Friday, December 11, 2015
Weekend Discussion: Recap Authors, What Series Was Your Biggest Challenge?
I'm going into my fifth year of writing for this blog and most of it has been fun and interesting. My first series was La Fuerza del Destino in 2011 where I caught most of the juicy episodes about the character we called Merry Piece and I felt privileged for that. There were a few truly great performances in that series and some wooden ones and we all take the good with the bad.
Yo No Creo en los Hombres has been my biggest challenge so far, mostly because of the pacing and lack of filler that can be easily ignored. A few of the actors also talk faster than usual and one occasionally mumbles (I'm looking at you, Flavio Medina), which occasionally slows down the progress of my writing. My usual rule is to play back the lines only three times so I don't get stuck for an hour, then move on. The early episodes of this were particularly difficult because the lies being told left and right were sometimes hard to keep track of.
My general practice is to watch each episode at least twice, with a premiere episode usually three times. I think that a premiere needs to be especially meticulous so we all get who is who and how they're related, which makes their motivations clear. I write as I watch and pause if I need to correct or add something more literary, like the Dunne-isms in Pasion y Poder (although I usually add those later). I'm glad that the actors in this series speak as clearly as they do, although I will need to cut back a little on the dialogue in future. Sometimes I go overboard lately because of how the scenes are broken up. This is the first series where I'm combining scene fragments, so it would seem silly most of the time to skimp on the dialogue in one while giving it complete in another section of what would be a longer scene if these programs were edited the same way as 20 years ago.
All told, it usually takes me 6-8 hours to accomplish a recap, depending mostly on dialogue requirements. I'm glad the drama series are mostly short on slang because that's one area where I'm a bit weak.
How do the rest of you do it? I'm sure our new readers would love to know.
My first series was La Tempestad. Then Reina De Corazones and Lo Imperdonable and now Pasion y Poder. The biggest challenge that I have faced were with the two that were heavily edited by Univision (La Tempestad) and Telemundo (Reina De Corazones) since I also recapped the stuff that was left out- which meant watching and recapping two episodes instead of just one. It was time consuming, but I did enjoy it.
The way I do it- If I get a chance, I watch the episode ahead of time online, then get a head start. For example, I just finished watching tonight's PyP and hope to get a head start sometime today so I can get the recap up tonight or early tomorrow morning. To recap, after watching the episode a first time, I watch it again and recap it scene by scene. I put more detail into the most important things in each episode while not worrying so much about filler or things that aren't that important.
It takes me about 4-5 hours for each recap.
We're a lot more casual in the Telemundo neighborhood. When I recap a premiere episode, I also spend a lot more time on it because of introducing characters and the hints of past grudges, etc., that will be necessary to understand going forward.
I suppose I do my recapping old school, if you will. I don't have a laptop, and my work station computer is nowhere near my television. I watch the episode once before writing anything. When I used to write things as it played, pausing the episode to do so, I ended up writing too much. I should mention that I DVR the episodes and never watch commercials. I use the back sides of paper I bring home from work that would otherwise go into the recycling. I write with a good fountain pen that makes writing effortless. So, watch it once, then move through it the second time, writing the important parts and likely skipping filler. If an interesting expression or idiom is said, I write that in Spanish and then in English. I LOVE learning new slang and idioms in Spanish!
After I have my writing done I move into my spare room/office and start typing the recap in Word. In the Telemundo area of the site, we recap in the comments, and each page has a week's comments and recaps. I then paste my recap into from one to three comments, labeling them 1, 2, and/or 3.
This could take as little as 1.5 hours when I do a quick and dirty one or as long as 3 hours if I'm going all out. It helps that I'm a very fast typist!
BTW, a box of virtual Godiva to the person who identifies the woman in the photo.
UA, thank you for yet another great Weekend Discussion. Out of the recappers of "Pasión y Poder" (PyP), you were the one whose work I was most familiar with, having had the chance of reading most of your Weekend Discussions and some of your recaps of other shows. I'm a fan of your style from way back and discovering the work of the rest of PyP's recapping team has been a delight! I appreciate your sharing your modus operandi with us, even though your readers can tell just how painstakingly meticulous and arduous your labor of love is, because this is evident in every recap we read. I hope recappers for PyP and other TNs give us their insights as well, over the course of this weekend.
