Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Final Thoughts–"We Are All Professionals"

Last night, we were able to wrap up our journey by watching the conclusions of some of the telenovelas that we learned about throughout the semester. My personal favorite was the final episode sequence shot from La Vida Entera. It was so effortless and fluid, and my classmates and I were sure that multiple takes had been necessary to complete the shot. We were shocked when Dr. A told us that there was only one true run-through, which was the final product we saw on-screen. I beleive she said that because the director's wife had to be at the theater, they did not have time for multiple run-throughs, so he simply said that it could be done in one take because "We are all professionals."

It was amazing to think about, because that phrase means a lot. The fact that he was able to place that kind of confidence in his team is astounding. This includes everyone from the production team to the actors–all of these people must be able to do their part to produce the final scene ever for La Vida Entera. It says a lot about the skill his team possessed, and the confidence they had in each other and in themselves.

I think that moment was a good representation of the course for me. We have learned so much about the work, training and preparation that goes into telenovelas. We spoke to writers who spend hours on end, even a full day, producing the content that will be heard on our screens. We have learned about the minute details such as the color of a character's nails and the music that accompanies certain scenes. I saw all of that come together in watching that scene and learning that it was done in one take. One take that was a culmination of the expertise of each professional involved.

The most important aspect of this revelation is the fact that I would not have appreciated that final episode nearly as much had I not been given such a comprehensive background on the industry this semester. I value the knowledge I have gained because it has allowed me to appreciate something that I did not understand before. I definitely plan to keep watching telenovelas and working on my Spanish in order to continue delving into this culture, as I thoroughly enjoyed this course.

Villanos: Nos encanta odiarlos

Después de hablar con la actriz Carlota Sosa, empecé a pensar en el papel de los villanos en las telenovelas. Creo que todo el mundo se centra en los protagonistas porque son fáciles de enamorarse. Sin embargo, ahora me doy cuenta de la importancia de un papel que juegan los villanos en cada trama de telenovela. Los villanos son tan importantes para el éxito de la telenovela como protagonista.

Creo que hay ciertas personas que están destinadas a jugar villanos, y no es un trabajo fácil. Como un villano, tienes que desarrollar ciertos modales y actuar mal. Carlota Sosa dijo que sus personajes han hecho cosas muy malas en las telenovelas. En una escena, tuvo que robar a un bebé. Estas son las escenas que impactan la telenovela y toman a una persona especial para desempeñar el papel correcto.

Durante la conversación con Carlota Sosa, una pregunta que me llamó la atención fue si puede salir de su carácter en casa. Yo no soy un actor, pero sólo puedo imaginar lo difícil que es jugar un villano y volver a su ser normal. Durante la conversación con Carlota Sosa, una pregunta que me llamó la atención fue si puede salir de su carácter en casa. Yo no soy un actor, pero sólo puedo imaginar lo difícil que es jugar un villano y volver a su ser normal. Carlota Sosa dijo que ella actúa como villanos bien porque es una persona con carácter fuerte y capaz de dejar el personaje en la telenovela.

En la Avenida Brasil, el villano Carminha hace que la telenovela tenga éxito en mi opinión. Ella es la villana más malvada de todos los tiempos, pero expresa la emoción de una manera tan poderosa. En general, soy villanos de equipo.

Episodios y Pensamientos Finales

Disfrute la clase anoche sobre episodios finales de telenovelas. Fue la manera perfecta de pasar nuestra clase final. En telenovelas y en programas de television en los estados unidos, el ultimo episodio es muy importante. El episodio tiene la oportunidad para hacer o romper la telenovela para los espectadores. Este es un gran responsabilidad para los escritores de las telenovelas y estoy seguro que los escritores reciben muchas criticas sin importar lo que hagan. Es imposible hacer todo el mundo feliz y por eso yo pienso que la mas importante es que el escritor hace lo que quieren.

