Thursday, October 13, 2016

Thoughts on the Production Unit

The production unit of our class has been really interesting. I never really thought of how much went in to making a telenovela and I’m learning that production staffs of telenovelas are very hardworking. The fast pace of the industry and behind the scenes action were very cool to learn about. The writers waking up at the crack of dawn every day with the expectation that the episode has to be finished by the end of the day is unbelievable to me. Their days are so long and they have to spend so much time tying the scenes together, while the production assistants have to make sure everything flows so that the audience doesn’t find discrepancies. During my research for my consumption project, I found out that my telenovela, Tres Veces Ana is produced in Mexico by a company called Televisa. They have an exclusive contract with Univision and own 5% of it, which is why many of it’s programming airs on the channel. The politics behind production companies and the ratings was intriguing to me because though Tres Veces Ana helped Univision The premiere made Univision the No. 3 Broadcast Network during the two hour airing, it still wasn’t able to compete with Telemundo. There’s such a huge pressure to put out shows that will actually garner large audiences and viewers, because you need audience support and the numbers have to align with that. Also when Dr. A talked about the various tensions between the different groups was also interesting to me because each group has their own motive and agenda. The executives are thinking in a business mind set and strictly from a numbers perspective; they view the telenovela as a product and something that has to be ‘bought’ by the viewers. The writers want the public to fall in love with their product and want their written art form to serve as lens for their audiences. Sometimes it can seem like the executives just want the writers to ‘take the easy way out’ and write a different version of Cinderella and what people have already seen, which can stifle the writers who want to go outside the box. This balance of respect has to be established, I believe, in order for a telenovela to reach ultimate success.
The other factor that shocked me was watching the taping of the scene before it gets polished on screen. It was incredibly awkward watching the ‘sex scenes’ because of how many times they had to do it if it wasn’t done right. I found myself wondering, ‘well I wonder how many times Ana Leticia and Marcelo had to shoot this scene before it actually went well. The directors choreograph everything so carefully and I think it’s because they want to evoke emotion, make sure everything is believable and make sure the love story really comes alive. I’m sure it’s not that hard for Angelique Boyer and Sebastian Rulli, the protagonists of my telenovla, since they are actually in love. But I wonder if they ever get caught up in the moment in those scenes and forget what they are doing since they actually have true feelings for each other, or what about the days when they’re not on good terms and are actually fighting…but that’s a question for another day. J All in all, this production unit was very fascinating and it made me appreciate the industry a lot more.


  1. Hi Amelle--I was also intrigued by the production side of telenovelas. Behind the scenes is very different from what we all glorify as consumers, but it really puts things into perspective. The exhaustive days are unbelievable and make you really respect those actors for being able to produce good scenes over and over again. Not just the actors, but the crew, as well, have a lot of pressure to make sure that everything is seamless and that there are no discrepancies. It's tedious to have to account of the continuity of each scene and make sure that everything matches down the the nail polish color of the actress. These things get scrutinized by the media, which makes the pressure even more difficult to manage.
    The writers also have a lot of pressure to both respond to ratings and to keep in line with the narrative, while expressing their creativity all at the same time. With so much pressure, I would imagine that tapping into your fullest potential as a writer would be hard to balance with the additional expectations put on you by the production team.

  2. También creo que la producción es un tema muy interesante cuando se habla de telenovelas debido a la cantidad de tiempo y energía que entra en una telenovela detrás de las escenas que no sabemos. Lo que me pareció genial, como dijiste, fue cómo estos actores se levantan al amanecer, a veces para filmar escenas que se supone deben ocurrir en la noche, e ir durante horas y horas para hacer una escena. Demuestra que incluso las telenovelas de 50 minutos pueden tardar semanas en realizarse, aunque me interesaría conocer el tiempo medio que se tarda en producir un episodio de una telenovela. Creo que dependerá del presupuesto de la producción, pero me pregunto si alguna vez tomaría más de un par de semanas para hacer un gran episodio de telenovela.

  3. I think the discussion about production was the one that I was least expecting to find intriguing. But throughout the lectures, I was constantly amazed and impressed by the efforts and work done by EVERYONE who works in television production. I left class those days with a new found respect by people in the media production profession. The really funny part is that I'm finding all of these things out while studying telenovelas in various Latin American countries. One thing that Dr. A has mentioned is that budgets directors and producers with in some of these countries are very different than the directors and producers in America. So it's funny because the thought of what production might looks like on bigger budgets is barely conceivable.