Thursday, October 13, 2016

Production in Telenovelas

Regardless of whether the country creating these telenovelas has a budget like Brazil's or major political chaos like Venezuela's, production and its value is never taken lightly. This is exactly what makes telenovelas stand out and stay popular among their international televised drama competitors. Tight budgets and deadlines are what drive the production of these extensive shows and every crew members, cast member, and director must stay on top of these two things and always keep them in mind throughout the entirety of filming.

According to Variety, some channels and writers can pump out six telenovelas annually. This means nonstop work day in and day out all in the hopes of making a classic hit such as "Betty La Fea" or garnering as much money and popularity as "Avenida Brasil". What was so intriguing to me while listening to this specific topic in class was the lengths these production crews will go just to fix something as small as a continuity error in nail polish color.

To maintain a tight ship, companies such as Telemundo hire hundreds of full-time employees dedicated solely to the production of their shows. This number does not include actors, extras, or a marketing team. This means that up to three hundred crew members can be on site at the filming of a scene any day, each with a specific full time and necessary job.

Variety also values Telemundo series at "750-780 hours of programming per year, at an average pace of three complete episodes a day, with three or four shows in production at any given time."
Novelas run about "120-160 episodes, at an average cost of about $70,000 per hour, up to about $150,000." Although that seems like a lot of money, compared to English dramas, this is almost half the average American soap opera budget meaning efficiency is key and no mistakes can be made financially at the production level.

Lastly, not only does the production team have to work quickly and under a strict budget, the writers must always be flexible to audience preferences and reactions. Social media outlets such as Twitter allow for immediate feedback, and when an audience finds something that hits too close to home, lacks chemistry, or is simply boring, they will automatically let the production company and writers know. Scripts must be revised last minute and stories must be changed to maintain good relations with the public.

I find all of this so fascinating and vastly different from American production. The fact that the audience has this much power over the production company is difficult for me to believe. It's also hard for me to wrap my head around the creation of that many episodes in such a short amount of time. Production is definitely not something taken lightly in telenovelas, and the effort put into it absolutely shows in their high quality end products.


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