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ATWT @006/07 History Question


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Was watching Season 52 (Aug. 2007) and was shocked to see how good the old ATWT sets looked. Al's was still a cool old metalic diner, WOAK looked better Lucinda's pool house was cute, Henry's room at the Lakeview still had a view, Susan's set was timeless and Lilly and Holden's house still had stairs. The new sets must have cost a mint at a time when PGP was reducing budget. Plus, these new sets didn't look very good and often looked toy and low cost. Also, Goutman put togehter his new 'production model' to save money--spending the most money on the three highest rated episodes while reducing cost on the darker days. This switch turned out to be a disaster and I've never understood how it really saved all that much cash. OLTL films a bunch of unrelated scenes on one set, tears it down, and moves on to the next as a means of saving and ends up below cost. I'm curious is ATWT really saved any money thru the new 'mobile' sets or production model? It always seemsed like this was more of a stunt on Goutman's part that created little cost savings.

As an aside, ATWT was such a different show three years ago. It was still very watchable with up to four stories featured on one show. I even saw a few extras!

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No, because 1) OLTL's production model has wreaked too much havoc on storytelling (IMO); and 2) since when does one low-rated show copy another low-rated show? If anything, Goutman should've copied B&B's or Y&R's production model.

Goutman was copied by Y&R but took any of the cost cutting measures to the extreme by creating those character pods who had no interaction. It was if ATWT was, in reality, five shows. I dislike OLTL but the characters still interact and connect. I don't blame the EP for the OLTL storytelling--that is all Ron Caravatti.

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No, because 1) OLTL's production model has wreaked too much havoc on storytelling (IMO); and 2) since when does one low-rated show copy another low-rated show? If anything, Goutman should've copied B&B's or Y&R's production model.

I find this kind of stuff interesting, what is B & B and YR's production model, and how was it different then ATWT's?

I also have to wonder why more soaps dont do what GL did, and create permanent sets. I know they dont have the money for studio space in Manhattan, but if they moved things out to (God forbid not Peapack) Conn or something, they could find cheaper studio space? I also thought it would be interesting if a soap hooked up with a college or university, and sponsored a partnership so that their TV production, theater and writing students could intern, providing cheap labor, and maybe, just maybe use them as extras in the background (and I have no idea what union regulations are or the costs involved.)

I think that the idea of GL's production process was good, it was just too bad they didn't do that when they had a little more money (i.e. when Wheeler first started) and with someone who was more skilled and creative then Wheeler.

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Here's a thought: why not stop hiring gobs and gobs of "actors," refocus on the characters and families audiences want to see w/ a bare minimum of sets, and then write good story? You know, like back when soaps were actually good? Story, story, story. It all comes back to story.

To this day, I'm convinced the ultimate plan was to transition GUIDING LIGHT (and later, ATWT) to a web-only soap; hence, the "Peapack model." PGP/TeleNext, however, gave up, b/c they simply couldn't figure out a way to do it w/o operating at a deficit.

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I find this kind of stuff interesting, what is B & B and YR's production model, and how was it different then ATWT's?

I also have to wonder why more soaps dont do what GL did, and create permanent sets. I know they dont have the money for studio space in Manhattan, but if they moved things out to (God forbid not Peapack) Conn or something, they could find cheaper studio space? I also thought it would be interesting if a soap hooked up with a college or university, and sponsored a partnership so that their TV production, theater and writing students could intern, providing cheap labor, and maybe, just maybe use them as extras in the background (and I have no idea what union regulations are or the costs involved.)

I think that the idea of GL's production process was good, it was just too bad they didn't do that when they had a little more money (i.e. when Wheeler first started) and with someone who was more skilled and creative then Wheeler.

Totally agree and have considered something similiar for my own writing idea. A college would be a great place to get young, cheap talent. Might be a good place for location shoots. Also, Manhattan has so much Warehouse space which, even in the better neighborhoods, would be fairly cheap. The GL concept was good but put together badly. Wheeler wasn't ready for that sort of challenge, had no room for error along with no cash on hand. ATWT could have shifted to Brooklyn Warehouse space and done a partnership with NYU or one of the other schools. I am sure the unions would have been pissed!

