Wednesday, November 20, 2013


I am completely blown away by the last couple of class periods we have had. Not only have we had the pleasure of hearing from some of Venezuela's most talented actors, directors, writers, and producers, but we have also had the opportunity to learn even more about this fascinating genre of television. I am so thankful for this learning opportunity. What has struck me the most about these conversations has been each person's perspective on the legacy Hugo Chavez left in Venezuela and the way he completely changed the country and the work they love. 

Marisa Román described, with tears in her eyes, the way her devotion to her country and her audience has nearly driven her to stop working on telenovelas in Venezuela, because she knows that she cannot deliver the type of telenovela the people in her country deserve. 

Leonardo Padrón said that he has a determination to be a Venezuelan and to do something to help the country. Despite everything that has happened to him personally and to his country, he feels that he has gained more than he has lost. 

 Vicente Albarracín expressed how in his work with telenovelas in Venezuela, what they have achieved is way more important than what they were not able to do. 

The focus in each one of these inspiring comments is hope. Each one realizes that the purpose for which they do their work is worth facing every challenge and hardship in their path. They are devoted to the art and to the audience that consumes it, and they will not give up, no matter what odds they face. Despite the many obstacles in their way and the depressed state of their country, they choose to have a positive perspective on their work and the impact that it can have. 

An important part of that persistence is a devotion to producing quality telenovelas. The actress, writer, and director know that they cannot settle for less than what their audience needs and deserves. They must do everything in their power to deliver a story that is going to do so much more than entertain. Their goal is to educate, challenge, and give hope to their audience. 


  1. I cannot agree more with this- honestly this class has been by far my favorite. I think Dr. A did an outstanding job teaching us about every aspect of telenovelas. But not only that, I have developed such an emotional interest in Venezuela and the struggles and conflicts that are present there. I admire the method in which they use a telenovela to communicate to their country. It is fascinating to me. But- this class WOULD NOT have been the same if we wouldn't have had the opportunity to speak with the writer, actress, and director. That was honestly the icing on the cake for this class. It just makes everything seem SO real. Along with Dr. A's footage and pictures from the telenovelas.

  2. I agree completely as well. I thought that it was fascinating to get to speak with a writer, actress and director. Each of their perspectives was so incredibly unique and I felt as though we learned something different from each of them. One thing that really stood out to me was the patriotism and passion they have for Venezuela. It is so amazing to see people from other countries have that fire and drive to better their country and give hope to their people. I loved having an open forum and being able to candidly ask them questions about the situation with Chavez and how the telenovela industry has been affected. Honestly, before this class I had not even thought about how governments could work to control television, especially shows, channels or novelas that are so influential. I loved seeing each individuals hope and unique love for Venezuela. It was truly inspiring :)

  3. How inspiring is this? I know I have been completely blown away listening to each writer, director, and actor speak with us. I think what blew me away the most wasn't their love for what they do, but their passion behind WHY they do it. Whenever we were skyping with Leonardo, I so desperately wanted to ask why he doesn't come to the United States. He has SO much talent and could do incredible things in Miami, yet he chooses to stay in Venezuela. I really wanted him to explain why he would give up such an incredible opportunity here in the US to stay in Venezuela when the beautiful country is struggling so much. However, the more I thought about it, and proceeded to have a made-up conversation in my head. I think it was at that moment that it truly sunk in, this idea of their love and passion being rooted in something so much deeper than what they do. Yes, Leonardo is an amazing writer, and there is no doubt that he LOVES what he does, but the real reason why he does it is his country, his audience, to be a beacon of hope. Essentially he is placing his country and the love and hope of his audience before glorifying himself in what he does. And THAT is what makes him not just an amazing writer, but an incredible man.

    Listening to all of the guest speakers talk I have been completely humbled, and I feel like I have taken a lesson away from it, more than just learning more about the men and women behind the screen. I feel like I have learned that whatever you do, to do it well, to do it with passion, you must not do it simply because you love it, but because there is something more powerful driving that love.

