April 8 2013 -- After years of watching telenovelas, and some James Bond flicks, I'd never put the two in the same sentence, but turns out they have something in common besides sexy leading ladies.
Carlos Sotomayor, the big-wig in charge of telenovela production at Univision, broke it down for me: "Telenovelas are like James Bond movies. You know that he's going to save the world, he's going to get the girl, you know everything. But every time a new James Bond movie comes out you go and see it. This is the exact same thing with a telenovela."
So as in life, and James Bond movies and telenovelas, it's not about the destination but the journey.
In order to grasp this concept better, we went behind the scenes of a telenovela in production in Miami.
Just the fact that Spanish networks are now shooting telenovelas in Miami is surprising because most Univision and Telemundo soaps are produced and imported from Mexico. The reason behind that change is that with the exponential growth of U.S. Latinos in the last decade, the Spanish networks are betting on homegrown telenovelas that better reflect the audience's reality.
Miami has become ground zero of telenovela production in the U.S. in the last few years. Venevision, the leading Venezuelan telenovela producer, built here one of the largest telenovela studios in all of North America. And many actors split their time between Miami and their home countries.
Like the steamy actor Guy Ecker, who showed us around the set of his upcoming telenovela "Rosario". Ecker, who is as American as apple pie (born and raised in Latin America but to American parents), is one of the most sought after telenovela actors since he broke out in the Colombian telenovela "Café con Aroma de Mujer" in the '90's.
Ecker also showed us the science behind a passionate kiss.
Other interesting facts about telenovela production:
- They shoot at breakneck speed. Three units work concurrently on different locations, one shoots exteriors, while the other two shoot interior scenes on different sets.
- Shooting one telenovela is the equivalent of shooting 90 movies in the span of 6 to 7 months. That's the average length of a telenovela production.
- The telenovela "Rosario" takes place in Los Angeles. So the set in Miami is made to resemble an East L.A. neighborhood, complete with a hospital and jail with signs in English, a map of L.A. and a U.S. flag.