When Bianca came out to her mom, Erica Kane?
When Uncle Palmer opened the Cluck Cluck Chicken Shack?
When Adam cheated on Brooke?
When Tad and Dixie got married for the first time?
Don’t forget to add @allmychildren or #allmychildren on Twitter so everyone can share with you!
I want to talk about the new young people on All My Children, and why I think (and hope) the audience should give them a chance. I am not known for blowing smoke up anybodies hoo-ha, right? Let’s just start with that as a baseline for this conversation!
Before you totally freak on me, let me tell you that I TOTALLY understand what happened to AMC during the ‘oughts of 2000-2010. The show lost heart (in my opinion) and it’s way. Franz and company dominated and upended the show during that time, throwing old favorites into the fire and overwhelming the fans with too many new faces. I can totally get why someone might say, “Oh please, not again!” or “Stop ruining my show!”
Here is why I think, no scratch that, I KNOW that is NOT going to happen.
First off: lets look at the COMPANY of actors on the list.
On the classic side, there are: Julia Barr (Brooke), Jill Larson (Opal), David Canary (Adam), Ray MacDonnell (Joe Martin), Debbie Morgan (Angie), Darnell Williams (Jesse), me (Dixie), Eden Reigal (Bianca), Vincent Irrizary (David), Francesca James (Evelyn), Jordi Vilacuso (Griff), Lindsay Hartley (Cara), and Thorston Kaye (Zack)… that’s THIRTEEN veterans of the show in place from the START, and you can bet there are more to come.
On the newbie side there are: Eric Nelson (AJ, son of JR), Ryan Bittle (JR), Jordan Lane Price (Celia, can’t tell you who she’s related to… YET!), Heather Roop (Jane), Sal Stowers (Cassandra, daughter of Angie and Jesse), Robert Scott Wilson (Pete Cortland, son of Opal and Palmer), and Denyse Tontz (Miranda, daughter of Bianca)… that’s only SEVEN and almost all of them are related to long standing, beloved core characters!
Then lets consider that Agnes Nixon was not allowed to give hardly ANY input when Franzie was running things. He REALLY threw her to the fire! NOW she is back in FULL FORCE and is totally and completely respected by the new bosses of the show. I have personally heard Jeff Kwatinetz talk about how blown away he is by her and her genius. Not only that, but Ginger Smith, who was an associate producer under every regime since I started, oh 25 years ago (lets not talk about that number, shall we?) is AT THE HELM. In all my years, I have never known ANYONE who LOVED and UNDERSTOOD All My Children at it’s CORE like Ginger. She is the MAIN reason I returned. I love and respect her so much.
Now let me tell you about my experiences with these young people. I don’t know if you’ve heard me talk about this yet, but you will. The short version is: when I came to the set the first day, I COULD NOT LEAVE IT. Even though I wasn’t shooting until the end of the day, I stayed on the set for HOURS. Guess who sat next to me all that time? Eric Nelsen, who plays “AJ.”
We sat and watched the monitor and I talked to him about the show, it’s history, how to work with cameras, everything that came into my mind on that very special day. He was a total doll, respectful, grateful and attentive. He studied at PCS, aka Professional Children’s School for Actors, and I could tell he is very passionate and committed to his work. As a child actor myself, we had an instant bond. Later, I got to watch him do his thing on set. He is totally committed, adorable, and incredibly talented. I can’t speak highly enough of this young man. I totally adore him.
I also got to meet Sal Stowers, “Cassandra,” that day. I had no idea she was the winner of America’s Next Top Model and I am glad I didn’t! I had no preconceptions when we were introduced. Who I met was a completely respectful and thoughtful young LADY, who was excited to be a part of the show and couldn’t wait to prove herself. I got to hang out with her a little and found her to be totally delightful. She’s funny, kind, sweet, and a vegan! She gave me a little shit about my shearling coat as is an animal activist and I am proud that she did! She was right! I am a bit of a mama bear and told her she needed to be super gentle with herself because this is the hardest job you will ever love. She seemed really grateful for my insights, which I took as a sign of respect. After seeing her work, that respect works both ways, let me tell you!
