These guys were just too sexy to stay in a calendar.
A year after making their successful debut, the producers behind the 2010 Asian Pacific Male (APM) Calendar are back, this time with a new reality show based on their behind-the-scenes experiences of creating the culturally diverse calendar which simultaneously raised thousands of dollars for charity.
Calendar producer Jason Peers and creative director Nareth Chuon recently wrapped filming the pilot. The two were the masterminds behind the 2010 calendar.
“When we closed the books on the 2010 project, we realized the experience we just had is the same experience you have on any production, whether it’s a calendar shoot or a film, a tv show, a play or a musical,” explained Peers. “There’s natural drama built in to any production, and as we all know, drama makes for great television!”
Peers and Chuon have assembled a new team for the show, including executive producer, Philip Anthony, and other well-known industry players to help take their new project to the next level.
Veteran television producer Carol Ann Shine, whose credits include “Noah’s Arc,” “Noah’s Arc Jumpin’ the Broom,” and various projects for the Showtime network, is attached to produce the series. Shine said the calendar show resonated with her own efforts of raising awareness to benefit charities.
“When this project came across my desk, it had that special something that caught my soul,” Shine said. “The ability to teach an audience the power of their individual and collective actions to do good and then wrap that up in an entertaining package speaks to an audience on many levels.”
“Here you have a group of “Joe Next Doors” who just got up one day and decided they wanted to pool their talents and work together on a project in their spare time,” Shine explained. “Their efforts ended up raising awareness and generated tons of money for a great cause. How in the world can anything get better than that? We hope this series will show that being an agent of change in this world is fun and fantastic and easy once you get the balling rolling.”
Actor/activist Mike C. Manning, the 2011 recipient of the Courage Award by LifeWorks for his work with homeless youth in Los Angeles, has joined the team both as a producer on screen as well as behind the scenes. Manning made a name for himself on MTV’s “Real World: DC,” and has since used that platform to become actively involved in non-profit work and speak out on a number of issues.
“When I heard about the calendar project, a project that raises money and awareness for charities, I was excited to get involved,” Manning said. “When you can entertain people and help many others at the same time, it’s a win-win.”
Manning believes this project stands out for a variety of reasons.
“This project is important because it illustrates the ins and outs of charity work and trying to raise money for a good cause,” he said. “If one person’s life is changed by what we’ve done, which undoubtedly will happen, then the effort is well worth it.”
Manning added that he believes people will be inspired by this project because they will see themselves in a lot of the characters.
“Each person has something to offer a project like this, and it’s only after people come together and bring their unique skill set and ideas that you find success,” he added. “This project shows that it really does only take a few people with enough passion to make a big difference.”
Other cast members helping to make a difference are recording artist Sikora, actors Price Troche, Jr. and Khalif Boyd, and photographer Michael Darling.
“Our diverse cast members bring a melange of flavors and POVs to the table with something special to offer,” Shine said of the cast. “Mike Manning is a young man eschewing mindless partying and instead is as an activist who has a bright future ahead of him—whether it’s in tv or film or in public office—he’s ready to be a part of making the world a better place. Of course, Jason and Nareth come to the table having walked down this road before as the masterminds behind the last calendar. Combine them with a dash of new team members who each have success professionally and the show is guaranteed to be the subject of many water cooler conversations. It also helps that that they’re good looking without a dull arrow in the quiver.”
Directed and edited by acclaimed Filipino-American director R.D. Alba, who’s directing credits include 175 episodes of the serial TV drama “KAPALARAN,” the feature film, “BIKITMA,” and the current hit TV show, “RSVP,” the show will highlight the behind the scenes drama of the calendar’s production. Alba believes this project has the ability to make a difference.
“There’s a lot of people and organizations who can directly benefit from this,” Alba said. “We haven’t decided which charity we will work with just yet. There are several to choose from, and at this point, we’re keeping our options open. What was really important with the first calendar was that 100% of their profits went directly to the community health center. With this project, not only do we plan to do the same, but we’re hoping to raise even more money and awareness for our cause.”
“Doing charity work like this isn’t only good for the karma bank,” Manning added. “It has a ripple effect on others that is greater than any of us can imagine. Kind acts beget kind acts.”
The show hopes to go into production sometime in early 2012.
“This show just made sense from the start,” Peers added. “The way the show is intended is to prove that a group of average, every day people can find ways to give back and have fun doing it. Good reality TV doesn’t have to reach for the lowest denominator and hopefully this show can prove that.”