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GH’s Head Scribes Shelly Altman & Chris Van Etten Take You Inside The Writer’s Room Of How A Soap Is Written!

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Nerdist has posted a very special podcast for soap fans and especially those of General Hospital.

Host, Ben Blacker welcomes GH head writers, Shelly Altman and Chris Van Etten for an inside look and discussion on just how the writer’s room works and is constructed on a soap opera, in particular the ABC daytime drama series.

Blacker is joined by writer and GH superfan, Danielle Sanchez-Witzel, as they talk the nuts and bolts of writing for a continuing daytime drama series from: the creation of long story, to how the each week’s episodes are laid out in the hands of the breakdown writers, scripts writers, and more.

Courtesy/CVanEttenTwitter

Altman and Van Etten also talk about their writing team, what they look for in a writer, and if they are a fit for the genre, if there is story that they want to tell, but haven’t had the chance to yet, and how they must map out the lives for the many contract players and characters on the Port Charles canvas.

It’s a compelling listen. Check it out here.

After you have had a chance to listen, let us know if there is something you learned that you didn’t know about how the process of writing a soap, and in particular how GH scripts and stories are planned in the comment section below.

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Allen Saint JamesJMERrebecca1nancy dillingham4ever DAYS Recent comment authors
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su0000
su0000

Whoa! that was more than long so I had to skip it…
Anyways, I don’t care how they write GH I only care how good the writting is.
I gotta admit, I have been in snoooz mode the past 2 weeks, nothing is happening to keep me awake 🙁
overkill of Sam and Jason looking at each other like hurt puppies, to say it kindly, nuff is nuff of them..
They desperately need to write some hard drama, intriguing exciting adventure intense stuff and shelf the stagnate mush.
the couple’s woe is me woes are as interesting as a lint ball…

I need a thrill, an adventure, intense moments, on the edge intrigue I need drama!

and again- I don’t care what they do to write a soap I care that they at the least try to write gripping drama.

Fanny
Fanny

@Su000, you never cease to make me laugh…. Thank you
for your unvarnished honesty.

aria
aria

laugh and unvarnished honesty? all she does is complain about how boring gh is, if she doesn’t like it she should just give up already on the show, she seems happy w/Dool and RC, why is she bothering w/ GH if all she’s gonna do is bitch about it, what she is, is predictable, if you wanna read someone bitch about GH then su0000 is the one to go to to read about it That is all she offers.

Jovin
Jovin

Su is a man, by the way.

Rebecca1
Rebecca1

Su…I guess the difference lies in what you define as “drama.” I think you seek action. As for drama, Sam and Jason’s exchanged glances ARE drama…for those of us who were in love with their love story. Add to that Sam’s emotional conflict, her love for and loyalty to Drew coupled with her repressed but returning to the surface feelings for Jason and it’s an emotional tug-of-war for the characters and the veiwers who are invested in these characters. Personally, I get kinda teary when I see the flashbacks of Jason and Sam because I was watching back then. So, it’s nostalgic and it brings to mind how great they were together. And, even for me as a viewer, I’m conflicted because I like Drew…and Sam with Drew, too. So, speaking for myself and others who are drawn to this drama…it’s not boring but compelling.

What “grips” some doesn’t others. But it IS drama.

Allen Saint James
Allen Saint James

amen to Intense action adventure stories. They at the beginning phase of bringing back adventure storytelling to the show. The Jason/Faison Saga is the most intriguing story in ages.

Jake
Jake

They are building stories (i.e Faison and Mayoral/Charles St). What I like is that they are integrating a lot of the cast in both stories.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

I, too, like the integration of a lot of the cast members. “Seems like old times.” 🙂

Reed
Reed

It’s worth a listen (interview begins 5 minutes in and is 68 in length). I enjoyed learning more about Shelly and Chris, the process of writing the show, the constraints and challenges. GH should be in good hands with Shelly, Chris, and the current writing team. I’m sure the goings-on behind the scenes can be even more interesting than what’s on the screen, so it was a neat glimpse from that perspective. But what about the bigger picture? Let’s hear about the business side of things from the executives, those that can speak not only on the state of the show but of the genre as a whole and what they are doing to keep it alive, fresh, and viable for years to come? Are we running out the string with the four existing soaps or do they foresee a time and place for a re-entry of a beloved show? The entertainment business routinely serves us up reprises and reboots, whether due to demand, nostalgia, economics, or pure laziness to come up with original content. It’s difficult to believe that a network or cable channel wouldn’t want a show that can fill a time slot 1x5x52 for possibly years into the future. Like any venture, budget accordingly. Never have there been more platforms to view or outlets churning out content, nor has the talent pool been so deep. We’re all tethered to these devices, so give us something to watch! Soaps were a stalwart of the network television line-up for years and can be once again, if given a chance. As a business, you’d be hard pressed to find a more loyal consumer than a soap viewer—it’s beyond brand loyalty, it’s commitment and passion. You should be so lucky!

rose
rose

I am curious…Do the writers ike Shelly and Van Etten pay any attention to comments made by fans. A big example is that, at least on MF, for years many have expressed being very tired of Sonny and Carly, the mob, and both monopolizing GH. Doesn’t this count for something when writing the GH stories.

