Behind the Scenes of Telemundo Studios

Telemundo invited us into their studios to check out where they film some of their telenovelas.

The first set we visited was for a telenovela that is still in production called, “Mi Corazón Insiste.” The lead male actor is JenCarlos Canela. (I honestly thought he was only a singer, but apparently he’s an actor, too.)

Okay, here is another happy accident. (The first one was when my hair was styled like Paula del Monte’s in the poster behind me.) … Before I went to Miami, my friends at Surropa.com gifted me a T-shirt to wear for my trip. I chose one that said “Mi corazón” on it – partly because I loved the design and partly because I hoped to be wearing it if I met Espinoza. (He says “corazón” a lot in his songs. It’s like his “thing” …)

So anyway, I’m posing on the set of this telenovela and I say, “Which telenovela is being filmed here again?” and they tell me, “Mi Corazón Insiste.” – Muy raro, no?

Here are a couple photos of the set of Mi Corazón Insiste:


(This, we were told, is where a scene was just shot of a maid who was searching for something… Looks like it’s supposed to be an attic, don’t you think?)


(This is the fancy living room where I had my picture taken.)

Next we checked out where they keep props. It looked sort of like a well-organized thrift store. All the items on the shelves had bar codes and were catalogued – this is so they can be re-used. When they are setting up for a new telenovela they can see what they have in the catalog as far as lamps, for example, and choose one they already have, or make plans to go acquire one if they don’t already have something that fits what they’re looking for. (Wouldn’t “prop shopper” be an awesome job?)… My favorite fact I learned during the tour was that each year about 10% of the less popular props are donated to charity.

After props department, we visited the set of Aurora where they were rehearsing a scene for one of the final episodes. I wasn’t allowed to take photos or film, and we were supposed to be very quiet. It was difficult to be quiet for me though because one of the actors looked kind of funny due to his er… costume … I don’t think I’m allowed to give details… but a few of us were giggling and got shushed. Oops. I think that third graders on a field trip may have done a better job of being quiet than some of us blogueras. We were about 10 feet away from actor Eugenio Siller too which didn’t help some who were slightly smitten…(Good looking pero a mi me gustan los morenos.) The way they rehearse is really interesting. There was a woman there holding the script and she would feed each actor their lines. (Another cool job!)

(By the way, remind me to tell you what was so funny after the episode airs.)

Next we visited a room which I call “the editing room” because I don’t remember what it’s officially called.

Here is where they… edit…video?… I think he was putting together a promo for La Reina del Sur.

Last visit was to what I call the “music room” … again, because I don’t know what it’s really called. I do remember that this guy’s name is Joaquín and he is the one who adds music to the telenovelas. (Everyone say “Hello Joaquín!”) … Joaquín is also a musician, so when he can’t find exactly what he wants, he creates music on his own.

The question I asked Joaquín was, “Do you ever put suspenseful music in a telenovela at a point where nothing is really going to happen, just to mess with the audience?” — He said, “Yes. In Spanish, it’s called ‘suspenso falso’.” (English translation = False suspense – I’m sure even the non-bilingual peeps got that one, right? Gotta love cognates.)

Besides all this fun, Telemundo also took us to dinner. One night we went to a restaurant called “Cecconi’s” – which is much fancier than I’m used to. It was really beautiful, the waiters were attentive, the company couldn’t be beat, and (though I will seem very naca for saying this), the food was really good even if I didn’t know exactly what I was eating some of the time.

Disclosure: I went to Telemundo Studios and Cecconi’s at the invitation of Telemundo. The “Mi Corazón” shirt was gifted to me by Surropa.com. All opinions are my own.

Being Social@Telemundo

As you know, I recently went down to Miami at the invitation of Telemundo. What you probably don’t know is that it wasn’t just to attend the Latin Billboard Awards or tour their studios.

Myself and nine other blogueros, were fortunate enough to participate in Telemundo’s very first Digital Influencers Summit. Telemundo’s new digital initiative is called Social@Telemundo.

From the Press Release:

Social@Telemundo will focus on delivering its fans across Facebook & Twitter interactive experiences tied to TV programming. With dedicated Social Media resources tied to each of Telemundo’s shows and novelas the Social@Telemundo aims to take the entire TV viewing process to a more engaging level. Building of the success of its Interactive Broadband Series “Telemundo Live” and Mobile social initiatives Telemundo plans to expand its focus on sharing more access to its Studios, Shows and Talent in Spanish and English.

Borja Perez, Vice President of Digital Media and Integrated Solutions

I wrote about this experience from a more business-minded perspective on LatinaBloggersConnect.com – but here I’ll share some of the more personal chisme.

