Here’s a multimillion peso idea for teleseryes and it’s free: It takes place in BPOs; all the characters work in call centers; and that is the only difference from the teleseryes showing today.
The first cheap thing that will come to the mind of your usual native producer is a “sexploitative” teleserye, with suggestive themes and near naked girls like the ones in their noontime shows. After all, there was a baseless study not too long ago that call centers are sex dens, where everyone is getting it because everyone is giving it. STD is rampant.
This may be true among upper management in BPOs but I have seen these kids and they are like any other kids of that age. They are as friendly with each other as school kids in school. They chat a lot during breaks and seem to be having as great a time working as they did pretending to study in school.
I have no idea what the work conditions are like--is it noisy with chatter or silent with concentration?--but I will find out. I have a friend in Convergys who can take me around. Because I am writer, I have an unerring nose for the true nature of situations and have sensed something rather sexless in their congregations: everyone is a friend, just a friend.
So where did this idea come from of call centers as jumping with call girls willing to give it without pay.
The study, I discovered, was undertaken by the really ugly in media who day-dream while they hold themselves with one hand that, since these girls worked at night, they must be women of the night; and since their work has something to do with calls, they must be call girls, which in a sense they are. They take calls. As for the young men in call centers, they must be callboys.
Well, I advise guys who believe this b.s. to loiter on sidewalks outside call centers. They will die of inattention, which is their usual fate, and exposure in this nocturnal setting, before getting anything even the time of day from these young people.
So, what sort of story can such a teleserye tell? Same as the ones we watch today: romance, rejection, reconciliation either with each other or with loneliness again. Theirs will be the same stories except the characters sleep in the day and are awake at night working, taking a break, working again and going home exactly at what appears to be dusk but is really dawn. That’s all.
Portray them as what they are: people like you and me, except most if not all of them are young; none of them are old codgers. They have a more independent existence than day workers because BPOs pay better for night work than other establishments for day labor. That opens the possibility of mature relationships among the still young which explains the air of independence they have. That alone is interesting and adds, without emphasizing it, a whole new dimension to the same themes of teleseryes today.
So there will be no shouting mamas and irresponsible papas, no oldsters slapping youngsters because of disobedience. For one, the youngsters will have their own places--one-room condo units or apartments--or, if they still stay with their parents, will be asleep all day. They are probably supporting their parents in the best way: without having their parents in their hair.
The tremendous advantage of situating the same old narratives at night rather than in the day is that you can shoot the scenes with greater freedom, with more control of the light and less interference from bystanders; there is automatically a deeper air of mystery and the possibility of more deliberate and artful framing. You will be working in the dead of night.
The aesthetic possibilities are staggering. Whoever grabs this idea first will capture an audience of almost a million young people with a purchasing power that is attractive to advertisers. They will be turning on the TV when the rest of population has turned it off long before; which is to say well before the crack of dawn as they change to sleep and first thing at dusk as they dress for work. You will save on writers’ fees for brand new stories; just regurgitate the same old ones from the old teleseryes already shown, with a few minor changes and then--this is the radical bit--set it between nightfall and daybreak. No one in your audience will notice the similarity. They don’t watch daytime TV.
The social value of this endeavor is that it gives due recognition to the quite ordinary lives of those who contribute more to the economy than everyone else who is asleep when they are awake. It will correct the misimpression that since they work at night, they behave with wild abandon. When the eyes of the old are shut, they can’t be up to any good. They are a whole new population yet populating the same old places when those who were there have left and before they return.
I hope someone tries it. It will be revolutionary. But please, please, no sex--or no more than you find in the day. Which is to say, for most people who are looks-challenged, nothing.