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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rediscovering the Lost Fan, Llanview Style

This will be a quick one.

First up - I have some business to take care of.

A soap fan on here - and one I also follow on message boards and love their posts - posted a comment tonight that while truly flattering, also corrected me on a point of history from a previous entry - that Nadine on Guiding Light was never pregnant in the first place. She did not miscarry and then wear the fake pillow under her shirt - but rather she had been wearing the fake-belly all along.

I'll admit, my hindsight may have been incorrect. In my mind, I remember Nadine originally being pregnant, then losing the baby... but finding herself too paranoid that Billy would leave her for Vanessa if he found out she lost the baby, decided to fake the remaining months until her due date. Perhaps I am wrong, and my early Alzheimer's is somehow confusing Nadine's story with Kristen's on Days (both involved Jim Reilly in their creations). Hopefully, some Guiding Light fans out there can shine a light on this (no pun intended), because now I'm wondering if I'm remembering it wrong. Was Nadine EVER pregnant with Billy's baby? If I'm wrong, then I humbly stand corrected.

EDIT: I stand corrected. Nadine was NEVER pregnant. My hazy memory confused Nadine on GL with Kristen on Days. My apologies to the late Jim Reilly, the much-missed Nancy Curlee, and all the GL fans out there I left scratching their heads. MY BAD! :-)

Also, one other piece of business. I've received a few e-mails from fans who have said they've written in to their favorite soap in an effort to get me hired there. I am truly, TRULY moved by this. It means the world to me. But I have to tell you, much of the reason I don't have a job right now is because the skill I've practiced and concentrated on for the last decade - that of writing a "breakdown" and being part of an associate head writer "team" - is a position that doesn't exist any longer at many shows. It has nothing to do with me personally - there are dozens of talented breakdown writers out there out of work right now for this very reason. And they all deserve jobs, some much more than I do. I am deeply touched there are people out there who would go to bat for me, but the truth is, that's not why I continue this blog. Your support means everything to me, but sadly, pitching me to come to your show is probably not the best way to get me employed. I do have an agent, and he is on the hunt for new employment - but unfortunately, there are other writers out there with seniority and tenure who come first. As much as we don't want to admit it, this is a business, first and foremost - and there s a certain code of rules we must follow, just like any other job. If I'm meant to return to daytime, then I will - and if I'm meant to seek a new career path, then I definitely will. But pitching me in your fan letters is probably an exercise in futility. I encourage you, instead, to write to the head writers and executive producers about their stories and characters. At the end of the day, that's much more important to me than whether or not I find employment in the near future. Having said all of that, I do thank you. It means the world.

Now on to my night. This is a weird entry for me to write, as I don't wish to betray any confidences and I don't want to single anybody out or put them on the spot. I had a surreal One Life to Live experience this evening, to be perfectly honest.

I've said many times before, I had quite the roller coaster in Llanview. I wrote episodes there I'm extremely proud of, but I also faced some of my darkest times as a writer in those two years. It was definitely all over the map. While I was there, though, I built an extremely special bond with someone who works high up in production there - somebody with the same drive, the same passion, the same love of the genre I have. On top of all of that, she has an incredible work ethic and is talented in many areas across the board. In the short time I've known her, she's become quite important to me.

She is leaving Llanview to carve a new path for herself, and tonight, many of us said goodbye. I was cautious walking into the goodbye party, as I haven't seen many of these OLTL folks in years, and have never really known where I stand with them now that the dust has settled. The party-goers were, for the most part, behind-the-scenes people around my age, with a few actors scattered about. I tell you this not to gossip or name-drop - but to say that through my conversations with so many people tonight, I realized there are many more kindred spirits out there than I was ever aware of. Young people who, like myself (and many of you reading), grew up on soaps, along with the Internet, and are driven to see this genre succeed. Is there despair and pessimism? Absolutely. The death knell looms quite low over all of us. But there was also a lot of hope. A lot of ambition. A lot of names most of you don't know unless you follow the credits closely, talking about all the ways daytime influenced them and, in some ways, made them who they are today. Daytime taught them about family, about romance, about the consequences of lies and deceit, and about the kind of person they wanted to be, and the kind of person they never wanted to be.

It gave me hope. Truly. Even if these people never move up the corporate ladder within the genre as it stands now, it made me feel much less alone. These shows are populated with young faces who have heard the fear, have felt the paranoia, and have been troubled over whether or not they chose a career that has no future. And yet, they still wax nostalgic, they still go to work every day, and they still do whatever they can within the very small parameters of their job description to continue the legacy these shows left them with in their adolescence.

There is hope out there. You, as fans, may never truly see it or feel it, because these incredibly dedicated employees may never have the opportunity to call the shots. But they are there, buried underneath the closing credits. And they care.

I can not stress this enough. We are not alone. For whatever that's worth.


Anonymous said...

Hey Tom! This is leevo64 from SON boards. I don't have a MySpace anymore, but I wanted to get in touch with you. Do you think you could shoot me an email at I'd really appreciate it.

Hope all is well!


Anonymous said...

What Nancy Curlee could do with General Hospital ... sigh ... I guess I can dream.

Anonymous said...

What Nancy Curlee could do with ANY soap! ::SIGH::

Too bad the industry forces talent away.

Matthew C said...

Question: Didn't Ava on "Loving" once fake a pregnancy as well? i was too young to really watch Loving, but i vaugley recall reading once that Ava Rescott Alden as played by Lisa Peluso once faked a pregnancy... although this could have been when Roya Megnot played her...

Patrick Erwin said...

Tom, I love that you mention the Nadine-pregnancy story, especially since it references a character I know you and I agree would be a big boon to GL if written right: Peter Reardon.