Thursday, October 15, 2015

Producing Pablo Escobar

As we've all noticed: producing a telenovela is no small accomplishment. Producing a telenovela and not losing your mind from sleep deprivation, criticism and unbelievable deadlines––a true feat. While every person involved in the production is essential––especially those the audience never sees––the actors are exposed to an incredible amount of pressure. Whether it is self-inflicted, from their producers, executives or directors, or from the audience ratings, these are some of the most dedicated actors in the world.

The most important yet difficult aspect of producing a telenovela is without a doubt the time constraint; while no series is ever completely perfect, a deadline every single day definitely increases the possibility for error. On top of this crazy schedule, the actors face pressure from executives to make money and receive high ratings, producers to meet deadlines, writers to play the character as they envisioned and the audience to create a story they can rally behind.

In Pablo Escobar: El Patrón de Mal, the cast and crew also had to travel to locations for each scene instead of filming on a set! With travel and set-up, I find it hard to believe these actors had lives outside of the world of this Colombian drug lord.

Another aspect of production I find intriguing is casting. The characters in the show are unbelievably similar to their real-life counterparts––especially Escobar. It makes me wonder: how many Escobar look-alikes are out there?

The casting process must have been arduous; finding talented actors like those in the telenovela, who also met a physically-specific requirement would take a great deal of time––as if casting wasn't already a difficult process.

Another interesting layer of this show is that some of the production/executive team have personal ties to Escobar; two are related to individuals killed or kidnapped under Escobar's orders. This personal dimension creates even more pressure for the actors to play roles a certain way––these individuals would want their relatives legacy to be honored and revered, not critiqued in any way.

I have been truly amazed at the level of production of telenovelas in general, but Pablo Escobar has been truly amazing to analyze; every aspect of its production is extremely well done.

1 comment:

  1. This is a really interesting post, Callie! Thanks for sharing. So, first of all, I would like to say that I am also very surprised and impressed by the amount of effort that goes into the production of a telenovela. From having strict deadlines to selecting the cast, production is not an easy task and I know it probably costs members of production teams several hours of sleep. What really fascinates me about this post though, is what you said about actors needing to play their roles in a way that aligns correctly with the reality. Due to the type of telenovela that you’re watching, I bet there is a lot of pressure on the production team to make sure the characters are portrayed correctly as well as making sure it remains historically accurate.

    After your group presented your consumption presentation today, I found myself very intrigued with the challenge of accurately portraying a historical event or story in a telenovela. In this particular case, Pablo Escobar needed to be portrayed as accurately as possible because he is the main character in the show. According to your presentation, the telenovela also tried to align the events in the telenovela with what actually happened to Pablo Escobar in relation to the drug trade. Your group said that the production crew included real footage in the telenovela too as a way of showing the audience that the events portrayed in the telenovela are historically accurate. I think that is a really fascinating idea because without the clips, I wonder if viewers would have expected the telenovela to be as historically accurate as it is.

    Also, I know that I am sometimes critical of videos made in the U.S. due to a personal uncertainty of their accuracy and truthfulness, it would be interesting to know whether or not Colombians had any uncertainty about the truthfulness or portrayal of the drug trade in the telenovela. Because the drug trade has had very negative consequences in the country, I wonder if viewers were skeptical and wary of how the government may have censored this type of a telenovela.