Juan Carlos Oganes' film-making and work blog.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Film versus junk TV approach: Thoughts...

As the end of the year approaches and also in the final run to finish my film, many things come to mind: It's been quite a road so far, quite a steep road, but I'm saving the thoughts for now and will just write them down here at the actual end of the year.

This weekend we filmed Elmore's improvised prison scenes where he is interrogated about the mines all over Arica and the encounters on it's streets with Carlos Weguelin. As always, filming sessions take quite a bit for I'm very careful with lighting and the mood I want to create, dialogue and accent is also of paramount importance and of course the veracity of the acting and performance.

Talking with some actor friends and specially with some that haven't had film experience but just TV, it is quite a demanding job to do perhaps just tow or three scenes per day approximately compared to twenty or more on TV. My surprise when talking those experiences are of high value as it is an interesting fact worth mentioning here and of whcih I also have an answer that I shared with them all: Film is forever, TV is the here and now.

I come to this conclusion and train of thought because I'm sure many out there have noticed this fact of our own national TV productions and series: lame, superficial and as far as low-class production value scenes, story, plot, acting and character development, not to say the artistic side where there is simply no interesting lighting but just plane/flat atmosphere all over. And this is the result of a sad but true fact about some local producers and directors: the go the easy way out to earn money quick. Period.

TV relies heavily on advertising and on the time factor where -without soundign redundant- time is money so there's a tendency to rush the taping and recording process as to go on to the next scene in order to be in time for next week's (or even tomorrow's!) airing. No wonder technicians, production people and producers treat each scene like if it was some kind of "run for your life" scenario where continuity, essence, depth, professionalism and or artistic value doesn't count. That "fast food" type of filming is a process I so hate and dismiss because in the end the only excuse those people create is the fact that our audience is not well eye trained to even appreciate a well done TV series or film, bceoming easily amused, thinking that's the way productions should be because of their undereducated ways of appreciation, etc.

But I've seen it's just a thing that happens here only as far as I've noticed. TV series abroad like from Europe or the US come packed with high production values all over. TV series like 24, Dr. House, CSI, Law & Order, Six Feet Under, X-Files, etc. are full of imagery and artistic flair that it's a movie in just a TV hour (42 mins. The rest is filled with commercials). Maybe a person would tell me not to be cruel and compare their TV with ours as they manage millions of dollars in budget. Bullshit. That's not excuse. Money is no excuse for lack of good lighting, good plot, well shot scenes and deep character development. It's just that lazy Peruvian approach to TV audiences (which many call "chicha") that go for the quick and easy way to earn large amounts of money with minimal production values in order to comply with those audiences standards. "Why bother giving them a nice, lush, polished product? They are not gonna appreciate it anyway" -I've heard them say. Perhaps some don't and perhaps they wouldn't be able to output as much as twenty-something scenes a day if each one was shot correctly, losing it's deadline in the end, but at least they would start to train our Peruvian "chicha" populous eyes with higher values, raising it's standards and becoming more appreciative of the art of film-making and/or TV.

I'm sure if we took some local TV series abroad (I don't want to mention series names for many reading this have their own picks to which one I might be talking about) to those countries, they would immediately bounce back for not meeting world-class or at least professional standards.

We have to educate our people with more production values and also our actors with the proper attitude and approach to them for it spoils their view of this audiovisual field and makes them think film is also like TV and that it should be shot quickly and fast so they can leave and go home or do something else. Film-trained actors or with film experience know that film is art and art needs its time to cook like a good meal. The Gioconda wasn't painted overnight nor is a film that wants to put audiovisual value into it. No wonder I'm not alone on this and have also learned that a fellow respected Peruvian director that precedes me in age and experience even takes longer to shoot (one scene per day), taking months and months to finish his film.

Film is art. Film is forever. I don't want to rush thru it's process only to watch it later when done and see some scenes lacking that flair I wanted initially and find myself kicking my own ass for not taking more time to film it only not to bother an actor. I don't want bad scenes to haunt me each time I watch them. I want to be proud of my product and so should "real" actors who respect themselves do. Thank God I have plenty in my film, otherwise I'd have to fire many at the very beginning, slowing down my schedule. When I cast I look not only for talent but also for attitude. I love my cast.

Film is art...and I will never treat it like "fast food" as many other producers here do. No matter how much money they earn or how spoiled they are, it's of no wonder why they are infamous for putting on TV so much crap. Crap they don't even mind to supervise for they don't even show on set many times as real directors who love their new creation as their baby do.

No wonder we are where we are at....and we have to change that.