SL INSIDER FOR WK OF 8/27/07
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WEEK OF AUGUST 26 EDITION
SALEM LIVES: HEAD WRITER'S STATUS REPORT PART 2!!
IT'S BEEN ONE HELL OF A YEAR THUS FAR ON SALEM LIVES AND, LIKE LAST YEAR, WE ARE SITTING DOWN WITH THE TEAM THAT DELIVERS IT ALL TO YOU ON A DAILY BASIS...HEAD WRITERS TIM LOWERY (PHOENIX) AND PATRICK L. EWING (ROMAN). IN THE SECOND OF A TWO PART FEATURE, WE SIT DOWN WITH TIM LOWERY TO GET HIS TAKE ON ALL THE HAPPENINGS ON SALEM LIVES AND WHAT IS TO COME!
Interviewer (I): We last talked to you personally a few weeks ago but we didn't ask much in general about the past year. How do you think Salem Lives has changed in the year since you came aboard and you both began writing together?
Tim Lowery (TL): Well, I began this journey by myself and laid the groundwork and then found myself a wonderful, hard working partner with such a creative vision that truly helped us create a world that fans of these characters could be proud of. I think Salem Lives has gotten better with every episode. I think it took us awhile to work out the kinks and to get to a place where we feel comfortable. I think we both feel that the canvas is ours and I think our loyal readers know what to expect when they come here daily. They know they are going to get character-driven story featuring characters they know and love. They know there will be shocks and that we take risks. We always do what is best for Salem Lives and for the story and characters. That is who we are and what we will always be about. So, I think the biggest change is people know who we are and what we are about. The other changes have been mainly to the cast and I feel we are getting to a better place now where the canvas is more manageable.
I: How do you think Salem Lives has improved in the last year?
TL: Well, I think my answer above helps to answer this but I also think we are more comfortable now. I think we both have learned alot and my partner and I have a system that works so well for us. I truly think it's taken a year to fully embed ourselves in this and to understand what we have to do to be successful on all levels of doing this. We've both learned from each other and from the fans. I think my partner and I can both agree that this has been a very rewarding experience this far and that it's a blast to put out our vision on a daily basis. I just think we have this knowledge now that has allowed us to better Salem Lives and to base it on ideals important to us...that of romance, adventure, mystery. etc. That has been our biggest improvement, other then amping up our stories and proving what we can do and are all about.
I: What have been your favorite stories since last August? Any favorite episodes or moments?
TL: The Marlena MPD story is a favorite of mine. The mob war and showdown in Sydney is another. Orpehus's big return with Vendetta is another. Vendetta was very difficult with the game and all the extra features. We simply wanted to be more interactive and to do something that no one else was doing. We're proud of what it accomplished but it was alot of work and it hindered our story a bit with so many being involved in it. Some characters, like James McCluer, suffered from not enough character work and I apologize to my partner for that. He created James and I allowed so much of the story to be pushed aside. I will always regret that. I think alot of the current stories we have going are my favorite. The Forrest story and Steve being Chelsea's father are faves of mine. I think it may be easier asking me about my least favorite (laughs). Oh, and as for favorite moment, Orpheus's unmasking and Sami's "death" and the reveal that she was alive are the best and most memorable for me.
I: What are your least favorite stories since last August? Any least favorite episodes or moments?
TL: Well, some aspects of Vendetta, as I said above, were all over the place. I felt the Maggie/Victor/Doug/Julie story got muddled a bit in the spring. I think the Cassie/Max/Abby/Chelsea story didn't get enough attention, nor did the Lexie/Abe/Celeste story. I think all these suffered from a bloated cast, which is why we are making cuts. I don't think there was a clear cut flop of a story or moment though. I guess I am kind of embarrassed about the whole cruise ship in Salem thing (laughs). I took alot of hell from my partner and others for that. It will be one of those unsolved mysteries. How did that ship get into Illinois? (laughs) That story was written 8 months in advance and I still missed that plot point!
I: Do you feel the writing for Salem Lives as a whole has improved in the past year?
TL: I already answered this above but, yes, I think it has. I mean, having a full year under our belt now together is bound to improve us. We use history even more then we did before. We emphasize emotion better and our execution is better. As I said, we learned as we went along but also learned a great deal from each other and our loyal readers. I think we will only get better from here. I am doing my best to shorten the length of the episodes I write. I think our fans will start noticing some changes next week in the day to day episode writing. We are going to really strive to make Salem Lives the best it can be. We're both very excited.
I: What would you like to do in the future on Salem Lives that hasn't been done yet?
TL: Good question and one that is hard to answer without giving out the future ideas we are discussing right now. All I will say is I would really like to do a good murder story at some point with suspects and all. I just like those stories and I know I would have fun writing the fallout. My partner would like it too, I think.
I: In the past year, have you changed your feelings toward any particular character you wrote for? In other words, do you now hate writing for a character that you once enjoyed writing for?
TL: As my partner said in his interview, it's a waste to keep someone around you can't write for due to your feelings for them. I find something interesting about all the characters so I don't find a problem writing for any of them. Some of the cuts we made, however, were of people that were getting to a point where we felt they needed a rest. We just felt they were played out right now so we are moving them off the canvas but plan to bring them back at some point. At that time, we will have a fresh perspective. I will say I find myself enjoying writing for Doug and Julie much more then I thought. It was hard writing for them at first because it felt like they were nothing but props but getting them into story helped that along nicely.
