Monday, November 30, 2009
I am currently in the Grady Communication Law class and our professor and author of the course text book, admits that current U.S. copyright laws are insufficient for regulating open forum websites such as YouTube. The early law did not foresee a medium such as YouTube being so public and common for anyone to post nearly any video/audio, available for viewing and downloading.
Dr. A mentioned a time when telenovela studios deleted files of many, many full episodes previously available online, and now there are viewing restrictions according to country. Certain novelas are available in certain locations around the world.
And yet, the public will find a way to watch what they want to watch. Dr. A admits that it is sometimes with a thin hope that the industry won't find out. On the other hand, Ciobanu said she waited YEARS for Ciudad Bendita to become available for her, in Eastern Europe, to watch online.
What is the standard? The Internet is global, so should the standards for illegal downloading be global as well?
Nearly all the popular U.S. TV series are now available to watch on sites like Hulu and even YouTube, despite the fact that our government is perhaps the most strict in regulating copyright practices, performances and technology. Could it be that a global trend towards immediate post-broadcast online availability has begun?
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Is it due to who has the better content? Do some countries really just make better telenovelas, so good that the whole world wants them? Many countries would rather you believe that. Why wouldn't Country X want you to believe that its telenovelas are the most superior? It makes for great easy marketing. But it's more than that.
Politics can play into it--sometimes countries just don't like each other, and because of whatever controversy or issue they simply don't want to share their toys.
It can come down to cost--maybe some networks can't afford to export their product too much, so they get stuck behind borders.
But in all honesty, I believe it ultimately comes down to presuppositions. People have stereotypes in their head that certain groups in certain countries make telenovelas "better." So they stick to those ones, and hardly give others a chance. And when they do, they still don't change their opinion too much.
The networks are the worst about this--it's the same reason that rosa is pushed harder than de ruptura. Somewhere along the line, everyone got it in their heads that rosa sells better. So no matter how good de ruptura can be, rosa always gets the push and leaves de ruptura behind in the dust. Likewise, countries like Mexico get stereotyped as the "best-selling" telenovelas. Thus, everyone takes them in. Other countries that don't have as much of a push or a precident get left behind.
It's impossible to change the minds of the people up at the top. Thus, it's up to the individual viewer to search out telenovelas of various origins to learn what is truly best to their taste.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I’m so impressed at the dedication! And again blown away by whatever addictive quality they put into storylines that manages to cross cultural bounds. It's funny because so many people I know would never see telenovelas as an opportunity to learn Spanish. Everyone flips straight past them without a second thought. They're passing up free Spanish lessons apparently!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
So for me the different telenovela powerhouses are really interesting. It is a sign of the global world that Mexican telenovelas have become so definitive in the genera. Almost every country gets a large percentage of their telenovelas from Mexico. Could you imagine getting one third of our t.v. shows from Australia? At the most, I think we might get 1% of our shows from Britain and the majority of those are weird and on PBS.
Apparently, Latin Americans are broadening their world view far more then Americans.
Even if the majority of shows being imported are Mexican, Ecuador had a fascinating pie chart. Ecuador has no preconceived notions of what a telenovela should be, because they don't make any shows of their own. Thus, they get the best telenovelas from all over South America. They are inundated with globalization. I wonder what the Ecuadorian world view is like, I'd guess pretty broad. They must understand quite a bit more about other cultures, I'd even bet that telenovelas have improved tolerance.
I wonder if telenovelas going international are a cause of a global world or a symptom. It's a bit like the chicken and the egg. Does understanding lead to globalization or globalization lead to understanding?
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Telenovelas, on the other hand, have artists create unique songs specifically for a telenovela. I think this reflects the overlapping circles in latinamerican culture of actors, musicians and models, for example. Roque Valero, like many telenovela actors before him, became a musical performer, two times famous for his talent.
Each telenovela has a characteristic song that sets the tone for the telenovela's theme or a specific lead character in it. Good directors put much timem and energy into choosing an artist for this song, and Pedron even went so far as to write his own poetic lyrics for one such song.
While some American shows do have a catchy tune for the intro, it hardly every repeats in the middle of each episode, and never will an artist take the song on musical tour.
Granted, the "suspense" and "romance" musical segments produced for each episode of a telenovela seem somewhat immature, the shows put more energy into creating unique complete songs for their shows than American series do.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
I love Dr. A’s videos from observing production – it almost feels like we’re there with the crew.
I also thought it was interesting that the professor we mentioned in class denounced telenovelas. I get the same anti-novela vibe from my aunt and cousins, and my high school Spanish teacher also. Before this class I assumed their opinions were right – that every telenovela was a low quality, high drama form of entertainment for passive viewers. I am so glad to see that change in myself. Although some industry-driven novelas do still fit that category in my mind, I can recognize the exceptions and look forward to seeing the progression in quality as the genre expands.
