Mon Jul 20, 2020

how the internet influences our identity

Santiago Talledo as LucasEnRed © En Red/In Network

How the Internet influences our identity
An interview with the creators of the digital series En Red/In Network

The Argentinian series En Red/In Network is a webseries about Lucas who is a famous youtuber named Lucas EnRed. He is very popular and has more than a million and a half subscribers on Youtube. One day he gets a weird message from a stranger and has to prove in ten days that his existence is worth it, otherwise he will die. The series is directed by Gisela Benenzon and Alejo Rosemberg and produced by Juan Pablo Redondo. En Red/In Network was nominated for Best Screenplay (Gisela Benenzon) and also nominated for Best Production Design at the Seriale 2020.

Gisela Benenzon is a screenwriter and a playwright. She has already worked as an author for Telefe, Pol-Ka, Televisa, E! EntertainmentTelevision and Mac Guffin. She was the director and screenwriter of the short film Treatment and the web series Soy Ander. Movies such as Dead Birds and When I see you again are also part of her work and she received a scholarship from the Ministry of Culture of Madrid for the screenplay for Lies about Ava. She is the winner of the Artei Theater Award and author of the series Apache: The Life of Carlos Tevez. In the projects of Alejo Rosemberg you can trace a distinct cinematic look, because Alejo brings his passion for painting to moving pictures. He showcases his special way of storytelling in a wide range of genres from comedy to thriller as well as in other diverse projects. Besides short films, web series and experimental films, he also shoots television commercials and music videos. We had an interview with both creators.

Poster of the webseries En Red/ In Network, Gisella Benenzon, Alejo Rosemberg © En Red/In Network

Seriale: What is En Red/In Network about and how would you describe the series?

Gisela Benenzon: Lucas (Lucas EnRed) is a famous youtuber with a channel that has more than a million and a half subscribers. He shares a received message that was sent directly to his WhatsApp-Messenger from a stranger with “Do you deserve to live?: You have ten days to prove that your existence is worth it”. In Network is a thriller with a dizzying, captivating rhythm with a contemporary premise where nothing seems to exist if not through the networks.

Seriale: How did the idea for this series come about?

Gisela Benenzon: Through my 12-year-old son I began to realize the importance and popularity of youtubers and how the ways of bonding were changing. I began to think that the virtual world was almost as important as the real world. And immediately questions and reflections appeared, about how identity is gaining importance and is being formed through the Internet and how identity acquires importance through the number of subscribers, likes and followers, and what would happen if one day those followers would stop existing. Would that youtuber still exist? These questions led me to think of the plot of ‘In network’ and its somewhat tragic outcome.

Seriale: How did the film shooting of the series go?

Alejo Rosemberg: Well, it’s a little funny. Since we are a series that is about virtual communication and everything about the network, we had some problems internet connection during some scenes. In terms of continuity and processing, it was very important to us that the actors feel comfortable in their live dialogues. Fortunately as seen, everything looks very natural and fluid.

Seriale: What is so special about Lucas?

Gisela Benenzon: Lucas, the main character, found a space on the network where he can build himself up, he has absolute confidence on the Internet and within his apartment he created his own world. His charisma and his confidence make the viewer understand his world and live it through his eyes. He is humorous and communicates his ideas with great skill. He is like a kind of magician in making something virtual real.

Seriale: Did you make spontaneous changes during the shooting?

Gisela Benenzon: I think there are always changes that come up during filming from the original script. In the case of In Network, we had to be very precise during filming because the continuity of all the computer and cell phone screens forced us to be precise in dialogues and situations. There were some change in text maybe but nothing relevant to the plot.

Paulina Vetrano © En Red/In Network

Seriale: How were the actors in the series found and selected?

Alejo Rosemberg: We set out to work with actors who can already play the role very well, are already popular and have a known profile in networks. This seemed to be the key for us when it came to releasing our series. And we also believe that there are some parallels between the actor and the character that can later be appreciated in some way. Social networks are their daily business.

Seriale: Are your past ideas and visions similar to the final realization of the series?

Gisela Benenzon: Yes, because luckily it didn’t take long between writing the script and creating the series. Next year I will tell you what I think. Anyway In Network has a very current theme, and even beyond the Internet, In Network tells us about how we form our identity through the eyes of others.

Seriale: What made you laugh during the shooting?

Alejo Rosemberg: I think it was fun to rehearse some lines of the script through smartphones, because it would be filmed like that. We rehearsed several times but then we asked the actors to go outside their houses with the task of practicing and reviewing the scenes in video calls between each other. In general it was a very fun shoot, in a great location and a warm atmosphere, of course the text errors gave us a few laughs as well. Honestly, at the end of several days of filming, nobody really knew what their own phone was anymore, we were bombarded with photos and audio messages that we used to communicate to the film crew and to the actors and characters among them. Like a communication chaos, very typical of these times.

Santiago Talledo and Gisela Benenzon on the set © En Red/In Network

Seriale: Was it difficult to realize the setup for the shooting?

Alejo Rosemberg: The way we set the filming allowed us to work comfortably prioritizing the performances. As almost everything is through virtual communication, it was important for everyone to be able to film it in this way. We know that scenes and dialogues are usually divided and then edited and composed. In our case, we opted to create a live studio idea, with a camera in each of the actors’ spaces, and then simply put them into action. I could say that since it was not filmed in chronological order and with so many aspects linked to the communication, the assembly was somewhat complex.

Seriale: Do you like the thriller-genre?

Gisela Benenzon: I really like the thriller-genre, personally I find it very difficult to write such a script and to film it. You need good timing and a feeling for a thriller in order to “catch” the audience as much as possible. If everything is done correctly and well, a great result with great entertainment value will be made.

Interview: Dogan Eryildiz

En Red / In Network (2020)
Country: Argentina
Genre: Drama, Suspense
Runtime: 5 min.
Directors: Gisela Benenzon & Alejo Rosemberg
Writer: Gisela Benenzon
Producer: Juan Pablo Redondo
Cast: Santiago Talledo as LucasEnRed, Paulina Vetrano as MicaFox