I read the work of many recappers over the past year (I watched more TNs than I'd care to admit) and was always impressed by the level of hard work, dedication and passion they pour into every single recap they produce; especially considering that some of them admitted they were not advanced or fluent Spanish speakers. Still, regardless of their level of Spanish, their recaps are impeccable every time! I can't even wrap my head around how difficult it must be for a beginner or intermediate Spanish learner to understand, translate and recapitulate a 45-minute episode which many times would contain plotlines, details, subtleties and slang that can be tricky even for the native Spanish speaker. At the present time, I understand 95% - 100% of what gets said in a TN episode with ease and just writing one comment, where I would share some random rambling thoughts, takes me a good while.
It is truly admirable how recappers manage to translate dialogue, capture every relevant detail, add in literary embellishments, humorous remarks and insightful observations, all of this while ensuring the end result gets posted to the website promptly! Then, another week rolls in and they have to do it all over again! A standing ovation to all Caray Caray! recappers from your adoring and grateful readership!
Sending warm hugs your way and virtual truckloads of Ladurée macarons in every flavor ever made to the entire Caray Caray! recapping team <3
I discovered Caray Caray when I was watching Amor Bravio online in 2013. I was ahead of the US transmission, so I stupide skipped on the commenting and all the fun that AB was on this board.
But Caray Caray did get stuck in my head, so I came back to it after a while.
I don't remember what tn made me write my first comment, it might have been a Telemundo one, but I will never forget the first show I recapped - Corazon Indomable - watching that story was a punishment and a joy at the same time: stupid plot made for a lot of snarky, wonderfully written recaps by our team.
When writing a recap it depends how much time I have for it - if I'm in a hurry I type as I watch and then go to my notes and flesh them out. This will take me anywhere between 2,5 (with blah epidodes) and 4 hours (when important stuff is happening ). I don't think I ever watched an episode more than once, but I do go back and pause à lot, because I don't use cc and when fast dialogue is involved I sometimes get lost.
I always combine scenes because the editing is usually horrible and I get a head ache if I write every single detail that I watch.
Lately my heart hasn't really been into recapping (or commenting, to my shame) because this year has been full of all kinds of emotions and happenings (some bad, others amazing ) but I hope to get back in the game one of these days. Neither English, nor Spanish is my first language so, aside from being very fun, recapping helps with my language skills.
My telenovio, Cristian de la Fuente has a new tn coming up next year, so maybe that will do the trick.
Susanlynn, do you care to share? :)
Nandicta, I have a friend who works in a La durée shop, so things could be arranged. ...
Novelera, I loved recapping Telemundo novelas. Pasion Prohibida is one of my faves and Marido en Alquiler was a truly good comedy /telenovela.
Mauricio, I remember your recaps for La tempestad - you were a pro at noticing details, something I can rarely do. For being your first, you did a great job.
Each recapper has their own style and sometimes, after a while, I can tell wrote the recap without seeing the byline. :-) The inventiveness, snark, humor, and often literary background of our recappers is impressive.
THANK YOU y les mando un gran abarazo!!!
. . . and yes, I don't mind if this post starts a recapper love-fest because without our generous sacrificing recappers, there would be no Caray!Caray!
Recapping these shows is a great writing exercise for me. I was a theatre major in college and one term paper was to write a one-act play based on a fairy tale and in the style of Ibsen, Strindberg, or Chekhov. I read Ibsen's entire output before starting and he had three separate periods of style, so choosing which one was the big first step. My most recent foray into this stuff was easier; my current "alter-ego" only wrote five novels and boy, do I love the subjects!
When I first started recapping, I did not have a dvr. So I had a notebook and I furiously hand wrote notes as I watched. After the show was over, I'd type the recap from my notes, elaborating as I wrote.
Getting a dvr changed EVERYTHING, and cut down on my recapping time. Plus, I realized that I really didn't need to take notes while I watched because I can remember what I watched and craft a recap from memory. If there isn't any significant dialogue that I want to note, that's all I do now-- watch, then sit down with my laptop and just write. But with a show like Yo No Creo en los Hombres, where the dialogue is really rich, I will watch, start recapping, and go to my recording to go to specific conversations I want to translate word for word (or nearly). I'll then watch the scene once or twice and write the dialogue. The whole process from start to finish takes about 2 1/2 hours (an hour to watch the show, an 1 1/2 to write, edit, and post). If I'm just doing a quick bullet points recap from memory, it takes about 30 minutes.
