I overheard a conversation about soaps today. The speaker, too young really to have had soaps much in her life, didn't really know how much soap production had happened in New York once upon a time. She didn't really know how many people in television were employed by soaps, and how good the work was for how long. She wondered if the actors needed to be good, and why they would stare, seemingly into space, at the ends of scenes.
As I listened, I thought, multiple times, about jumping in--about
clarifying what a huge part of the New York television industry soaps
had been, what a tremendous training ground, in front of and behind the
camera, what a fantastic family, what a great steady employer. I thought
about saying that it is no easy feat to shoot seven shows in five days,
to bring characters to life--a life so real the viewer believes it's real--and to memorize pages and pages of lines very quickly. I thought about telling her stories of my
twenty-plus years spent in all things soap, and how the skills I am
using today (and so many more) started and were developed there.
Instead, I said nothing. I simply sat and listened, amazed that
something that was my life (and the life of so many of my friends) for
so long is now just a piece of history, a piece barely known by a
generation that has grown up with talk shows and DIY and reality
television. I realized, I guess, that more years than I thought have
passed since we at One Life watched the shows around us close up shop or
move to LA (and then close up shop), and then closed up shop ourselves.
And I thought about how grateful I am to have been a part of that
history, even if, as I witnessed, it is history with less and less of a
I overheard a conversation about soaps today...