Writer Guilherme Ribeiro helps shed light on environmental issues in ‘Toxic Rio’

Guilherme Ribeiro

Figuring out how to best structure a sentence, understanding how perfectly the words fit together, discovering that ideal way to articulate a thought; all of these nuances create the art form that is the written word, and mastering writing takes a true artist. Guilherme Ribeiro knows this well. As one of Brazil’s most prestigious content writers, Ribeiro is taking not only his nation, but the world by storm, captivating readers with his understanding of his craft.

On a variety of different projects, Ribeiro has been able to educate his readers about his hometown of Rio de Janeiro. He was a writer for the website Mastercard Priceless Rio, describing travel destinations, restaurants, and more, as well as the renowned Latin America television network Globo TV, writing about the news in the city. He again had the opportunity to do this while writing three episodes of the popular television series Toxic Rio, with the Portuguese name of Toxic Guanabara.

“Working on Toxic Rio was amazing. I learned a lot about scriptwriting, something I had not had a lot of experience with in the past, and I could also apply a lot of ideas to turn the show more web oriented, applying an easy and fast language to catch people online,” said Ribeiro.

Toxic Rio is a three-episode documentary series that investigates Guanabara Bay’s state of environmental emergency and examines if there’s still hope for it if responsible action is taken. Ribeiro and his team selected three important characters who had a deep relationship with the bay to expose their feelings, routine and hopes for that mismanaged bay in Rio de Janeiro, that held Olympic Games competitions in 2016.

“I loved that I could increase the awareness of an old problem in Rio de Janeiro, the mismanagement of Guanabara Bay. Everybody knows the bay is in there, but maybe the world didn’t know that when Rio was chosen to host games that it would require those waters for sailing competitions. It gave me the chance to help with interviewing the characters, building the whole script, bringing creative input and showing my personality for this project that I cared so much about,” Ribeiro described.

Working as an Associate Producer for the series, Ribeiro was responsible for writing the scripts, translating, and production duties. He helped license the content to a Brazilian broadcast outlet, building an independent release strategy on web, including email marketing and social media marketing. It was licensed to Globosat Programadora Ltda, owned by Globo Group, with exclusivity in Brazil, live on Philos TV, SVOD streaming media platform owned by Globosat and SPI International, and was broadcast by GNT Channel on August 13 of last year during pay TV prime time. Last September, it became available to American markets on Amazon Prime and Amazon.com. This was all thanks to Ribeiro building the show up on online platforms.

“Writing for a documentary television series versus what I had been doing before, in terms of writing online content, was very different, but this project was suitable for both medias and ended up being successfully featured by Amazon Video as well. So, the project was thought to be online first and after that reach television, but ended up meeting both outlets almost at the same time,” Ribeiro described.

Ribeiro initially decided to work on the series after meeting and talking with director Thiago da Costa. Da Costa had a strong belief in his ideas about Guanabara Bay, as a native from Rio and experienced cinematographer working in the United States. The two were definitely a good match, and decided that creating a TV show would be timely with the upcoming Olympic games, and it would have to opportunity to save the bay. The government had initially said that they would clean up the bay for the games, but when they went back on their promise, Ribeiro and Da Costa decided to release the documentary. Ribeiro knew the power that his writing had.

“Guilherme is very serious in what he is doing. His experience as a writer was very important for the series we worked on together and he could come up with good ideas for the script, writing the narration and finding a good voice over for our version in Brazilian Portuguese. He definitely takes things in a passionate way. He embraced my idea and, along with the video editor, we could create an interesting and timely documentary about pollution and mismanagement of Guanabara Bay, where some competitions in Rio 2016 were held, releasing on time for the games,” said Thiago Da Costa, Director of Toxic Rio.

With everything he embarks on, Ribeiro’s professionalism and talented is noticed by all those who work alongside him. There is a simple answer for why this is, and for why he has earned himself such an esteemed reputation as an internationally sought-after writer, and that is because he loves what he does.

“Even though we are in a world obsessed with pictures and short/shareable videos, I believe words are in everything, in every move,” Ribeiro concluded. “Whether you are shopping online or wanting to find a movie in your streaming service, you are reading descriptions, titles, reviews, synopsis, etc. Words are usually a catchy and straight to the point way to lead people online. Even in social media, you usually need a text to join videos and pictures in order to complete thoughts and provide a cohesive message. I’m passionate and obsessed with my mother tongue, Brazilian Portuguese, and love to use my skills to offer a better experience online and in the world, regardless the subject,” Ribeiro said.

And with his work on Toxic Rio, he did just that.