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Marco Salvati: la zampa dell'autore

Marco Salvati: the author’s grip

by Monica Camozzi

Written by Monica Camozzi
Photos by Simone Angarano

Where there is irreverence, there is Salvati. If the artist puts his signature with colour or material alchemy, or the photographer with the use of light, the TV author has other tools. The fine psychological cleverness, the irony, the ’emotional sinusoid’, as he defines it. Marco Salvati, renowned for his professional liaison with Paolo Bonolis, for whom he was the author for 20 years (and who nicknamed him Mister Twitter), has also been the soul and driving force behind programmes, editions of Sanremo, prime-time shows, Domenica In and Buona Domenica. Successes such as Ciao, Darwin, Il senso della vita, Chi ha incastrato Peter Pan find their roots in his verve. 

But, above all, we owe to him Lorella (Cuccarini)’s catchphrase, La notte vola…

Did you write it?
Yes, I actually wrote other theme songs for Lorella, Liberi Liberi for example…

So did you start with music?
I was part of a Roman music group, we played in the cellars as it used to be. I was writing songs, composing, arranging. Then, in a studio I met Silvio Testi (producer, husband of Lorella Cuccarini, ed) who was struck by my way of writing. I needed a more discographic way of doing theme songs, I was young, it worked…

simone angarano

You also took part in a Pino Daniele album, a Bocelli record…in short, no small things! What memories do you have of that?
My meeting with Pino was wonderful, I remember that in his breaks he would incessantly listen to other people’s records, recognise the genius of others and rehearse, study. He was driven by passion, I could always see him in his headphones. Music gave me more than I deserved: at a certain point I stopped outraging it (laughs). I was already embedded in the television mechanisms, going on was natural.

This musical experience will have helped you in the Sanremo festival editions…
At Sanremo 2009 something happened that I will always remember. Every singer in the competition had a ‘godfather’ to introduce him and the idea was that each of the bigs would sing a song before the contestants performed. They were all reticent, so I asked Pino and he said ‘I’m only doing it because you asked me to’. After this stance, everyone else wanted to perform: Zucchero did a wonderful improvisation, Bacharach gave his best…

Ma l’autore ha un potere così grande nel contesto di un programma?

Being an author does not only mean writing. You are delegated the structure of the programme,

you have to have in your head the concatenation of events, the entrances, the exits, the gags…TV does not make itself. What we see is the result of the author’s thinking. Then there are those who specialise in single products, for example reality TV. And those who are multitasking.

simone angarano

What if the situation gets out of hand? In a live broadcast, for example? Has this ever happened to you?

Well, when you have to manage such monster programmes as the Festival, where you have the eyes of half the world on you, everything can get out of hand…it happened to me that some things were misinterpreted within the programme, or exploited to speak ill of someone. As well as really unbearable artists…

creativity is a difficult subject, not measurable.

The live broadcasts, for example, give the greatest worries but also the greatest thrill.

How do you convince those in charge of the programme that your idea is the best one?
You have to believe in it, first of all. Here there are no definite certainties, no sure recipes. Sure, we know that tears and laughter always work. The author, however, knows that creativity as an end in itself is of no use, he has a keen eye for the feasibility of things, he knows how much they cost, whether they are feasible and with what timescale. 

Today an author is similar to the American Producer: he has the ideas, he makes sure everything works and is feasible.

What is your recipe?
People want to be distracted. On general TV, perhaps in prime time, the emotional sine wave always works: either make people laugh or make them cry. Each market then has its own characteristics, it is no coincidence that formats bought abroad are adapted. I remember three editions of a reality show, the Mole, whose original Dutch format was very different.

And your relationship with Bonolis? Almost a marriage…
I got on very well with him, it was a more uxorio relationship. It doesn’t always go so well, there are also despotic, dictatorial artists.

What do you dream of after all these experiences? What would you like to do that you haven’t done yet?
Uomini e Donne, on the throne of the over…joke! But I am a fan of Maria de Filippi, I admire her work, I have never had the pleasure of working with her…

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