Taking advantage of its visit to Los Angeles for the last L.A. Screenings, ONLY TELENOVELAS, Fiction & Formats talked with Mexican scriptwriter Bethel Flores, author of successful Amarte así, Frijolito and of the adaptation of the Argentine telenovela Montecristo for TV Azteca's Mexican version.
This scriptwriter, with a great career writing telenovelas, explains that in the last years including elements that allow for travel and adaptations in other territories has become very important when creating a new work for a specific market.
Which do you think have been the changes in themes, or where should they aim at to conquer different audiences?
Themes have to be universal. We are talking about passions, emotions and other global aspects. When we speak of love, hatred, anger, lust, any passion, the context really becomes an ornament we provide according to where our characters go, but the real story is the one that the audience wants to be told. Also in adaptations, there is work done on local identities. For example, in the Argentine version of Montecristo, Santiago’s passion, which Diego Olivera performed in the Mexican one, is revenge and, still, love was able to drag him on. The Mexican character was torn between love and revenge, and this is what most attracted the Mexican public.
Advantages and disadvantages for a scriptwriter Which are the advantages and disadvantages for a creator to work on an adaptation? Doing an adaptation somehow implies creating for the writer because s/he takes an idea, a story, but it has to be recreated. In Montecristo fromArgentina the theme was the missing disappeared from 1976 and that shocked the audience because it touched a strong historical issue for Argentines. In Mexico we did not have that social problem, so we approached another one we do have: baby theft and trafficking. Of course social themes and issues need to be treated seriously and with a lot of respect. The important factor of melodramas is basically the game of passions, and I believe we achieved it in this story as well as in Amor en custodia, which we also adapted.
The remake of Amarte así, Frijolito
During the adaptation process, a writer can mix stories and even make them more successful than the original ones. But s/he can also destroy them, as it has happened.
From which point of view a scriptwriter watches this phenomenon that has been growing?
When there is the opportunity to work on a good script, you can improve it and make a good job with all the respect. The great Argentine scriptwriter Enrique Torres, for instance, adapted Amarte así, Frijolito and it was a success. I also successfully adapted Perla Negra, one of his creations, many years ago. So I have been on both sides, that of author and that of adaptor. As artists we are always creating, and a scene that you recreate, that you modify, is part of that recreation.
What is your dream as scriptwriter?
My dream is to go beyond borders. That there is no border for art and that I can write universal stories anywhere I want. I think a story is the same in Germany, Japan or Mexico. My illusion would be, really, to become a scriptwriter who reaches the heart of more and more people.