There are some words that continuously pop up in my research about telenovelas. One is PARADOX, and I've written about it before and should probably write a whole lot more about. The other is DISTANCE.
After all these years studying telenovelas, I'm still amazed about the enormous distance that I find between the audience's perceptions of what happens behind the cameras, and what actually happens there. This distance, of course, is influenced by another distance that exists too often: the one between press reports and what is happening.
There is also an important distance between the audience's perception of the relative importance of a particular telenovela character and what the actor believes about her/his character. I've talked with many actors who adored particular characters and considered them key in their careers, only to read later in Internet message boards how some audience members believe that those characters were unimportant and that the actor's talent was "wasted."
Another distance I must mention is the one between what the public knows/believes about the telenovela writing process and what really happens in a writer's mind and soul as she/he develops characters and plots.
There is always a distance between the script and the mise-en-scene we see on our TV screens.
Personally, the word distance defines my research since I have to "go" to it and come back periodically. I get closer and farther away from my case studies. It is in these coming and goings, in this stretching and reducing the geographic distance that I can get really close in an intellectual and academic sense. Soon I must travel and get closer to my new case study. Its first episode is about to be broadcast in Venezuela after I've been following and examining the creative process of its head writer. Meanwhile, the Internet and technology allow us to take a peek into this new telenovela I'm studying--La Vida Entera: