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The Crystal Chappell & Kim Turrisi Interview – Venice

© JPI Studios

© Lesley Bohm / © Vicki McFadden

One year ago at this time, as Guiding Light fans and its cast and crew were handed down the news of its cancellation – right in the middle of the telling of the super-duper popular same-sex love story of Otalia – its loyal fan base and its actors were devastated. Crystal Chappell determined to continue to cultivate the LGBT audience that has had little depiction of their life stories seen on daytime television decided to take matters into her own hands, and take what started out as a love story on network TV and transfer parts of it into a new and uncharted territory for soap operas… web soaps. Partnering with her long-time friend Kim Turrisi, the dynamic duo created Venice, which gave legions of fans worldwide an opportunity for them to see the magic re-created once again by Crystal and her on-screen partner, Jessica Leccia, but with a new twist!

Crystal and Kim chatted with On-Air On-Soaps for this exclusive, in-depth, and heartfelt interview as a thank you letter to all the fans, and those who helped Venice along the way, and were instrumental in making it a global phenomenon. And while season one did not go off without some major and minor glitches, the gals open up and discuss the perils, agony, and ecstasy of pulling off something so rare, and of such magnitude, to satisfy a rabid and adoring fan base. And through it all, how they remained true to the characters and the stories they set out to tell. There are some major announcements contained below, some behind-the-scenes snippets never before revealed, and so much more. Congratulations to all on Venice. We were happy to be part of the ride of season one, and look forward to an even more exciting second season. So, read on!

MICHAEL:

The two of you have gone through the process of season one, and those in the know were aware that there were some things that were easier to accomplish than others.  What was the easy part and what were the moments that you were, for a lack of a better word, in shock over?

CRYSTAL:

Let me timeline it first.  It started a year ago on April 1st and with Big Purple Dreams and Destini.  She did some amazing pod casts for that site with Otalia, and she encouraged me to get on Twitter.

MICHAEL:

So, Destini is actually to blame for your addiction to Twitter?

CRYSTAL:

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Yes, and it’s her fault, really. (Laughs)  And I am glad I took her advice, because it gave people a place to go.  And for the Otalia fans, at that point, we conceived the web story of Venice and laid out these characters from all walks of life.  So it was a great way to talk about Venice and take Otalia and give them a new home.  Then, I convinced Kimmy to Twitter and that is my fault, I will take that one! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

What was the point when you knew in your heart you needed to keep the Otalia characters going in some fashion?

CRYSTAL:

We got the notice of Guiding Light’s cancellation on April 1st, and someone mentioned we would stop shooting mid-August, and that is when we ended.  Knowing it was coming to an end, I called P&G and I suggested to them, either take us to As the World Turns or create a web series.  I had wanted to do something on the web for a long time and this seemed to be a perfect opportunity to do that, and give the Otalia fans a new home.

MICHAEL:

Once you were looking for a new home, it wasn’t easy!

CRYSTAL:

I felt like the only place to go was the web, and it’s the only place where we could take a show like Venice and have the creative freedom to tell story like we want to tell it.  But it was obvious to me that social networking was the way to get the message out there, and guide people in the way we’d hope they would go.  That was a year ago last week, and they jumped and they were so happy.  Personally, I know I felt, “Ok, this is the right thing to do.”

KIM:

And through Twitter, I started this Twitter banter with a person, who is a Florida Gator, and I am a Florida State Seminole.  We started this back and forth sort of thing.  And then she emailed me.  She is a genius when it comes to social networking and the web, and she reached out to me.  Her nickname was “Stu” and she said, “I am actually going to be in California.  I have an idea for you, if you want to meet me.”  And so I met her for a drink, and she was so smart and she talked about Facebook, and she said she wanted to do a Facebook page for me and Crystal.  She told me she was going to do this with another person nicknamed “Junk”, and they created our Facebook. They told us they were going to go live.  Crystal and I were watching this going, “Oh, my gosh,” and it gave them another place to take this Otalia storyline.  And with Venice, it mushroomed and exploded, and that was through a Twitter connection.  They are part of our team to this day and are amazing.

Courtesy/Venice

MICHAEL:

When was Kimmy on board for writing season one of Venice?

CRYSTAL:

I spoke to her a week after Guiding Light was canceled, which would be a year go this week.

MICHAEL:

What was your take away from the end of Otalia, and portraying the love of these two women, Olivia and Natalia?

CRYSTAL:

It’s really magical when two women in the most loving respectful way can play something this meaningful.  Jessica Leccia and I are both, ‘girl’s girl’, and there was never any ….alright I just came out.   I love kissing her, too (Laughs)

KIM:

I loved watching it!  As soon as Crystal came on the show, she is my best friend, so whatever show she is on I watch.  I watched her on Days of our Lives when she was on, and when she went over to Guiding Light. I fell madly in love with that storyline.  I could not believe it.   I remember when she called and said, “You are not going to believe my new storyline.”  And it was shocking!  I was so proud of the way it was played out, and it was so believable. Crystal shared some of the letters she had gotten, and some of the letters we get on a daily basis with Venice, and it all goes back to the core. And the core is the Otalia fans.  They are the ones, who with all the little glitches that continued to go wrong, said, “We were on this adventure”. And they are the ones who stuck with us through thick and thin, even though Jessica and Crystal were not going to be the ones that were together in Venice. They invested in these two women and that was amazing!

MICHAEL:

Kim, as a writer, weren’t there some things you would have liked to have seen written differently in the Otalia storyline, or where you went, “I can write this better?”

KIM:

Courtesy/Venice

I will admit I thought there were some moments that were missed opportunities. What I said was, “God, I would love to have these two women and write for them somewhere else where somebody doesn’t say, “Whoops, you can’t do that.”  Oh, for sure.   Their chemistry is what it is.  I don’t care, straight or gay, you can’t watch those two on-screen be together; it could be having sex, kissing or just talking, and they have that kind of chemistry.  As a writer, you just dream to have that happen. Yeah, I watched a couple of moments and went, “Jesus, I want them.”

MICHAEL:

So what was the next hurdle in the Venice journey?