I: Salem Lives has had a large cast for the past year, one that is being cut down a bit now. Will cutting down help and did you find writing for a large cast difficult?
TL: I think this issue has been beaten to a pulp (laughs). It was difficult, as I mentioned above, but we had to use who we did to further story and to get the canvas to the place we have it now. The cuts we are making now will make Salem Lives much tighter and cohesive. It should help us be able to capture every beat of every story we do and our balance, which is good, will only get better.
I: Salem Lives uses Days history an awful lot and seems to strive to be true to every character. How important do you feel history is to the writing and to Salem Lives?
TL: Without a doubt. It's one of the most important things in writing a soap. As a writer of a soap, you have to recognize that much happened before your time and that the fans know all this. The fans need to be treated like intelligent people. You need to show them that you care about history and the characters and you do that by mentioning and using history in your stories. It impresses them and inspires confidence as they will learn to trust you as a writer. History also enhances a story and can help a fan care about it and a new character if you tie it back to the past. Utilizing history just makes for a more well-rounded story or show. We love using history and it's a big part of what we do. One of our upcoming stories will be utilizing alot of history. We're excited about it.
I: Orpheus as the MCF seems to have been the biggest story of the year, along with the Victor vs Stefano war. Clearly, both are umbrella stories. How important do you feel umbrella stories are to Salem Lives and how you feel personally about them? What are you thoughts on the MCF/Orpheus story and the Victor vs Stefano story? Do you feel they were successful quality-wise as umbrella stories?
TL: Very important because they improve balance and can draw more fans in because many faves are involved in one story. Therefore, some fans who only like certain characters or couples can learn to like others by way of an umbrella story. They just amp up the atmosphere and create a much more exciting story and show. They can be taxing, especially if you write one like Vendetta was that involved everyone in the cast, but they can be very rewarding in the end as they can change the whole climate and landscape of a show. I think the Orpehus story and mob war story were superb and that they were fantastic stories. They affected the whole canvas and really impacted long-term story, which is what umbrella stories are supposed to do. They were a blast for both of us to write and still are as both stories are still ongoing.
I: What are you most excited about that is upcoming on Salem Lives this Fall and beyond? Is there anything you want Salem Lives as a whole to improve on and is there anything you feel you want to personally improve on as a writer?
TL: Well, I am personally going to improve on shortening the episodes I write and I think we are both going to strive to make Salem Lives the best it can be...tighter, cohesive, etc. I am excited about everything. Honestly, this is the most excited I have been. The stories we have coming our classic soap but also very unique in themselves. The balance is good and we will be using history and even faces from the past. My partner and I love what is ahead!
I: Any other further thoughts on Salem Lives' past, present, or future?
TL: I just want to say thank you to my gifted, loyal, and hard working partner. Without your creative mind and your friendship, Salem Lives would never be what it is today. I want to thank the loyal readers who check us out everyday. We appreciate it and hope you continue to do so and that we succeed in entertaining you all. Please do comment and let you know what you think. As for thoughts on he future, check out next week's Insider for FALL PREVIEWS and other big news. Otherwise, keep reading and, rest assured, the best is yet to come!!
As fans know, the winner and runner up of SALEM LIVES: VENDETTA would be rewarded with the chance to create characters for Salem Lives. The time has now come to introduce the characters our loyal readers Tishy and daysfan have created. Check out next week's Insider for the full story and to find out who will be playing the two new characters. sources hint that the faces of those cast in these roles will be familiar to CBS and ABC fans!!
COMINGS AND GOINGS
Josh Taylor and Terri Garber (Cal and Katherine Winters): As previously reported, the couple leaves Salem on August 29. Expect recurring player Denise Masino, who plays Cal's bodyguard Angelica Steel, to also exit for the time being.
Christie Clark (Carrie Brady-Reed): As previously reported, Carrie leaves town with Evan on August 28 so Clark is out...for now.
PREVIEWS AND PEEKS INTO WK OF 8/27/07
-Miranda and Kate go at it.
-Carrie has a lasting impression on Nicole.
-Fate brings Jack and Billie closer as one of them fights for their life.
-Cal and Katherine say goodbye, along with Carrie.
-Anna lashes out at Tony
-Hope follows Steve to New Orleans.
-Cassie learns a shocking secret.
-A bombshell is dropped.
-Marlena risks her health.
-Joelle ups the ante with Lucas.
-Hope and Steve have a breakthrough.
-Tony makes an ominous discovery.
-Tragedy strikes a beloved Salem resident!
HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK: FRIDAY AUGUST 31
DON'T MISS THE SUMMER FINALE AS SECRETS ARE REVEALED AND LIVES ARE PUT IN DANGER. IT'S AN EPISODE THAT WILL CHANGE MANY LIVES AND DON'T MISS THE SHOCKING CLIFFHANGER EVERYONE WILL BE TALKING ABOUT!!
NEXT WEEK: Victor and Greta's secret is out. Forrest panics and decides to take action. Lucas sets Joelle straight. Tony, Hope, and Steve are drawn into a mystery. The life of a beloved Salemite hangs by a thread.
FYI: DON'T MISS AN EXCLUSIVE SUMMER FINALE WEEK PROMO PREVIEW TOMORROW!!!