I’ve started making a list of telenovelas I want to watch. I’m graduating in December and will just be working next spring – I know exactly what I’ll be doing in my free time! I feel like I mention this in every post, but I absolutely love this class. It isn’t exactly what I expected, in a good way, and it’s an opportunity that most people don’t even realize exists!
Friday, November 13, 2009
I know that in the telenovela I studied, Amigas Y Rivales, there were a couple of actors who were former members of singing groups. One character in particular, Johnny, was played by an actor who was brought on simply for his looks. Even though the audience knew that Johnny was not a true actor, they still followed his love story intensely. I'm not saying that Johnny was the most popular character by any means, but he did have an important role in the telenovela and the audience accepted him as that character. In the United States I think that people would have had a harder time taking him seriously. We typically associate characters with actors, not the other way around.
There have also been several cases in which the telenovela star has been converted into a singing sensation because of their role in telenovales. I feel that we are very pessimistic in the United States by always assuming that someone can't do something before they prove that they can. We are so amazed when someone does have the ability to act, sing and dance that we even gave these people a special name, triple threat.
Overall, I would say that it is much easier to cross over into a different field in the world of telenovelas than in the United States. When a telenovela airs, it's not just a select few people watching, it's the whole country most of the time. It's easier for singers to carry over their fan base from acting to help them jump start their new career. As for models turned actors, I think we all know that beauty is one of the most important aspects of a telenovela. I think that when production decides to select a model to be a member of the cast they are living according to this philosophy: You can never have too many beautiful people in a telenovela.
Check out this clip he did of another telenovela covered by "The Soup" in the past:
The premise of the show is to cover all the bases of television (reality, morning show anchors, game shows, etc.)...telenovelas included. Although in this context it's funny, even E! realizes the importance and reach of telenovelas and can appreciate their quirks.
Gossip magazines like that even exist here. Generally, though, there is no guessing as to the plots, necessarily, except for "someone is going to die." Our gossip magazines always leave it up to chance-- "our sources say that a characer will die tonight on Flash Forward," but would never have an entire plot of an entire show or series.
I am not one to read gossip magazines; I don't care who's dating whom, who got liposuction where, who's in rehab. Because of this, I could be totally wrong about my entire post, but this is just what I have been led to believe. I also feel like our magazines tend to not focus necessarily on the show itself, but rather the actors who are on the show. Why the difference in the two cultures?
For example, in this class we have discussed many times how a fan base falls in love with a certain character in a telenovela. I was so troubled by the one Brazilian actress who was shot by her telenovela "lover" in real life.
I thought it was amazing when we talked about Dainella from La Vida Enterra, recovering from cancer and coming back to the telenovela to finish her role.
It is interesting to see how characters roles can influence their real life and how real life can influence characters.
I looked up the topic of censorship as it relates to Chavez and found an interesting newspaper article. This particuar article, "Chavez denies TV, license, stoking censorship debate" by Simon Romero, talks about the television company RCTV. Apparently, RCTV was a very popular, well known station in Venezuela. However, in early 2007, Chavez shut this network down by choosing not to renew their contract. The article talks about how Chavez thought RCTV was personally attacking his government with their programming and shows, and this is ultimately why he decided to shut them down. I guess he felt that they could influence the people, and did not like how he and his government were being portrayed. He caught a lot of controversy, because many thought he was abusing his power and acting unjustly.
Instances like this could explain why networks are hesitant to include material that may offend the government. I guess it goes to show that maybe pushing the limits isn't always the best idea, especially with someone like Chavez in charge.
One of the things that I enjoy when learning about telenovelas, is the contrast to American television. Of course, I haven't been given an inside look at television in the U.S., but from everything I know about "American" culture, I have a hunch. When considering production for instance, there are major differences. We've heard about the chaos often involved in the making of a telenovela - the shooting of a scene that must be aired the same night and the camera that was forgotten a plane ride away from location. Can you imagine this happening here? The immediacy prevalent in so many aspects of American culture must pervade television production as well. I can't imagine that an American program, shot under that kind of deadline without pristine equipment could ever result in an episode later watched and LOVED by millions of people.
This is something I really envy about Latino culture. The sense of urgency that I feel every day here is toned down in Latin America, and life is just a little more laid back.
P.S. Roque Valero is so cute
For me this is where American dramas beat out my beloved novelas. For example, Grey's Anatomy has new music every week, sometimes it's an artist I've heard of and other times it's a tune that has me running to Google to try to figure out who it is by. Telenovelas on the other hand like to keep to the same stash of music for the entire novela. So by episode 93 I feel like screaming every time I hear the soft piano intro of the main character's love theme.
Most of the time my complaint isn't the music itself (unless we're talking about Pasion de Gavilanes and then yes, oh yes my complaint is about that music). As we saw in class many novelas comision their own specific music that will fit well with their theme. It's just how predictable it becomes after awhile.
