This is a class blog run by Dr. Carolina Acosta-Alzuru and her students in the course "Telenovelas, Culture and Society" at the University of Georgia during Spring 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Slackers in pre-production

The primary difference that I see between American and Latin American television series is the scheduling and tension of the pre-production stage, specifically the writing. I don't know how Leonardo Padrón and his team of writers, and all telenovela writers, have not dropped dead from the amount of stress they undergo on a daily basis! Compared to Mexican and Venezuelan telenovela writers, American television scriptwriters are slackers. So much is considered in a telenovela, and I can see that the telenovela format is more fluid that the format of American television series. Leonardo Padrón and his team modify their scripts based on acting, locations, audience response, etc. American network writers compose all of their content in a matter of days and then are done. The story isn't modified, and the drama goes exactly where they want it to and no further.

As a counterargument to prove that American writers are not all lazy, good network scriptwriters will supervise their work on set. However, being only the writer, they have little say in comparison to the executive producers and their general producers. On a set, most writers have little say over production, and they can only pray that the directing team interprets their work correctly. This seems to be a problem in the telenovela production world, too, but this problem is at least rational: while the production crew and actors work, the writers and producers work. Pre-production, production, and, from my observations of Dr. A's production videos, even post-production are intertwined. Hollywood and networks see things differently - when pre-production finishes, and then normal and post-production commence. One team works hard, and the other two teams relax. Then the working team passes on the work to the next team and has their turn to relax and blow all of their money. Evidence of a difference work ethic in cultures? I think so.

1 comment:

  1. Yea that blows my mind just a bit. I feel like I would suffer from all kinds of ulcers and stress-related ailments if I were in their positions. I feel that writers and producers in this industry must have exceptionally low life expectancies.