After his stint as producer of the hit reality show America’s Next Top Model, Michael Carandang has been spending some time in the Philippines to fulfill his long-time dream.
In a quick chat with PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) on June 8, at the launch of Daphne Oseña’s Home Scents Collection for Bench, held at Dimensione in Bonifacio High Street, Taguig, he said, “I’ve been here since March and I’m going to be here probably till October.
“Hopefully, I get to come back and dito na lang [magtrabaho].
“Actually, I’m here now to fulfill a dream.
"I’ve been working in the US for the past 10 years and I’ve always wanted na parang umuwi sa Pilipinas and to learn from the Filipinos and to be a part of the industry.
“I have done three [local] projects so far. I co-produced a project with G Tongi called the Basco Balikbayan project, I’ve produced a show for GMA Pinoy TV called RSVP, and now I am focusing on a documentary for Bench for their 25th year.”
FUTURE IN MANILA. Having worked on one of the biggest reality franchises in America, is Michael interested in working on a local show?
“There hasn’t been an offer yet kasi I’m really focusing on the Bench documentary right now. But my niche is really reality TV and also talk shows.
“I also would like to come in here and be a consultant for some of the big networks.”
Besides being a producer, Michael hopes to teach and share knowledge based on his working experience in the US.
“You know, one thing I’ve noticed and I have been told, when it comes to producers, kakaunti talaga iyong mga producers dito.
“Kasi it’s hard to train them, e. It’s like nobody really takes up producing.
"I’d like to be able to come in and help. I’d like to mentor and I’d like to teach what I know.
“There’s a system that we’re accustomed to sa America, on how to produce, and I think if anything else it would benefit iyong mga aspiring producers or mga [current] producers dito to learn something different, to think outside the box.
“Kasi when you live in a certain place, like you live in this country, para bang you only know what you’ve been trained or what you’ve seen in this country.
“So, it’s sometimes nice to have a fresh outlook, like there’s a new way to do the same old tricks but in a fresh taste.”
LOCAL REALITY TV. Speaking of reality TV, which is his forte, we asked Michael if he is following any particular show in the Philippines these days,
“Well, here’s the thing: I love television and that’s a big part of what I do, to watch TV.
“But ever since I got here [I realized] it’s true, iyong sinasabi ng mga Filipino friends ko who work in the industry na pumupunta ng America, I worked more here than I’ve ever worked in my entire life!
“Iyong araw-araw, like I have something to do, I have to work and I’m not able to watch much telsvision.
“Tapos dito pa, you can’t record it kasi sa America, I can go out and not watch TV, tapos pagdating ko naka-record na lahat ng mga shows, so I’m able to catch up. But here, I miss a lot of the shows.
“But the one thing I’ve noticed is, I’ve seen a few episodes of Project Runway Philippines and I really liked it.
“You know, I thought they have really good personalities on the show, like Rajo Laurel is amazing on that show.
“But I haven’t really seen a lot and reality is just…you know, I have to say, when I went into America’s Next Top Model, there’s a lot of things I didn’t know that happens when you shoot a reality show.
“Things that kind of surprise you, that catch you off guard and that makes it hard to predict how to really produce [a show].
“But I think ETC [Channel] is doing a pretty good job in producing an international show like that and adapting it into a Filipino setting.”
AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL. For its current season, ANTM has chosen to let go of Michael, along with some of the show’s old timers like judges Nigel Barker, Jay Manuel, and J. Alexander.
However, Michael says he remains in contact with his former colleagues and he still contributed a little to Season 19.
Will there be more Filipino talents revealed in the show?
“Yeah, marami,” he said hesitantly.
“But secret naman lagi iyan, e, and I think it’s better that way.
“Right now, it’s great that we celebrate the designers [who graced] Season 18, like Francis Libiran, Rajo Laurel, Oliver Tolentino.
“And for [Season] 19, let’s just be surprised kung may bago at may lumabas na bagong designer. But yeah, I think it’s best that way [secret] para may excitement pag lumabas.
“Pero you know, there is [Filipino touch] naman, e. I mean, obviously Bryan Boy who’s Filipino will be a judge on the show, so I’m sure he has a lot of input and he is able to contribute para magdala ng mga iba pa na Filipinos on the show.”