Fue muy interesante hablando a escritores y actores de telenovelas durante las semanas pasadas. Algo que me parece muy interesante es la relación personal que los escritores, los actores y los espectadores tiene con las telenovelas. Por todo estas personas, telenovelas no son solo programas de television pero son una parte de sus vidas. Por los escritores, sus telenovelas son una extension de sus vidas y sus mentes. Como ellos mención durante las entrevistas, ellos usan personas reales en sus vidas para inspiración. Entonces, sus telenovelas son muy personal. Por otro lado, los actores tienen que convertirse sus personajes. Cada día ellos actúan como un personaje diferente. Los actores hacen que los personajes sean suyos. Finalmente, los espectadores tiene un gran conexión con telenovelas. Estas personas son mas que obsesionadas con las telenovelas. Ellos sienten que las cuentas y las personas en la telenovela son parte de su vida real. Alrededor del mundo personas se unen a las cuentas de personas ficticias. En todo, hay muchas personas que son involucradas con y unido a telenovelas en maneras muy personales.

Antes de este clase yo no sabia nada sobre telenovelas. Pensé que este clase me enseñaría sobre diferentes telenovelas o las telenovelas que son las mas populares. Pero en realidad, este clase me mostró la importancia de telenovelas en America Latina y alrededor del mundo. También, este clase me mostró la conexión entre telenovelas, sociedad, el gobierno, la economía y eventos históricos. Pero pienso que la cosa mas importante que aprendi en este clase es tener una mente abierta sobre culturas y países diferentes. Pienso que este clase me ayudare apreciar mejor programas de television,  películas y libros de otras países. Solo porque son diferentes a lo que estoy acostumbrado no significa que sean malos.

Social Issues Addressed in Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso

My mom has always been a dedicated telenovela viewer. For the past few months, she has been watching the three nighttime telenovelas broadcasted on Telemundo, Silvana Sin Lana, Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso, and Señora Acero 3: La Coyote. Since I moved back home this semester, living in the same house as my mom has led me to have a nightly exposure to the telenovelas she is watching. Though I have watched bits of all three telenovelas, Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso, in particular, has really caught my attention. I mentioned to my mom that I wanted to start watching Sin Senos Si Hay Paraiso from the beginning. She immediately recommended that I watch Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso before I caught up on the missed first half of Sin Senos Si Hay Paraiso. Without a doubt, I searched for Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso, found it on Netflix, and followed her advice. So far, I have watched merely ten of the 175 episodes. In this post, I discuss the numerous social issues the telenovela has already represented within the first ten episodes, including obsession with beauty, consumption of drugs, high school dropouts, rape, and abortions.

The storyline of Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso revolves around Catalina, a young low income schoolgirl, who dreams of being the girlfriend of a wealthy drug dealer and achieving a life full of luxuries. Her best friend, Yesica, is responsible for recruiting the women that the drug leaders request to fulfill their sexual desires. Yesica’s nickname, La Diabla, fits her perfectly. She is a representation of the corruption present in schools and among youth in Colombia. She is the link between innocent schoolgirls and the narco-world, both in terms of drug consumption and sexual involvements.

 Catalina wants to be one of the women that Yesica delivers to the drug leaders but the small size of her breasts prevent any drug dealer from requesting her. Not only do the drug leaders reject her small breasts, but her boyfriend, Albiero also tells her that she would be the queen of the world if only she had bigger breasts. Catalina is tormented by the small size of breasts, since the other characters in the telenovela constantly define and marginalize her due to their size. She dreams with getting a breast augmentation, just like all her friends have. Catalina believes, that by getting the augmentation, she will be able to achieve her dream of being the rich girlfriend of a drug leader. Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso represents the definition of beauty as having a perfect body, with large breasts, a round bottom, a flat stomach, and tones legs. This is a common belief in many Latin American countries, especially countries like Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil. Catalina’s obsession with obtaining large breasts is also a common desire of many people in Latin America who are dreaming of achieving the definition of beauty that their society uses to judge others.

