TV5 brings Wattpad Presents to Hong Kong Disneyland
Nathalie Tomada (The Philippine Star) - March 26, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - TV5’s Wattpad Presents flew to Hong Kong Disneyland over the weekend to shoot its new episode titled The Magic In You.

Having “the happiest place on earth” as a set location is a television coup for TV5 and Wattpad Presents, a nightly series that has been airing since September of last year. The show has been, in particular, drawing young audiences by adapting some of the most popular love stories on what has been dubbed as “the world’s largest online community of writers and readers” into week-long episodes.

The Magic In You episode stars Wattpad Presents favorites, Mark Neumann and Shaira Mae, with Yayo Aguila and Nicole Estrada as supporting cast and Mac Alejandre as director.

The STAR had a two-day behind-the-scenes look at the making of the special episode. The Kapatid network had unprecedented access to the sprawling resort park’s signature attractions, which are spread across seven themed lands. The entire shoot lasted for a week. The young stars themselves created a stir among onlookers, and to the surprise of the production staff, there were even foreign tourists who asked to have their pictures taken with them.

It took three months for TV5’s collaboration with Hong Kong Disneyland to be finalized, according to Wilma Galvante, the network’s chief entertainment content officer.

“They were the ones who approached us. It’s their 10th anniversary. They wanted, of course, promotions and media mileage and we proposed to do some shows for them,” Galvante said.

It also helped that the network has already built a connection with Disneyland. In fact, TV5 also brought its first-ever artista reality search Artista Academy there in 2012.

Initially, Disneyland wanted to host TV5’s magazine shows only, like Happy Wife, Happy Life, but Galvante said, “We told them (Hong Kong Disneyland management) that we have Wattpad Presents, it’s a drama, it’s romantic comedy, and it would be good if we could do it in the park. And then they said, ‘OK, let’s take a look at the story.’”

TV5 found a Wattpad story that seemed destined for Disney. It tells about a simple girl named Princess, who like many young girls, grew up with a fascination for Disney princesses and their stories, and harboring big dreams not just of true love and her own prince charming, but also of a better life for herself and her family.

It looks like her happy-ever-after ending is about to happen when she gets her wish to go to Disneyland, where a boyfriend (and possibly a wedding proposal) is waiting. But the fairytale turns out to be a nightmare. Her public breakdown is captured on video by a mystery guy, and when posted on YouTube, it goes viral, causes her humiliation and becomes the start of a series of unfortunate events, including a badly-needed job that turns out to be a scam — a running theme in real-life OFW stories.

The irony of it, noted the director, is that it transpired in what has been tagged as “the happiest place on earth,” and that’s where the story begins. “(It’s really about) the merging of the fantasy dream and the reality dream coming true in the happiest place on earth, where she turns out to be a real princess and the guy, who was the cause of one of her problems, becomes the real prince charming. It’s the story of that quintessential Disney-princess dream, and the real dream of every ordinary Filipino and loving child, and how it all comes true in the happiest place on earth… It goes full circle. It’s a simple story, but nakakaaliw siya,direk Mac said.

Galvante said that when they presented Disneyland with the script, it had an English version, and then “they helped us where to do the shoot location. They even wrote the theme song for us, which is very Disney.”

On the part of Hong Kong Disneyland, they only requested that the stars don’t dialogue or interact with the iconic Disney characters in the series. TV5 wasn’t also required to “hard-sell” the theme park. It’s simply established that the love story is backdropped by Disneyland.

When asked how Wattpad Presents: The Magic In You will show Disneyland in a new or different light to Filipino viewers given that it’s one place frequented by Filipino tourists, direk Mac said, “First of all, a lot (of Filipinos) have come here, but not many have shot here. They (Disneyland) are very strict about it. This is the first time for a Philippine series to be shot in Disneyland. And you’re shooting abroad na hindi ka nagtatago. It’s inside Disneyland, na sinusuportahan ka at ibibigay (yung gusto mo), they support you and give you what you want.”

He cited, as examples, the instances when Disneyland people would stop rides or light up dark areas to accommodate the shooting of some scenes.

Direk Mac added, “So, No. 1, yes, there are lot of people who have come (to Disneyland) but mas maraming tao na hindi pa nila nakikita ng ganun ka lawak. No. 2, ipapakita mo ng malawak na buo but at the same time, specific,” as seen in the eyes of a Filipino character. “They (viewers) can experience what it feels like to be Elsa (or any other Disney princess) from the perspective of a Filipino.”

For the stars themselves, it’s a dream come true to topbill a production this important. It also feels like they’ve come full circle because Shaira, Mark and Nicole are “graduates” of Artista Academy and a trip to Hong Kong Disneyland a few years back had provided them some of the fondest memories when they were just starting out in showbiz.   

For Mark and Shaira, it’s their fourth time to pair up in The Magic In You.

“Thanks to Wattpad Presents, people have come to know us more, our fanbase has grown, even in the regional (areas). We’re thankful to be entrusted especially with this project na Hong Kong pa talaga ang shoot,” said Shaira.

Mark, on the other hand, believes that Wattpad stories appeal to youngsters because “personal experiences ang sinusulat mostly. There are some fantasy parts but they’re mostly from their own experiences. These are written by young people and teens can relate to each other. We are given the opportunity to give life to the characters and I’m really thankful to do that, to do something for their stories.”

Apart from Wattpad Presents and Happy Wife, Happy Life, Galvante said that,We’re cooking up something else for Hong Kong Disneyland because their anniversary celebration is up until October.”

Wattpad Presents: The Magic In You will debut on April 13, 9 p.m. on TV5.

 

 

ARTISTA ACADEMY COM DISNEYLAND GALVANTE HONG KONG DISNEYLAND MAGIC IN YOU TV5 WATTPAD WATTPAD PRESENTS
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