Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's a New Day, Child

And In The End, The Love You Take, is Equal To The Love You Make
--The Beatles

Well, Friday was certainly a sad day for Soap Opera Viewers and purveyors of fine acting everywhere, as ALL MY CHILDREN ended it's forty one year run on Network television.

I cried so hard watching the first four minutes, I literally had to give up on the Kleenex and move straight to a sham wow. My face hurts. My eyes, as my Mother would say, look like "two piss holes in the snow." During the last episode, I was reading facebook posts and tweets from the viewers who were crying somewhere in America, right alongside me, all of us united by the love for a genre that we know has NOT lived out it's welcome. The writing, producing, and performances of the actors on AMC this week showed us exactly why we love our soaps, and showed us once more not only what they once were, but what they should be, and can be again under the umbrella of Prospect Park.

Most of you know how angry I felt when the cancellation of both shows were announced, it was so brutal to have two shows cancelled at once, especially when at one time, ALL MY CHILDREN was the jewel in ABC's crown, known for it's magnificent acting and story telling under the brilliant guidance of Agnes Nixon and her team of writers and producers. Of course, some were better than others. Other times some things just didn't make sense at all. Felicia Behr won the show an Emmy and soon after was gone. Say What?

When the incredible Agnes Nixon, The First Lady of Story Telling was so disrespectfully put in a corner by the powers that be, the wheels really came off the cart. No one was really allowed to mind the store, and the proverbial Fox got into the henhouse.

Our favorites were let go ("I'm sorry but you committed the awful crime of being over 40... I'm afraid we're going to have to send you to the glue factory..") and replaced with actors who were thrust front and center too fast and who didn't yet have the chops to pull us into the television screen and make us feel something. It takes life experience (which comes with age) to know how to take the audience on an addictive journey by creating a deep, charming, multi- dimensional, larger than life character, without falling into the soap pit. There's a reason why people know us merely by hearing our voices, why they sometimes cry when they meet us… Because there is a connection we have with the audience that you won't find in any other genre.

So yes, I was pissed off. But now that it's done, I am excited. I honestly do believe that now these shows have a chance to be produced the way they should have been all along; like the good old days, when characters drove story, and we didn't need to blow things up every five minutes. If you have good story, and good actors, you can put them in front of a green screen and it will still be good. Hire the best and let them do their jobs. It is very exciting to think this could now happen, and I believe with all my heart that it can.

Please don't be too disappointed that AMC is not moving along as fast as OLTL is as far as actors signing on. The actors for AMC have a lot more to think about. They do not yet know who is writing long term, who is producing long term. They have been through the ringer, moved across the country for no good reason, shooting so much material, for so many years, for so many hours, been jerked around, lied to, made to feel small, old, replaceable, and they are just plain exhausted, physically and emotionally. They just need a moment to decompress. It's hard to think, when you have spent decades working without a hiatus (as night time shows do) and learning 40 to 60 plus pages a night after working a 14 hr day. Most people don't realize what you (and your family) sacrifice to live on that schedule, it is not easy for the people who carry the shows the most. Remember, they too feel as if there has been a death in the family, and they need a minute. It's not that they don't care, but more that they have to recover from caring too much. I only have this insight to share with you because I spent twenty- something years doing it myself; seventeen of those years on ABC Daytime.

OLTL on the other hand, will have the same team, and the transition will be rather seamless with Frank Valentini at the helm. The actors know exactly what to expect, and exactly when. Frank started out being the producers assistant and worked his way up doing every job imaginable, and surviving every regime. He knows this genre, and can do every job. But he won't. He will most likely hire great people and let them do their job so he can do his job, and a big job it is.

I know you're sad, we all are, but hang in there, I have a feeling you will see your friends and family again. ..and when you do, please be there to support and cherish the time with them. It's a new day, child :)

Love For Sure,

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

There are no Failures

There are no failures. We are either succeeding or learning something...

We are here to learn. But really, how can we know what we want, or what's good for us, if we don't once in a while end up where we don't want to be? Just like driving without a GPS, sometimes we need to get lost before we find our way back to the place we wanted to go.

Sometimes circumstances put us in harms way, and other times we put ourselves there with no help at all. We humans have a habit of making choices without first gathering, and knowing, all of the facts.

Therefore, one of the most important ingredients for living a life that works is to become a fact gathering, fact-checking machine.

Another thing that determines whether we are going to have a successful outcome in decision making, is how quickly and safely we can figure our way out of situations we don't want to be in, and pledging not to beat ourselves up over it, but rather using the experience to become emotionally intelligent in spite of it. We must stop trying to make sense out of things that simply don't.

I have a saying: If it's not a death in the family, I don't sweat it. I do not mean that we ignore things in our lives that need attention. If something in life needs to be changed, change it as quickly and painlessly as possible and move on to a more positive place. Make it your business to spend good time on figuring out not only how you got there, but why. We can change the how when we figure out the why. When we figure out the why, we can change the patterns that put us precisely where we don't want to be, and put us back on the road to where we do.

Inside of each of us is the God given gift of an inner GPS. Use your mind, common sense, and intuition. Remember that important decisions demand due diligence. If you aren't clear when you are being pressured for the answer, have the courage to tell someone you will get back to them when you are. Life decisions deserve this respect. Be not afraid to look inside and ask the hard questions of yourself. The answers are already there.

Happy Life!

Love For Sure,

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