Thursday, November 10, 2016

Telenovela Conversations

Today in class we had the extreme privilege of getting to speak directly with 2 incredible people in the Telenovela world - Mónica Montañés and Roberto Stopello.

Today was unfdoubtedly one of my favorite days thus far in the semester. It was honestly a little surreal that these two people were willing to take time out of their busy lives to talk to a group of college kids in Athens, Georgia. So, in my blog post, I want to talk about the number one thing to stand out to me that each person said. 

During our conversation with Mónica, she said that her inspiration when writing comes from real life. I know she said alot of incredible things, but this left a mark on me. I think it stood out to me because when watching telenovelas, the first thing I think is "there's no way this could ever happen in real life." The dramatic nature of the shows usually lend me to think anything but real life. But, as I thought about this comment today, I realized that it's not that surprising that her inspiration comes from real life. When it comes down to it, these shows are usually about some sort of social issue or crazy tragedy that while very dramatic, still at the end of the day, these shows are about people's lives. 

The most impactful thing that I heard during our conversation with Roberto Stopello was when he discussed the fact that he writes for young people because he has to essentially work to convince them to watch TV instead of just Netflix. This resonated with me because this must be a hard job! I know personally I, for the most part, just watch Netflix. For me to turn on actual TV, something really good has to be airing. I cannot imagine the pressure of having to write a show that is intriguing enough to get a very anti-regual TV generation to turn off Netflix and turn on cable. 

I learned so much today and cannot wait for our conversations next week!


  1. I think the idea that these writers have to focus on TV vs Netflix is very interesting. Part of me notes that these telenovelas are perfect for Netflix and binge-watching. I know a large majority of the students in this class watch their telenovelas on Netflix, including me. It's a perfect platform for telenovelas because of the intense cliffhangers and fast-paced storylines. However, we have also learned why this is a good characteristic for increasing television viewership and keeping audiences interested.

  2. Mónica's comment about taking ideas from real life was particularly interesting to me as well. It makes sense she would do this- viewers being able to relate to a telenovela is part of what makes these so successful and addictive. Obviously, the ideas she brings into a show are more dramatized than what the everyday person would experience in real life. However, having this underlying common note that allows viewers to relate to the telenovela is what makes these shows special. A viewer forming a relationship with the telenovela and the characters in the show is what gives telenovelas success. What is impressive is that as a writer, she continuously has to come up with new relatable situations that suit the characters in the show, while also being relatable to the audience. It is a hard balance to achieve, along with everything else the network could be demanding. Taking all of this into account makes me appreciate writers' work so much more.

  3. Kaci, creo que las entrevistas en esta clase son increíbles. Las personas que conocimos y preguntamos son muy inspiradoras. Estoy muy agradecido por la oportunidad de conocer a estas personas. Estoy de acuerdo con usted sobre lo que dijo Robert. Tiendo a ver más televisión en Netflix que en la televisión real. Creo que esto podría causar problemas para algunas telenovelas. Creo que es inteligente para las telenovelas pensar en pasar a netflix.

  4. Going off of what Kyla said, I am also very interested in the relationship between telenovelas and Netflix. For me, personally, I do not watch much TV unless it is sports related. When I do watch TV and it is not sports related, most of the time it is through Netflix. For the telenovela industry to recognize Netflix as a viable platform to air is an incredible and forward-thinking move as Netflix truly is the future of entertainment production. I can not think of his name off the top of my head, but I remember one of the writers we interviewed on Skype mentioned this aspect of Netflix in it being the future of movies/tv shows/etc. From an American perspective, I know Netflix is the key to binge watching your favorite shows. Although most Americans do not really watch telenovelas, I see this as a major opportunity for the telenovela industry to capitalize on American viewers through their use of Netflix. I am very interested and excited to see where the telenovela industry goes in terms of its relationship with Netflix as I know it would open the door to a whole new market that the industry may not have previously had been exposed to.

  5. Yeah, this competition is killer! Everybody wants things for free and without commercials. Accessibility is one of the best ways for an audience to get into the theme. A ton of these documentary films like Forks Over Knives and the Jiro sushi guy never would've gotten watched if it wasn't for Netflix. My telenovela, Celia, premiered on Netflix in mid-october and it was a total hit. Even though Celia isn't booming on social media, they got tons of news article written, informing people that they could finally get it for free. I guess it is a low-key type of thing!