From the moment that the biographical series about late Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez debuted on Netflix in December, it has received mixed responses from both critics and fans alike. It has been an entire month since the second and final part of the series has premiered, and various writers and producers are speaking out about the behind-the-scenes drama. In a recent LA Times, feature article writers and producers on the series such as Gladys Rodriguez discussed issues involving budgeting, marketing, and the overall pay rate for staff members.
When sharing her thoughts about the overall production of the series Rodriguez stated, “I feel like our work was cheapened from the start. We were never given a fair chance. … Representation is what we want but it goes beyond that — we want to be treated equally.” Although the series is essentially an American story, it was ordered as a Latin American original. With a modest budget under $2 million per episode, it is lower than other Netflix biographical series. For example, “The Crown’s” budget in comparison, cost a reported $13 million per episode at launch.
Due to the show’s budget being so low, this allowed production to take advantage of a loophole in the Writers Guild of America rules for writer’s compensation rate. Some staff members were paid between 30 percent and 50 percent less for their work on the series, which was filmed in Mexico. A spokesperson for Netflix responded to these claims, telling the LA Times that “the company believes the writers were compensated fairly based on quotes negotiated by their U.S. representation”. Despite everything that has happened, the series Showrunner Moisés Zamora calls the experience “a learning lesson.” “The fact that we were able to get 14 Latinx writers to take on this thing, with all the challenges we faced … my goal is to continue making the case that our stories are worth telling — they deserve as much as any other production,” he says.