Dispatches From Mexico City: Putting In The Work

Author: Ty Trumbull
Author: Ty Trumbull

Telenovelas are super popular in Mexico – in all of Latin America, actually – and they’re picking up steam in other parts of the world as well. Asia is actually one of the largest producers of the broadcasts.

For the uninitiated, I’ve paraphrased the definition from the blog Telenovela Studies: telenovelas are daily serials that run in prime-time (and are repeated throughout the day). They have a clear beginning, middle, and end and generally run about 120 episodes. Some focus on romance, others on comedy, and some even delve into the supernatural.

But what’s universal to the genre is the melodrama. Telenovelas dive deep into the emotions and feelings of their characters. It’s part of why they’re so popular.

The Red Carpet

Last night I got to be part of the pomp and circumstance that surrounds these incredibly popular programs. My band was invited to the premier of a new series, Mi marido tiene familia (My husband’s family), so we got dressed up and headed to the red carpet. Our friends perform the theme song for the show, so we went to support them and shake hands with the celebrities and producers.

The free cocktails, fancy dresses, nice suits, and fine dining were a big departure for me and my poor grasp of Spanish didn’t help things. But still, this was a new experience so I bent my ear as much as I could and really concentrated on understanding what was going on around me. It was exhausting but so rewarding.

Doing The Hard Work: Listen, Learn, Translate

No matter how polite and kind people are, spending five hours communicating in a different language is deflating. It’s a lot like the tech world. My writing background was cultivated in the business and entertainment beats. Transitioning to writing about information and technology like I have been can, at times, be tiring. It’s easy to get bogged down by the jargon and inside baseball talk. But the deeper you dig into something the more it reveals itself. Learning what RTO (Recovery Time Objective) is in the data recovery world was a lot like learning what chido wey meant in colloquial Mexico City Spanish.

Taking steps to ensure you’re understood is important in any venture, whether you’re an MSP or a telenovela producer. But what’s also true, and I think equally important, is to realize that anything can be understood if a person works hard at understanding it. Teach yourself how to code, pick up Finnegan’s Wake, figure out the rules to cricket, or learn a new language. You’ll have to sit through the exhausting period of learning something new, but it’s almost always worth it in the end.

Ty Trumbull, from his base in Mexico City, covers the entrepreneur’s journey and business continuity for ChannelE2E. Each Tuesday, he offers views about his new hometown.