Thursday, October 15, 2015

Production: The Process

When looking at all that goes into producing a telenovela, the in-depth process and quick turn-around are staggering and probably a little overwhelming for all members involved. In class, we discussed the steps of this process:

1) Rehearsal with the director on the floor
2) Rehearsal with the director in the booth
3) "Five and action!": tape the scene
4) The director reviews the scene
5) The script reviews the scene
6) Does it stay?
7) The next scene
8) Post-production: editing, music, measure each negro
9) Prepare the promotionals

I think it's interesting, too, understanding this process in the context of the scenes and the fast-paced nature of novelas. Actors and all production team members have to constantly be on their feet and ready to adapt to what's going on. Unexpected problems may arise, but they must work efficiently in a stressful environment and find creative solutions if needed. The story Dr. A told in class about the birthday cake lit with the candles and how they had to scrounge up candles from all over the studio to redo the scene made me realize how many minute details are at play here. I think awareness and meticulousness would be important skills to have when working on the production team. Another example that we mentioned in class is how the character's nails were painted different colors in two consecutive takes; even though this seems like it most likely wouldn't be noticed by the average viewer, audience members and experts are keen on subtle discrepancies, so it's definitely essential to strive for consistency and authenticity. I would imagine this is part of the reason that some many people participate in the production of novelas because it's easy to have a minor inconsistency pass the director by in the chaos of everything that has to be considered when filming.

This was a YouTube video I found, dealing more with telenovela production in the U.S., but still informative. It talks about Telemundo.

Here's another video that talks about telenovelas in the U.S. and shows what production can look like:

Looking at one of the eLC readings, I found that the general production scheme of novelas is classified in three main ways:

1) "Telenovelas are media events..."
2) "Telenovelas are industrial products..."
3) "Telenovelas are, simultaneously, artistic productions..."

According to the article, they are media events in the sense of their role in society; they become of everyday conversation and importance for about six to eight months due to the well-thought-out planning and marketing. They are industrial products in how rapidly they're produced, with fast deadlines, and a staff with very specified positions. Networks make a lot of money, and advertising extends to big markets. Lastly, they are artistic products in the actual craft. The acting, narrative writing, and language contribute to the mood, tone, and thematic concepts displayed to an audience. These actors are serious about their work, and in Latin America, telenovelas hire the best of the best talent-wise, so this experience is influential in their careers. Overall, from a personal standpoint, I have gained so much respect for the production team of telenovelas for the long hours, close attention to detail, smooth transitions, and collaboration that constitute production.


  1. I really like the way you relate to the readings here, Maggie! I think "media events" in particular is a great way to describe telenovelas because it reminds us of the reciprocal relationship between (a successful) telenovela and its surrounding society. Of course, because of its tight production schedule the writers and producers have more time to respond to current events and overall make the show relatable to its viewers. But beyond that, these shows facilitate a coming together of a huge variety of people extending across social and geographical barriers. They're what people talk about over lunch at work the next day or chat about with their hairdressers or tweet avidly about as the latest episode progresses. And with that comes an opportunity to help set the social agenda in a way that, really, only the news can in our country. We learned that in Venezuela more people watch the most popular telenovela than the nightly news; I can't even conceive of that kind of impact from a fictional show. These novelas really are events in themselves.

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