Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Telenovela Conversations

Hearing from talented people within the telenovela industry has certainly been one of the most interesting and informative parts of the class. Being able to listen Dr. A's lectures from her perspective as a longtime observer were helpful and provided a lot of insight, but there is no voice so worth hearing as those who are a part of it every day. Each of the professionals whom we got to talk to had a unique experience as a part of production, and seeing different opinions on certain components shed light on what things are really like.
The actors and actresses were particularly interesting since they are one of the most necessary parts of the entire industry. Obviously, without them there would be no telenovela production without them and their skills. I love how answers to the same questions can be vastly different depending on which actor is asked. Some absolutely love playing villains, while others truly enjoy being the altruistic protagonist. Others believed that the most important part of preparation was spending time developing his/her character in their head- knowing how they would react to different situations, etc.- but chemistry and being comfortable with the rest of the cast was also mentioned as a fairly vital component to making a worthwhile telenovela. More than anything, getting perspective from the actors and actresses revealed just how varied their experiences can be.
Listening to directors added another layer of understanding to the picture I had already painted for what I understood of the industry. One of them was actually a director who had previously been an actor, so his way of looking at the challenges that come from directing were unique and always had the actors in mind. It is commonly said that having an 'actors' director' is a huge benefit to the actors themselves, so it makes him even more valuable. Few people ever really think of all the work that goes into directing a scene, so having a conversation with an accomplished professional was very enlightening. I also didn't realize just how much was their decision and responsibility; everything from lighting to camera angles to where the actors are supposed to stand. It is a lot to handle at once, and I have a newfound respect for the craft.
In my opinion, the writers have the most on their plate. They are the ones who create the telenovela; they bring it into being. Then it is their job to continue to grow it and lead everyone on the story's journey. It is the actors that bring the story to life, but without the writer there is no story for them to tell. Writers in places with intense regulation and/or censorship have my sympathy and respect. It is undoubtedly difficult to have a story come from the heart and then be told to alter and trim it down to fit the needs of others. Writing telenovela seems to be a particularly challenging form of writing. The feelings of the audience are constantly being taken into account and have the power to sway the storyline. All in all, I am grateful that there are people who are passionate and up to such a monumental challenge.
Ending class with real discussion from the men and women who make the telenovela industry what it is today was the best way I could have imagined to finish. I never thought I would know anything about TV production at all, and certainly not such a specific part of it. I am thankful for everything I've learned, though.


  1. Estoy de acuerdo con Rachel cuando ella habla sobre cómo los actores realmente traen la historia a la vida. Es interesante ver cómo pueden pasar de ser cómo son todos los días, a entrar en carácter muy rápido. Fue interesante ver durante la última clase cómo los actores hicieron una secuencia de disparo y algunos se molestaron con la forma en que se realizaron, vimos de la propia cámara del Dr. A cómo una niña se molestó visualmente con la forma en que le disparó sus últimas líneas, y que fue interesante ver porque era una representación clara de lo que sucede detrás de la cámara. La locura que va detrás de las escenas fue interestig para ver también. Los actores hacen o rompen una telenovela, al igual que la trama y la música. También fue interesante ver cómo en La Reina del Sur, la última escena de Teresa cambia completamente cuando tienen música española en comparación con cuando la producción original tenía música mexicana, la música dio toda la producción una sensación diferente por lo que el final se suponía ser como.

  2. Rachel,

    I had a really similar experience with the skype conversations and was left with the same feelings as you! It was so crazy to me to think that these uber famous Hispanic actors, actresses, directors, and poets were so beyond willing to talk to us and help us go even deeper into our education on this topic. I guess it has a lot to do with the culture they come from and the hospitality they've learned since youth, but I could not imagine an American celebrity treating us as kindly. My favorite interview was probably with the actress who played Maria Suspiro. She seemed to relatable from the start - almost like a distant relative. It's amazing how down to Earth all of them were and how even at the airport, they were willing to talk to us for half an hour. It gave me so much respect for the entire industry. It became so evident that not only do they work hard, but they do it to go after their passions - not for money or fame. Great review.