CRYSTAL:

Sometime during the summer, Hope Royaltey got in touch with me.  She had heard about Venice and knew we were creating a series for the web, and called to be part of the team as more of a technical person and also a co-director. I did not know anything about creating a website.  I knew how to surf the web and shop!  I did not know about bandwidth and what not.  Then that led us into pre-production, and production in October.  But here is where it gets to be really amazing.  I want people to understand that this group of people worked tirelessly for nothing.  I know the fans appreciate everything, and I feel I need to mention certain people’s name who helped us along the way.  There is a lovely associate producer, Kim Di Tomasso, who has a very big day job, and she has been on board from the beginning, not only a kind person, but smart.  We would call her in a panic and say, “I need a Venice logo on some panties.”  And she would be running out the door, so we could get the Venice logo on some panties!

KIM:

She literally was at a political fundraiser and Crystal and I were like, “Oh, My God.  Well, we want to post this picture and can you get a logo for it?”  Here she was at this fundraiser and she did it.  She was so excited to do it.

CRYSTAL:

She thinks about the show and the fans as well.  That goes for Leslie Penny as well.  She worked so tirelessly on this.  Well, between Kimmy, Leslie and Kim, we wanted to make it the fan’s show.  I have told you that from the beginning and they have all answered emails directly. We are here… someone is going to get back to you.

KIM:

I don’t think people realize the honest to God’s truth that the month of December when we had some issues with our store that did not go right our fan club president and other women got involved with it. Crystal and I were at a college gymnasium with the girl’s volleyball team who volunteered to help us…

© Adam Bouska

CRYSTAL:

We would like to thank them, too… (Laughs)

KIM:

We were literally packing panties and T-shirts for twelve hours.  I would be calling people going, “Hi, this is Kimmy from Venice and I have your order here.  Crystal just needs to know, did you get your boxers?”  And they were like, “What?”  My living room during the Christmas holidays had tables of all the merchandise, and while everyone was Christmas shopping, Michelle Carter and Crystal and I, were in my living room packing things up and taking them to the post office.  Not really glamorous!

CRYSTAL:

We got to know a lot of people on Twitter doing that, and they understood. We would say, “We are telling you right now…we are packing your panties”.   I want to mention Maria Macina and Jay Bungay, and Lane Crouse, these are all my Guiding Light friends.  I called Maria, who was one of the GL producers, a week before Christmas, and she comes from a very close Italian family, and Christmas is a big Italian family day.  I did not know about this, but I am trying to get myself invited next year! (Laughs)  She has got to cook for twenty- some people.  I call her the week before in a panic and I say, “Maria, what if I flew you out here the week before Christmas, and what if you edit episodes 3 to 12.  How would that be?”  We were not going to make our deadline, and she said, “I heard the panic in your voice, and of course, I would do it.”  And so she left her family with her parent’s blessings, and stayed in my home with me.  I watched her edit episode 3 to 12 in five days with no sleep.  And then Maria suggested Jay and Lane.  Jay is a miraculous finishing editor who does amazing things with audio, and Lane is amazing as a color correcting artist.

MICHAEL:

They did it for free?

CRYSTAL:

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No. I actually paid Maria, Jay and Laney.  I gave them some money because I didn’t feel I could just pull them in on Christmas and not pay them.  I will say, Jay wanted to be part of this from the beginning, and Maria is my friend and would have done it for nothing. But I felt like I should compensate them for that.  The point is, this show got out on time because of those three people.  And we got a great new company and redesigned our entire website.  We have a lot of good stuff happening in the next two to three weeks.  It’s very functional.  It’s beautiful and its with a company called Purple Crayons out of Colorado, and they have been very helpful.  The bottom line is, it’s been the fans who have been understanding, forgiving, and patient, and that is not lost on us.  So, I want to put that out there, and let them know about these other people who really wanted it to work for them, too.

KIM:

Actually, when Maria was out here I proposed, I did.  I walked in and said, “You need to marry me.”  And I think she thought I was crazy.  It was the first time I met her and I proposed to her.  That is the kind of tight schedule we were on.  I really did propose to her when I saw the work she was doing.  I literally sat in front of the computer and wept.  Crystal and I were so tired, but we kept saying, “We can’t let the fans down.”  And they were and are so loyal, and it’s almost unbelievable!

MICHAEL:

Never have I seen in 20 years of covering daytime, what you have managed to do with Venice. You truly deserve so much credit to cultivate the audience, and do an online show.  It was almost like a labor of love between the fans, the press, and the both of you. This project had such far reaching effects going on with it, and everybody wanted the same end goal; that this show would be up there, successful, and to do the story you wanted to tell.

KIM:

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Overall, I am proud of what we accomplished with what we had, and all the bumps that hit us that we weren’t expecting.  For me, to watch the actor’s work, and when I tweet out, ‘they are a writer’s dream’, I mean that from the bottom of my heart.  When you write something it is close to your heart, and Crystal and I spent so much time together with it.  When you have someone like Jordan Clarke…and this is one of my favorite moments, ever.  My phone rings and its Jordan.  He goes, “Hey Kimmy, its Jordan.  I think I am going to buzz cut my hair and grow a moustache.  Don’t tell Crystal.  I want to surprise her.  Don’t you think that would be great for the Colonel?”  Well, it took my breath away.  The actors invested so much and it was certainly not lost on us.  And when Nadia Bjorlin came in an hour before shooting, her response was, “I read the script and I liked her.  I will be there an hour.”  This was an episode Crystal was directing and it was she in make-up talking to her about Lara.  I was concerned.  I said, “What about all the dialog?”  And Crystal said, “Don’t worry about the dialog, she works in daytime.”  Then I watched Crystal direct Nadia and Jessica, and let me tell you, they have the hottest love scene in season two!

CRYSTAL:

Kim will be icing the nipples in her own unique way for that one.

KIM:

…With my assistant, Brandon Beemer.  He is my new boy toy.  I want to say my girlfriend is completely supportive of it!  She likes him, too.  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Of all the things that people were questioning one was what went on with the server issues?

CRYSTAL:

We got hard fast education on streaming and servers and bandwidth, and it was a crash course in web design.

KIM:

Crystal and I were on the phone together, if we are not in the same room every night, while all this was happening with trying to fix it and reaching out to people we know.  Look, we know we went to Amazon and went with Cloud Servers and we went with ten of them to prevent crashing.  But there was no way for us to know we needed ten Cloud Servers until Purple Crayon told us.  And when you are thinking, “OK,” and when you go to streaming servers, I don’t think that anybody could handle these amounts of fans, and so it was a great problem to have and we have worked it out.  Literally, there were moments where we were like, “Holy Shit!  Is this really happening?”