Besides representing the obsession with an artificial definition of beauty, Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso incorporates many aspects of the drug world. Latin American communities, especially in countries like Colombia with its cocaine production, deal with the drug epidemics.   The telenovela features drug dealers, such as Cardona, Moron, Martinez, and “Titi,” that live a luxurious and materialistic life. The telenovela features the machismo present in the world of drug lords, and Latin American countries in general, through violence. For example, at Moron’s birthday party, his girlfriend requested the song ‘Como Una Flor’ for the band to sign. Upon being informed that the band could not play the song because they did not know it, Moron pulled out his gun and threatened each of the members with a gunshot to the head if they did not play the song. Machismo is also presented through the objectification of women, which considering the plot of the telenovela, is present in every episode. In the telenovela, there are drug lords asking how much a woman is worth. They believe that all women are up for purchase. One example that demonstrates the severe extent of this objectification is the role of Margot within the telenovela. Margot is a woman who owns and operates a catalog of women, where she takes promiscuous pictures of women, puts them in her catalog, and distributes the catalogs to drug lords. These drug lords then pick the girl of their interest from the catalog. The representation of the drug lord world depicts the reality of many Latin American communities. It represents the machismo that dominates these communities.

Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso also focuses on the consumption of drugs and the curiosity of young people. For example, Catalina, the naïve female protagonist, curiously asks her best friend, Yesica what it feels like to consume drugs. Yesica responds and offers to get Catalina some drugs whenever she wants to try them. This is an example of the corruption of schoolgirls that Yesica represents.

A third social issue that Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso highlights is the desperation of low income young people, especially in Colombia, to start making money. The infatuation with luxury promoted by the deep desire to get out of poverty leads young people to drop out of school. Bayron, Catalina’s brother, and Catalina both tell their mother, Hilda, that they plan to drop out of school. They tell her that it is not worth spending eights hours studying because upon graduation they will still be poor. Hilda does not agree with them and insists that they stay in school, instead of staying ignorant like she had to. Despite his mother’s hesitation, Bayron decides to drop out of school and takes a job as a hit man. Catalina delays the decision a little longer but in the meantime simply skips school to accompany Yesica on her business deals, such as taking a trip to Bogota. Hilda cannot come to terms with the decision of her children to give up an education. She suffers at the idea of them suffering and staying in poverty for the rest of their lives. While Hilda views school as the gateway to a reach a more prosperous life, Bayron and Catalina view school as the obstacle that impedes their dreams of making money. Bayron and Catalina, along with many other young people in their community, idolize Titi, a former poor schoolboy who dropped out of school, left their poor town, and is a rich a drug lord. When Catalina and Titi interact at a drug lord party, Catalina tells Titi that he is the reason why all the schoolboys and girls are dropping out of school. They all want to be successful like him.

Rape is a fourth social issue that appears in first ten episodes of Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso. When Martinez, an elementary drug dealer, asks Yesica to bring over two girls, Yesica takes Catalina and two other friends to visit Martinez. Catalina is hopeful that Martinez will pick her to sleep with him. That way, she will finally obtain the money she needs for her breast augmentation, which she believes will be her claim to fame within the world of drug lords. After Martinez does not pick Catalina, she is driven by her desperation and naiveness to accept the proposal of Caballo, one of Martinez’s bodyguards, to sleep with him in exchange for the money she needs for the breast augmentation. After Caballo and Catalina’s involvement, the two other bodyguards, Jorge and Orlando, walk in. They threaten Caballo that if they can’t be with Catalina too, then they will tell Martinez that Caballo was messing his woman. Catalina is already distraught and desperately calls for her. However, against her will, Jorge and Orlando take advantage of Catalina. This rape represents a tragedy that occurs in many communities. Older men, such as Jorge and Orlando, taking unconsented advantage of young and helpless girls, like Catalina, is a crime that occurs in many communities worldwide and extends beyond any particular social class.