As you might expect, the room where the meeting was held contained a long conference table surrounded by chairs and a screen on the opposite wall to give presentations. Large framed posters of Telemundo shows hung on the other walls. I knew that I wouldn’t be meeting the cast of my favorite telenovela, Los Herederos del Monte, since the show is filmed in Colombia, but I wanted my photo taken with the next best thing.

(For the record, I didn’t intentionally style my hair like Paula’s. It was a happy accident… Do you think Juan del Monte might mistake me for her? …Okay, maybe not.)

During the meeting, one of the executives asked which one of us was the novelera – I raised my hand and they asked what attracted me to Los Herederos del Monte. Now, to answer this professionally or honestly? I went with honesty, responding, “Okay, at first it was because the guys are hot…” But I did explain that I later came to appreciate the complexity of the storyline and the quality of filming.

Admitting that I began watching Herederos for the eye candy made it a little hypocritical of me to ask the question I asked later – which was if Telemundo was actively trying to step away from portraying women as sex objects in their programming. (Spanish language TV in general has a reputation for this and I know it’s something that bothers a lot of Latinas.)

The President, Don Browne, welcomed the question and answered that yes, they are producing programs that portray both real and fictional women as strong, intelligent and independent. (Examples – Kate del Castillo in Reina del Sur, Dra. Ana María Polo on Caso Cerrado, Jenni Rivera, and Maria Celeste of Rojo Vivo.) They really want to break a lot of the stereotypes about Spanish language television and consciously work social issues that affect, not just women, but other segments of the viewing audience, into their programming.

We got a lot of great insight into just what Telemundo, and mun2, are about from various executives who attended the meeting, and just as importantly, we had the opportunity to give them feedback, advice and ideas. Mutual respect flowed between Telemundo and the bloggers and the atmosphere was fun yet intellectually stimulating. Telemundo has a rare chemistry, passion, creativity and positivity there which has to be experienced to really be understood. I definitely felt like I was with mi gente. (Did you know that some of the Telemundo staff, including the President himself, are “Latinos de corazón” like me?)

For lunch, we were joined by Telemundo talent; Gaby Espino, Jorge Bernal, Vanessa Hauc, Enrique Acevedo, Karim Mendiburu, Sammy Sadovik, and Jessi Losada.

Left to right: Vanessa Hauc, Gaby Espino, Jorge Bernal, Karim Mendiburu, Sammy Sadovnik

We all introduced ourselves and explained a little about our background. This conversation centered around the use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook. They had a few questions (such as “What is a good tweet?”) for the bloggers, and they shared with us how they use the websites to connect to fans, etc.

All of them were really down-to-earth. While we chatted in real life, we were also tweeting each other – and those tweets were being projected onto the wall for everyone in the room to see, which was a fun idea.

As you can see, I thought Jorge Bernal was especially funny. After lunch he gave me a big kiss on the cheek and said, “Adios, gringa!”

Me and Jorge Bernal of Al Rojo Vivo

Me and Karim Mendiburu, of Titulares y Más and Ritmo Deportivo

Disclosure: I was invited to the Digital Influencers Summit at the invitation of Telemundo. All opinions are my own.

La Casa Blanca y La Familia López

Driving by the Washington Monument on our way to the White House. (Carlos calls this "La Aguja" - "the needle.")

The visit to La Casa Blanca was bien chivo although President Obama wasn’t around to welcome me as I had hoped. I didn’t tweet or blog until now because between waking at 4 a.m. for the White House tour and preparing for our trip to Miami, I’m just super cansada.

I wish I had a lot of photos to show you, but on White House tours, no cameras are allowed inside. And honestly, although it’s fun to say, “I’ve been to the White House” – the section they allow you into is really more of a museum than actual living quarters for the family. (I didn’t even so much as see “Bo” – the Obama family’s dog!)

When you first walk in there are photos of the Obama family on the walls of the foyer. The very first photo prominently displayed, was President Obama with mariachi. I instinctively reached for my non-existent camera before remembering – no cameras allowed so I hadn’t brought it. I did find the photo on the internet though so you can see.

(By the way, I found this photo on a website called Obama Looks Bored, which features photos of President Obama looking bored. Love it.)

There were a lot of fancy furnishings, three immense crystal chandeliers that weigh 1200 pounds each. Each chandelier takes 72 hours to clean. (And that is the extent of historical tour guide type data I retained.)

There are various rooms named for colors – The Blue Room, The Red Room (which looked hot pink to me for some reason – but I loved it), The Green Room, etc.

In the Green Room a painting caught my eye and I wanted to remember the artist so I could look it up later. Without a pen and paper I had to rely on my memory, which isn’t so good. To remember things, I usually have to play word games with myself. So, to remember the artist, Jacob Lawrence, I said to myself, “Jacob Lawrence, Jacob Lawrence, Jacob Lawrence… how can I remember his name? … Oh! Jacob Have I Loved!”