MICHAEL:

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I remember so vividly the first night the site launched, when so many people tried to view the first episode of Venice and could not get on to see it!

KIM:

It was happening, and we did not know it, because we were in Las Vegas hanging out with 200 Guiding Light/Otalia die hard fans.  We had DVD’s for them of Venice. So we are sitting there going, “Well, I hope everyone is enjoying the show,” while we were watching our phones as they were ringing off the hook.

CRYSTAL:

…and I am thinking, “It’s probably our families telling us how good we are.” (Laughs)

KIM:

And we get this call, “Half the friggin country can’t get on!”

MICHAEL:

What did you do when you heard that?

KIM:

You know while we were there trying to show the love, it was an amazing gathering and behind the scenes it was wild.  We spent two and half-hours with the fans, and then we went upstairs and had every single phone in use.  I had one of our other good friends there, and my girlfriend was with us and all four phones were dialing, Leslie, Kim, and everybody going, “What the hell is going on?  How can we fix this?”  And that was what we did for three hours.  Then I was like, “Crystal, we have to go downstairs and gamble.” The next morning at 5AM my phone went off and it was Crystal.  She says, “OK, I ordered coffee and here is what we are going to do!”  And that was our December.

CRYSTAL:

Courtesy/Venice

And that is when the education began for me, and that is when I knew I needed to understand thoroughly what it takes to do a web show.  It’s one thing to come up with a marketing plan, but it became about how do we technically pull this off?  In the end, it was the best thing that could have happened, because we now know what we are talking about when we talk.

MICHAEL:

You received pushback from many online soap competitors and critics for charging a subscription rate of $9.99 for fans to see the webisodes.  Looking back, do you still think this was a good idea?

CRYSTAL:

I was on Twitter and I asked, “What would you pay?  Would you pay $9.99?”  I don’t regret our decision.  It helped fund season two.

KIM:

It’s extremely costly to stream video.

CRYSTAL:

And I don’t think people realize that.  We offered a streaming subscription for $9.99; we extended it an additional two months. That is a lot of money for those extra two months, but we wanted to give people that.

KIM:

It’s expensive to dedicate ten servers, and even if we don’t use all ten. Crystal and I decided, “Look we don’t want crashing, and what’s it going to take for us on a Friday night to know that we can have a drink?”  And so the magic number was ten servers.  We pay for them, and when people are watching the episodes over and over and over 50 times, those cost us money, and you have to be able to do something to be able to get them the show that they want.

CRYSTAL:

The other thing is this: I literally had people sending me checks for thousands of dollars with my name on them.  I had one woman offer me $10,000 because she wanted to support the show.  I sent the checks back, except for one where I may have gone shopping. (Laughs)   The idea was if they are so supportive of this, I said, “Take your check and we are going to open a store, and if you want to support the show then go buy a T-shirt.”   So no, it seemed to me like $ 9.99 was a good price point.

MICHAEL:

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So how did it work out for you in season one?  Were you able to make a profit for Venice?

KIM:

I think we are one of the only web series operating in the black, and to make a big strong point by being in the black, we are rolling that into season two.  We have not seen one dime.  Crystal acted the whole time and directed.  I wrote the first season and the second season with no money.  Every dime that we have made is going back into the show.

CRYSTAL:

And the crew and the actors last season did it all for free.  Going into season two, the hope is, to be able to pay the actors and keep them under contract for season two and three, and hopefully, to be able to get sponsorship.  And we are putting the media kit together now.  We will see where it goes.  My hope and my goal is to give season two away for free to everybody.  Honestly, it’s the loyalty to the fans.  I said if we can do the subscription for season one, we might be able to pull off-season two for free.  They trusted me and it’s looking like that is what’s going to happen. 

MICHAEL:

Many fans were curious and asked me if this was the script you wrote Kimmy that we saw on-screen in season one, or did the actors influence or change the script?

CRYSTAL:

It’s very interesting.  I learned from soaps that the actors are not allowed to talk to the writers, and that is just how it goes.  That is not what we would do.  Just like the Twitter community that has come together for this, we are very open and very available, and what ever you have to offer, we want to hear it.  I improvise all the time.  I am the worst person, and I did not say everything that was in Kimmy’s script.  We added stuff.

KIM:

And it all worked, and I come from a different viewpoint.  I love actors and I love collaborating with them, and I worked with every single actor before the final script went to them.  Then on set, somebody was feeling something.  Crystal and I said, “Change it up.”  I am not an egomaniac.  I am not married to anything.  There is nothing that anybody did that switched the scope of where we were going in a scene.  If you don’t say the exact words, I don’t care.  For the actors, they were so respectful.

CRYSTAL:

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There was a scene with Gina Tognoni and Galen Gering and Galen said, “Fuck” and Gina on set went, “Are we allowed to say that?” And we went, “Yup. You sure can.”  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Are you thinking of longer webisodes for season two?

CRYSTAL:

Yes, I am thinking 12 minutes webisodes for season two.

MICHAEL:

Kimmy, it would then seem fans would get a bonus, in that you would have to write more story to accommodate the longer webisodes?

KIM:

This season’s script is longer and it’s been a joy.  And the hardest part is, it’s very hard to develop a character in six minutes.  Crystal and I know the big picture and translating it on screen is another thing.  It really helped having seasoned professionals, being the actors, and what they added with their own pizzazz.  In writing season two, you know what you can write to, which is their strength.  I know what they can deliver.  My dream would be to have Venice be a thirty-minute series, if I could have this cast.  You are dealing with what you are dealing with… the constraints of the web.  Season two will be written a bit differently, but when you get those extra couple of minutes to flesh out some more, it enhances the experience.

MICHAEL:

As head writer, what would you say were the defining on-screen moments of season one for you?

