One of the earliest, most well known and respected video production show is Paris By Night created by Thuy Nga, therefore the show is often referred to as Thuy Nga Paris By Night. The first taped production of PBN was done without a live audience and had few singers. The show was just a short one-tape music video with few singers singing to a plain designed background. The show didn’t cost as much as it is now. It didn’t have special lighting or creativity of arrangements done to the stage. As a matter of fact, the show creator didn’t even dare to label the video as their first production because they didn’t know if there was going to be a second. The first time I watched PBN was in 1994 when tape number nine came out. The show releases about two videos a year, so probably around 1990 when they had their first tape or even earlier. You do the math. I believed the first PBN video was taped in Paris, and that was how the show got its name, even after they no longer shot in Paris. PBN shows came a long way, and their two main MCs are Nguyen Ngoc Ngan and Nguyen Cao Ky Duyen who stood by for over 13 years. Nguyen Ngoc Ngan & Nguyen Cao Ky Duyen is one of the many reasons to Thuy Nga’s success over the years. Another reason is the cleverness of the show’s creator to put together a variety of performances that appealed to broad audiences in the U.S and in Vietnam as well. There is a high level of professionalism and consistency to their show that created loyalty in their audiences. Furthermore Thuy Nga has a good base of singers, pretty much most of the well-known professional singers in the U.S. Thuy Nga has high quality entertainment of music, mix with fashion, comedy plays, documentary and they are always exploring new and exciting ideas to bring to the Vietnamese community in the U.S. Their most recent project is the Talent Show in 2007 to search for new talents. In the future PBN will continue to expand and to even larger scale of a production.
Asia Entertainment is another well-known production with a strong concentration of elder audiences tuning in to their popular shows on Vietnam War. Asia retells and retraces footsteps of Vietnamese people since 1975 and they are dedicated to making changes and helping Vietnamese refuges around the world. Asia also has big pool of young people who watched the show due to the young singers such as Trish Thuy Trang, Cardin, Thuy Huong, Anh Minh and many more. Asia has young pop singers, as well as group singers, and rapper (Chosen 1). If you followed Paris By Night Talent Show 2007, Asia has always been hosting their own talent shows looking for new singers. They are always finding new and young talents. You can say that Asia was the stepping-stone for many of today’s top singers. Asia is also the production show with the most MC! Their first ever MCs were Cong Thanh and Nguyen Cao Ky Duyen, to later Nam Loc, Viet Dung, and after that a series of people showing up once or more. They have a diverse group of MCs throughout their years of production, from old to a very young like Orchid Lam Quynh. Mostly of the time on Asia show, you have not just one but up to 4 or even more MCs hosting one show. Also once in awhile they have artists coming to play MCs and audiences get a chance to hear them speak, which are really fun to watch. To me the large number of MCs or inconsistency of MCs would take away from the show, but audiences of Asia love that variety and being able to hear and see different faces. Overall Asia is most successful for their documentary and retelling of Vietnam War and a pool of young artists. They promote the collaboration between the older and younger generation as well. Asia is very consistent in its work and because it was created by musicians, the show carries on an artistic and literary work of art music and even patriotic. Did you know that Asia Entertainment used to be called Dem Saigon (Saigon Night)?
A later comer, Van Son Entertainment, Nu Cuoi & Am Nhac started out as a comedy show filled with comedies acts that created relief and relaxation time for audiences. The production creator is a famous comedian by the name of Van Son, so it wasn’t surprising that his show centered around what he does best, which is making people laugh. I started watching VS from tape number five, and I still have the copy in my house, old and in a beating up cover box. Later on Van Son began to change, and I wasn’t happy about it. They had less comedy acts and more singing. However as time went by, Van Son completely transformed itself into a true entertainment production show and started to gain a large audience who love the show very much. Van Son went live and traveled around the world, wherever there are Vietnamese people, even the smallest community. Van Son is different from Paris By Night and Asia Entertainment because when audiences tuned into the show, they feel more down to earth and more relax. PBN and Asia are very serious and professional shows, and I’m not saying that Van Son isn’t but they really cater to the common people. From the casual look of the show to the jokes that MC Viet Thao makes and the funny and truly entertaining documentaries. Van Son is the people’s show. Over the years, Van Son was truly successful and well known for their trips around the world, and each one comes with an in-depth documentary that allowed audiences to take a look at the world outside of the U.S where other Vietnamese live and making their day-to-day living. Lastly Van Son has a good amount of young and talented singers who attracts young generation audiences and together with their background theme in comedy, the show is very successful.