Carlos immediately turned around, “Whose Jacob?”
“The artist of that painting,” I said.
“No, the other Jacob you loved,” he said narrowing his eyes.
He didn’t believe me for several minutes that ‘Jacob Have I Loved’ is the name of a book.

The Builders - by Jacob Lawrence

The Obama family in the Green Room, (the painting I like is in the background)

(The painting turned out to be ‘The Builders’ by Jacob Lawrence, if you want to read more about it.)

Once we were outside, we were allowed to take photos, so I took a few with my cell phone camera.

White House lawn being cut.

Back outside the gates.

The future 1st Latino President and his hermanito.

Jarritos!


(English translation available below.)

Cuándo Jarritos me invitó a probar unas botellas de sus bebidas y compartir mi opinión aquí en Latinaish.com, claro que la acepté. Tengo muchos años tomando Jarritos y es una de mis cosas favoritas.

Entonces, recibí la caja por correo ayer – (Suegra estaba super curiosa – Preguntandome por qué me mandan los Jarritos. Expliqué que es para mi “trabajo” … Ahora sí, ella piensa que soy alguien muy importante. Jajaja…)

Las ponía al refrige para que se enfríen y las saque en tiempo de cena. Ahora eran los niños que estaban curiosos. No dejo que tomen muchas bebidas con calorias – mejor que tomen leche o agua, pero todo en moderación. (Y los Jarritos tienen sólo 100% azúcar natural – nada de high fructose corn syrup.)

Los sabores que tuvimos fue: tamarindo, mandarina, tuttifruti, jamaica, limón, toronja, guayaba, piña, fresa, mango, y cola.

Carlos afirmó el tamarindo para él muy rapido, y me cae bien porque nunca me ha gustado el sabor de tamarindo en nada. Mi hijo mayor quería cola, (que me gusta mucho), y mi hijo chiquito quería mandarina, (que también es buena.) … Por curiosidad abrí la botella de jamaica porque, para mí, Jamaica es un país – no un sabor. No tenía ningúna idea que jamaica es un tipo de flor. Bueno, no me gusto. Suegra rapida venía, “¿Es de sabor jamaica?” preguntó. Le dijé que sí y ella me la quitaba por probar. “A ver sí es buena,” dijó, tomando un trago. Después, Suegra dijó que le gusto mucho, (y me explicó que jamaica es una flor.)

Siempre me ha gustado el sabor de sandía, pero no habia un Jarritos de sandía en la caja. Abriendo todas las botellas y echando un poco de cada sabor en una taza, probe todas. No creo que puedo selecionar una favorita. Me gustaban todas, (salvo jamaica y tamarindo.) …Guayaba, piña, y fresa son muy buenas, pero toronja y limón son más refrescantes. En fin, hay un sabor de Jarritos por cada sabor de persona.

Link: Puedes mandar una botella virtual de Jarritos a tus amigos en Facebook. ¡Qué chévere!

Divulgación: Los productos fueron recibidos con el propósito de la revisión. Esta revisión contiene sólo mi opinión sincera. Esta no es una revisión pagada.

—English Translation—

When Jarritos invited me to try some of their drinks and share my opinion here on Latinaish.com, of course I accepted. I’ve been drinking Jarritos for many years and they’re one of my favorite things.

So, I received the box by mail yesterday – (Suegra was super curious – Asking me why they sent me Jarritos. I explained that it’s for my “work”…For sure she thinks I’m someone important now!)

I put the bottles in the fridge to get cold and took them out later at dinner time. Now it was the kids who were curious. I don’t let them drink anything with calories too often – it’s better that they drink milk or water, but everything in moderation. (And Jarritos are made with 100% natural sugar – none of that high fructose corn syrup.)

The flavors we had were: Tamarind, Orange, Fruit Punch, Jamaica, Lime, Grapefruit, Guava, Pineapple, Strawberry, Mango and Mexican Cola.

Carlos quickly claimed the Tamarind for himself, and that was just fine with me because I’ve never like tamarind flavored anything. My older son wanted the cola, (which I really like), and my little son wanted Orange, (which is also good.) …Out of curiosity, I opened the bottle of Jamaica, because to me, Jamaica is a country, not a flavor. I had no idea that Jamaica is a type of flower. Well, I didn’t like it. Suegra appeared, “Is that Jamaica flavor?” she asked. I told her that it was and she took it from me to try. “Let’s see if it’s good,” she said, taking a swig. Afterward, Suegra said she really liked it, (and she also explained that Jamaica is a flower.)

