Although the search is slated to begin airing in July, as early as now, each of the mentors have already spent days screening tens of thousands of hopefuls coming from all over the Philippines.
Last June 20, Roderick Paulate was at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall for the call-back screening of those who were shortlisted during the Metro Manila/NCR audition held in the same venue last Tuesday and Wednesday. It was the last of a series of auditions for Protégé held at various key cities in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Talking about how he feels being part of Protege, Roderick said the he is enjoying the job and is very excited because he will be working with his closest friends in the industry as a fellow mentor.
“Excited din ako na makakuha ng isang magaling na artista. Fulfillment rin sa akin yun kung sakali na masasabi kong ako ang naging mentor niyan.”
He may be a seasoned actor and certainly has the right and ability to mentor a protege but he admits that he still feels “tensed” about the work ahead.
“Mejo nakaka-tense din sa part namin as mentors kasi we don’t have much time. Although alam na din naman namin ang mga responsibility namin, sa loob ng time lang na binibigay sa amin, e kailangan maka-tulong na kaagad kami sa mga magiging protege,” said the comedian.
Although he is very busy with both his TV show “Tweets For My Sweet” and his job as a public servant, Roderick said that he will find time for his protege and that he will take his job as mentor very seriously.
“Aside from having fun, gusto ko rin talagang seryosohin e, gusto kong tignan kung sino yung magiging pride and fulfillment din namin na maka-come up kami ng new breed of artists tapos makakuha tayo ng mga magagaling na madedevelop natin talaga for GMA-7,” he said.
Since the search is basically a battle among the mentors’ proteges, should viewers also expect it to be a tense competition among the mentors?
“Actually kaya din ako excited kasi parang kumpetisyon among the mentors din ang magiging tema [ng show], so kailangan makakuha kami ng mga magagaling na artista na bata pa lamang pero masasabi nating malaki ang potential at panlaban talaga. That’s why siguro ‘pag nakapili ako kaagad, I will really talk to them. Kakausapin ko talaga sila na ka-careerin natin ito at aalamin kung sino talaga yung lalabas na magsa-shine sa kanila,” he said.
Is physical appearance a factor that he considers in looking for proteges?
“Of course, ever since naman dito sa entertainment industry, plus factor talaga yung maganda, gwapo, yung may tindig, yung looks, yung height. But aside from that, hahanapin ko talaga yung may acting ability, para naman yung character niya, hindi lang siya maganda, may texture din, may kakaiba sa kanya na dapat ilabas dun sa batang yun,” Roderick said.
“Kasi kung puro maganda lang ‘yan mejo maraming papalit na maganda e. Kung guwapo lang yan, maraming papalit na guwapo sa susunod,” he added.
What characteristics does he look for in a protege?
“Naniniwala ako na ang hinahanap ko dito yung tatagal sa industriya. Na sasabihin niyang ‘I am an actress and also a star.’ Yun ang gusto ko, yung hindi lang pang-star, yung pang-actress din na talagang maipagmamalaki natin.
“I really believe na itong industriya natin, kailangang tulungan natin na makapag-produce ng mga magagaling na artista, hindi lang mga cute o magaganda,” said Roderick.
Even before the screening began, Roderick already gave the aspirants a very helpful piece of advise:
“Ang sabi ko naman sa kanila, ilabas nila yung totoong personality nila. Ang importante, alam nila ang talent nila. Yun naman ang number one na pakiusap ko: ‘pag umakyat ka sa stage at nag-audition ka, siguraduhin mong meron kang talent, siguraduhin mong meron kang ibibigay sa tao.”
Roderick feels sorry for those who, unfortunately, didn’t make it to the screening. He genuinely empathize with them since he, too, was once rejected on his first audition.
“Ako, na-turn down din ako before e. Yung una kong audition rejected ako e,”
Asked why he had to audition when in fact he has done lead roles in his past films, he said: “Baliktad ako e, nag-bida muna ako tapos nag-audition. Noong araw kasi, yung mga artista, nag-o-audition pa rin parang Hollywood. Nung pangalawang pelikula ko, nag-audition kami nun ni Gina Alajar, yung ‘Kaibigan Ko Ang Sto. Nino.”
How was auditioning before compared to today?
“Of course mas maganda yung sitwasyon nila ngayon no, parang mas provided sila ng mga kailangan nila. Before kasi kami tatayo ka lang dun tapos bahala ka nang gamitin ang space mo e, tapos nakakatakot ang mga director noon. E ngayon, we’re very kind to them and we help them.”
What can you say about aspirants who look of stardom as a means of stepping out of poverty and usually, they would tell their ‘melo-dramatic’ stories during the auditions in order to somehow get the sympathy of the audition masters?
“Ako natotouch ako dun personally kasi natutuwa naman ako sa intention at motivation ng bata na gustong makatulong sa pamilya, that’s very nice, but of course, hindi ako dapat maging-bias, hindi ako dapat maimpluwensiyahan ng ganung kwento kasi ang purpose natin dito ay makakuha ng magaling na artista,” Roderick said.
Who among those who auditioned passed Roderick’s standards? Well, that’s what viewers should find out when Protege launches next month.