KIM:

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For me, there were several, but my favorite line in the entire show is when Gina stands up to the Colonel.  I was watching the monitor and I was speechless.  It was a great moment and I cried.  It was shot in my home which doubles as the Colonel’s house, and first of all the delivery was ridiculous.  I think it resonated with so many people.  The letters we got after that took my breath away, and the other moments for me personally, that were great I have said it before.  It was the moment Crystal was directing Jessica and Nadia.  I stepped into friend mode.  I know she has wanted to do this for so long, and for her to be so good and organized was something to see. I watched the way she treated those two and I thought: “My God, what a great moment and for me to watch her do that.”  There is a moment when you think, “Oh God, she has been Jessica’s girl for all this time.”  How are you going to say, “Now this is what I want you to do, so that now you guys have this amazing moment?”  And she did so, without any regard to where she was with Jessica.  I also loved the moments with Ani and Gina on the beach together where they were talking, and it was so painful and real, and I loved the dates.  I loved Galen and Hillary and Crystal’s chemistry, and the love scene with Crystal and Jessica.

CRYSTAL:

I was thinking about it today, and I can’t wait to backlight the love scene in season two. It’s going to be beautiful; it’s Nadia Bjorlin, and it’s a lot of pretty.

KIM:

And there is a whole lot of ‘pretty’ coming on the show.  There is a lot to look at in season two.

CRYSTAL:

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In regards to season two, we are going to see that Gina is going to start her healing process, and a lot of stuff is going to happen between she and the Colonel.  We are going to discover some not so attractive things about Lara, and Ani is going to figure a few things out.  There is a beautiful story being played by Galen and Gina, and then Van is coming back to town, who is Guya’s son.  And…. he is a nasty sexy bastard!

KIM:

Season two is going to turn Venice upside down a bit.  It’s been really fun for me and Crystal to break out story together.

MICHAEL:

How many new characters can we expect?

KIM:

Three, and then there are going to be some characters that are going to be in a couple of episodes that I think people are going to really, really, really love.  Lucky us!

MICHAEL:

Have you cast anybody?  Can you let one out of the bag for us?

CRYSTAL:

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Yup!  Jeff Branson is coming on board as Van!  So it will be Gina and Jeff and Galen, in a story, and that is going to be messy.

KIM:

I am not going to say he is bad.

CRYSTAL:

He has something to resolve.

MICHAEL:

Well, he better not bail on Venice this time!  Last time you cast him as your brother and he could not do season one!

CRYSTAL:

Jeff Branson is a friend of mine.  I am going to kick his ass if he takes another show this time! (Laughs).   We also have some great people who have approached us about directing.  I ran into Susan Flannery at Frances Reid’s celebration.  I asked Susan, “I would like you to come direct a little bit,” but I made it clear she was not getting the nipples scene.  She was so gracious and said, “I would love to do it.”  I am also going to direct more in season two.

MICHAEL:

So when can the fans expect to see season two?  What is the plan for production and launch?

CRYSTAL:

I am thinking it’s going to be first week of June and July, but what we are going to do is fly out our team and they will be editing while we shoot.  I think by the end of July we can have all the episodes shot and mostly edited.  So probably August, it will hit the web.

MICHAEL:

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Will this season see the same amount of webisodes?

CRYSTAL:

Yes.  We are still shooting for 12 episodes of 12 minutes each.

MICHAEL:

I want to ask the two of you since you brought Venice to life for the LGBT community and the mainstream, what did you think of the abrupt firing of Brett Claywell and Scott Evans on One Life to Live, and the decision by ABC and One Life to end the Kish storyline?

CRYSTAL:

I was surprised by that.  Here is something I want to say; when I saw the success of Otalia, a love story, these grown women fondled each others knuckles more then they should ever have to, without being able to move forward, and after that there seemed to be certainly Nuke on World Turns, who were already there and going strong.  But there certainly seemed to be this emergence of male gay love stories…Y&R, and then One Life.  I was very happy to see any kind of story being told with same-sex characters.  It is very disheartening and I was so disappointed.  I don’t know the circumstances and I know everyone is dealing with budgets.  It seemed to be working and so I don’t get that.

KIM:

I am actually, as a gay person, disgusted and saddened by it.  Not only was it working, for the life of me…

Courtesy/Venice

CRYSTAL:

…. My point is that the Otalia coupling got so much attention…it makes me uncomfortable to think, and I am not suggesting this is what happened, but that people would think or create gay characters for daytime and then, so what happened?  You have to play it out, and it has to be something that is taken seriously.

KIM:

Don’t abandon it.

MICHAEL:

I have had so many conversations, talked on this subject so many times, but it feels like the gay audience feels like they get to a certain place and then dropped from mainstream television culture, and no one follows through, and rightfully so, they should be upset.  Then you have Middle America housewives with families also, who fall in love with these same-sex couples and tell me they are their favorites on the show, and yet they are ceasing to exist on daytime television for various reasons.

CRYSTAL:

To a point, it’s one of things I appreciated about Guiding Light with Otalia.  They made it a love story.  However, the lack of a kiss was disgusting and ridiculous.

KIM:

And they put out a love story, and the sad part about it is, a love story is a love story.  People say, how do you write gay characters?  I write all characters the same in the regard that love is love.  I will hold to that until I am in the ground.  I don’t care who you are, or your gender, or your color.  If you are going to invest in the same sex storyline then please, dear God, the gay community is in these relationships and you can’t just abandon it.

CRYSTAL:

I had a fear when I was working on Guiding Light when I realized we were touching foreheads.  I understand building suspense and longing, but then the realization hit me that they are never going to let these two women kiss.  And I thought, in some small, small way, that I appreciate that Otalia can go off.  I was afraid of what would happen if something ridiculous happens that Olivia decides all of a sudden, “I am heterosexual.” You know what I am saying?  I just did not want it to be debased in any way.  I love where people go with that, and that is my one small gratitude about the show being canceled was that I was concerned about what would have happened.

MICHAEL:

Season two… tease it for me?

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KIM:

I think there is going to be some surprise for the fans.  They are going to see all different sides of lead characters that they did not know existed.  There are secrets, lies, and deceptions.

MICHAEL:

And sex scenes?

CRYSTAL:

Listen, I am determined to get Nadia Bjorlin’s nipple.  I have written the words, “Close up on Nadia’s nipple”.

MICHAEL:

Crystal, you have something you wanted to announce about your company, and some changes and some new directions?

CRYSTAL:

Yes. We have had an amazing journey this year, and obviously the fans have been the only reason we have been successful, but as Open Book Productions we have another show that is in pre-production that will involve some of the same cast members of Venice. Open Book Productions, now consists of just me and Kim.  Hope is no longer with us, but we wish her all the best.