I also met the adorable Denyse Tontz as “Miranda.” This little lady is so cute and only SEVENTEEN! She’s also a singer songwriter, and such a talented, natural actress. I looked up her VIDEO and it was stuck in my head on a loop. She’s funny and fun, too! At the after party on our last night of the two week shoot, she and I danced our BUTTS off with Eric, Sal, Rob, Jordon and the whole production gang. I can’t wait for you to fall in love with her, like everyone else on our show has!
Speaking of dancing, Robert Scott Wilson aka “Pete Cortland” is a dancing machine! We had so much fun that night. I’m going to share with you one thing that happened because I think you will appreciate it. I think it says a lot about his character. After the full funky freakout on the dance floor I pulled him aside and said, “Hey I might have to leave soon, could you do me a favor and look out for the girls?” The club was picking up and the clientele was looking a little too, shall we say, ready for good times. He leaned over and said, “Don’t worry, I think of these girls like they were my sisters. I am totally on it.” I LOVE THAT! He is also a charming actor, and is really going to make a few ladies fall in love with him. He can’t help it, he’s just that kind of guy!
Newcomer Jordan Lane Price, “Celia,” and I got to hang out a bit as well. I met her the day of the big photo shoot at Sleepy Hollow Country Club. She was looking so beautiful in her blue dress, and I told her so. She made a little fun of herself, telling me, “I am totally pulled in by a corset! I believe in normal bodies. I hope they like me!” I assured her she looked amazing and asked her how she felt about the work she had to do the upcoming week. She confided she was a bit overwhelmed. This is her first job and she was being asked to do a lot of pages, a couple days in a row, which is a LOT for a newbie to handle. So I told her how to do it – how to do what we call “breaking down a script.” She was genuinely grateful and from what I heard she did an amazing job. I find her incredibly touching. I may have to adopt her.
Then there is Heather Roop as “Jane.” Heather is HILARIOUS and so much fun! She is a southern gal who really knows how to lay it on the line and I LOVE THAT as you probably can guess. We had drinks one night with Lindsay and Sal and DAMN if us girls didn’t know how to get right down to it! We all promised each other we would have each other’s back. WOMEN GOT TO STICK TOGETHER, right? If WE don’t tell each other how it is, WHO WILL? Damn, that was a fun evening.
Last, but certainly not least, there is Ryan Bittle as my son “JR.” How do I put this? Uh… DREAMBOAT? I got a good looking son, people. WOW. And he’s really a man’s man. Strong, but with this beautiful secret vulnerability. Since CBS couldn’t release Jacob Young to do the part of JR, I think we got really lucky with Ryan. He is devoted to understanding the character and giving the audience a great new look at him. I think you will be as riveted by his work as I clearly am.
One other point, and I made this on my FB page but it bears repeating: All My Children is a show about generations of families. I started as a teenager, as did Julia Barr and Susan Lucci! Even Michael Knight played a teen story with “Tad and Jenny and Angie and Jesse,” remember? Teen love stories are a long standing part of the tradition of soaps. I also want to assure you that because AGNES is back, there is a great balance between the young people and the vets. It all WORKS because it is all woven together in a modern, but CLASSIC way. Trust me, if I thought it was crap I would NOT be taking time on my DAY OFF to write this blog, or tweeting or FB-ing or all the other stuff I’m up to. I am doing it because I BELIEVE in what is being created. After two shows and 25 damn years in daytime, (cough, gack, did I just say that?) I KNOW what it feels like when a show is in the “sweet spot” and I am telling you, this production is HITTING IT OUT OF THE PARK!
Let’s not turn the soaps into a nostalgia trip. Lord knows, I can’t live up to the past. I can only move forward and try to create something new and authentic for you. Thank god for YouTube, there are hundreds of videos up there with the great shows we once did, so they can keep on giving joy! Maybe one day someone will get smart and put it all on DVD’s for people to own in a higher quality. I sure love seeing them, and I do look back from time to time to ponder my youth and sigh with what we were all able to create as an ensemble… but NOW I am SO EXCITED about the future… it’s simply BLOWING MY MIND.
Okay, really for real, the last thing: I could write a whole ‘nother blog on this point, but let’s just touch on AGISM, shall we? When I was young, I was told I better make it while I was young because there would be nothing for me over 40. Now, thanks to the hard work of a LOT of FABULOUS women, that has totally changed and THANK GOD. But is it me, or does it seem like we are all looking at the kids and giving them a really hard time? The Millennials in particular. Maybe they remind us we ain’t getting any younger, but personally I find them an awesome generation. That’s why I write for policymic.com! I think this generation has so much to share and teach us. I love their VOICE, their liberation, their street savvy, their art. I say BRING IT!
