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SERIAL SCOOP: SOAP OPERA HISTORY: Bill Bell & Claire Labine on Writing Daytime Serials (1997)


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Thank you Cassadine for this interview. Such an interesting read.

I like how Claire points out the obvious: when the show focus only on plot, plot the audience doesnt connect as much as with a one on one scene which allows to delve into the characters' motivation.

Wish RC would get a clue.

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I love the story about "Where the Heart Is" (where Claire was writing) being cancelled for Y&R. Awkward! But Claire and Bill handled it well.

I hear the Bill Bell biography isn't very illuminating, but I'd love to read an unbiased story about him and his rise. And has Claire done a memoir? I wrote to her in high school when I had soap writing aspirations, and she wrote me the loveliest note back with great advice.

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I love the story about "Where the Heart Is" (where Claire was writing) being cancelled for Y&R. Awkward! But Claire and Bill handled it well.

I hear the Bill Bell biography isn't very illuminating, but I'd love to read an unbiased story about him and his rise. And has Claire done a memoir? I wrote to her in high school when I had soap writing aspirations, and she wrote me the loveliest note back with great advice.

What was the advice? How did you find her contact info?

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I just looked her up back in the day, probably around the time she was doing OLTL. Without going too much into it, she told me to read lots of plays, particularly the Greeks, if I wanted to understand the form. (Which follows her statements that daytime drama is similar to theater.) And to fall in love to understand what that means. She had lots of great tips. Sadly, I no longer have the letter, but I was pleasantly surprised that she wrote back to me.

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Claire came up with the college clown storyline for zcrystal Chapel's character right? I guess nobody is perfect but she sure pretty close to it in my book. Luckily i only watch OLTL when Casper van dien was in it and I gave up on GL long before Claire joined in.

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I don't know why but I can't accept that Bell told "no long term stories" for 12 years.....If that's true that's obviously the reason why everyone who has ran the show after him does it like that yet I guess Bill was just that good with it and the others just suck at it.

Claire really should have been brought over to Y&R at some point.

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The way Y&R was paced I would say all of his stories were long term. I took what he said to mean that he doesn't let the plot dictate what happens and uses character interaction to form what will happen. Watching Y&R back in the day I would notice that there is an overall plot, but the actual episode focuses on relationships whether it be family, friends, co-workers, etc. and how the overall plot is affecting them. As a result you cared more and he left himself more wiggle-room to change things if need be.

With Claire, I absolutely LOVE what she did on Ryan's Hope and while I didn't watch her GH, I heard it was very good. I've only seen 3 weeks of her OLTL which I have on DVD and I didn't find it to be bad, but I would need to see more to properly judge that. From what I've heard about her stint on Guiding Light, I feel it could've been great if she was given more creative control. It sounds like there was a big issue with control and network interference which hurt her stint there.

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