Interview to Bruno José - General Director of Production
Bruno began his career in fiction more than 20 years ago. How did you get into this world of fiction and, more specifically, into the production sector?
I began my career in fiction in 1999, with the series Capitão Roby, for SIC. I had done Festas de Lisboa that year and Expo'98 the year before, both in the entertainment unit. Obviously, fiction was a whole new world for me at the time, but I had to be very available to absorb all the information I was given.
What are, for you, are the basic working principles in production?
For me, it is essential to always have passion for what we do. Wanting to know more about production and the projects themselves, being resilient, as well as professional pride and organization are also very important. We are talking about something that involves a lot of people and a lot of money, so you must be really good at it. In my case, I first started as a casting producer, which is the person who casts the supporting cast and the extras, then I did location production, outdoor production, I was head of production, planning... I think I almost went through all the areas of production. I have always worked very closely with all my colleagues and, for me, working in production can only be like this, in union.
How was this evolution until you reached the position of General Director of Production at SP Televisão and what are the key elements to achieve success?
I think this evolution is related to the fact that I have been through almost all the functions within production and, consequently, I have a great knowledge in this area, which I consider to be important. But what I really think is the most important is to have professional pride, to be responsible for what we do and to do it well. Then comes organization, responsibility, discipline, rigor and curiosity.
And what is the greatest challenge?
Every project always has many challenges and when you are faced with a new one, this is very appealing because it can be seen as a provocation for those working in this area. At the time I started, there were some challenges and now there are others, but we are always waiting for new ones so that we feel like we are being challenged.
What was the most challenging project so far?
I loved doing the telenovela Perfect Heart, we had an incredible working environment. I also really liked Blood Ties because we had the challenge of collaborating with Globo. This was a very interesting and, at the same time, challenging project because it allowed us to exchange knowledge between both production companies. The series Naked City was also a great challenge, but basically, every project has its challenges.
As General Production Manager, you have worked with several teams over the years. You have certainly witnessed the evolution of several professionals as well. From this experience, what advice would you give to those who want to follow this path?
It is essential that in the working group everyone is aware of what the others are doing, in the way that if someone is absent, information can be disrupted, and a problem is created. This can cause a delay in recordings, for example. If the whole working group is on the same page, I have no doubt that things will go well. So, for me, communication is one of the most important things in production and if not handled well, it can be fatal.
In 2022, SP Televisão will celebrate 15 years of activity. How do you think the production of national fiction has evolved over these 15 years?
I believe we are making our content getting better and better, because they have become bolder and more appealing. In terms of post-production, for example, I think we have advanced a lot, namely through visual effects, which is something extraordinary because it allows us to do things that were unthinkable not so long ago. So, evolution is something very positive because it makes our projects much more attractive.
SP Televisão's projects have already won more than 137 awards and nominations, both nationally and internationally, and already have sales (format or canned) abroad to more than 126 countries. Is this living proof that the quality of national fiction is increasingly closer to international fiction?
Completely, that's why SP Televisão has many international awards that have been given to our projects. At this moment, dissociating what is done internationally from what is done in Portugal is meaningless, because the awards are living proof that we have visibility and the reviews we receive are good. I'm perfectly aware that we do things well in Portugal and that we have incredible human resources, whether in terms of technical teams, productions, artistic direction, actors, directors, casting, and so on.
In your opinion, what is still to be produced?
I think we still have a lot of things to produce... There are challenges in terms of telenovelas, series, documentaries for us to produce and take the name of SP Televisão further. If they want to challenge us to produce bigger things, we will certainly want to be there and show that we are capable of doing it.