4ever DAYS
4ever DAYS

@aria

su0000 only watches GH and Y&R.

rebecca1
rebecca1

It was an interesting listen but I think it was meant primarily for those who are either in or interested in getting into writing. I found it interesting because of my publishing background. not sure if it would be compelling if I wasn’t in that realm.

On that note, it was a good interview and an insight into the writers minds…and of course an insight into the business aspect, as well.

For those of us who might be thinking of writing a soap…as was asked during the interview…it wasn’t too encouraging. But never say never!

JMER
JMER

I’m really disappointed with Chris Van Etten as the choice for co-headwriter. For someone who watched late 80s GH, supposedly, I see nothing that shows respect for that time period onscreen. I also don’t like that he is basically Ron Carlivati’s pupil, who loves the soap cliches like Ron does. Because the genre and especially GH started going toward the bad in the 90s, I see some sense in putting older Head Writers in place at GH becaue they know what good soap is made of. Many of the writers working under Chris and Shelly are older so why not?

General Hospital

GH Nurses’ Ball 2019 Part One: Nina’s Red Carpet Arrival Commentary And Locking Eyes With Jax

On Friday’s first installment of the 2019 GH Nurses’ Ball episodes, it was red carpet time in Port Charles as all of the most famous and infamous residents got dressed to the nines and to impress.

This year, Nina Cassadine (Michelle Stafford) is back for her on-camera hosting duties covering the arrivals on the live-stream, but is joined by Crimson’s New York fashion editor, Sydney Val Jean played by guest star Chandra Wilson of Grey’s Anatomy.  And as you’d expect, these two fashionistas battle it out at times on the carpet for attention.

Throughout the arrivals, and through this episode, this one really belonged to the talents of Michelle Stafford, who through her comedic, romantic, and dramatic timing, made for some of the best moments.  In a surprise, when Nina begins to choke after interviewing Peter (Wes Ramsey), Maxie (Kirsten Storms) and Lulu (Emme Rylan),  she excuses herself and ends up outside where Jax (Ingo Rademacher) appears and offers her some champagne.  The two seem to be clearly smitten with each other! Nina accepts his drink, and thanks him, and then goes back inside to her hosting gig, while Jax looks very intrigued by Nina.  Previously, Nina gave a major kiss to Valentin (James Patrick Stuart) when he appeared on the red carpet.

Photo: ABC

Some of the more shocking …. or interesting red carpet arrivals included: Shiloh (Coby Ryan McLaughlin) showing up with Sam (Kelly Monaco) on his arm, and then getting into words with Sonny (Maurice Benard), who tells the cult leader that family means everything to him and that there is nothing he wouldn’t do for the people he loves.  Shiloh is convinced Kristina (Lexi Ainsworth) will come back to “Dawn of Day”.

When Anna (Finola Hughes) and Finn (Michael Easton) stroll down the red carpet, they get distracted when a dapper Robert Scorpio (Tristan Rogers) shows up, clearly intent on wooing back Anna, to which Anna looks caught by her feelings for both men while Finn is pissed at the game’s Robert is playing.  Later, Finn confronts Robert about his ring.

Photo: ABC

Everyone was shocked when Kevin Collins (Jon Lindstrom) showed up arm and arm with Ava Jerome (Maura West).  We later learn that this is an attempt to smoke out Ryan, who Ava believes will show his face at the ball.   Lucy (Lynn Herring), the hostess with the mostess, comes up with a plan to get Kevin away from Ava, not knowing they are not romantically together and tries to, perhaps, rekindle their romance up in a Metro Court hotel room.  Meanwhile, Scott (Kin Shriner) wants to get Ava away from Kevin, so he heads up to Lucy’s room with Ava to show her and to catch Kevin and Lucy together, but we don’t know what they saw when the door opened!

Photo: ABC

Meanwhile in Toronto, Canada, Curtis (Donnell Turner) and Laura (Genie Francis) come to realizing they have been tied up and there is a gas leak in the cabin.  Laura realizes Ryan is trying to kill her in an explosion just as he was supposed to have perished in at the fun house years ago.  It appears Ryan set a trap for Laura and Curtis and fled the scene.  The two extricate themselves before running from the cabin just as it blows up!

