“The first exclusively Spanish language series, shot entirely in Mexico and conceived/created in the United States, Club De Cuervos, Netflix’s brand new series is not only this summer’s most binge-worthy delight, but should be applauded as a game changer in the burgeoning world of globally-designed entertainment. The series, in which billionaire Mexican siblings feud over the family-owned soccer team (The Cuervos, Spanish for “the Crows”) was designed not just for a Mexican audience, but for the entire soccer-loving world, which let’s face it, is almost the entire world. Much like the Spanish cousin to Netflix’s current Emmy darling, Orange Is The New Black,Club De Cuervos oscillates brilliantly from laugh-out-loud comedy to poignant drama, while never dipping into Latin stereotypes or telenovela melodrama.
Created by former USC roommates, Gaz Alazraki and Michael Lam, Club De Cuervos‘ small, diverse writing staff, were Los Angeles based, and flown to Mexico for an extensive research trip and production shoots. A unique and unprecedented approach. Alazraki, well established in Mexico for his mega-successful film, Nosotros Los Nobles, insisted on Hollywood-trained comedy room writers who were familiar with the kind of scripted, appointment television that he liked to watch. Something that doesn’t exist in quite the same way in Mexico. He cast a wide net in Hollywood. Alazraki wasn’t necessarily even looking for Spanish speaking writers, he was just looking for the right writers.
One of those writers was Alessia Costantini, who became the only female on the staff and the show’s Co-Executive Producer. Costantini began nearly ten years ago as a television production assistant, earned her stripes in many writers rooms as a writers’ assistant, and was staffed on the final season of Scrubs. She also wrote for Everybody Hates Chris, and has sold original comedy pilots, including Building Slut to Sony. She is currently the head writer and Co-Executive Producer of CMT’s scripted debut series, Still The King, with Billy Ray Cyrus.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Costantini, whose previous career was industrial engineering in her native Detroit – worlds away from the Hollywood comedy writer’s room.
Xaque Gruber: You are one of five writers on Club De Cuervos. Did you feel you had a certain role in the writers’ room being the only female in the bunch?
Alessia Costantini: This writing team — Gaz, Jay Dyer, Mike Lam and Russell Eida — was phenomenal. We were such a family. Because I was the only female in the room, part of my marching orders were to keep an eye on the way that women were depicted on the show. I was honored to have that responsibility. It was challenging because I knew we were facing a culture that had certain stereotypes in place…”