Thursday, October 13, 2016

Telenovela Production in Brazil

Having discussed Latin American telenovela production during class, I am struck by how much production has improved over the years. The classic telenovelas like Betty, La Fea continue to permeate Colombian culture and are so ingrained that they have become part of the social fabric of the country. It’s only natural that such a beloved form of entertainment improves over time as more stakeholders realize how popular their telenovelas have become and continue to be. After watching Avenida Brasil, I realize how big an investment it is to make a telenovela with such high quality. Rede Globo has dominated the Brazilian national networks since the 1970s and continues to make high quality productions that are both socially relevant and comment on the state of the nation. These productions not only provide entertainment to the majority of Brazilians, but influence how they form their Brazilian identities. Avenida Brasil was the first of its kind to represent the middle class in a realistic way, which made is accessible to a large and growing percent of the Brazilian population. This is made possible by the high quality productions of Rede Globo, as well as the research that must have taken place before and during the writing of the script. Because Rede Globo dominates the Brazilian networks, they have both the budget and time to do thorough research about their telenovelas, putting them a step above all other networks in terms of accuracy and entertainment.

Because of their popularity and extremely high budget, the production site of Rede Globo is massive and impressive. The quality of Globo’s productions are highly competitive with international telenovelas and popular series, even film. Rio de Janeiro continues to be a huge telenovela production site since Globo constructed their studio in western Rio de Janeiro. Globo’s production site and sets are so impressive that they could be entire towns that they often refer to as the “dream factory”. Most of the production site is located in a forest and includes up to 10 different sets. Because of Globo’s size, they have production assistants and actors that are contracted on a year to year basis, monopolizing on the talent pool of the country. Because Globo is able to contract their directors, producers, and actors, they will always have the first and best pick of the top talent in the country, which further strengthens their reign on the production business in Brazil. Rede Globo is an impressive and massive company that will continue to put out extremely high quality productions that not only serve as entertainment, but contribute to the social discourse of the county itself.

Even after Globo airs its telenovelas, they send out market researchers in order to sample the public’s perceptions of the telenovela. Globo will use up to two or three focus groups per episode in order to determine what is working and what is not. They have the power and the resources to write and produce in real time that reflects the tastes of the views, and at the same time increases their viewer ratings. This is an impressive feat for a production network to be so close to the viewers and to consistently produce telenovelas that are instant hits. These telenovelas form part of the collective memory and national identity of Brazilians, as well as serving as a cultural export to the rest of the world.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Ashley for enlightening me on Brazil's telenovela industry. After studying other areas of the world that produce telenovelas like Venezuela and the United States, one aspect of Brazil's production really stuck out to me: Globo's contracting of its actors. In your blog, you noted how Globo was able to benefit from this aspect of their company as it gave them the ability to select from a wide variety of writers, actors, etc. I, personally, am a fan of Globo's use of contracting their employees as it gives them more job security. I know in the United States, for example, telenovela actors have complained about Telemundo's failure to keep its actors under contract. This has resulted in actors/writers pursuing the possibility of unionization as it would enhance their job security. I am happy to see countries like Brazil not only looking out for its actors/writers but also their loyalty to its homegrown successes like Avenida Brasil.