A few weeks after the rape, Catalina finds out that she is pregnant. Her pregnancy gives rise to the social issues of unwanted pregnancies and abortions. At first, Catalina contemplates the idea of having the baby. However, Yesica tells Catalina that all her dreams of money and luxury will disappear if they baby is born. Yesica tells Catalina that the only solution is an abortion. Since they are young girls acting without the consent of their parents and are also poor, the abortion procedure is featured as unprofessional and very non-sanitary. Yesica does not take Catalina to a clinic. Instead, she takes Catalina to a residential townhome to see the man who will perform the abortion. He is dressed in rags and does not exhibit a professional demeanor. The man offers them two prices depending on whether or not Catalina will take on the pain. Once the man begins to perform the abortion, the telenovela features him snacking on cookie wafers. This scene represents the lack of access to safe abortion clinics in many communities. This is a problem that is aggravated in developing countries with poor communities, such as Colombia, where women do not have the resources they need to make safe choices. Even Yesica acknowledges the uncertified abilities of this man by telling Catalina that she does not have the follow the post-abortion recommendations of a lunatic “doctor.”

Even though I have only watched the first ten episodes of Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso, a handful of social issues faced by Colombian communities have already been represented. This telenovela is a telenovela de ruptura that has really caught my attention with its intense storyline. As I continue to watch Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso, I am interested in observing how additional social issues are incorporated into the plot of this successful telenovela.

Pensamientos finales del curso

Para mi, todo de este curso fue un proceso de evolución. Eso aun incluye la decisión de tomar la clase. Después de pasar un verano en España para mejorar mi español y concepto de culturas extrañas, quise una clase que serviría como una extensión de eso. Aunque valgo clases de literatura como un recurso de aprender sobre varias culturas, los temas a menudo son muy antiguos. Después de hablar con mi consejera, estuvimos de acuerdo que la clase de Telenovelas sería el formato perfecto para examinar a cultura latina en una perspectiva más moderna. 

Cuando Dra. A nos preguntó por qué estamos en la clase, estoy seguro que dije algo como "aprender más cultura y mantener mi español" como la mayoridad de clase. Anoche, Dra. A nos recordaba de esa conversación y comentó que todo de nosotros tuvimos una razón por tomar la clase, pero la realidad es que probablemente dejaremos la clase con algo diferente. Es verdad que dejo la clase con más saber de la producción de las telenovelas, temas importantes de telenovelas, y saber de los países en que se producen y como las afectan. Eso yo supuse sería el caso. Sin embargo, dejo la clase con algo que no me esperé- una pasión renovada y agradecimiento para la educación de lengua he recibido. 

Ya puedo ver como mi español ha regresado sin la exposición a un profesor enseñando una clase en español. No quiero perder esa habilidad que me ha conectado a cosas y personas muy queridos a mi: mi música latina que oscila entre reggaeton y Pitbull a las baladas románticas de Sin Bandera; las películas que me hace reír hasta que lloro; mis profesores que me han moldeado; y finalmente mi madre anfitriona que sin mi educación no sería posible comunicar con ella y formar una conexión que nunca me olvidaré. Dra. A nos dijo que no debemos dejar de aprender y hablar nuestras lenguas secundarias, y tomando esta clase me convenció que ella tiene razón. Es importante a mi incorporar más aspectos de español en mi vida diaria- no voy a quitar la lengua de mi vida después de graduarme. La clase me ha enseñado que aun leer un libro o ver un programa para divertirme es algo que puede continuar mi interés para cultura latina, en cualquier país, en cualquier lugar que me encuentro. 

Gracias, Doctora.
Gracias por exponernos a gente, experiencias, y cosas que no voy a olvidar muy pronto. 

Telenovela Interviews

The past few weeks in class, we have had Skype or FaceTime interviews with many writers and actors from various telenovelas. As we have watched many different telenovelas in class and learned about the production process, we have learned about the process the writers go through while writing the telenovelas, the way the actors feel about the telenovelas and the people they become while performing, and the way they all feel about the production companies and/or the government’s control of telenovelas in their country. Just like American movies and shows, there are many aspects that play into writing the story, choosing the characters, and filming the actual show.

