John saves the day
By: Jerry Donato   From: Philippine STAR
[October 6, 2008]

“Size doesn’t matter. It’s the performance.” That’s how John Prats playfully describes his six-inch-tall character named Tiny Tony, a Mars Ravelo superhero whose story will premiere on Oct. 11 on ABS-CBN. To make it clear, John has no intention to titillate your imagination.

“What matters is how big your heart is and your determination to do good and to do better to others,” adds the Dance Floor Dynamite of what kids and kids at heart will learn from the comic series Komiks Presents Tiny Tony following the success of Kapitan Boom and Varga.

The Mars Ravelo masterpiece is about the smart and loving son Tony who has an appetite for knowledge. This craving is satisfied when the character of Pen Medina, a doctor, considers Tony as his own child and lets him explore what one can do in a laboratory. In a not-so-fine day, Pen is concocting a solution that will help diminish crime, and accidentally spills it to Tony. Consequently, Tony shrinks. From then on, the nice regular guy has become the Tiny Tony he is now. How he can fight criminals in his miniature form is what you and I should find out.

“My character possesses agility and healing powers,” says John. “He moves quickly and effortlessly. If he gets cuts and wounds, they will heal by themselves.”

Tiny Tony is far from what his Batang X role can do. But the innocent child in him remains the same. That’s why John has never had second thoughts of doing this TV project.

“I’m a fan of superheroes,” shares John. “Every child wishes to be a superhero. My child-like excitement is still there, especially now that I’m doing a comic series. I get sentimental with what the staff has done for the show.”

Although the scenes seem to be all play and fun, John says shooting his scenes is difficult.

Ninety percent of the show, he is small and works with the blue screen or also called chroma. It is a technique for putting two images or frames together. John thinks CGIs make the series look real and authentic.

“I’m always on my own,” says John. “I act out as if there’s someone I’m talking to. I have a monitor to keep my point of view. There are two separate shoots. One with my co-stars present without me, and the other is with me in my own lonesome. If they shoot 30 sequences, I have to do those sequences just myself. It’s challenging because I have to exert extra effort and to imagine to make my scenes believable. I have also to be precise with my movements. If I move a little, I might get out of frame.”

Having kissing scenes with co-star Alex Gonzaga is a tough act, says John. Playing Tiny Tony is also physically draining since some parts require John to be in harness, particularly when he goes brawling with his nemesis.

Also in the cast are Aaron Villaflor, Susan Africa, Coco Martin, Gerard Acao and Mura.

Does John have a superhero?

“I like Iron Man,” he replies. “He has no super powers, but his ability to do gadgets makes him a hero in his own way. My family (members) are also my heroes. They are always there to help me. What about my heroine? SM. She cheers me up whenever I’m tired.”

According to the network’s ad and promo officer Biboy Arboleda, the role of Tiny Tony fits John to a T, not because he is vertically challenged. In fact, John looks a bit tall in his body-hugging black, yellow and orange suit. Biboy says the character is family-oriented like John and John’s baby face mien complements Tony’s likable features.

With Tiny Tony, John can’t contain his happiness and can’t help showing his killer smile. After all, the Mars Ravelo series is John’s first title role in 16 years as a kapamilya talent.