Thursday, October 24, 2013

All Together Now

When we talked about telenovela production in class, the sheer number of moving parts really struck me. Each member of the team has to be doing his or her job well all the time in order for the conveyer belt of the telenovela assembly line to keep moving. If a backup were to occur at any point, the episode might not end up on air that night. If the dialoguistas did’t complete their sections on time, then the writer couldn’t put everything together. If the writer didn’t send the script over to the rest of the production team, then nothing at all could move forward. I got a little stressed out thinking about all the things that could go wrong. What if the writer got really sick? What if an actor got really sick?? Would they just power through?

Dr. A told us a story about a telenovela getting so behind that they were filming that day the episode for that night — if that happened, how would the cast and crew ever catch up or get ahead again? Would they have to film multiple episodes each day after that to recover their cushion? When telenovelas are faced with such an extreme time crunch like that, does the show ever fail to make it on air? Or would the team just bite the bullet and sacrifice quality for expedience’ sake?  I scoured the internet, trying to find an example of a telenovela episode failing to air, but I got nothing. It appears that the team just does whatever it needs to do to make the magic happen. Everyone pulls together.

And on that note, I realized how crucial each team member is — how the success or failure of the telenovela is in the hands of everyone involved. The script, the floor manager, the cameramen and all the assistants in between … they are crucial to each episode. But all these “little” guys don’t get a fraction of the credit or fame that the actors, or even directors, receive. They are the invisibles. I tried to look up the complete crew for the telenovela I’m watching, Corazón Salvaje. I found the writer, composer, cinematographer, director, producer and actors. There was no mention anywhere, however, of the rest of the team. This doesn’t seem right to me. I wouldn’t even know that those people existed if not for this class. I wonder if they feel neglected or if they prefer to work behind the scenes. I just feel like they deserve a lot of respect.


  1. I completely agree! Honestly it stressed me out a bit imagining filming an episode that is supposed to air tonight! WHAT? That sounds completely insane to me. How do they never screw up or run out of time or something breaks or someone is sick or one way or another things fall apart? I felt the same shock of getting to see behind the scenes of production and realize that it really is magic that these episodes come together one after another. I would love to stand next to Dr A behind the scenes one day and just watch it all unfold. It honestly blows my mind how many pieces of the puzzle have to magically come together and fall right into place and somehow the show continues to run. I'm sure there are hiccups and mishaps along the way, yet telenovela production continues. They do whatever it takes to pull it off and somehow these episodes seem to come together seamlessly.
    I also agree with the behind the scenes guys. I wonder how they feel about not having their name be recognized for all their hard work. I imagine the guy who holds the big pole with the microphone....he's got to be exhausted at the end of the day. Carrying that heavy thing has got to be a workout. I think he deserves a special name or title just to be recognized for his daily labor. I was amazed with how many of those "invisible people" it takes to pull off one single episode of a telenovela. It truly is amazing and I completely agree that they deserve more credit for the behind the scenes production :)

  2. Joy,
    It stressed me out to even read this blog post! It reminded me yet again that without the perfect timing and work of every team member, something will go wrong, and the production process will be moved back in some way or another. working on telenovelas and films would be the most stressful job in the world. I think shot continuity would be so difficult while filming telenovelas. Making sure that everyone is standing in the exact same place and moving to the exact same spot every single time the take is shot would be my personal nightmare. As a person who does not pay much attention to detail, I can't even begin to express the profound respect I have for people that are able to make telenovelas well and get every shot on a screen in a creative and effective way.
    Marina, I liked what you said about the man who holds the sound pole. That IS a tough job! And no one could hear the actors' lines if that person wasn't there. Each part that a person plays in the making of a telenovela is crucial and indispensable. It gives me a new appreciation for the length of the credits at the end of a movie; they're acknowledging that they really could not produce their work without the efforts of each person on that list. I have so much respect for the people that tirelessly work behind the scenes to make these exciting telenovela stories come to life.