I think the earlier shows I recapped took more effort/work, simply because of the lack of technology, and because I was hand writing too many useless notes, plus I always pulled out vocabulary to highlight (I only occasionally do now). And of course any show where I have to recap 2 hour double episodes (e.g. Hasta Que el Dinero Nos Separe), or condensed episodes where I make the effort to find and watch the complete episodes (La Malquerida). It wasn't an effort recap Corazon Indomable. It was an effort to watch it. :)
Writing in the voices of other authors is fun and a great literary exercise. I now wish I'd had some practice at it before LQNPA so I could have done a better job on that.
I was like Vivi, no DVR, madly scrambling to take notes. My first was Juan Querendon, full of slang and fast-talking, as all the comedies seem to be. But once I got a garage sale VCR, I did record, so I could re-watch. And I always added a section on vocabulary and Dichos. Then Hombre Misterioso did too, in contrasting colors. So I went to colors. Then Carlos started adding photos, so I tried to do photos. Man, it just kept getting tougher and more time-consuming. Plus, I found that my adrenaline spiked so high, that I couldn't get to sleep for hours after writing a recap. That made it tough as I need a lot of rest to do a super-energetic workout for my students the next day. So....eventually I decided to retire from recapping and just enjoy others' amazing efforts.
Worst telenovela to recap was Dinero because there were a lot of double episodes, and i didn't particularly enjoy the cast or story. And anytime the Spanish closed captions were absent, it was a challenge. Other than that, though, lots of fun and my adult children were very impressed that their elderly, tech-challenged mom was "blogging".
I have just about maxed out my storage on Photobucket without having to pay for more so I don't do many photos anymore that can't be linked to other sites. I must have had about 2500 pics for MCET and that added very serious time, especially for the wedding episodes.
Judy- We certainly went overboard with Dinero. I think we all ended up including tons of vocab AND screen shots by the end. What were we thinking?!
Adriana Noel..What do you want to know !!!! I will share.
I can't wait!
I don't know if there's any show that's more "difficult" they just all need different treatment. Mujeres Asesinas didn't leave a lot of room for snark, nor did the heavier episodes of La Sombra del Pasado. La Gata was an excellent snark breeding ground, except when it got SO bad it became impossible to make fun of anymore.
I wish more people would give recapping a try! There's really no right or wrong way to do it, as long as you're having a good time with it. And you never know, you might surprise yourself with just how much Spanish you do know, or how much you've picked up about the way telenovelas work, that it turns out to be easier than you thought it would be.
UA, I recapped Corazon Indomable, but that was easy to recap because the dialogue was fairly juvenile. Most of the others were not too bad, But I recapped Yo No Creo En Los Hombes a couple of times as a sub recapper and that one has by far been the most difficult one to do because of the tricky dialogue, the slang, and so much detail that is needed to be included so nothing gets missed. Those couple took me twice as long.
My comfy couch is my work station. I usually quickly write an outline numbering the scenes watching the episode live so I have an idea where it is all headed and what is important enough to include. Then I go back to my trusty videotape and write the recap scene by scene directly on my iPad. I like to get it done and posted that night if possible. The whole process can take anywhere from 2-5 hours depending on how much detail I want to include. My recaps are pretty straightforward. I find writing the recaps very enjoyable and relaxing. If I would have known how much fun recapping was, I would have tried it earlier.
-- Adriana: Can I have a dozen box of Macarons Pistache, s'il vous plaît?
-- Vivi: "It wasn't an effort to recap Corazon Indomable. It was an effort to watch it. :)" Hahahaha! The team who committed to recapping that show deserves a special medal. I only watched the first 2 Discs of the DVD version, fast-forwarding quite a bit through that swampland of idiocy. By the middle of Disc 3, I was tearing my hair out! Couldn't take it anymore! But the recaps of CI? Exquisite, delectable, magnificent! I read one or two every weekend and they're a riot! The greatest mood enhancers to start my week with a spring in my step and a smile on my face. :)
-- Susanlynn: Those captioned screeshots were a hoot and a half! I just recalled the one with Sergio Goyri looking perplexed with the caption "I was told there would be a monkey!" and I can't stop laughing! I have tears of laughter rolling down my cheeks!
My Spanish isn't that fluent and I didn't have a VCR, so closed captions were useful to me. I would try to watch the episode online a couple of days ahead, jotting notes. Then I would watch the broadcast of the episode, again jotting expanded and corrected notes.