So hang in there and thanks for listening to all my blah blah! All My Children will be up on HULU for FREE April 29th at NOON and, please, remember: give the kids a chance! You might just fall in love with soaps all over again…
Oh and PS: OF COURSE you are allowed your opinion! Free speech, baby! Rock it! Agree, disagree, SAY YOUR PEACE! I love ya no matter WHAT. Guess I’m just stoopid that way.
Recently I was asked to decorate a “wife beater” t-shirt by my friend, artist Susan Woldman, for a charity called “Beauty Cares.” The purpose of the group is to help raise awareness of women who have suffered domestic violence. I wrote “wife hugger” on my t-shirt, hoping that might be a fun new name we could try out instead of “wife beater,” which is so gross. “Sleeveless tank” is probably more appropriate, but what the hey! Jon made one too!
You can read all about Beauty Cares here, but also check out the “8 Warning Signs That Indicate You Are In an Unhealthy Relationship.” I hate to say it, but I know for SURE I have experienced ALL of these. Thank god I left those relationships.
I really like that the charity also helps women feel better about themselves by giving them a bit of a makeover. I know it sounds frivolous at first, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that the reason I stayed in unhealthy relationships was partly because I didn’t feel like I was worth better. When I actually allowed myself to look in the mirror and say, “GIRL, YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN THIS,” I allowed myself to leave and look for someone who could treat me with love and respect. Feeling like I looked good helped with this. I guess it’s a matter of pride. Personal pride is very important.
But beauty is also an INSIDE job. We may be all prettied up on the outside, but if we don’t feel beautiful on the inside, it’s like wearing a mask. How to feel pretty on the inside? Prayer helps, as does letting in all the nice things people may have said to you in your life. LET IT IN. I know it’s hard. Trust me. It’s much easier to let the ego go wild and believe all the bad things people say, so sometimes, I make a list. Another thing is to try and stop being so hard on yourself. Every time you have a negative thought, either say a little prayer, or replace it with a positive one. It really works.
Here is Susan’s table, covered with our art! We had such a fun time making these t-shirts. I highly recommend making some art when you feel bad. It’s a great way to turn the day around!
Wishing you a BEAUTY-FULL day!
Okay. You’ve all heard the news, All My Children is going to be a bit more risqué than usual. Yep. I am not the first to mention it, but I thought I might be one of the first to put it on the table for discussion. Let’s talk about sex, and about sex in our dramatic entertainment. Too much? Not enough? Well you can bet I have an opinion.
My opinion is this: sex is a good thing, wait, scratch that, sex is a GREAT thing! It’s a healthy impulse and a wonderful way to enjoy being, well, about as close as you can get to someone. Frankly, I think we have WAY too MUCH violence and way too LITTLE love making in our entertainment. This is probably because we are a country based on a puritan ethos that doesn’t really want to admit, we ALL LIKE SEX.
Do I recommend using birth control? YOU BET. Do I recommend only having sex when you are ready with someone that you truly CARE about? ABSO-F-ING-LUTELY. Is the young generation having a sexual revolution that no one is really TALKING ABOUT? ONE MILLION TIMES YES.
On another note: do you remember when the soaps were mostly LOVE stories, all leading up to the big moment when the characters would make love? Weren’t those FUN stories to watch? It wasn’t disgusting it was beautiful. I don’t know where those moments went but I am sure happy they are coming back. Passion is important!
I think it’s just as important to remember that as everyone has a different taste in clothes, so we all have a different taste in our fantasies and our lovemaking style. You can learn a lot about a person when you learn these details. When you look at a story from a sexual point of view, these choices are as much a part of a character as their fears, hopes and dreams.
Nudity-smooditty. So WHAT. The human body is beautiful and I will admit that I like to look at it, whether it’s a beautiful man or a beautiful woman. And it doesn’t matter what age they are as long as they are an appropriate age and a consenting adult.
Sexiness is beautiful. It is something we can and should ALL enjoy, no matter what age we are. Why not let ourselves relax a little? It might just make for a happier world!
