With no less than the combined forces of former GMA network executive Wilma Galvante and respected film and TV director Mac Alejandre, all eyes are on “Artista Academy”, TV5’s newest talent search that will kick off with a massive one-time grand audition at the Smart Araneta Coliseum this coming June 19.
During a press conference launching the much anticipated reality talent competition Wednesday afternoon, Galvante, Alejandre, and TV5 head for creative and entertainment production Perci Intalan presented and discussed the concept, details and parameters behind “Artista Academy” and what everyone can expect from it.
“’Artista’ Academy’ is a partnership between TV5 and the Asian Academy of Television Arts headed by Ms. Wilma Galvante,” Intalan revealed. “This is a massive search for young showbiz aspirants who are in the ages 16 to 21 years old that have the looks, charm, potential and determination to go through a rigorous and extensive curriculum-based training under the AATA after which they will emerge as professional actors armed with the right attitude and acting versatility to make it in this industry.”
In addition to getting a full scholarship from the AATA and undergoing comprehensive training with the best mentors in the industry, the 16 finalists that will be chosen from the grand audition will also vie for Best Actor and Best Actress honors who will win P20 million worth of prizes including lead roles in a future teleserye.
“This is by far the biggest amount in total prizes offered by any competition in Philippine TV history,” Intalan enthused. “This is real fame, fortune and stardom.”
When asked how “Artista Academy” differs from other reality talent searches on TV, most notably ABS-CBN’s now discontinued “Pinoy Dream Academy”, Intalan said the big difference lies with the partnership with AATA, which offers what he describes as “real training in a real academy for our future stars.”
Galvante, who calls herself a “Kaklase” of the Kapatid Network and is officially the designated Principal of “Artista Academy”, added that the AATA has been a project of hers since February this year but could not realize it because she was still working “full time with a network.”
“Now that that network is part of my past life, I’m now bringing my experience and learnings to the AATA and to ‘Artista Academy’,” she declared.
For his part, Direk Mac Alejandre, who now heads TV5 Talent Center, stressed that while a good part of the curriculum is devoted to honing the finalists’ acting, singing and dancing skills, a significant part will also cover personality development, image-building and English proficiency.
As to the composition of the faculty of “Artista Academy”, Alejandre announced that they will include multi-awarded director Joel Lamangan, music master Louie Ocampo, and dance guru Georcelle Dapat of G Force. Galvante added that even the less prominent names among the mentors are also among the best in their respective fields.
In response to the question of whether the talent search is limited only to purely amateur talents with no professional experience, Intalan said that those who have had bit roles in teleseryes or have joined other reality shows in the past are also welcome to join the grand audition.
“As long as they have no contractual commitment or obligation to another network or production outfit, they can audition. Our priority, however, is on discovering and developing talents we can truly call our own,” he pointed out.
Veteran movie scribe Mario Bautista expressed his reservation with the “cattle call” system to be employed by “Artista Academy” and suggested that it might be a better idea to take a more direct approach to finding the right talent, such as talking to scouts and talent managers as well as attending events like the recently concluded Philippine Fashion Week which highlight models with untapped talent potential.
Intalan retorted by saying that TV5 has in fact deployed scouts around the country and are constantly meeting talent managers for this purpose.
Galvante and Alejandre were quick to defend the cattle call system.
“This is where Mark Herras, Jennilyn Mercado, Angel Locsin and Aljur Abrenica were all discovered. They were all walk-in auditioners,” Galvante recalled.
“Look at Alden Richards, he was rejected by everyone else he tried to audition for. I was the only one who accepted him,” Alejandre shot back. “You know, even if we find only one true talent out of 10,000 who auditioned for this, then all of our efforts would have been worth it.”