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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
Guest
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… Read more »

Fanny
Guest
Fanny

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

aria
Guest
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
Guest
Jovin

Su is a man, by the way.

Rebecca1
Guest
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,… Read more »

Allen Saint James
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
nancy dillingham

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

Reed
Guest
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… Read more »

rose
Guest
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
Guest
4ever DAYS

@aria

su0000 only watches GH and Y&R.

rebecca1
Guest
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
Guest
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’s Brook Kerr and Tabyana Ali Talk On: Trina’s Trial, Spencer and Rory, And Their On-Screen Mother/Daughter Relationship

Currently, General Hospital fans are awaiting the verdict in Trina’s trial and just what lengths her mother will go to in order to secure her freedom! With the story playing out on-air, Michael Farman chatted in a new virtual interview with the two women central to the story; Brook Kerr (Portia) and Tabyana Ali (Trina).

As viewers know, Trina was set-up by Esme Prince (Avery Pohl), to make it appear that she taped her best friends, Cameron (William Lipton) and Josslyn (Eden McCoy) having sex, and then posted the video from her phone, so it went viral.

Photo: ABC

During the conversation for You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, Tabyana and Brook weigh-in on what’s gone down at the trial including; how Spencer Cassadine came forward with an alibi for Trina, plus how Portia may put her medical career at risk if she brings Esme’s partner in crime, Oz, out of his coma to get the evidence they need to point the finger on Esme.

 

In addition, Tabyana and Brook share their thoughts on the men in Trina’s life: Spencer Cassadine (Nicholas Alexander Chavez) and Rory Cabrera (Michael Blake Kruse), and how the #Sprina has a life of its own on social media.

Courtesy/ABC

Brook also shares dishes on Portia’s romantic relationship with Curtis (Donnell Turner), plus the recent noteworthy scenes between Portia and Stella (Vernee Watson), where GH shed light on a mother’s concern; that racial injustice could factor in to the jury’s decision in Trina’s case.

Photo: ABC

Tabyana also discusses working alongside GH co-stars, Maura West (Ava) and Carolyn Hennesy (Diane), and what it was like taking over the role of Trina from popular fan favorite, Sydney Mikayla.

Photo: ABC

Check out the full chat with Brook and Tabyana below.

Do you want Trina to end up with Spencer or Rory? Will the jury exonerate Trina? What was your favorite part of the conversation with Brook and Tabyana? Let us know in the comment section.

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General Hospital

Kin Shriner Celebrates 45-Year Milestone as General Hospital’s Scott Baldwin

What would General Hospital be without Kin Shriner, who has always played Scott Baldwin to the hilt with unique style and acting chops? Today on August 2nd, Kin marks his 45th anniversary with the ABC daytime drama series, and the series just would never be the same without his four decades plus of performances, making him an enduring fan favorite.

Shriner debuted on GH back on this date in 1977.  Scott’s love story with Laura (Genie Francis) would begin to set a new trajectory for GH. Later, when Laura married Luke (Tony Geary) in 1981, and Scott made a shocking appearance at the reception and caught the bouquet, the character turned to the dark side which started a new era of story for Scott/Laura/Luke and more.

Photo: ABC

Scott is the stepson of attorney, Lee Baldwin (the late Peter Hansen) and Dr. Gail Adamson (the late Susan Brown); although through the years they tangled over differences, the family loved and cared for one another.

Photo: ABC

In more recent years, Scott’s legal eagle courtroom antics are always a must-see for viewers, as well as any time Shriner gets to show Scott’s emotional side, such as the time he learned his son Franco (Roger Howarth) had died.

Photo: ABC

Kin’s scenes with his current on-screen love interest, Kathleen Gati (Liesl) are always a delight for GH fans, as well.

In addition to his General Hospital run, Shriner appeared as Scott in the GH spinoff; Port Charles from 1997-2000 and again in 2001.

Photo: ABC

Share your congratulations to Kin on his 45th anniversary in the comment section, and then let us know what has been your favorite Scott Baldwin scene through the years. 

But first, in case you missed it, check out our interview last year with Kin on the Michael Fairman Channel below.

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General Hospital

General Hospital’s Maura West Delivers The ‘Power Performance of the Week’

On last Thursday and Friday’s episode of General Hospital, the ABC soap opera finally moved the story forward with the reveal to Ava (Maura West) that Nikolas (Marcus Coloma) and Esme (Avery Pohl) slept together, and within it, fans got to witness the beginning of the fallout and the reaction as played by three-time Daytime Emmy-winner and enduring fan favorite, Maura West.

As one might expect, the material in the hands of the mighty West, and the acting choices she makes are always intriguing and masterful.

In story, things start to unravel for Ava, when outside Trina’s (Tabyana Ali) courtroom trial, Esme and Ava have a confrontation.  It is there that Esme snarks at Ava, that she has the ability to destroy her world.  When Ava dares her to try, Nikolas shows up on the scene begging Esme to stop.  However, a manipulative Esme says, “Too late, I’m ending this right here, right now.” After lighting the fire, Esme walks off telling Nikolas to have a nice chit chat with his wife.

Next, Ava and Nikolas go to a private office, and Nikolas tells her that he made a huge mistake. A now suspicious Ava, asks, “What kind of mistake?” Nikolas then goes on to explain how he slept with Esme, just once, when he thought his relationship with Ava had tanked and had suffered irreparable damage.

Courtesy/ABC

What comes after was where West shined, as a sarcastic Ava quipped, “Poor you, seduced by a high school graduate.”  Ava, then launches into that she thought she married a man, but instead she married a spineless weakling, and now she is going to burn him to the ground.

Later at Wyndemere, as Esme is frantically packing her suitcase and taking with her the all-important envelope linking her to Ryan (Jon Lindstrom), Ava appears and a confrontation begins with Ava calling out Esme as a, “conniving little whore”. Esme flaps back that Ava slept with both Morgan and Sonny (Maurice Benard)! Having put two and two together, Ava says she know that Esme is responsible for the revenge sex tape of Cameron (Willian Lipton) and Joss (Eden McCoyand setting fire to her car.

Courtesy/ABC

Ava has wised up from all of Esme’s nasty statements and has come to realize that everything Esme has done including sleeping with Nikolas, feels like a targeted, planned attack on her, and she knows there is more to this story than Esme has ever let on.  When Ava spots the envelope in Esme’s suitcase, she goes to get it, but Esme grabs it from her. Then, with a steely warning, Ava tells Esme that she will be going to the courthouse now to exonerate Trina, and if she doesn’t, Ava will make sure Esme disappears and no one will ever be able to find her alive.

Now, while some viewers may be waiting for a knock-down drag-out catfight, we don’t know what will happen on Monday or Tuesday’s episode, but sometimes it’s more delicious just letting the words and its intentions drive the action, and West delivered the goods in spades in scenes with Marcus Coloma and Avery Pohl.

For all the reasons stated above, Michael Fairman TV names Maura West’s work as The Power Performance of the Week.

What did you think of Maura’s performance in the scenes where Ava finds out Nikolas slept with Esme and Ava’s confrontation later with Esme? What do you hope happens next?  Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section.  But firstm check out some moments from West’s performance below.

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GH’s Nicholas Alexander Chavez (Spencer) talks with Michael Fairman immediately following his Daytime Emmy win for Outstanding Younger Performer in Drama Series. Leave A Comment
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Power Performance

Maura West as Ava

General Hospital

Airdate: 7-28/29-2022

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