What's the formula behind successful game shows? Christian Gamboa, concept development group head at ABS-CBN, clues us in on the ins and outs of game conceptualization.
“During my grade school years, I have always tried to introduce new ideas to most of what I do—from homework, projects or even the games that my classmates and I used to play during recess. It has always been my passion to try and create something different whenever I am given an opportunity,” he says.
Christian’s first win in a pitching competition led him to join the creative team of ABS-CBN TV production head Laurenti Dyogi.
“I tried my luck and joined my very first pitching competition (Smart Alliance Pitch Contest). Fortunately, I got into the final round, which was held in Singapore, where finalists from different Asian countries attended to present their TV show concepts in front of an international jury. During the final pitch, direk Lauren Dyogi, who was an ABS-CBN business unit head at that time, was one of the judges. Thankfully, I won the competition, and starting 2011 up until this day, I have been a part of direk Lauren’s creative team, where I have been given more opportunities to come up with content ideas for ABS-CBN.”
Despite being new to the entertainment industry, Christian saw it as an opportunity to learn and a challenge to overcome.
“I have to admit that it was a totally different environment for me back then as I came from an engineering background. But until today, I think that what made it exciting was the fact that I didn’t know the fundamentals of the entertainment industry during that time. Sometimes not knowing what’s allowed and what’s not allowed means there are no limits to the imagination,” he observes.
Championing Pinoy talent
One of Christian’s concepts started as a chat with his mom.
“A few years ago, she told me that a good game show is a lot like love—it’s fun but it’s always fair. I remember what started our little debate, [it] was when she said the word ‘fair.’ I told her that for me, the reason we see the fairness in love is because anyone can fall for anybody…. In game shows, there will always be certain criteria for people to be allowed to play with or against each other,” he narrates.
Christian recalled this idea and planned to make a game show where anyone can compete with anybody regardless of their age, gender, physique or the language they speak. Hence, “The Fairest Gameshow Ever” was born. This unique pitch earned him the grand prize in the ATF Format Pitch held in Singapore last year.
Christian also clinched another international recognition as his pitch “Cheat on the Glitch” won at the MIPFormats International Pitch 2022 held in Cannes, France. FOX Alternative Entertainment, which sponsored the competition, adapted Christian’s concept to be developed as a game show that will air in the US.
Christian shares the important lessons he learned while being a part of ABSCBN’s creative team for more than 10 years.
“Everything starts with an idea. So, if you have one, no matter how simple it is, believe that it can become the beginning of something special. The number of times that your idea gets rejected should be equal to the number of times that you came up with a new one or more. Remember, in this industry, one good pitch is way better than a hundred mediocre ones. And lastly, always find joy in everything that you do. We aren’t always tasked to create concepts for the things that we enjoy, but we can always look for even the tiniest reasons to make an assignment fun,” he says. (Story and photo contributed via ABS-CBN’s eFrequency on Yammer)