For me, it is very hard to imagine the difficulties that writers and actors go through when writing and producing these shows as I’m not a writer nor an actor and have never had any experience with that field. Also, living in America where very few things are censored makes it hard for me to understand what other countries must endure when wanting to write, film, and produce stories they want. I read someone else’s blog in our class that discussed their home country, Vietnam, and the struggles they have with their government as far as movies and TV shows goes. They remember specific shows that were imported from another country that needed to be censored because their words and pictures were not compliant with the country’s rules and regulations. I think that because countries have different types of governments that it is difficult for us in America to realize all of the struggles and restrains that the people living there, the writers, the producers, and the actors feel.

In America, we would never have the opportunity to interview directors or actors from our most loved Netflix series or TV shows. It would be like interviewing John Stamos from Full House or Sophia Bush from One Tree Hill—crazy! It was very interesting to see times when our thoughts and opinions about a telenovela differed from the producer or actor. Asking them personal questions was also very intriguing as sometimes they had answers that were unexpected. Being able to ask them questions about themselves and their life before, during, and after the telenovela was a very special treat to end our semester and allowed us to really connect with the telenovelas. The interviewers were quite entertaining at times and allowed us to see the heart and why behind every show that is produced. To be able to discuss these aspects on such a personal level is something I may never get the chance to do again with any writers or actors! Thank you, Dr. A for allowing us to do that, and thank you for all you’ve done for our class!
Esta semana en clase hablamos con algunas personas importantes en la industria de las telenovelas. Entre ellos, Carlota Sosa y su esposo Rafael Romero y Leonardo Padrón. Las últimas semanas hemos estado haciendo entrevistas de Skype con actores y directores para aprender más sobre telenovelas. Me pareció muy interesante que muchos de los actores y actrices con quienes hablamos hicieron algo más que actuar. Mi favorito de estas conversaciones de Skype fue con Leonardo Padrón.

Leonardo Padrón me interesó mucho por sus habilidades de hablar y escribir. Al igual que el Dr. A mencionado al principio de la clase, Leonardo, porque es poeta, tiene un vocabulario que a veces es difícil de traducir porque es muy poético y en un idioma diferente. Pensé que sus respuestas a nuestras preguntas eran muy fascinantes. Mi pregunta en la clase era, ¿hay un tema principal a lo largo de sus poemas e historias que usted intenta relacionar cada trabajo a? Y su respuesta fue que él intenta incorporar cómo que él mira el mundo en sus libros. Esto significa que la forma en que ve el amor, la vida, la muerte y el significado de todo en la vida es algo que elige escribir.

También pensé que era interesante hablar con los actores de las telenovelas porque no me di cuenta de lo mucho que pensaron que también poner en la producción. Estos actores no sólo actúan, miran las escenas y el arte de lo que están haciendo y tratan de ayudarse mutuamente aprovechando al máximo lo que implica la escena. Por ejemplo, cuando estábamos teniendo una conversación de Skype con la actriz Daniela Bascope nos enteramos de que ella no sólo actúa sino que también escribe y dirige cortometrajes. Esto es interesante para mí porque muestra que puedes empezar a actuar o hacer una cosa y luego ir a diferentes áreas de ese campo, ella habló de su amor por la dirección y cómo a veces cuando ella está actuando ella necesita para asegurarse de que ella escucha Los directores y aprende de ellos. También es autora del libro "Overcome and Live." Ella era mi persona favorita con la que hablamos.

En general, fue muy informativo escuchar a estos actores y actrices porque arrojar una luz sobre cómo se ocupan de la producción y cómo contribuyen a la telenovela en general, fuera de actuar. Fue interesante ver cómo pueden pasar de actuar a involucrarse en otras cosas fuera de las telenovelas, y cómo a veces pueden ser más apasionados por otra cosa, como escribir. Me parece interesante que estos actores y actreses también parecen salir con la gente en su industria porque yo creo que sería difícil trabajar con y volver a casa. Sin embargo, las parejas con las que hablamos parecían entenderlo, hablaban sobre cómo se apoyaban mutuamente y trataban de no dejar que su trabajo se interponía en el camino de su vida fuera de las telenovelas.