(I swear I am hearing Barry White applauding right now!)
First off, a million ‘thank you’s’ to all the folks who have written to me either here on my site or on Facebook or Twitter to tell me how happy and excited they are about All My Children and One Life to Live being brought back from the dead (in pure soap opera style) only to live again on the Internet.
It was thrilling to walk into the production offices today and see so many faces that I have known from behind the scenes. One person said to me, “It’s like coming home” (and I don’t mean like the movie but I had to link to it because it’s just so awesome). Both my fiancee Jon (yeah, that guy I’m cuddling) and I know how meaningful soaps can be – we met on the set of As the World Turns! Now I can’t imagine my life without him. (Yep, I’m going to marry that man!)
People who work in daytime are a special lot. It’s hard for me to put my finger on it, but suffice it to say, we work hard, laugh hard, and love hard! Just like you, we are fans of “the stories,” and feel deeply for the characters who act them out. (I get very emotional when I see David Canary, for example). By sharing these stories with you, the audience, I feel like we have become one big, crazy family. (Just when you thought you’d got out…)
As much we are all so excited, some people are feeling a little freaked out about the soaps being on the Internet. A few people have asked me “How am I going to watch them NOW? Why aren’t they on TV? Argh!” This is again, where family comes in.
Do you remember when your aunt or grandma or mom called you into the living room to look at her soap opera on the TV, screaming, “OH MY GOD YOU’VE GOT TO SEE THIS” and that moment when you frantically queried, “What’s happening? Who is that? TELL ME EVERYTHING!” Well the same thing is going to happen, only now it might be in reverse. Your niece or daughter, or grand daughter might now be the one hollering, “OMG! You’ve got to see this!” while pulling out her laptop, tablet, or smart phone. It’s not so different: it’s still a generational connection that is going to occur, it’s just coming to you via a different mechanism.
Maybe you are one of those people who are far more web savvy and I say to you, “Bravo! Tell me everything!” I hear you can get something that will hook the Internet up to your TV (one is called Apple TV) so if you NEED to watch it right away through your TV SCREEN, then you will be able to. THAT SAID, the shows WILL be on cable TV after they have showed on the Internet for awhile. but if you want to be the first to see it… all you need is an internet connection. Yep, I hear it will be FREE.
There are also a lot of people who are talking about certain changes they have heard about and are freaked out by. I would ask you to keep an open mind. One of the great things about the Internet (and there are many IMHO) is the fact that there is so much freedom. With that freedom comes a lot of creative opportunity and new choices that the production team can make that they never were allowed to before. Personally, I think that’s exciting! The possibilities are endless!
Please remember, Agnes Nixon is working on every single story and element. Since she built both OLTL and AMC, I would encourage you to trust in Agnes and go along for the ride! I mean, c’mon… hasn’t she done pretty great so far?
Finally: Isn’t it just AMAZING that these shows are going to get a chance to continue? I am honored to be a part of this incredible moment in time. #soexcited
Jon and I are very excited to start our first day at the Macon Film Festival with our, well, HIS film How We Got Away With It. I can say “our” because I am officially an associate producer on the film. How did I get that title? Well, it’s an odd one, but it basically means I was the mother behind the machine. I lived with this film since Jon decided to make it happen, night and day, and helped with any and all details, from the sublime (like talking about the meaning and purpose of the film) to the ridiculous (I put stickers on postcards last night)!
Today we are going to be interviewed by the local ABC/FOX affiliate about the film and our involvement in the festival. Jon’s two short films were both accepted at MAGA in recent years, so we feel like we are officially a part of the Macon Film Fest family! It’s a really cool festival, one that we feel really captures the pure spirit of Independent Film Making.
Our screening today is at 4:15PM at 567 Center for Renewal. We hope if you are in the area you might consider taking 90 minutes out of your day to come see it. Jon will be taking questions afterwords if you would like to hang out and say hi.
Later, we will be attending the screening of Crystal Chappel’s “The Grove” at The Cox Capital Theater at 8PM, after which I will be a part of a Q and A panel to discuss how she created this latest project and her thoughts on Internet serials.
Here we are with one of the heads of the festival, Terrell Sandefur. Check out the festival on Facebook!