KIM:

We are very excited.  We have a show in development, and this is something we are going to shoot along with Venice, and it’s more of a reality show, and going to involve Twitter.  Both of us have been reading scripts, and have been taking meetings with other people who want us to produce their stuff, and there are some other things on our development slate.  So, Open Book Productions is moving forward.

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CRYSTAL:

I will tell you that they do cater to the LGBT community and I want to be clear about that.

KIM:

Yes, they do.  And just for a second, I want to set the record straight.  Gina is not giving up her toaster.  Gina is not going to be with a man!

CRYSTAL:

She has been gay since she can remember!  Jesus! (Laughs)

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kelltwomyn
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kelltwomyn

What an incredible interview! Thank you for posting this, Michael, and thank you, Crystal and Kimmy, for setting the record straight on so many issues! I always had faith and you have proven yourselves over and over. Thank you.

happykt
Guest
happykt

One of the best Crystal Chappell interviews ever! Thanks for doing this Michael! I love CC!!!!!!

Pat
Guest
Pat

Thank you for posting another great interview! I’m personally excited to see where things will go in season two, now that the technical issues seem to have been resolved for the most part. And that promise of the hottest love scene ever between Lara and Ani? Let’s just say I’m going *THUD* already at just the mere thought of it, lol.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

thanks Michael for the fabulous interview, we got to know more about how the ladies kept their promise and give us Venice! it’s gonna be hard to watch Jessica having a love scene with someone other than Crystal, but ..I can’t wait to see the labour of love directing by Crystal.

soulgirl65
Guest
soulgirl65

Thank you Michael Fairman for this wonderful and insightful interview with the lovely Crystal Chappell and the very talented Kim Turrisi.I am so looking forward to season 2 of Venicetheseries.

PattiC14
Guest
PattiC14

LOVED this interview! Thank you Crystal and Kimmy for taking the time to do this interview! As a long time fan of Crystal’s, I am so proud for her in this venture, and especially proud that she’s able to share it with one of her best friends! I’m thankful that I’m able to witness such a wonderful piece of work! For any of those that complained about $9.99…it was worth SO MUCH more than that! I would’ve paid that PER episode! Can’t wait for season 2…I know Crystal and Kimmy will not disappoint! Thank you Michael for a wonderful interview!

Michele
Guest
Michele

Hopefully, Gina let Tracy go back to London. Although, Ani is with Lara, she still will always love Gina. I want to see some flashbacks from Ani and Gina’s relationship. Great interview.

quietb4storm
Guest
quietb4storm

I was so impressed by this interview. Kimmy and Crystal answered things openly and honestly, and we the fans love that. And for the record I would’ve paid more and will pay in the future if necessary. I’m just glad to see someone telling “our” story. The LGBT community loves that – I love that. I love Kimmy and Crystal and will continue to support them in any way I can.

soho
Guest
soho

What an amazing and informative interview! One of my favorites of the both of them.

Michael, I loved the questions you asked, they weren’t the same ones we always hear, so thank you.

Emporess
Guest
Emporess

Awesome Interview. Great info..looking forward to Venice 2 so exciting. Crystal Chappell and Kim Turrisi are so brillant and funny and I just adore them. Thanks Michael F. for the great questions! BRAVO!

EE_P
Guest
EE_P

Thank you Michael! I think I love you.

teeptmn
Guest
teeptmn

Great interview very open ,sincere & funny. Thanks Crystal and Kimmy for all your hard work just know we love you guys as much. Your labor of love has touched our heart and kudos to all that helped. Gotta love the loyal fans for there support keep pumping it up. Now on to all the goodies in season 2 can’t wait did I hear some mention about ice and human anatomy heh. Thanks Michael

UgottaLovett
Guest
UgottaLovett

Oh to be a fan of CC and KT. Love the insight into their world. It is amazing what they have already done and what they plan on doing. Ambitous much? Forever I hope. Brava!

Susi
Guest
Susi

Thank you for this wondeful interview! So very informative and it just proves to me again that Crystal and Kimmy are two very intelligent women who absolutely know what they’re doing. Now I just need to figure out a way to get through til August…

cLu3le55
Guest
cLu3le55

Wow! Thank you for the very enticing and entertaining interview Michael. A few points that were addressed made things a lot clearer and understandable. And being a young entrepreneur, I know how hard it is to try and bring up a company; the word ‘Sacrifice’ always lingers in the air and will never disappear. I envy Venice for having such die-hard fans to support and cheer them on through all the hardships.
Definitely looking forward to more Venice behind-the-scene shinanigans in creating Season 2. (^_^)

Annahgrrl
Guest
Annahgrrl

My official opinion….This was probably the BEST. INTERVIEW. EVAH. with the Venice crew. Refreshingly candid. There were things that I didn’t realize about the cost of streaming video. So a Great Big Thanks for the extra few months of Venice season 1.

“Thanks” just doesn’t seem like enough. These women are extraordinary. I will slip on my respectful objectification cap on for a sec and say…hellz yeah regarding the love scene/nipple tease. I think my brain just melted a smidge. “Toto, we’re not on broadcast tv anymore” .
Thanks Michael for the great interview.

Lee
Guest
Lee

It sounds like Season 2 will be all over the place, like Season 1. For the record, that is not a good thing.

karlayvette
Guest
karlayvette

Very open, honest and informative interview. Thank you Crystal and Kimmy for your hard work and dedication. Looking forward to Season 2 on the edge of my seat. Keep pushing forward into the the exciting worldwide network of web media.

