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    • If you're ever in his archives at UCLA, ask for Box 347.   That's the one where it's apt to be, if by chance they have it.  There should be really good stuff in that particular box.  
    • Here's a third version of next week's promo.   
    • From Los Angeles 🇺🇸                 
    • Has this interview ever been posted?   Bill Bell and Claire Labine Interview from 1997 https://www.serialscoop.com/2014/07/bill-bell-claire-labine-on-writing.html?m=1   ON WRITING: Can you, Claire and Bill, talk through the steps involved from idea to finished show? BELL: First of all, you have to structure your show. You have to decide what you're going to put in the show, and what characters you're going to use— LABINE: Over the long term. BELL: See, I've never worked with the long term. I haven't for 12 years. The network, God bless them, doesn't know what I'm doing until they get the finished script. LABINE: Good for you. ON WRITING: How far ahead do your stories get planned? BELL: I make them up as I go along. LABINE: This is the sound of two hands clapping. BELL: It's not as though I don't know what I'm going to do tomorrow. But with some characters I don't know, and I find story as I go along. LABINE: Bill doesn't do it the way it's usually done. In the traditional way—not in the traditional way at all—in the contemporary way, writers submit long story documents to the network that are purportedly the story for a year on a show. From those long story documents, outline writers structure weekly outlines, sometimes with a hell of a lot of help from the executive producer, the producers, and the network executives: an outline a day for each show. These outlines are overseen by the senior writing team and by the head writer, and then distributed to script writers, who write the dialogue. Then there is another person called an editor who edits the scripts for continuity and tone. BELL: I've never had an editor. LABINE: No, I haven't either. And I never will. ON WRITING: How do you each work? LABINE: Well, now Bill's going to tell you what he does. BELL: Three days a week, I'll have long conference calls with my co-head writer, Kay Alden, who is in Chicago, Trent Jones, who is in upper New York, and Jerry Birn, who joins me in my office at TV City. Together we'll shape six shows, scene by scene. I believe in very detailed outlines, ours run 20 to 25 pages—with significant dialogue. Obviously, that doesn't mean the actual script writing process is merely a mechanical one. Although it's very well structured, it still requires the talents of excellent dialogue writers. Then Kay will get the scripts back at her place and will edit as I'm involved with other facets of the show. LABINE: Kay is really a shared consciousness for you, right? You obviously trust her to edit the scripts in a way that will reflect exactly what you wanted in them. BELL: Absolutely. But we've been working— LABINE: You've been working together for so long. BELL: Twenty-four years. Kay knows exactly what we need. I don't see the script again until it's being taped. But I need this kind of creative freedom. I couldn't work any other way. Let's not forget, though, that I've been doing daytime continuously for over 40 years; two shows daily for over 16 of those years. LABINE: Let me interject something here. I've got to put this in context. In my opinion, there is a real reason why The Young and the Restless has been at the top of the heap so consistently year after year, rating book after rating book. And that's because it's in the hands of a master who is a storyteller to start with and who knows the craft inside and out. So given that, I've always profoundly felt that the best way to be trained in this craft, in this form, is to start by writing scripts. You assume a certain degree of facility with dialogue and a certain dramatic sense on the part of a writer who wants to get into this business. You've got to have an ear for dialogue, you've got to understand what conflict is, and you have to have a feel for basic dramatic structure within a scene that has already been structured for you. But the way you learn the pace and the flow of it is as a script writer. And I think one of the things that they're doing is taking people without dramatic training and suddenly trying to make them outline writers. And that's the next step, you know? BELL: Sure. Absolutely. ON WRITING: I should also say here that The Young and the Restless has been the number one show for how long? LABINE: Forever. BELL: In our tenth year. LABINE: This is an unparalleled situation in the history of this form. Nobody's ever done that. BELL: You have to demand an awful lot of yourself. Because when you do that, then at least you're in a position to defend what you've done if that becomes a factor. LABINE: Oh, that's so right. BELL: It's the most exciting thing in the world, though, to write, create something and see it come to life every day. That is one of the most euphoric things that can happen to a writer. LABINE: It sure is. It's the immediate feedback. And then there's the joy of writing for the resident company of actors whom you get to know so well, and whose talent you get to know so well, and who are really the ultimate collaborators in shaping the character and the way the story goes. How many times have you looked at an actor and realized, “Oh, that's where the story's going. That's what it's going to be about.” Back just for a minute to the subject of long story documents. I have written them; I do write them. And I write them saying, “Guys, I'm giving you this because I know you need it to feel secure. Don't count on anything.” Because if the thing's any good, the only part of it that's going to play the way it's written is probably the first five pages. After that it's going to have a life of its own if it's a decent story. I don't know how it's going to come out. I mean, I know how it says it's going to come out, but I can guarantee that's not how it's going to come out—if it's working. BELL: That's very true. LABINE: Paul [Avila Mayer] and I essentially wrote Ryan's Hope after the first six weeks of the show. We had a year's story predicated on the fact that Frank Ryan died. ABC