Dominic Zapata, Jerry Sineneng join forces in telling Pinoy version of Start-Up

Jerry Donato - The Philippine Star
Dominic Zapata, Jerry Sineneng join forces in telling Pinoy version of Start-Up
Directors Dominic and Jerry take on the challenge to mount the local adaptation of the South Korean series, Start-Up, with Alden Richards and Bea Alonzo in the leading roles. With their years of directorial experience, viewers can look forward to a compelling and engaging reinterpretation of a familiar narrative.

MANILA, Philippines — Dominic Zapata and Jerry Sineneng coalesce and synergize for the upcoming local adaptation of the hit 2020 South Korean series, Start-Up. With years of directorial experience and backed up by their creative versatility, both directors are about to offer a compelling reinterpretation of a familiar narrative.

The GMA 7 primetime show features the onscreen tandem of Alden Richards and Bea Alonzo.

Recently, Jerry and Dominic, also called Dom, joined forces to grant select members of media a virtual group chat and talked about their individual and shared experiences in shaping the visual narrative of Start-Up PH.

“I watched it again,” answered Dominic when he and fellow director Jerry were asked about how they set the motion for their work in the Kapuso series. “Personally, I try to find the essence. What is it that I like about this? Because I know I cannot put all the elements in here (such as) Korean actors to play these Korean roles. Alam ko ito na yung ibinigay sa aking ingredients, ilalagay natin si Alden at tsaka si Bea, ano yung mawawala?, may mawawala ba? Ano ba yung mahal nang audience? What’s the essence?”

Direk Dominic is not new to this creative endeavor because he has the GMA adaptation of Descendants of the Sun, with Dingdong Dantes and Jennylyn Mercado as main stars, under his belt.

Following his line of thought, one can say that he is aware that creatives can add a local flavor to an adaptation, and have to capture iconic scenes. “(They) become iconic not because of the lines, but sometimes it’s a shot,” he shared and based it on his Descendants of the Sun stint. Aside from that, and “for the most part, we’ll just try to find the essence,” said he. “You capture it, like what creates that feeling, paano ako hinatid sa feeling na yun, paano ako hinatid sa kilig.”

Directing an adaptation for the first time, direk Jerry had an almost similar approach in finding his foothold in Start-Up PH. “I also watched it and when I was assigned to do the project, I watched it with a different perspective,” recalled he. “Si direk Dom (hinanap niya) yung essence and I agree with him, ako rin naman yung essence, idadagdag ko lang, hinanap ko yung puso ng show (as for me, I looked for the heart of the show), yung puso ng Korean version… pero Filipino ang audience ko, ano yung puso ng mga Pinoy naman sa ganitong istorya (But I have a Filipino audience so, I have to find the heart of them or what they feel about in this kind of story). Hinanap ko yung puso ng buong show, yung puso ng bawat character because one of the challenges to us is to Filipinize it. Yung pagtatawid ng puso nung show na originally Korean sa puso ng Pinoy, yun ang naging challenge din konti for us.”

Again, Start-Up PH will be a product of two directors, who, from someone’s standpoint, have their own expertise and signature style. With TV, Dominic and Jerry’s primary goal is to tell a narrative clearly and through it, they will touch the viewer’s heart. Dominic shared what he believes about directing TV shows. One is that it is not about him as a director and then, he sees himself as “a storyteller first and foremost” and TV as a medium “wants to cater more to the audience.”

Jerry agreed with his fellow creative by emphasizing that a director is concerned about how to tell a story, and not to inform the audience of his signature style. Although he has heard before what some will say tatak Jerry Sineneng, truth is, he doesn’t know what it means. Aside from that, he doesn’t have an intentional visual shot.

“When I direct a scene, yung scene talaga yung nagtuturo sa akin how to cover it, (it’s the scene that tells or dictates me how to cover or approach it),” said he. “Kami ay taga-sunod, sundalo ng storya at ng materyal (We are followers and soldiers of the story and the material).”

Asked how the directorial duties are being divided between them, direk Jerry said, “Wala kaming specific na, ito plot ni direk Jerry o ito plot ni direk Dom (We never have a specific plot assigned to me or to Dom). Nagpapalitan talaga kami (We would take turns). I would consult direk Dom and he would also consult me, nag-uusap kami lagi, not on how to mount a scene, but kung ano yung plano namin, yung vision namin, may isa kaming vision.”

Since they are on the same page, the audience will not see any difference or say that this scene was directed by Dominic or Jerry. It will only notice a seamless continuity and connection of scenes.

Bea and Alden in scenes from the upcoming GMA 7 series.

“We (both) like collaborating with other people,” said Dominic. “It’s such a refreshing experience.”

With Dominic and Jerry helming the series and Alden and Bea headlining it, viewers can look forward to an engaging tale that will grow on them.

“I think we have proven several times in the past na gumagawa tayo ng adaptation (that we do adaptation) and we do well,” said Dominic.

“Binigay namin lahat (We’ve given everything we can),” added Jerry. “I’m hoping that they (audiences) will like it.”

Soon, Start-Up PH will premiere on the small screen. It’s a promise.



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