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But they weren't "new" sets. They were smaller, reconfigured permanent sets. That's why EVERYONE lost their stairs. That's why Al's went from two booths and five tables to two tables. (Why they changed the decor---who knows, but it got a new decor every two years or so. It was really a dive when it first appeared in '97-'98 or even before.)

I doubt anything "new" was actually "new" to ATWT. Just the same way the WOAK set was partly Kim's old kitchen, anything "new" was just dressed differently. I was surprised in the last episode that Bob got some kind of office. I expected him to wander the "halls" of Memorial for the entire show.

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Here's a thought: why not stop hiring gobs and gobs of "actors," refocus on the characters and families audiences want to see w/ a bare minimum of sets, and then write good story? You know, like back when soaps were actually good? Story, story, story. It all comes back to story.

To this day, I'm convinced the ultimate plan was to transition GUIDING LIGHT (and later, ATWT) to a web-only soap; hence, the "Peapack model." PGP/TeleNext, however, gave up, b/c they simply couldn't figure out a way to do it w/o operating at a deficit.

Agreed, and think PGP still is considering some sort of plan with the Soap 451 website. I find the very fact that they are doing an Edge of Night Today freaky considering the show went off in 1984 and must have very few fans left in any key demo groups. When computer generated sets become the norm, it would cost pennies to revive any old soap. PGP is still doing TV and has some new MTV project coming up. Soaps never needed huge sets or location shots and were often best set at a kitch table. Also, it could be so damn cheap to do a soap in NYC considering all the warefouse space up for rent. The studio is outdated and I'm sure someone could do a fairly good job off three rented warehouse apts.

PJ: I never knew ATWT had permanent sets and didn't think it was even possible in NYC. How were they able to widen the sets for the final season? Now I get why the Lakeview dining room was gone--that set looked 'rich' and had been the scene of many meetings and dinners. Sud's report raved about how good the 'new' ATWT sets looked and it bugged me 'cause they looked cheap. The Al's set from 2007 looked like a location shot with all of the fixtures being real. I hate to call Al's Diner fantastic but it was a great set. We have a dioner that looks like that in Brookyn that is always packed.

Bob's 'office' was a Lakeview room shot fron the other angle. Pretty sure that they used wood from one of the old cabins for behind Bob's desk.

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I don't know what you mean by "widening" the sets in this last year. It's looked the same to me.

The permanent sets are why anything shot at Fashions always looked like crap and necessitated hand-held cameras shooting up actor's noses. I guess it's more accurate to say most of the sets were permanent. They obviously had to have some freedom for some changes of location. Those familiar-yet-not hotel rooms out of town for example.

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I don't know what you mean by "widening" the sets in this last year. It's looked the same to me.

The permanent sets are why anything shot at Fashions always looked like crap and necessitated hand-held cameras shooting up actor's noses. I guess it's more accurate to say most of the sets were permanent. They obviously had to have some freedom for some changes of location. Those familiar-yet-not hotel rooms out of town for example.

Last year, right before Brad was shot, Sud's Report made some comment about Goutman widening the sets in an effort to make the production values more rich. I only noticed Carly's house being bigger, something did look different. In La, all sets are permanent. In NY, they get broken down due to lack of space. How did ATWT secure the space? And, if it is so much cheaper, why didn't they do it a long time ago? Yes, I mised certain sets but I get why a low rated show would try to save money and maybe retain some cast. Aside from everyone living in the same hotel room, it wasn't so bad.

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The perm sets idea is actually pretty good and must have saved a lot of money. PGP should have just bought a large warehouse in NJ and used it as a GL/ATWT studio years ago. They would have had all of the LA advantages yet retained NYC talent. This sort of plan would have worked well for AMC/OLTL, too.

I've watched a few more 2007 episodes and am shocked by how different the show felt. The mood, tone and length of the stories was so different. People hyped DK's writing during the first half on the final season but this old stuff is far better. Also, Allison was a much better/more interesting character when she first came on. Also, the actress looked a lot better, too.

By the end of 2008, everything about the show get cheap right down to the opening title card and lack of theme song.

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