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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!

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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

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Port Charles Learns a Bomb Caused the Explosion as Lives are Forever Changed

This week’s General Hospital has reminded us all of why we love daytime drama and why GH possesses some of the finest performers in the genre.

Wednesday’s episode featured several emotionally-charged and gut-wrenching moments as loved ones find out the fate of several people in crisis, or have to deliver terrible news in the wake of the bomb explosion at the Floating Rib, which already had taken the lives of Dev (Ashton Arbab) and Dustin (Mark Lawson).

Courtesy/ABC

As we begin, Dante (Dominic Zamprogna) has a passed-out Lulu (Emme Rylan) in his arms and brings her to Portia (Brook Kerr), who sends her for tests.  And in true soap opera fashion, just as Lulu was presumably going to tell Dane she still loved him and wanted him back (following Dustin’s death) … he never heard what she had to say.

 

Laura (Genie Francis) fills in Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) that Dev did not make it, and then Liz decides to tell her son, Cameron (William Lipton) the heartbreaking news while he is recovering from his injuries.  When she does, Cam is overcome and devastated as his mother holds him in her arms.  Meanwhile, Carly (Laura Wright) is filling-in Trina (Sydney Mikayla) and Josslyn (Eden McCoy) about Dev’s untimely death.

Later, with Laura present, Portia tells Lulu’s loved ones that she has a cerebral contusion, and that there is a a traumatic brain injury which has caused swelling on the brain.  Laura and Dante look on devastated.  Portia then says they have already rushed Lulu to urgent surgery.

Julian (William deVry) is with Ava (Maura West) at Wyndemere.  She is attempting to hide him there, while he figures out his next step after planting the bomb.  However, Jason (Steve Burton) shows up looking for Julian now that Sonny found out that a bomb caused the explosion that ravaged the Floating Rib.  From that point on calls are made to ensure Sonny’s family is protected as a mob war is about to go down. Sonny (Maurice Benard) and Jason believe all roads lead back to Cyrus Renault (Jeff Kober).

Courtesy/ABC

Jason leaves Wyndemere before spotting Julian; leaving a distraught Ava to come down hard on her brother … he has two choices…  leave Port Charles, which she will help him do, or stay, and if he stays, she will not help him or be a part of his life.  While they are discussing his next move, they learn Lulu is now in critical condition from the bomb.  Ava tells Julian in no uncertain terms that everything he has done has come with a cost.  Jason shows up at the Corinthos home where Sam (Kelly Monaco), who is not happy about any of this, finds out along with Carl,y that Jason believes he was the target at the Floating Rib.

Courtesy/ABC

As Liz is struggling to hold it together with Franco (Roger Howath) having brain surgery, she speaks with Scott (Kin Shriner), who did not know of his son’s tumor.  She shares with Franco’s dad that Franco is worried he will wake up a very different person.  Liz is told Franco is out of surgery, and is in tears over his hospital bed.  She prays he will be alright and Franco wakes up!

Portia tells Nikolas (Marcus Coloma), Laura, and Dante that Lulu is out of surgery but in a coma, which Kevin (Jon Lindstrom) points out is normal in these situations. Dante goes to sit by Lulu’s bedside and begs her to wake up.

Courtesy/ABC

Then, in devastating news for Laura, Lucas (Matt Trudeau) gives her the real 411 on Lulu.  He tells Laura that Lulu’s brain started swelling the minute she hit her head at the Floating Rib, and that her injury got worse the longer she was not checked out.  Laura achingly realizes Lulu was so worried about Dustin that she never was immediately checked out for head trauma.  Lucas lets Laura know that Lulu’s recovery could take a very long time, if she recovers at all.

Heart-tugging performances throughout the stellar episode were given by: Dominic Zamprogna, Genie Francis, William Lipton, Rebecca Herbst, and Maura West in very intense and dramatic scenes.

So, what have you thought of this week’s episodes of GH? The fate of Lulu? The performances from yesterday’s airshow? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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General Hospital

Ashton Arbab Says Farewell To General Hospital: “It Was Such An Honor To Have Worked Alongside Of Such Talented Actors”

Yesterday, viewers of General Hospitals witnessed that as a result of the bomb explosion at the Floating Rib; it meant the end of the road for a couple of characters.  One of those was Dev, and thus ends Ashton Arbab’s over two-year run in the role.

In key scenes, Dev dies in the ambulance ride to the hospital and thanks Sonny (Maurice Benard) for making him a part of the family and tells Sonny to tell Josslyn (Eden McCoy) that he is sorry.  Will Sonny recall what Dev said and pass that on to Joss? Will anyone figure out Dev’s duplicity in keeping Joss and Cameron (William Burton) apart? Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, Ashton took to Twitter on Tuesday and shared these words of praise and ‘thank you’ for his time on the ABC daytime drama series.

 

Arbab expressed: “I am forever grateful to Producer Frank Valentini and Mark Teschner (casting director, GH) for this amazing opportunity. It was such an honor to have worked along side of such talented actors and I’m beyond blessed for your friendship. Most of all thank you General Hospital fans.”

So, what did you think of Dev being killed-off? Will you miss Ashton? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.


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General Hospital

Mark Lawson Shares Heartfelt Sentiments As He Exits General Hospital

General Hospital fans knew Monday’s episode would bring with it who might have survived the explosion at the Floating Rib, and who might still be in peril or who did not make out.

This afternoon as viewers were learning the fate of several characters including Dustin, who was proposing to Lulu (Emme Rylan) as the bomb went off, his portrayer, Mark Lawson took to his Instagram to announce his exit from the series.

Mark expressed: “Actors know this moment is bittersweet.  Job well done, but leaving a set full of like-minded, inspired people. Playing Dustin was a joy. Every day on set was a gift, as were: Emme Rylan, Kirsten Storms, Brian Lane, Dominic Zamprogna, Lisa LoCicero, Maurice Benard, Bradford Anderson (And others that don’t have social media!) Thank you General Hospital. Honored to be part of television history not only on this show, but to be among the first actors back to work in town post-Covid. The set always felt safe, and I was proud to be in front of the camera in such a strange time  Thank you for everything.  Stay soapy.”

Check out Mark’s post below.

So, are you sad that Dustin is no longer on the canvas in Port Charles? Will you miss Mark in the role? Comment below.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Mark Lawson (@themarkmlawson)

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