Back at the ball other notable couples have arrived from: Chase (Josh Swickard) and Willow (Katelyn MacMullen), to Michael (Chad Duell) and Sasha (Sofia Mattson), to Franco (Roger Howarth) and Liz (Rebecca Herbst), to the GH nurses crew.

Photo: ABC

The episode ends with an announcer telling all the guests to take their seats as its just about showtime!  And of note:  Is the opening title sequence music changed to a new theme for GH, or is it just for the Nurses’ Ball episodes? That’s one of the buzziest questions today.

So, what did you think of the red carpet arrivals?  Michelle Stafford’s performance?  Jax meeting Nina? What do you think will happen next with Ryan?  Comment below

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General Hospital

Josh Swickard Performs The Chainsmokers & Coldplay’s “Something Just Like This” In GH Nurses’ Ball Sneak Peek

General Hospital is getting you ready for the GH Nurses’ Ball 2019 edition, by releasing the full musical number performed by Port Charles’ Harrison Chase AKA Josh Swickard during the gala.

As a prelude to the ball and what is to come, Swickard takes on the top hit made famous by The Chainsmokers and Coldplay, “Something Just Like This” along with the Nurses’ Ball dancers.  And yes, there is cute moment for Chase/Willow (Katelyn MacMullan) fans when he brings Willow up to the stage!

Lucy Coe (Lynn Herring) introduces Chase before he performs and Lynn Herring took to her Twitter account yesterday when GH released this sneak peek stating: “Hey, how did this get out there before the BALL!! Someone has some ‘splainin’ to DO!”

GH social media accounts teased: “After bringing down the house last year, we couldn’t wait for you to see Chase’s latest Nurses Ball number – so here it is! This is the only place you can watch his entire performance before it airs next week.”

The 2019 Nurses Ball begins tomorrow on the Friday, May 17th episode of the ABC daytime drama series.

Now below watch Josh’s performance and then let us know what you thought of it via the comment section below, and let us know who else do you hope performs at the ball!

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General Hospital

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Oscar’s Memorial Brings With It Remembrances By Those Who Loved Him

On Monday’s emotional episode of General Hospital, Ned (Wally Kurth) and Olivia (Lisa LoCicero) summoned family, friends, and loved ones to honor Oscar Nero (Garren Stitt), since he just past away due to his battle with brain cancer.  Oscar had his own way he wanted everyone to mourn his death and Ned and Olivia carried out his wishes.

When everyone gathers together, Ned and Olivia announce that Oscar wanted this to be a celebration.  After everyone arrives they sit picnic-style and some get up to speak to remember the amazing young man that Oscar was.  It turns out to be Michael (Chad Duell) who starts the tribute by saying that Oscar was brave to date his intimidating sister.  Next, Cameron (William Lipton) touches on his journey to friendship with Oscar.  Joss (Eden McCoy) finds the courage to go next and remembers how she had a crush on Oscar and how he wasn’t easy to talk to but how she was intrigued because he was mysterious. She then tells show she eventually fell in love with Oscar, and how she will never forget him.  When Drew (Billy Miller) gets up next, he breaks everyone’s heart by stating that he will be eternally grateful to have known his son and will always carry him in his heart.

Next, Ned asks everyone to follow him to the meadow.  Once there, Ned and Olivia hand out seeds to the attendees.  Then, Ned and Olivia reveal a plaque dedicated to Oscar, as everyone throw up seeds that land in the grass for it to grow.

Courtesy/ABC

Finally, Kim (Tamara Braun) speaks. She talks about how she raised Oscar on her own, and how after she learned he was sick, she brought him to Port Charles so he could meet his true family.  And with the analogy of the seeds, she says it helped Oscar blossom and how it enriched his young life.  In a heartbreaking moment, she thanks Drew for giving her son courage and being his dad when he needed it, and to Joss for being her son’s first love.  Kim hopes that Joss will come back to the meadow often and think of him.  They share an emotional hug.

Later, after Drew thanks Ned and Olivia for putting this all together for his son, Sam (Kelly Monaco) finds him and tells him he was a great father … and is a great father.  He wants to make sure that Scout knows he loves her.

Back at the meadow, Sonny (Maurice Benard) finds Kim in tears alone at Oscar’s plaque. He tells her he understands the deep pain and void she is going through, but she has to hold on to how Oscar touched so many lives.   Once Sonny leaves, Kim in tears looks up to the sky and says she’ll always love her baby boy.

Courtesy/ABC

The episode featured touching performances by Tamara Braun, Billy Miller, Eden McCoy, and William Lipton, who all carried the Oscar dying storyline so beautifully along with Garren Sttit.  Additional kudos go to Lisa LoCicero and Wally Kurth, who as Olivia and Ned, kept Oscar’s memorial moving forward, and were also emotional throughout.

So, what did you think of the episode and the performances? Are you sad Oscar is gone?  Comment below.

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