After that, I would settle down at the computer, try to come up with a title and any special approach or format, then begin writing. Once the recap was complete, I would print, proofread and edit. The two viewings took about two hours and the writing would take around three to five hours.
The most fun were those episodes with action just begging to be mocked (low-hanging fruit). I always had a sense of accomplishment when a recap was finished, even if I wasn't entirely satisfied with it.
I really appreciate the work that our CC recappers put into the fabulous and hilarious summaries we enjoy.
I didn't know about this blog when my first novela, La Fea, was airing and I used to go to a fan site and comment in Spanish. Everyone was gracious and I felt thrilled when someone actually commented on my comment because I know my Spanish was so bad! Does anyone know where I can find a chronological listing of Univision novelas, maybe the Uni site? That way I could better remember the ones I've watched. I have caught bits and pieces of novelas for over twenty years back when "the Spanish channel" was fuzzy and full of snow. I was so thrilled when the reception got better. I've watched several novelas since La Fea but as for recapping, let's see:
Substitute recapper on Cuando Me Enamoro near the end of the series if I remember correctly. I can't describe the rush I got from all the appreciative comments! Even when I feel like I've given a recap short shrift because life has gotten crazy, the Patio welcoming and grateful! Then, let's see, I was so impressed with the quality of Quiero Amarte, lengthy comments turned into recaps as part of small and dedicated recap team and loyal Patio! I'm proud to say that I was part of the La Gata recap team, having joined somewhere in the middle perhaps? Yah. La Gata. Lord, have mercy! My first time being a part of recap team from the beginning of a novela was La Sombra del Pasado and I'm happy to be on the Muchacha team now!
I've tried different tactics from watching all the way through without taking notes and then writing the recap as I watch the second time; taking handwritten notes and then writing the recap afterwards, only checking the recording for things I'm fuzzy on to my current practice of taking notes on the typewriter, yes, I wanted to say typewriter (though it is my desktop) and then writing the recap from memory with the notes guiding and serving as the scaffolding. If the episode is sliced and diced or full of filler, stuff, and nonsense, I will combine scenes and condense. These can take as little as the hour to watch and about two to write, edit and post. Sometimes I feel the episode needs a scene by scene treatment and try to convey to feel and flow I got when I watched it. These take the hour to watch and can take about three hours. I love the camaraderie, the language learning, the sharing in this amazing community! Thanks to ALL Recappers for every show past and present and the WONDERful friends who comment!
So I definitely avoid anything from Los Mejia.
My recapping habits have never changed since I first started. Like Vivi, the DVR has been a lifesaver. Earlier it was hit or miss if my VHS tape recorded or not. I've never been able to successfully watch ahead on-line. The episode I'd be looking for was always the one that was just scrubbed by UNI.
I watch once for enjoyment. Then after taking a short break, I re-watch with a yellow legal pad and start hand-writing the highlights (they can get pretty lengthy, sometimes the whole episode is hand-written) with the scene changes. Then I go to the computer to type up the notes. Then I expand my notes, combine scenes where it makes sense, and often have to go back to the DVR to check dialog.
The finishing touches include adding paragraph headings, some formatting, do a spell check, re-read what I wrote, edit it, then head for the blog to post it. Then I re-read it on-line and see all the mistakes I made and edit them within the blog post. All this takes 5-6 hours, depending on the action or the dialog.
Being able to recap a Friday episode is a real advantage. I can go to bed at a decent hour and still be able to put the finishing touches on the recap on Saturday. Days during the week certainly adds pressure. I certainly couldn't do this were I still working full-time. I am in awe of all you recappers who do it and work.
Mauricio--I remember you and NovelaMaven's dedication to doing Reina de Corazones right. Why oh why do they do these things. Do the cable companies think we do not care or won't notice? That's not the way to build up viewer loyalty.
I got my start recapping when El Talisman was moved to daytime and there weren't too many folks who wanted to move away from the evening time slot, much less wanted to recap. (It still ranks as the worst tn I've watched--but my viewing is pretty limited. But as others have noted, the worst telenovelas are the best to recap.) Then Un Refugio Para el Amor started being broadcast in 2-hr. segments and our dear Madelaine was having trouble keeping up. I lent a hand to do an evening telenovela for the first time. (This ranks among the best telenovelas I've watched.)
I felt pretty bold after that experience and volunteered to be a regular for Que Bonito Amor in the hopes that Jorge Salinas would be as good as he was in LQNPA. Boy was I deceived. But, I persevered.