I’ve always liked watermelon flavor, but there wasn’t a watermelon Jarritos in the box. I opened all the other bottles and poured a little of each into my cup one-by-one to try them out. I don’t think I can pick a favorite. I liked all of them, (except Jamaica and Tamarind.) Guava, Pineapple and Strawberry were all really good, but Grapefruit and Lime were more refreshing. In the end, there’s a Jarritos flavor for every flavor of person.

Link: You can send a virtual bottle of Jarritos to your friends on Facebook. Chévere!

Disclosure: These products were provided for review. This review contains only my honest opinion. This was not a paid review.

Did you participate in Spanish Friday? Leave your link in comments!

Souvenirs from El Salvador 2011

It’s that time again! Suegra has been back for quite awhile now but I’m just now getting a chance to blog about all the things she brought. Besides my super chévere typewriter, queso, frijoles and T-shirts, we received many other gifts – and this isn’t even all of them. She has a fully packed suitcase back in El Salvador which she wasn’t able to bring. A visiting Tía will hopefully deliver it to us soon.

Not pictured below is a special chile spice and achiote which I asked her to buy. Apparently TACA confiscated those from her carry-on luggage. Suegra put up a fight, but it was useless – they wouldn’t allow it, (maybe it looks like powdered explosives?) … I pouted about this and the suitcase full of stuff she left behind and Carlos rightfully chastised me. “Look at all this stuff you got! And what did I get?” he asked, looking around.

I held up a plastic baggy with a little bundle of crusty old gauze inside it, “this?” I said, holding up the bag that contained his umbilical cord which Suegra had brought back with her from El Salvador.

“That’s right,” Carlos said, snatching the baggy. “You got a typewriter and I got my old belly button.”

Here are some more of our souvenirs, (no umbilical cord photos included because that’s icky.)

Carlos can’t complain either. He got a Jesus towel. I’m glad this wasn’t gifted to me. I think I’d feel uncomfortable actually using it.

Carlos also got an image of San Antonio, who was his father’s favorite saint.

…And he got his school I.D. from when he was in middle school. Is it wrong that I find him incredibly guapo despite the Menudo hair and the fact that he’s about 13 years old in that photo?

morralito

Our younger son got this little bag which is called a “morralito.” Carlos says fútbol players use them to carry their bottled water to the field.

Cajeta lollipops from our little primos.

More candies from the cousins.

Enough Penicilina to stock our own pharmacy.

Peanuts.

Pepitas.

Semita.

Some sort of instant coffee. She used to drink a different kind. I have no idea why she brought this.

A Tía made this for me.

A pan made from clay. I still haven’t tried it yet. Suegra promises it won’t catch fire or explode but I don’t know if I trust her.

Pandillero hat? Why Suegra brought this for my older son, I have no idea. I guess it’s okay as long as he doesn’t get a tattoo on his face.

Want to see more souvenirs?

From El Salvador With Love
From El Salvador With Love (Part 2)

Salvadoran Folk Art

Village by artist Fernando Llort

The traditional style of art in El Salvador comes from the northern town of La Palma, and that is where artists are trained and live today.
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Originating from an artist named Fernando Llort, the art is simple and colorful, typically making use of animals such as birds, rabbits, and turtles, as well as common objects such as flowers, trees, and houses.
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After traveling and studying in Europe in the United States, Llort returned to El Salvador amidst war. Leaving San Salvador for La Palma, he started an artist workshop called, “La Semilla de Dios.”
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Teaching the people of La Palma to make art has given them an alternative way to make a living. Today, if you buy a souvenir in El Salvador, chances are it will feature folk art in this traditional style.
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One of my own souvenirs:
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A wooden cross from El Salvador


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Photos of murals in La Palma, which I really love.
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© All rights reserved by Richard & Jo


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© All rights reserved by Richard & Jo


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Image source: Permission granted by Flickr users Richard & Jo, (gracias!)
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Links:
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The website of artist, Fernando Llort (Free gift when you join the mailing list!)
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Souvenirs – Latinaish.com
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Souvenirs Part II – Latinaish.com
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25¢ Cultura

I like vending machines, especially the ones near the door at grocery stores. You know the ones I’m talking about, they’re usually painted an eye-catching red and contain candy, cheap toys or stickers in plastic balls. I think most parents hate those things. I’ve seen children pulled away from the vending machines crying and the parents saying, “No! We’re not wasting money on junk! Let’s go!”

I personally think 25 cents is a small price to pay for a little fun, and I’m just as likely as the kids to run to Carlos, pidiendo una “cora”. (I just aggravated a dear friend by pronouncing/spelling “quarter” like that. Hee hee. Sorry, Ángel.)

Wherever we go, I always check the vending machines to see if there’s anything new or exciting. I especially love when the growing Latino population is reflected in which candies or toys they chose to offer.

That being said, I present to you my new favorite find… “Gold” Patron Saints necklaces.