This next production show is known as Que Huong Tinh Yeu Va Tuoi Tre, in short Tinh Production is probably the underdog of all shows. It is the latest comer and does not have live shows nor is it very popular compared to the other major productions. However, it managed to create some buzz and hold tight a collection of audiences that tune in each show. What Tinh Production does, is that it brings in a variety of singers from the most well known to the least known and it tries its best to entertain. And what it lacks is the excellence in lightning and just general technological things. Also what I noticed from the show is that they tend to make their videos blurry, on purpose. I would suggest doing that only in some music videos where it fits the theme or the song but not throughout the whole show, because it makes it hard to see for those who have difficulty seeing and especially the elder people who want to see clear images. Another thing that probably takes away from the show popularity is that it doesn’t do live shows. Lastly, I also think MCs are one of the big contribution to a show’s success because they are the people who guide the audiences and makes the show interesting and fun to watch. As for Tinh production, it started with MC Viet Thao and then to Quynh Huong and Hoang Trong Thuy. But later the show changes its MCs adding on more and the old MCs left. One of my suggestions is to find a consistent MC or be like Asia and have MCs with knowledge and personality that people can connect to beyond the job of an MC. However, I think Tinh Production regardless is well known to Vietnamese community, which is why it continues to create show after show. I believed it will continue to get bigger, although still overshadowed by other productions, Tinh will have its own group of audiences.
There are other productions out there besides those I mentioned, some I have not yet heard or seen. However, there are some I remembered watching. One was created by a comedian name Hoai Linh and I believed it was named The Gioi Tinh Ca or something close. I seen about two of its production through relatives who lent me the video, and after that I never heard of it again. I don’t know if the show still continues to make videos. Their first production seemed very low budgeted and didn’t have big named singers and overall it wasn’t good. Another production was made by a singer name Tuan Anh, I watched one of its videotape and I didn’t like it at all! It was creepy and scary and it didn’t have many acts or performances. The singers were mainly old ones, those who were once famous or wasn’t famous at all. The show creator was a guy who dressed like a woman. At the time I saw the show I was eight or so and it was creepy to me, the way he looked. Later on I heard that in an interview he told reporters that he isn’t gay, he is married but he wanted to dress that way to gain audiences’ attention to stand out and be unique. Another production named Washington Night, and I saw tape #2 and again never heard of it again. It sucks pretty much. There was even a music production created the famous singer, Khanh Ha called Khanh Ha Production. The show had Khanh Ha, Luu Bich (her sister) and To Chan Phong (her husband) singing in it. I don’t think that was very successful. I saw like one tape from then and never again. A third production, May Production A.K.A Hollywood Night is one of the older productions that came out along the time with Asia and Paris By Night. I believed it was very successful during its time. I wonder what happened to it. I had a lot of videotapes and the show was done mostly live. I heard that this show would be back in 2018? I remembered watching the show when I was young up to tape 14 or so. After that my family didn’t buy anymore of their videotapes and we bought less of other productions because I think we gotten used to the life here in the U.S. Before that we were lonely and living in America was something new and there weren’t many Vietnamese people around us so the music videos were our only connection to other Vietnamese and it came a traditional and something of our support out to the Vietnamese community in America. And this is the sole reason why many production companies exist and why they continue to become successful because the Vietnamese community continues to support them. (And also on this note, please support the real deal and not rent or buy the recopy their work. It’s illegal! Lol. )The Vietnamese entertainment in American is growing and we, Vietnamese people are growing too. We are no longer leaving our footsteps but deep and bigger mark on the world.