24
Guest
24

Huge Kudos and thanks to you Michael 😉 ..Thanks CC and K xo..Crystal never seizes to amaze me with her talent and her Love for us devoted fans. I know Kimmy was blown away by all us, but she seems to fit right in haha. When Gl was canceled, that was one of the worst days I can remember in my life personally. It wasn’t just a soap for me, but a part of my everyday life and knowing that my hero “Olivia Spencer” was going away, never to be seen again, really hit me hard. Then the next day,… Read more »

Rita
Guest
Rita

Another fabulous interview Michael. I’m so glad that they chose you to interview them as you always ask the right questions. One thing that I really liked about this interview is Crystal and Kim’s honest responses, especially Crystal’s response to the non kiss on Otalia. From all the interviews that I have read/seen, I think this is her most outspoken response, and I respect her so much for that. With regards to Season 2 of Venice, I really hope that they are in a position to do it subscription free this time…I mean I would pay for it if I… Read more »

BetterBet
Guest
BetterBet

Wow. Great interview. The one thing that really bothers me though is that neither Crystal or Kimmy thank Hope. Yeah at the end, “we wish her the best.” It would have been nice to hear “we thank her for all of her hard work.” In fact, Crystal only mentioned Hope one other time, “more of a technical person and also a co-director.” Huh, funny because wasn’t she the 3rd Executive Producer and the Main Director? I have followed Crystal for a long time and I must say it is very disappointing (and eye opening) that she/they did not thank her.… Read more »

VeniceFan
Guest
VeniceFan

I agree with you. When all the technical problems at the launch of the website, Hope worked very hard to solve problems. The directing of season 1 is really great. I also think they could thank her better than that.

Thanks Hope

Alli
Guest
Alli

I agree as well. I was repeatedly disappointed from missed opportunities where Hope should had been thanked or given credit for the work and time she provided.

Hope, thank you.

venicelovah
Guest
venicelovah

Well said! BetterBet! I had always found irony in the fact that their production company is called “open book productions” yet they have always kept the fans completely in the dark about what happened with Hope. It seemed up until they aired the first episode, that Hope was still part of “Team Venice”. Then suddenly, they stopped tweeting her and publicly thanking her? The whole thing just seemed odd to me and honestly, disrespectful of the fans and of Hope. Hope, if you’re reading this, we the fans thank you for your hard work and contribution to Venice. We know… Read more »

puh leeze
Guest
puh leeze

This is ridiculous. Did you demand that Lennon thank McCartney? Should Martin have thanked Lewis? Creative people – like all people —have the right to begin and end relationships . No mud was thrown, and it was all quite respectful. The bottom line is that for whatever reason which we will never know, the association did not work out and ended rather amicably.Your statement that “it couldn’t have happened” without the previously iunknown Hope Royaltey is honestly utterly without support. The brains and engine for Venice is CC, who put herself way out there in a way no other has… Read more »

Keshia
Guest
Keshia

awesome friggin interview..thank you Crystal, Kimmy and Michael

TNjane
Guest
TNjane

Great job Michael. You, Mimi, and Destini always ask the questions that we the fans need answered and you don’t hold back.

ramzeee68
Guest
ramzeee68

Thank you Michael for this wonderful interview with our girls Crystal and Kimmy. I am continually impressed with C & K and what they are doing for their fans of Venice. I will forever follow them. C & K did an extraordinary job fixing the issues on the fly and I believe Season 2 will be better because of it. I’m so happy that they will be able to roll over what they made from Season 1 to Season 2. Even if Season 2 ends up to be subscription based, i will pay anything to keep this series going. I… Read more »

RockieSoul
Guest
RockieSoul

This interview was Fantastic… Thank you Mr. Fairman, Ms. Chappell and Ms. Turrisi….

coachbqueen
Guest
coachbqueen

Thank you Michael for an awesome interview. Your questions were spot on . I love hearing to what lengths Crystal and Kimmy went to in order to give the fans what they wanted. They were always so positive throughout the first season but I knew it had to be extremely difficult and they had some major hurdles they had to overcome. Thank you for giving us insights into what they really endured. And thank you Crystal and Kimmy for being so devoted to this project. I think it’s important that you guys know you are reaching out to many diffferent… Read more »

KelsMinUSA
Guest
KelsMinUSA

Freakin loved this interview. I’m so excited for Season 2 as I just ordered Season 1 on DVD from the Vstore 🙂 Crystal Chappell is simply amazing!

zenobie
Guest
zenobie

j’ai adoré lire cet interview; merci à vous toutes pour l’effort accompli : le résultat est au-delà de ce que l’on rêvait ! merci au journaliste qui posait les bonnes questions avec respect et intelligence et on vous souhaite vraiment le meilleur pour la suite, avec, il faut l’espérer, moins de problèmes techniques et plus d’amusement pour vous
on vous adore !

angelkitty
Guest
angelkitty

I agree with everyone else. This was one of the best interviews with Crystal and Kimmy. The quesitons were what most people wanted to ask and the answers were honest and insightful. I have been on this “journey” since the beginning and I have embraced the ups and downs along the way. I am glad they addressed the major issues. Hopefully, they will be a blessing in the long run and it sounds like they learned from them. I never had a problem with paying for content. Glad to hear that Season 2 may be free. So I plan on… Read more »

BethboWV
Guest
BethboWV

I really loved the interview thank you! Just bought S1 on dvd, and can’t wait for S2 it’s like anticipation for Christmas! It means so much to me that Crystal & Kimmy, and the rest of the crew really care about their fans! I have been a fan of Crystal’s for over 20yrs, she never ceases to amaze me how wonderful she is! I hope to be watching her for many years to come on television & on the web! Keep it comin’ cause I can’t get enough!

natjaku
Guest
natjaku

This is the defining interview Michael, Kim and Crystal. Every aspect of it is informative and gorgeous. Thank you so much for not only bringing the LGBT community amazing and enduring characters but also for bringing so many wonderful people together through this totally awesome adventure. Your courage, honesty, work ethic, fun-loving spirit and the relationships you are forging and re-affirming along the way is just so inspiring and really leaves me in awe. (Brave comment in there too Crystal – thanks for the insight into what you felt about Otalia not kissing! And also agree that although incredibly sad,… Read more »

willie robinson
Guest
willie robinson

loved the interview, as long i can see cc and jl on screen i am always on board. can not wait for season two.

perla
Guest
perla

Wow this is a great interview, I got so much insight from everything these lady’s and the whole Vteam did during the production of S1 and now also S2 so grateful for all this wonderful people did for the fans. Just can’t wait for the next season to start, and I don’t mind paying this coming season. to all the great people that made this possible thank you so much.

