José Ignacio “Chascas” Valenzuela, writer and showrunner of Donde Hubo Fuego (39x4´)

José Ignacio “Chascas” Valenzuela, showrunner: Donde Hubo Fuego challenged me to write action and find the right tone
Aliana Gonz'alez|19 de agosto de 2022

For José Ignacio “Chascas” Valenzuela, writer and showrunner, Donde Hubo Fuego (39x40´) challenged him to write action for the first time, as well as find the right tone to a genre considered a “classic coated with action, melodrama, elements of thriller and suspense”. The series premieres on Netflix this Wednesday the 17th.

“This series could not resemble either Who Killed Sara? or my former telenovelas. Therefore, it required a particular language and a different tone" he said. He added that the elements of telenovelas, action series, suspense, and thrillers should be recognized harmonically, "without the audience noticing that it is a conglomerate of different genres”.

To accomplish this as showrunner he had to communicate with the directors, the editors, and the music programming, in order to find that tone. "That was the most difficult part, because we worked a lot on editing, re-editing, changing music until we finally found our own visual language," he said. It took two years from the idea to the end.

“I have not done much work in the action genre, obviously, because it is expensive, and the productions in which I've been involved did not have that level of resource. Fires, crashes, hit-and-runs, cars falling off cliffs, or situations where an entire house burns down were new for me. As a writer, this meant a huge challenge for me” he said.

It has a lot of melodrama and the traditional novel, but includes characters with deep values, rhythm, and the possibility of crossing different themes. “I'm tapping into themes in Donde Hubo Fuego that you can't show on open television, due to the schedule restrictions, as well as commercial breaks that pose limitations on the structure. As a writer, I am a fan of melodrama, and even if they ask me to write an absolutely conceptual Swedish series, I will add melodrama to it” he said.

Some classic elements of the melodrama found in Donde Hubo Fuego are children educated in an orphanage; a father who wants to connect with the son who ignores his existence; the innocent man committed a crime, among others. “I love to turn around clichés and well-worn topics. It's something I've always done, turn the screw on the screw. I love, for example, to give a twist and update the story of the poor heiress, turning what might seem like a flaw into a great aesthetic, artistic or narrative virtue” he explained.