Has this been the case for anyone else?
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I also have to comment about my fascination with the production process. I do not know how the people in the production crew deal with the high stress and time restraints of the telenovela world. I am stressed just listening to Dr. A telling the story about the scene that was turned in just hours before it aired. The great thing is that the cast and crew have a lot of faith in each other. They really don't have another option. I've learned that making a telenovela is a heck of a lot harder than it looks. And to get to the glitz and glamor, you must go through those high-stress times first.
As we've learned about production, I see the sets, cameras, etc and it seems to me like quite a grand production. It seems as though it takes a lot of money to make these Venezuelan telenovelas. However Dr. A mentions over and over again that their budgets are extremely low. This makes me think how much money the American soap operas must have! I'm sure nothing is off-limits for them or cuts too much into the budget. I think the bottom line though, is that the Venezuelans love their telenovelas. I think they'd watch their telenovelas whether the budget was a million dollars or a thousand dollars. After all, all of this production is for the fans.
The fact that he didn't like telenovelas is not what struck a nerve because everyone is entitle to his or her likes and dislikes. What bothered me was that he seemed to deny that telenovelas have any cultural importance at all. I think this professor demonstrated to me a kind of close-minded view of the way that culture should be expressed. Now that I think about it, this professor has kind of baffled me. He always talks about the different areas of Latin American culture, but at the same time, ALL aspects of Latin American culture do not seem to be valid to him.
I think what is most intriguing about his stance on telenovelas is that he himself is a Latin American. This has made me realize that it is not necessary to embrace EVERY aspect of your culture. There may be some things that you do not support and that you are not proud of. While on one hand, I think it is important to acknowledge the importance of things that make up your culture; on the other hand, it is good for us to have our own unique points of view.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Watching the show at the beginning of class and the telenovelas written by padron, I understand that there is a wide range of show quality. Padron's plot lines are interesting, his characters are complex and his show does not remind me of the stereotypical telenovela. The show before class screams stereotypical at the top of its lungs, in the most stereotypical way of course.
I think that a lot of this has to do with budget. Obviously a telenovela aired in the middle of the day is not going to have the same resources poured into it as one aired at primetime. But I want to know how the environment changes in the studio of a low budget telenovela. Do they know their product is inferior? Are people motivated differently? How does the studio cut costs? Does the inferiority cause a lack of funding does the the lack of funding cause sub-par programs. I suspect it is a little of both.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Many questions come to mind when thinking about acting out a scene. How do actors and actress memorize all of those lines so quickly and keep them straight? How do you know when your line is and when the person beside you is supposed to speak? Here are a few bits of insight I found:
1)First of all, I found that it is a two step process, some actors choose to work on their acting first and worry about the memorization later, others want to memorize everything first so they can then work on their acting.
2)Instead of reading lines to yourself, it helps to always read them out loud over and over again. Some actors even write each line down three times, until it is stuck in their head.
3)If there is a line that an actor just can’t seem to get right, they may need to review the profile of their character and learn more about his or her personality.
4)To remember cues, actors usually memorize the last phrase of the actor’s line before theirs and that way they know when they have to speak next.
The most important thing to know when you are trying to pursue a career in acting is that when it comes to learning lines- it gets easier the more you do it!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
After talking about the production aspect of telenovelas, I realized that this is one of the aspects that most intrigues me. Filming is a whole different world—no matter what you are filming—and it was so interesting to watch the process. Dr. A’s videos felt like I was actually there, and it was amazing to see how different the actors look as opposed to how they look on screen. The kissing scenes are especially interesting because there is no cue for them to begin kissing. It just happens, even though they are in silent room full of a large crowd.
I realized what a time consuming (even life consuming) job it is for the actors. With minimal to no breaks, they must constantly be on their “A-game.” There is no room for “off” days, which is why I could see the process being very discouraging for the actors. We talked in class how they usually finish a script a day, so the actors study more than one script at a time.
Everything that goes into the telenovela production process is extremely complicated, but my question is how does the process differ from that of an American soap opera or movies? Dr. A called it an “ulcer-ridden industry” and I’m guessing that it is because telenovela production is much more fast-paced than American productions. This is the reason why everyone involved, from the writer to the floor manager to the actor, has to be on their A-game.
Monday, November 2, 2009
For the life of me, I can't wrap my head around how a telenovela set works.
It's been explained to me relatively thoroughly through Dr. A's lecture. I see all the steps.
But it's the PACE that confounds me. To go through so many steps in one day, to have everyone doing everything at every minute. Actors learning lines almost on the spot, directors and writers running about putting everything into place, tearing it apart and doing it again, firing off scene after scene after scene. Reviewing, double-reviewing. And la pauta...I can't even BEGIN to comprehend la pauta.
It's a world of its own, the telenovela set. It puts other film and TV groups to shame with the sheer pace and intensity of it all.