Custom Search

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

You'll Never Work In This Town Again!

Okay, 'fess up -- is there anyone out there who hasn't googled their own name to see what comes up?

I used to do it once every few months, just for fun. In the last year though, I've been doing it more often. Not to satiate my own narcissism. (Hardly.) But mainly because sites started popping up with my name where fans would "quote" something I said in an interview or online... and they either didn't quite understand what I was trying to say, or I didn't phrase my meaning clear enough in the first place. And it's given me an opportunity to correct myself, or explain what I truly meant, but couldn't find the words in the moment to explain satisfactorily.

For example, I helped my friend Superposter on an Emmy Nominations review back in the spring for his AMC page, and made a comment about Van Hansis winning because of all the press surrounding his storyline. (I was wrong, by the way. Van didn't win. Goes to show how often you should listen to me. ) A Google search a few days later brought me to Van's message board, where some of his fans had taken offense, assuming I meant he didn't deserve the nomination on talent alone. Re-reading the three sentences I had written originally, I could totally understand where they got that impression - I had not explained myself properly. So I registered for their board, apologized for not being clear, and explained that I thought Van was extremely talented, and certainly did deserve the nomination, and I was just pointing out the somewhat flawed thinking Emmy voters can have sometimes (especially when they publicly announce that many of them didn't watch the tapes and were voting on other criteria). The Van fans couldn't have been more respectful, nicer, or more understanding... and never once backed down just because I responded to them directly (and big thumbs up to them for standing their ground as a fanbase!). In the end, I learned a valuable lesson about how I word things on the Internet, and I think (I hope) the Van fans stopped building an effegy in my likeness to set on fire in front of my building. And no harm was done - it opened the lines of communication, and I couldn't have been happier with the end result. What do you know - actually talking to a fanbase got me a step closer to understanding what they love about their favorite character, and got them a step closer to understanding where I come from as a writer. Everyone wins. Shocker. Thank you,, and thank you, Google.

My last google search this weekend brought me to a message board (SON) where people were talking about one of my blog entries (I believe it was the "Drinking the Kool-Aid" entry), and one fan wrote a simple two line response:

"He's still at this? Wow, he really doesn't want to work again, does he?"

That stopped me pretty much dead in my tracks. I honestly had to think about that, and in fact, it's been weighing on my mind for a few days now (in a good way).

I have received numerous e-mails from my colleagues since I started this blog, congratulating me on having the guts to come forward and say the things they've wanted to say for years. I have yet to hear any negative feedback from anyone that this blog threatens my future employment (although I'm not stupid - I don't think for a second it's actually helping my job situation) - either from network friends, or from agents, or from anybody else. I don't feel I use this to rake anyone over the coals, or spill any secrets I shouldn't. I congratulate those I feel are trying to bring greatness back to daytime, I defend those I think are getting a raw deal behind the scenes, and sometimes, I constructively criticize from a fan's perspective, the same way anyone does on a message board.

But do I ever want to work again?

I've asked myself this so many times in the last few months. The savings account is running low, unemployment is running out, the residual checks have slowed down, I finished putting the final polish on my bio and resume last week. At some point, I may have to say goodbye to this dream, and move on to the next one.

I have a lot of issues with how soaps are run right now. Being able to just get the job done without rocking the boat takes precedence over being an artist. Flying through repeated storylines is more important than building long-lasting character arcs and evolution. A sense of total community is ignored in favor of isolating three or four storylines from each other. (Thanks and a shout-out to Y&R, GH and OLTL for still finding ways to interweave their storylines... and Pratt's AMC looks to be taking a cue from them as well, based on the handful of his epsiodes that have aired.) But let's face reality - if one of these shows called me tomorrow and said "We'd love to have you on the team!" - come on. I'd be insane not to say yes.

This is in my blood. It's what I do. It's when I'm up to my eyeballs in scripts and breakdowns and research and old episodes on DVD that I feel the most alive.

But if it never happens again? That's okay too. Because then I'll do something else. I'll write a book. Or I'll go back into production (I always loved editing in film school... I had no idea it would interest me until I was forced to take a class in it... but it truly is a form of "writing"). Or maybe I'll go to culinary school and learn how to be a chef, or law school to be a lawyer (The Beau knows how much I love to argue.) Does it make me a failure? Hardly. I spent ten years living my dream, and have two Emmys and this blog (and all the friendships it produced) to show for it. I drank a glass of wine with Harding LeMay, had a brainstorming session with Carolyn Culliton, exchanged e-mails with Thom Racina and been given a welcome bear hug to Oakdale by Tom Eplin, got to write words for Stephen Nichols, Mary Beth Evans, and Judi Luciano, stood on stage at Radio City Music Hall and given a chance to write with Bill Bell's proteges. I've accomplished more in ten years than I ever thought I would in thirty years. If this is the end, I have absolutely nothing to complain about.

I'll never stop writing. I'll never stop hoping I can make a career at it again. But there is a possibilility that life will take me on a different path for awhile, and that's okay too. I always look to my dear friend's blog for inspiration. Now there's a woman who spreads her wings and flies!!

So I started to put my ears to the ground last week... I start wondering "What Do I Want to Be When I Grow Up?"... and in the meantime, I try and keep hope alive. I continue working on my personal projects, hoping something good will come from them. And in the meantime? I hear rumblings about friends of mine... writers I respect and feel are the best in the business... people who have been away from daytime far longer than should be legally allowed... suddenly getting job offers again. And it renews my spirit.

Is this blog doing me any good? Absolutely. Is it doing you guys any good? I hope so. Once it doesn't, I'll stop writing it. Is it doing the industry any good? I don't have a clue. Is it doing my career any good? Probably not. But that's okay. Maybe this is exactly the path I'm supposed to be on.

So to answer the fan's question: Yes, I'm still at this. And yes - not only do I want to work again, I consider what I'm doing right now as "still working". And I'll continue to work, whether it involves my name in credits or not, whether it involves working in this industry or not, whether you see me as a success or a failure, I will continue on the path, play the hand that was dealt me, mix as many metaphors as I need (Hee!!!) to become the person I'm destined to be.

There's been a lot of anger and betrayal and frustration this year... but out of all that, comes growth and education and evolution... and finally, peace. Until the next crisis. And in the end, isn't that what really good soap opera should be all about? Isn't that what life should be all about?

No comments: