Cut to the chaseBy Nestor U. Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Many teleseryes start out briskly, hitting viewers with one dramatic flourish and plot revelation after another.
All too soon, however, some drama series slow their storytelling down and go from one protracted detour to another. They do this to “stretch” their thin story material, and to give different key characters a chance to make their mark on viewers’ sensibilities.
Trouble is, the need to tell an integral and organic story is often forgotten, and trivial details and insignificant bits of plot and character development are stressed, making the drama series lose their edge and focus.
Many things are happening, but they’re mostly done “for effect,” while the series’ central conflict isn’t developed with sufficient swiftness and clarity to keep viewers genuinely involved.
This becomes more of a problem when a show becomes a certified hit. The promise of making even bigger profits seduces producers into extending and distending its central conflict.
It is even replaced by new problems, usually with the introduction of a major new character—portrayed by a big star to further raise the series’ appeal.
It goes without saying that such an unfocused and utilitarian way of doing things wreaks havoc on a drama series’ artistic and thematic integrity.
Less clueless viewers may soon realize that something is wrong, and complain about the “walang katorya-torya at paulit-ulit na mga eksena.”
They may not be able to put their finger on the problem, but their growing dissatisfaction prompts them to watch the erring show less regularly, and then not at all—eventually bringing down the previously popular series’ ratings.
A word to the wise TV producer, therefore: Yes, local viewers may be easy to manipulate this way and that, but if you give them lazy or messy stuff, after a while, they’ll sense that they’re being used, and thus feel less “invested” in viewing your show.
So, if you want your series to continually do well, you have to keep the storytelling brisk, interesting and focused—and cut to the chase (to win the ratings race)!
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