MANILA - Nash Aguas earned his start in showbiz via the kids edition of "Star Circle Quest," at the time ABS-CBN's flagship program for discovering new talent.
Aguas won that competition in 2004, and the now-19-year-old actor hasn't had an inactive year on television since.
"SCQ," as it was popularly known, groomed hopefuls such as Aguas to be triple threats in singing, dancing, and acting. And Aguas has shown he's mastered these at a young age; he's been practicing for 14 years after all. His dramatic reveal as a schizophrenic in the ongoing "The Good Son" was praised by viewers, and he has no shortage of "swag" in performances with his pop group Gimme 5.
But unknown to many, Aguas has long wanted to pursue a different dream, one that was formed through years and years of being in front of the camera; that is, to be behind it. "Ever since bata pa ako, gusto ko na mag-direct," he said.
Like being crowned "Grand Kid Questor" more than a decade ago, this dream, too, has come true.
"Weird pakinggan," he quipped, referring to being credited director of the just-released ABS-CBNmobile series, "Coffee Break," about a group of friends who regularly bond over coffee, unfolding from the perspective of the café barista.
Aguas' enthusiasm over the project, his own original concept, was apparent as "Coffee Break" was formally unveiled Thursday as ABS-CBN's latest mobile-exclusive offering.
"Coffee Break" came to form when, upon the urging of colleagues to whom he confided the idea, Aguas sought the greenlight from ABS-CBNmobile. "Nagustuhan nila," he recalled. "Sabi nila, 'Tutal, sa iyo nanggaling iyong concept, ikaw na rin mag-direct, dahil alam mo ang pasikot-sikot ng story.'"
Speaking with ABS-CBN News, Aguas described the story as "feel-good na at the same time tatagos sa puso."
He cited, as an example, parallels between the situation of a character and the type of coffee he tends to drink: "Ang favorite niya, iced coffee, kasi iyong binibigay na pagmamahal sa kanya, malamig, hindi mainit." Another, more tragic example is the case of "3-in-1", which goes both for the instant coffee mix, and to describe a cheating partner.
Executing the idea was admittedly daunting for Aguas, but having friends as fellow cast members helped make his directorial debut less challenging.
Aguas will also star in "Coffee Break," alongside "Goin' Bulilit" batchmates John Manalo and Igiboy Flores, and Star Magic artists Claire Ruiz and Anne Tenorio.
"Thankful ako sa cast ko kasi sobrang cooperative naman sila. Lahat kami nagtutulungan sa set," he said. "Siguro, lahat kami doon, sanay na kung paano gumawa ng teleserye. Naging masaya at malumanay naman iyong shoot namin."
Constraints in time and production were the more grueling parts to contend with, Aguas shared. "Ang biggest challenge, maghabol ng araw [para] sa day effect," he said, referring to ensuring continuity in daytime scenes, in the face of night approaching during shoots.
Fortunately for Aguas, he is no stranger to on-set hurdles, having starred in more than a dozen TV dramas in the last decade. He credited a number of his past and present directors, including Manny Palo and Andoy Ranay of "The Good Son," for allowing him to have an "internship" of sorts in helming a series. The aspiring showrunner, however, would be the first to admit he still has much to learn.
"Pressured ako kasi first-ever directorial job ko ito, pero fulfilling," he said. "Nakaka-enjoy talaga, nakakatuwa na iyong dating pinapangarap mo, ginagawa mo na."
Already, Aguas is setting sights on mastering a genre: It's a toss-up between horror or family drama.
Asked whether he sees directing taking a bigger slice of his career in show business, Aguas answered, "Sa tingin ko, umpisa pa lang ito . . . Hindi mawawala sa akin iyong pagiging artista, pero nakikita ko iyong sarili ko na tumanda as a director."