Next came Quiero Amarte, with MY (I say MY, MY, MY) Telenovio Cristian de la Fuente. Lila and I were pretty much doing it by ourselves at first, then we were able to garner several guest recappers who helped out by becoming somewhat regular.
My last effort, which I had to leave about mid-way through was Preciosa Perla. It was "deb" who seduced me into watching it and I fell in love. I ended up doing the daily recaps from August to October, when I went out of town and got too far behind. It was tough grind to churn them out daily, but a real labor of love. Of course, waiting for any scene with Leandro Lima (David) in it was worth it all! (Just google the images for him.....mmmmmm.)
It's all been good. The community of recappers and commenters on CarayCaray are just the kind of people I'd like to hang out with in person. This is the next best thing to a conversation among peers.
Thanks to Melinama for launching this. I wonder if she ever had any idea what this would morph into. More recently, thanks to the 5ft La Diva for contributing her administrative skills to improve the blog.
And a vote of gratitude to all our silent readers, world-wide. You also keep us going.
"I enjoyed LM and all our "dam" adjectives."
We did that earlier with La Tempestad and our DamFine Capitan Damian. I didn't watch La Malquerida. Did you do it there, too?
The same with her husband, started off semi decent with Esmeralda and La usurpadora whos success went to his head.
One thing I appreciate about Lartilleux is when the novela is a failure she enda it within 5 to 6 months while her husband keepa going until its 8 to 9 months.
Lest we all remember Corazon Salvaje. The biggest failure ever.
Hey, Superalfie! I remember you from the QA Patio. In your comment above, are you referring to a remake of Corazon Salvaje?
This series' ratings deficiency is the reason we're not getting any novelas de epoca anymore. I wish someone would wake up to this and realize that these issues are correctable. I haven't blogged a novela de epoca yet and may not get to at this rate.
In all seriousness, Mejía got way too big for his britches. Having gotten away with producing some horrendous remakes (I'm looking at you FELS and QBA) he thought he could do the same with "Corazón Salvaje". I'm glad he had his ego battered over this one though. Butchering what is arguably one of Latin America's most beloved TN stories was criminal, especially considering how fantastic the 1993 version was in every aspect and how venerated Eduardo Palomo's Juan Del Diablo was. The worst mistake of all for me was his merging of "Yo Compro Esa Mujer" with elements from "Corazón Salvaje".
In my opinion, he should've:
- done a straight up refrito of "Yo Compro Esa Mujer",
- cast the 2 leads differently (the performances of both Eduardo Yáñez and Aracely Arámbula were a cringe-fest),
- made Regina and Aimée sisters rather than twins,
- focused more on the Regina-Juan romance than the Aimée-Juan twosome,
- dialed-down on the comic relief,
- condensed the Gypsy Girl backstory and romance with Juan's assistant,
- cut the novela by at least 30 episodes.
I did however love the costumes, the entire soundtrack (including Chayanne's song), the karmageddons doled out to the villains and the way the characters of Don Noel and Renato were portrayed (except for Renato's last scene. Interminable!)
Will I watch it again? Nope! Yet for a first viewing, I did not consider it really that bad. It was a brilliant unintentional comedy in period costumes! :D
I'm really looking forward to Hotel, based on the briefest of trailers.
Nandicta, I agree that YCEM was due for its own remake. However, there was a plot reason why the sisters had to be twins. They just didn't have to be "identical." As to the casting it would have been great if Rodrigo ha been played by Cesar Evora as originally planned.
Urban- There aren't a ton of promos for Hotel, but here is one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Umb7O9AtEc
-- UA: Yes, yes and yes for Cesar Evora! He would've been perfect as Rodrigo Montes de Oca! If there was a need for twins then as you said they could've made them fraternal or they could've cast a better actress to play identical twins.
I wish I could find YCEM online or an abridged DVD version on Amazon but this TN is nowhere to be found! I never actually saw it. I was in primary school when it was broadcast on Moroccan TV in the early 1990s so I only caught a few bits and pieces when the grownups would allow it. All I remember is that it was wildly popular all over the Arab World and it had a fancy title in literary Arabic meaning "Whatever the cost", which we would repeat often to infuse our childhood games with drama... Good times.
-- Vivi: I can't wait for "El Hotel de Los Secretos" to start and I really hope UA can join the recapping team for that TN, we'd be in for a treat!
If you find YCEM please email me, I too have looked all over the place. There are so many older novelas available, I don't understand why this one isn't.
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