John Prats on directing ‘Showtime,’ 5 years with ‘Probinsyano,’ and his newfound purpose

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 29 2021 10:00 PM | Updated as of Sep 08 2021 11:32 PM

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Nowadays, John Prats finds himself juggling major roles onscreen, as Jerome of “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano”; behind the cameras, as the new director of “It’s Showtime”; and at home, as father and husband.

“It’s really hard!” Prats said, laughing, noting he now spends breaks between the primetime hit’s filming cycles to helm the noontime program.

“I have to balance also not just ‘Probinsyano’ and ‘Showtime,’ but also time for my family. May bunso pa ako na kaka-one year old lang. So hangga’t may time ako, I’m here at home, I spend it with them talaga,” he told ABS-CBN News.

A cast member of “Ang Probinsyano” for five years now, Prats also considers the team behind the ABS-CBN drama, including lead star and creative head Coco Martin, as family and a part of his “core.”

He credited Martin, whom he considers a “brother,” for supporting his new endeavor as director of “It’s Showtime.” Prats recalled that even in previous instances where his directorial projects overlapped with his schedule for the series, Martin, as director of “Ang Probinsyano,” would willingly adjust his scenes.

“Sobra niyang suportado ‘yung pagdi-direk ko, at nararamdaman ko ‘yun every time nag-uusap kami kung gaano siya ka-proud sa akin, at kung gaano rin ako ka-proud sa kaniya kung ano ang achievements niya,” Prats said.

Admittedly, however, the daily run of “It’s Showtime,” as opposed to the one-off concerts he previously directed, has proven more challenging when it comes to scheduling, Prats noted.

Prats was due to enter another “bubble,” or cycle of lock-in filming of “Ang Probinsyano,” which usually lasts three to four weeks, at the time of the interview on Tuesday.

‘NIYAKAP NILA AKO’

“It’s Showtime” will have temporary directors in his stead during that period, with Prats set to return as soon as the quarantined production of the series ends it latest cycle.

“We’ll see kung ano ‘yung magiging decision ng management, kung anuman. Kami naman, kung saan kami ilagay, we will just do our best,” he said, referring to ABS-CBN executives.

Prats laughed when asked on the possibility of his character, Jerome, exiting “Ang Probinsyano” by being killed off. “Wala pa namang sinasabing ganoon!”

When he does resume directorial duties for “It’s Showtime” in late August or early September, Prats will be welcomed by another set of family — the crew, staff, and onscreen mainstays of the 12-year-old noontime program.

“Natutuwa ako, kasi niyakap nila ako. Hindi ko na-feel ‘yung may resistance. They gave their 100% trust sa akin. That’s why ganoon din ‘yung sinusukli ko sa kanila. Pinapangako ko na tatrabahuhin ko talaga ‘to, kasama sila.

“Kaya ang ganda ng chemistry na na-build namin ngayon. Ang feeling ko nga, ang tagal ko na silang kasama! Hindi ko na-feel na bago, kaya sobra ko silang naa-appreciate. Sobrang thankful ako sa pag-welcome ng hosts, ng staff, the whole team, the whole ‘Showtime’ family. As in lahat, open arms talaga ‘yung pagsalubuong nila sa akin at pagtanggap nila sa akin,” he said.

‘MORE THAN A JOB, IT’S A PURPOSE’

Speaking with ABS-CBN News, Prats also spoke in detail about the recent and upcoming changes to “It’s Showtime,” including visual upgrades of its studio, the concert-inspired presentation of singing hopefuls in “Tawag ng Tanghalan,” and actively involving viewers in segments like the recently launched “Madlang Pi-Poll.”

He likewise recalled the emotional moment of being tasked with directing “Ikaw ang Liwanag at Ligaya,” the ABS-CBN Christmas special in 2020, the same year his home network of nearly 30 years was forced off free television.

For Prats, whose decades-long career has seen him as a child star, dancer, comedian, actor, and now a director, the “gift” of thriving in this latest chapter can only be credited to his faith, given he had no formal education on the craft.

“Sa lahat ng nangyayari sa buhay ko, si Lord God ang nagbigay. Wala akong pinag-aralan sa pagdi-direk. Hindi ako pumasok sa eskuwelahan, hindi ako kumuha ng kurso ng directing. Feeling ko, it is a gift from Him, kung paano ko nagagawa ang mga nagagaw ko ngayon,” he said.

“At feeling ko rin, kadalasan, hindi ako ang nagdi-direk, Siya talaga. Iyon ang nararamdaman ko, genuinely. Feeling ko, ginagamit niya ako to inspire a lot of people, and I just want to keep and maintain that core, ‘yung belief na ‘yun. More than a job, it’s a purpose.”