threw out the original projected story because they wanted Frank Ryan to live. So consequently, we really were without story practically from the beginning of Ryan's Hope, and it was wonderful, because the characters told the story. BELL: Claire, what if you had said no to them? LABINE: Actually, Bill, I'll tell you, we had fallen in love with the character, too. It was nothing that was imposed upon us. BELL: It wasn't a power play or anything. LABINE: It was a power play on their part, but the fact of the matter was, they were right. Part of the reason they fell in love with him was because we fell in love with him. We were writing all these flashbacks—they were backstory incidents that explained why the family was so upset and what their hopes had been for this person who was lying in a coma in the hospital. And by the time we had done three or four weeks of that, we thought, “Oh my God, he's too wonderful to kill.” That was the point at which they said to us, “You can't kill him, the audience loves him.” BELL: Sure. LABINE: If it had been the wrong move, and if it had been just a power play, we probably would have been off the air in 13 weeks.  BELL: Or they would have given in to you. LABINE: Or they would have given in to us. We had a very troubled relationship with the network after we sold the show to them. We were hired and fired and quit and returned four times in something like 18 months. At the very end they said, “Would you come back?” I thought there was not too much chance to save it, and everybody told me not to do it. But if it was going off the air, I wanted it to go off the air looking like itself.  BELL: Good for you. LABINE: And we actually had a wonderful time in the last 18 months of it. We really had fun. ON WRITING: What kind of things do you go for when you're writing for daytime? BELL: I want to have impact on the audience. I'd also like to have balance, conflict, and romance. I'd like to have— LABINE: A few laughs. BELL: But the key word is impact. I want to make sure that they feel that they have spent that hour very well. LABINE: That there has been a big emotional reward for watching. ON WRITING: What are the differences between daytime writing versus primetime television or film? LABINE: The difference between daytime, primetime episodic, and film is simply that we have the luxury of time to play those scenes that I think are ultimately the most valuable: the emotional scenes involving relationships that really let the audience identify with these people. What you are dealing with is fundamental human emotion. And if you have a scene that is not about emotion but only about business or plot, you're in trouble. You need a few of them. But by God, the real scenes are the scenes between two characters in which something real and emotional is at stake for them. ON WRITING: Does every scene have to have that kind of emotion? LABINE: It helps. That's what we try for. BELL: Well, you have different kinds of scenes. Not every scene will have that. But certainly you want something important enough to create some conflict within the framework of each show. You want a diversity of scenes.  ON WRITING: Are there writer-producer hyphenates in daytime? BELL: I am. LABINE: Agnes [Nixon] is, in essence. ON WRITING: So on most shows, it's the producers who cast? LABINE: Now. BELL: Yes. LABINE: In the old days, no. Irna Phillips, for whom Bill started—no one would have dared question Irna about casting. No one would dare question Bill about casting. No one messed with Paul and me about casting on Ryan's Hope. ON WRITING: What was your experience on General Hospital? LABINE: Actually, we were consulted. Wendy Riche, the executive producer on General Hospital, was absolutely marvelous to us in terms of—that's not the royal “we”, I was working with Matt Labine and Eleanor Mancusi. And Wendy was terrific. I mean, she certainly initiated all of it but we were consulted before, after, and during. But I was working for her. She was the executive producer. ON WRITING: So, if it's not a Bill Bell show, if it's not a Claire Labine show, then the writers work for the executive producer? LABINE: You bet. ON WRITING: But, Bill, you don't work that way. BELL: No, I've never worked that way. Even going back to when I worked with Irna there were no producers who controlled the show. It's the writers' medium. Without the words, without the script, you don't have anything. There's just no getting around it. You can have the best producer in the world, but unless you've got the scripts and characters, you're not going to make it. LABINE: When it's working right, when it's functioning so that you're not getting messed with, this is for a writer.  BELL: I've been executive producer, I guess, for about 12 or 14 years. But I consider my most important job to be head writer. LABINE: And you are executive producer in the sense of implementing your writing, right? BELL: Well, of having control. LABINE: Exactly. BELL: And making sure every creative facet is fulfilled. But in all those years I haven't had any network interference. Interference is probably not a good word. LABINE: Yes, it is. It's a perfect word. And if we don't make any other point in this interview, this is what has to be underscored. This is what it is about. Bill's show is written in the sense of written, not manufactured. And everybody's running around saying, “Oh, disaster, we're losing the audience. What's happened to the form?” They say the shows aren't as good as they used to be. Damn right. Because what we have are these made-up, pasted-up situations where everybody's scrambling. Now, to be the devil's advocate for the networks, there is so much more money involved than there ever was when we were first in the business. I think it's very hard for them now to take a deep breath and make an act of faith about young people coming up. They're betting literally millions of dollars on the hope that this person will be able to deliver. They're all very insecure and their jobs are riding on it. So, you can see why there's a degree of nervousness when you're dealing with somebody who isn't Bill Bell.  
    • Nancy McKeon would be an Excellent Lois on GH  

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