MF you did a wonderful job on this interview thank you very much

Julie
Guest
Julie

Crystal and Kimmy and the rest involved in Venice, I think we all knew your efforts were super human at times but I don’t think enough can be said about your efforts and vision. You championed through some very hard times and took a lot of grief other times. As a loyal Venice watchers I can’t say enough about your perserverance. You are doing great by your fan base and as webseries innovators, plus you are not selling out the storyline. I hope I get to support Venice for a long, long time. Thanks.

curleenshoy1
Guest
curleenshoy1

thank you for such a honest interview, i alway believe in crystal words she told us what she and kimmy was about to do and my friend and i said well sink or swim we will back them all the way so thank you cc and kimmy, from our heart to your,. it will be hard to watch JL make love with someone else. when will we every see ANI AND gina again, together like an old marries couples

SpaceMom
Guest
SpaceMom

Bravo! Thanks for the wonderful interview. I can’t wait for Venice, Season 2 … and now I’m even more anxious, with the hints of what we can expect.

Thanks Kimmy & Crystal 🙂

MH20001
Guest
MH20001

During the time there was some complaints about CC and Venice, I wrote something over on the Venice the series youtube site in support of CC and the cast and crew, after reading this wonderful interview I’am so glad I did, this interview backed everything I said. CC and Kimmy to both of you and the cast and crew, I give a standing ovation for the work you all have done.

FrogProd
Guest
FrogProd

Like everyone here….great interview and I got the questions answered I was ruminating about. I have been a fan off Crystal for over 20 years and was FINALLY able to meet her in MN for the “HER HRC” event….and what I love about her is she is so genuine. What you see here is the real deal. I appreciated that so much as I was completely nervous and excited for this chance of a lifetime to finally meet her!! She totally set me at ease and talks to you with full attention and acts like she wants to really get… Read more »

hachiomaru
Guest
hachiomaru

Thanks Michael, Crystal & Kimmy! Fantastic interview! Have appreciated all your hard work on this labor of love…Venice..for all of us. You have a lot of fans supporting you no matter the ups and downs. We are here for you, too! Any help you need, we are there, just ask. Can’t wait for S2. Jessie & Nadia are quite the hot couple. Jessie is just fabulous in this series. Looking forward to more of CC’s directing. Thanks for everything you do. The new venture sounds intriguing! Love you! Happy to pay a subscription to give the budget you need to… Read more »

shunt
Guest
shunt

Michael this was a very informative interview, good questions and honest responses. I also am amazed at all CC and Kimmy have been able to accomplish. Their ability to learn and deal with the problems as they are on this journey is something we could all take a lesson from these days. I am looking forward to Season 2 of Venice. I am also a CC fan forever.

Jobadge
Guest
Jobadge

What an amazing interview! Such a insight to the behind the scenes workings of a very short timed and intense labour of love in order to bring Venice to the fans. Its very humbling to see how much work these guys put into this because its what they believe in. I was a newer Otalia fan as in the UK we didn’t have Guiding Light, but once on board the ride was amazing and so it brought us Venice and thus introduced me to Nadia Bjorlin. Jeepers that is some woman, I now find myself as fixated on her as… Read more »

crystalfan
Guest
crystalfan

Great interview with crystal and kimmy,nice questions asked and great answers.Did a great job of getting series up ,with the huge volume of peeps wanting to watch.I read on a board ,someone mentioned that they thought you guys did fantastic on a shoestring budget,when they saw the trouble a major network had trying to stream olympic coverage on the net .Oh and i hope that gina and lara get together somewhere down the line ,because crystal and nadia have such great chemistry,and i loved the pic of their smooch ,and the dirty dancing shot.,lol.

MarylandOtaliaFan
Guest
MarylandOtaliaFan

I appreciate what CC and KT are saying and doing, but Otalia was my love story, and Venice is very bittersweet, it just reminds me of how mad I am at CBS and P&G all over again, tho I agree there was a real silver lining in cancelling that venerable soap and giving us one of the few real love stories with a happy ending that we’ll ever see. Otalia was very, very special. Nothing can replace it. I’m not thrilled at seeing ‘my couple’ interacting with others. I want a romantic love story goshdarnit! I don’t want to see… Read more »

indigo8014
Guest
indigo8014

Thanks for such a wonderful interview with Crystal and Kimmy!! I will support anything they do! They are such awesome people! I feel very lucky that I got to experience watching the 1st Venice episode in Vegas with them!

AKDwyer
Guest
AKDwyer

I was one of the fortunate ones to be in Vegas watching ep1 with Crystal and Kimmy Friday night and then the next day, at the GL Q and A, I declared my coming out because of the Otalia storyline. I am now engaged to my love. Crystal and Jessica are a direct contribution to my happiness. I will forever be grateful to you and the LGBT community. Keep up the awesome work and we can’t wait for the upcoming seasons. I’d pay a lot more than just $10 each for the rest of the seasons. Thank you!!! XOXO Awesome… Read more »

shella
Guest
shella

Hello Kimmy/Crystal Todos nós sabemos que o sucesso de VENEZA deve-se ao vasto público, ao grande número de fãs de Otália e as magnificas interpretações destas duas personagens. É claro que não faz sentido nenhum que este casal Gina e Ani não acabem juntas, seria uma grande desilusão, até porque só teria sentido isso acontecer se Otália não tivesse a sua história. Agora pergunto? Porque razão Kimmy/crystal não dão outro seguimento a estes dois personagens, todos sabemos que todas as series/novelas, o desenrolar das mesmas são praticamente iguais só mudam os cenários, personagens, texto etc, o contexto é quase sempre… Read more »

Jeannette Doswell
Guest
Jeannette Doswell

Crystal and Kimmy, This is a very insightful interview! We learned about the early and ongoing struggles of Venice, your first web show experience, which is inspirational. Your Dream was Ambitious, your Effort a Sacrifice and the Result, Extraordinary. Your story is a true testimony to what can be accomplished when a person has vision, fortitude, focus and sweat equity. I’m certain the wet spills of your occasional tears and sweat almost drowned you and you seemed as though you were up a web creek without a server paddle. But your resilience foiled your fears and you were able to… Read more »

JT
Guest
JT

What an amazing interview – thanks for bringing it to us!! It just highlighted how hard we KNEW everyone was working to bring us Venice and take Otalia to the level it should always have been at in Guiding Light.
I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone involved for making Venice – I never lost faith for one minute that it would be anything less than fantastic!! I can’t wait for Season 2.
Crystal and Kimmie – two amazing women!! 🙂

Gio
Guest
Gio

Great interview!..
By the way, what did Crystal mean by her comment when she said that Susan Flannery wanted to do some directing, just that she was”not getting the nipples scene”? Did I miss something?

