipulate the results. To pacify the debates in results, some shows use the phrase, "Hatol ng Bayan." The "bayan" is placed as the judge where in fact the real faces behind the results are the producers of the show, who has nothing in mind but to entertain people and generate profit through ratings and ads.

12. HOTTEST, LATEST, NEWEST. Because television shows delve on what's the hottest and latest, such words are abused as well in scriptwriting. No wonder, apart from TV's system on selling "fresh" talents or products, TV also "re-sells" products (such as celebrities in the past) in a new or revamped image. As such you'll hear, "ipinakikilala" or "ang nagbabalik telebisyon."

13. "PASABOG." The word "pasabog" is always used in entertainment shows, specifically gossip-packed formats. From the word "Sabog" or explosion, viewers are attracted to check on big revelations that may (sa ilusyon) may affect someone's lives.

14. "EXCLUSIVE." We get first and you heard it here, first. First, first, and first. That's what an inside scoop is all about. So once a show put the word "exclusive," viewers become glued on the show as it's the only source where they can get and process the "chika."

15. ABANGAN. The word "abangan" is widely used in scripting especially in teasers and cliffhangers. In context, viewers are engaged to "watch out" for more episodes or upcoming projects.

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