Friday, November 11, 2016

Skype Interviews

Being able to engage with such huge contributors to the telenovela world has definitely been the most impressive part of class this far. After exploring the amount of adversity in Venezuela especially, the quality and value of the contributors really shines. They work so well with the resources available. For example, the average Venezuelan telenovela simply doesn't have a comparable budget to Turkey's average of 200k spent every episode.

The endearing qualities that all of these writers, directors, and producers have in common are many. My personal favorite is how they keep within the logical limits to do things on a barely possible timeline. It really seems border-line inhumane, doesn't it? The flexibility is another, reminding me of the image of interns and gaffers holding down the ladder, so that the cameraman can get a "ceiling" shot of two actors on the bed. What a tragedy if he fell!

I was finding it hard to believe that the writers work from scratch in a way that the United States doesn't usually see. Roberto Stopello was surprisingly casual while informing us that they had a set that was beautifully decorated as a Moroccan city. After all the work had been done, why only use it for one novela, right? So it was a two bids, one stone type of deal.

I have seen circumstances where U.S. directors are very cut throat and choppy due to time constraints. It is comical for me to imagine all of these last-minute Latin American adjustments where they are screaming at each other to run to the market to get a plant to prop the stage. The culture is what makes the production so funny, because only Latinas can embody the proper eye-roll when directors cut to fix the roll of a tear 20 times.

It is a bumble-bee work ethic that I hate to be stereotypical about, but I often truly wonder if it's in the blood. The rapido mindset is definitely at play, because this quantity of successful production just isn't precedented in the U.S. Flexibility has to be coupled with extreme versatility and a creative efficiency that makes smart work happen quick. Along the lines of what Stopello said, if you aren't able to keep up with the heat, you will find yourself left behind. There are top-class artists who work 12 hour days and are constantly right behind you, so the competition is hot.

Monica Montañés spoke on a topic that I was very interested in. When I think about the youth in Venezuela and their relationships with the general government, I see striking similar situations paralleling each other. The violence in Venezuela seems much more roundabout and less segregated than in U.S. cities like Atlanta, but the distrust and disgust for government officials are at comparative highs on both sides. The youth are currently empowered to make political change in both countries, something that gives Montañés hope for the seemingly grim future of the Venezuelan telenovela.

1 comment:

  1. Charles-- I was also surprised with the timeline that writers must work with in Latin American productions. This style seems to be in stark opposition to US production, where money and time are limited and tightly controlled. I agree with you when you say that the their work ethic uses a different mindset. I think that American production is super competitive and oftentimes the size and scope of production companies vary, more so than in Venezuela. US production include independent's or actors turned producers, so we see a lot more variety in the type of production work going on. In Venezuela, I don't think they have that variety as an option, and while competition is hot for actors, it is probably very difficult for production companies to survive. When we had our guest speaker who was the CEO of one of the biggest production companies in Venezuela, he really put this into perspective. They consistently produced successful telenovelas, until the government decided not to renew their contract. His company eventually went under, despite its widespread success. The political situation causes a lot more homogeneity within production companies compared to the US because of their tight regulations and governmental control. Even still, the fierce competition for acting jobs still exists and they seem to get everything done with relatively few errors.