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GUADALAJARA.- Tulio, we are in the air!
For 15 years, this phrase has been part of the language of children (and even now in their twenties) who laughed and learned with the program 31 minutes.
However, what seems like a Hollywood-style success story – journalists with few career prospects devising a concept to compete for a public fund and begin their road to international fame – is actually much more complex, interesting, and sobering.
Although the memory suddenly deceives us and it seems so 31 minutes It’s been on the air for five decades, in reality they’ve only been on TV for four seasons. Along the way, they had to grapple with hurdles like a generation swapping that screen out for their mobile devices and the commercial failure of their film.
“Deep inside the life of 31 minutes it is also related to survival for 31 minutes, ”he says Alvaro Diaz, one of the creators of the Chilean series.
“31 Minutes was born as a television series, but over time it was a lot more than that. That’s why he’s 15 years old and doesn’t just live off nostalgia.”
In a conference he held as part of the International Congress of the Department of Communication, Languages and Multimedia (Cidcap) of the Universidad del Valle de Atemajac (Univa), Díaz shared the history, events and lessons of this concept with students.
So here are some tips for entrepreneurs in a 31-minute style.
Bet on the project that fulfills you
Actually, Díaz didn’t like the idea of doing a kids’ program at first: he didn’t want to be a kind of Chabelo – or his Chilean colleagues – but at the time he didn’t have many job opportunities.
However, they weren’t betting on following one pre-built formula, but instead creating another: “We started creating a program that was just like we imagined it to be as kids,” he says.
Learn from the lessons that happen to you
31 minutes ago, Álvaro Díaz and Pedro Peirano came up with the idea of turning Doctor Mojado’s cabinet into a program “guided” by a fish from his aquarium.
“Unfortunately, this fish died immediately after it was picked up (by the pilot),” says Díaz.
That left them with the intent of doing a show for children, an offer to get public funding if they promote an environmental message … and a first deceased character.
So they thought of one of the series’ classics: The poop route.
“I said ‘Now let’s do something, I don’t know, with the feces’ and we started recording with some dolls my partner had that Pedro had, some dolls he had at home,” he recalls.
“This particular note sparked the idea of doing some serious media coverage that also had the very flashy name, namely La ruta de la caca, made with dolls, made very dirty (but that) had an appeal.”
Without wanting to, they had discovered something that turned out to be fundamental: “The puppets, who spoke earnestly like serious journalists, and showed realities that were alien to the world of children’s television, alien to the bright pink colors, had a magnetic thing “.
Relax from criticism, adjust, and try again
The first 31-minute team had virtually no experience with television. After creating the pilot, it faced the first negative and it was a weighty criticism: that of the broadcaster that would air it.
“The television broadcaster’s then director, the National Television Channel – the largest public broadcaster in Chile and also a very large broadcaster – said he gave this about his body on television,” he says.
“I understand why he saw paperwork, he saw something very messy, but we could see that some of these things were working and working very well; that the dolls acted very well and if you made these dolls better they would behave better. “
Avoid getting proud
After the first three seasons – 2003, 2004 and 2005 – 31 minutes went to Nickelodeon from Chilean national television to become known across Latin America. Also, their first album was recorded, which gave their producers the wrong feeling that happiness wouldn’t treat them badly.
“You went through the center and you went through the most populous place, the place with the most people in Santiago, and all the record stores, all the venues had the 31 minute recording and I said, ‘Here I am a witness that I am attending about that Creation of a phenomenon “and I had a thought that you should never have in life: I said:” Let’s go, I’ll be a millionaire, “remembers Díaz.
“On the contrary, when you have this thought, it is the beginning of your decline because you think you don’t have to work anymore and all that, a lie.”
So they began to realize a project that they had dreamed of from the start: the creation of a film, but the completion of this feat almost ended the concept.
“The film was neither what we expected from the audience nor from the success (…). A film that was a year to make and cost, which I know was a million and a half, was $ 2.5 million and took three years to make, “he says.
“What happens to all of us has happened to us: if things are going very well for you, you think you will always do well and you stick with the excesses you want and the movie was an excess; an excess of which we have hardly left standing. We hit 2008 with the premiere of the film and had to do other things: 31 minutes, when the curtain falls after the film, the team falls apart and we each move on with specific projects. “
Always reinvent yourself
After years of inactivity, the organizers of the Lollapalooza Chile 2012 music festival asked if they wanted to play live. 31 minutes had already passed from television to records, but playing live was a whole different challenge.
They accepted and, according to Díaz, “it was a bomb.”
“(If) five years ago you told me that I toured or was a part of Mexico every year shows To live in Chile and this life that seems like a fantasy (…) seems unthinkable to me and it happened almost by accident. This coincidence gave 31 minutes a whole new life. “
This ability to reinvent has increasingly led them to create content for social networks and even parallel projects.
“We’re looking for a new language and new ideas that last about 31 minutes, that is, coming from the same branch, seeing the same ideology, but those are different things, and for example we are now in a project, that is, it is closer on terror and it could be a little more, I don’t know if it’s an adult, but rather it explores other dimensions of the same children. “