Interview with Dulce Machado - Coordinator of Props and Outdoor Decoration
It was in 1998 that she took the first steps in what would become her profession even today, decoupage. Dulce, who coordinates the props and decoration teams of the telenovela Timeless Love, believes that the secret is to have a constant challenge with each new synopsis and to do it differently and better!
1 - Tell us a little about your professional career.
My professional career began with the sitcom A Mulher do Senhor Ministro, for RTP, in 1996, in the now defunct studio of the Teatro Vasco Santana, at Feira Popular, and I immediately realized that this was the path I wanted to follow.
I started as a scene assistant, and later, in the series Médico de Família, for SIC, in 1998, I realized the need to have someone responsible for decoupage of the text and that's when I started my journey in decoupage. Receiving and interpreting the script is the beginning of everything, and on our side is the responsibility to make all the actions possible and, above all, believable.
All the props are thought out in detail, imagining, finding, or adapting individually to each character, each action, and each set. These are daily challenges, which I share with my team, in a creative and good mood environment! Doing different and better!
Currently, I coordinate the props and outdoor decoration teams, a job that is, without a doubt, rewarding. I bring with me many different productions, mostly telenovelas, and it was, curiously, in a telenovela, and based on a character, that one day I said: "When I grow up I want to be a journalist!" It was my childhood dream, and later I realized the magic of fiction in reaching those who watch it when we tell a story. I ended up taking a different direction and this is where I feel fulfilled!
Every project brings new challenges. At the beginning, when I started, there were some challenges, and now there are very different ones. I think the secret is to have a constant challenge with each new synopsis!
2 - How do you prepare, and how far in advance, the composition of the props for a telenovela, as well as the meals?
We prepare as far in advance as possible after receiving the script. In a first reading, we "underline" everything that is event and more complex props, and then we survey all the props needed for the day, according to the proposed planning.
As for the props themselves, we do a search in our decoration and props collection, and if there isn't what we want, we go shopping, but currently we have a huge variety of solutions. When none of this is possible, we go for construction, either from scratch or recycling.
For meals, we always try that the preparation is like a blank canvas and the food is the painting, that in a simple way is the highlight accompanied with different colors and textures. We always try to make them as healthy as possible and the idea is to work visually and, in detail, to present a balanced meal. Currently, there is also the concern to avoid food waste, so if the food is only for display we opt for scenographic food.
3 - What new challenges did the telenovela Timeless Love bring you?
The telenovela Timeless Love brought several challenges, namely wine production, diving, paddle tennis and the making of the tortas de Azeitão. All these themes had to be researched, with the purpose of acquiring knowledge, to be able to transmit, and even handle, the specific props in a credible way, whenever this is requested on the plateau. It is also an attempt to find the right partners, whether for acquisition, loan, or barter. In addition to these themes, the street we have in the studio was another challenge proposed and successfully accomplished.