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Showbiz 101 with Ricky Davao

Experienced actor-director Ricky Davao shares what he has learned working in the entertainment industry for several decades now

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Ricky Davao was surprised he won the Best Supporting Actor award at this year’s ASEAN International Film Festival And Awards (AIFFA) in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia for his work in “Dayang Asu” (Dog Nation), a Cinema One Originals 2015 finalist written and directed by Bor Ocampo.

Ricky Davao with film director Bor Ocampo (mb.com.ph)

Ricky Davao with film director Bor Ocampo

“Hindi ko in-expect,” he said. “Parang feeling ko kasi wala naman akong ginawa doon masyado.”

Then again, on hindsight, the actor-director realized it’s what was called for.

“I think abroad mas gusto talaga nila ’yung tipong subdued acting, which I thought was very effective din du’n sa role na ginampanan ko,” he mused.

“Kasi I play a henchman in the movie, a small town gangster dealing with the reality of his son grow up seeing him do what he does. Very simple ang premise pero ang lakas ng dating.”

Ricky humbly considers the win as a result of “synergy.”

“Lahat naman eh,” he said. “At this point in my career I know that filmmaking is not just about one man. Ke magaling kang director, o aktor kung pangit ang istorya, pangit ang lighting, hindi magki-click eh.”

“Kailangan pasok lahat ng factors,” he added. “Una na diyan ’yung kwento, ’yung direksyon, ’yung characterization… then i-factor in mo din ’yung lighting, ’yung photography. A film is a collaborative effort.”
This is not Ricky’s first award, having won tons in his long career.

Asked if he still looks forward to getting more trophies, Ricky said, “Hindi ko hinahanap pero I welcome it.”

“It’s a recognition of your effort eh,” he said. “Parang it’s a bonus, lalo na dito sa atin ’pag awarded ka it means a lot, may prestige, may validation tsaka siguro may konting dagdag sa talent fee.”

Understanding the market

Having worked in front and behind the camera for years now, we asked Ricky if he already has a clear grasp of what audiences like and he said, “Mahirap pulsuhan ang mga tao.”

“Let’s just say na marami na akong naiintindihan, mas malawak na ang pang-unawa ko. Pero like everyone else, I cannot predict things. Hindi ko pa rin alam kung bakit hit itong isang pelikulang ito at ang isa naman na ito ay hindi. I guess everybody involved in the production would just have to do their jobs and hope the final product resonates with people.”

How about picking award-winning roles?

“Ewan ko din. Actually kasi minsan maganda ang role, so bigay na bigay ka, emotions and all, tapos in the end, walang dating. Minsan naman simple lang ang role, wala kang gagawin gaano pero well-appreciated naman. So, again, everything should come together talaga.”

In any case, Ricky has high hopes for the local showbiz industry.

“Sobrang diverse na tayo ngayon,” he said. “Naghi-hit na ’yung unusual films, ’yung mga indie, tapos tuloy pa rin ang success ng mga usual rom-coms, ’yung mga commercial films so, very healthy siya.”

He noted that we have been gaining notice in festivals abroad.

“Kaya nga naniniwala ako na we will break into Hollywood soon,” he said.

Giving guidance

Ricky makes sure he does his part in keeping the state of affairs going by sharing everything he knows with today’s young stars.

“Naalala ko kasi nu’ng bata pa ako meron akong sense na ‘ang galing ko.’ Dapat maaga pa lang matuto na sila and not go that route. Imulat mo sila,” he said.

Ricky is not trying to paint himself a saint, though.

“Whatever it is I’m doing now, it’s because I experienced the same from veterans I worked with before,” he said.

“Nag-share din naman ng knowledge sa akin ang mga katulad nila Leopoldo Salcedo, Ronaldo Valdez, so ganu’n din lang ginagawa ko. I’m just paying it forward.”

Ricky thinks the stars of today have it easy, noting “Nu’ng panahon ko nagta-tricycle ako, nagji-jeep pero leading man na ako ni Nora Aunor. Ngayon ang mga bata ang laki ng kita sa Instagram post pa lang. Kaya kita mo naman, may bagong bahay agad, bagong kotse…”

“Pero ’yun nga, dapat ma-guide ng tama,” he added. “Marami diyan hindi nagme-memorize ng lines, pumupunta sa set ng hindi handa, dapat maisip nila maaga pa lang na hindi biro ang trabahong ito, na pwede kang mawala bigla.” (With report from Jojo P. Panaligan)

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