    The telenovela industry, and this class has taught me more than how telenovelas are produced, written, etc. I have learned life lessons.
    ..... and I truly believe that is the point anyways.

  4. Also don't yall agree that this class actually forced us to think? And to think in a way that is not necessarily comfortable? It kinda makes me think about how what all we take for granted. Of course there are times where I keep my purse close to my body or make sure that my iphone is not just set on a table. But those are little things compared to what some people have to "watch out" or "be careful" for.

    I actually found myself telling all my roommates and my parents about our experiences talking with these people. Like y'all said, it definitely inspired me. In my final paper I touch on what each person mentioned and what I took away from them. I wish I could post this for y'all to see but it would be too long. But basically I realized that Telenovelas are not just shows. They aren't just productions. They can actually be life changing.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. I could not agree with this post more. Although all the actors, directors and producers we spoke to were very inspiring, I think the one person who has made the biggest impact on me throughout this course was Leonardo Padrón. His quiet determination to help his country, even though leaving Venezuela would have undoubtedly been the easier option, is truly inspiring. Although he has faced many obstacles during his fight to help the people of Venezuela, he continues to selflessly serve his country through his work. His determination is extremely humbling, and I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to speak with him this semester. 

    His telenovelas are so much more than just a form of entertainment. They represent the feelings of an entire country, and much can be learned from them. For us as students, they served an educational purpose, and to the people of Venezuela, they are a symbol of hope.


This class has opened my eyes to the way education should be. Students should want to learn for the sake of learning, not just for the grade they will earn at the end of the semester. Classrooms should stimulate discussion and force students to think outside of the box. This class has done exactly that, and I am grateful to Dr. A for giving me the opportunity to see how learning should be. I was so inspired by this class, I even wrote a paper about telenovelas for my other Spanish course I am taking this semester! This is one class I can honestly say I will not forget.

  7. Wow, loved reading this post and all the comments. This class challenged us to think in ways that other classes haven't really given us the opportunity to do.

    Our Skype conversation with Marisa Román probably had the biggest impact on me. First of all, we talked to a really famous and talented actress, one that we watched time and time again throughout the semester. I was in awe at how down to earth and humble she was!! More importantly, however, were her emotions when she talked about her country. It really saddens me that she is now working on a telenovela she doesn't really believe in, and she was not afraid to tell us that. For her, it is about the audience and even though she's not completely happy with her character at the moment she continues to work hard and make the best of it- all for the sake of the audience.

    From all these comments, I was just glad that everyone loved this course as much as me. It seems that we are all genuinely interested in the topic and in learning more for the sake of broadening our knowledge and not just for a better grade. How refreshing, I wish more classes had the same effect!

  8. I AGREE COMPLETELY. This class is like nothing I have ever experienced. I assumed I would learn something about Latin American culture through the vehicle of the telenovela but I never expected to be so moved. The impact that the telenovela has on Latin America is EVERYTHING.

    Dr. A, the interviews with the writers, actors, and directors, were the perfect end to the class! I loved how each person worked in the same industry but was so different. They each had different backgrounds and approaches to their work. We asked each one similar questions so it was very interesting to compare their answers (especially the question 'What inspires you?'). Leonardo Padron was exceptionally artistic and creative. The fact that he was a children's book author and a telenovela writer was very interesting to me. In a way, these mediums are very similar. Children's books are stories about simplified problems and meant to teach lessons. They always follow a similar structure and use identifiable characters. Like telenovelas, they must have a simple but memorable impact. I have no doubt (from his eloquent way of speaking) that the simple characters in his books are have important metaphorical significance.

    Also, speaking with Marissa was one of the highlights of the class for me. It was an unbelievable experience because she was brutally honest about the state of Venezuelan media. It was so obvious that she wanted start crying but felt she needed to remain strong. She was vulnerable in front of us and that meant everything! I respect her so much!