Lizzy
Guest
Lizzy

I think its awsome that their are actresses out there that are so dedicated to thier fans that they continue the story line in a round about way. I like to right my own little short lesbian stories sadly im not much of a writer for one my spelling and punctuation suck bad. But my friends all enjoy reading them and giveing feedback my bff seems to like to edit them as well as read them. Where i live we have a small gay community there are many gay bars but almost all are hours away except our little hole… Read more »

anita
Guest
anita

Awesome awesome awesome interview. I love how candid they are, how open, it’s something to be admired and encouraged. I love these women…

Giving Owl
Guest
Giving Owl

What a great interview. CC and Kim are so authentic and genuine. Thanks for staying REAL, ladies. And by the way, I never thought that $9.99 was an excessive cost. As a matter of fact, I did I little math of my own and it goes like this: 12 epis X 5 min average length = 60 mins, I believe there were 3 or 4 behind the scenes specials = 15 mins = total 75 mins and that’s a very conservative estimate as I am sure the total time was more than that. Which means that the price of one… Read more »

stoker315
Guest
stoker315

Thanks so much for a wonderful story. A university assignment a couple of years ago asked what is the most radical feminist thing that you have done…. I have to admire people who risk to benefit others; publicly supporting the LGBT community is a huge risk. I have to admire CC and KT for their efforts. I also think that it is an amazing individual who inspires so much trust from those people that actually know her that CC is able to get people to come on board for this project, because they believe in her, and want to support… Read more »

General Hospital

GH’s Laura Wright Talks on Mob Boss Carly and Her 30-Year Evolution in Daytime

She’s a fierce, force to be reckoned with, one who delivers raw and emotional performances time and time again, while never forgetting from where she came, and always willing to pass on to her newer co-stars’ the wisdom she gained from the grind of performing in front of the camera in the toughest acting genre there is … daytime drama.

General Hospital’s Laura Wright’s (Carly) real-life soap journey actually has a very humble beginning when in 1991 – fresh off a job at a gas station – she landed in Corinth and the role of Ally Rescott on ABC’s Loving.  Up next, a jaunt to its re-imagined version, The City, until the series ultimate demise in 1997. But that was just an appetizer for soap fans of Wright’s burgeoning talent, when next she ventured to Springfield and CBS’ Guiding Light to take on the role of a stripper with a heart-of-gold who ultimately would be crowned a princess, Cassie Layne. Then, after a popular 8-year-run, she would head to General Hospital, and one of the most coveted roles in soaps, that of Port Charles’ Carly Corinthos following in the footsteps of powerhouse actresses, Sarah Brown and Tamara Braun. In her 20th year in daytime, Laura took home the gold for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series back in 2011, and that brings us to now.  Next week on June 7th, marks Laura’s 30th year in daytime filled with memorable on and off-screen moments that she has cherished.

Meanwhile, currently on GH, Laura is getting to play Carly in a whole new set of circumstances as she enters her three-decade soap anniversary. In story, we find Carly stepping up to run the mob, now that she and everyone else believes her husband, Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) is dead, and while her best friend and mob enforcer, Jason (Steve Burton) had to go on the run. And from the looks of it, Carly is adjusting to the mob boss role quite well … but is she really?

 

Michael Fairman TV spoke with Laura to get the lowdown on Carly’s life without Sonny, which has pushed her front and center into managing crimes and misdemeanors, mafia-style, all to protect the ones she loves, and to reflect on her amazing ride in daytime; which has made her one of the all-time leading ladies of the soaps.  Here’s what Laura shared about it all.

Photo: ABC

When you first found out what the structure of this storyline was going to be, where Sonny was going to “die” along with Julian (William deVry), and then he turns up alive and has amnesia, what was your initial thought?  Did you know how far they were going to take this for Carly, as far as her now running  the mob in Sonny’s place?

LAURA:  I had no idea about the mob part of it until about two months ago. As far as Sonny having amnesia and having another life now, I love those kinds of stories.  It also gives you as an actor something to play, and what else are you going to do with Sonny and Carly?  You can’t really break them up.  You’re talking to the person who is game for almost anything, so I loved it.  What does Carly’s life look like now as everybody believes that Sonny has died? How does she even take care of herself?  For me, it gave me great material to play because of how it all started to crumble.  Ava (Maura West) takes Avery, Cyrus (Jeff Kober) starts taking over the territory and the town, and Carly starts losing all of this security in her life as she knew it in trying to protect her family, and it was scary for her.

Photo: ABC

Of course, viewers could see where this storyline was heading once Carly lit in to Nina (Cynthia Watros), when Nina was in Nixon Falls and saw that Sonny was very much alive! You could see that Nina was going to seek revenge on Carly and not tell her about Sonny, aka “Mike”, all the while getting closer to him.  What do you think Carly would do if she found out that Nina was with Sonny and kept it from her?

LAURA:  You know, Carly before taking over the mob would have been awful, but now… and I was thinking about this the other day …  I’m like, “Carly would go after her with a gun!”

For years, I’ve always loved this idea of, “What if Carly became a mob boss?”

LAURA:  If they did have Carly go after Nina, then Jason and Sonny would be like, “You cannot do this.”  I think there is this blind rage, at least for a moment.  It can’t just be standing there and yelling at her, do you know what I mean?  Carly would probably take action and then Nina would disappear, or it’s like ‘get me away from her because I am going to kill her’ for what this woman did.  So, you have to have at least an episode of that before you come to your senses and realize that you have children and responsibilities, and you’re going to have to do this the right way, but you have to have the moment of losing it.  It’s stealing their life.  It’s great stuff.  My other thoughts are, “Poor Cynthia,” (laughs) because she’s got to be the nicest human being on the planet, and she is so fun to work with, and so great and committed, so we are going to have some interesting times getting through whatever they write.  I have no idea what they’re writing by the way, and I have no idea when it’s going to happen, but I am sure it will be great.

Photo: ABC

With the way GH shoots their taping schedule, I am assuming now you barely see Maurice, because you are basically in two different parts of this interconnecting story?

LAURA:  We shoot by set.  So, if Maurice is working in the morning, and I am scheduled at let’s say at noon, by the time I get there, he’ll be gone.  So, it’s fascinating. It’s kind of running parallel of what is happening on and off screen because I don’t see him at work, either.

Photo: ABC

Carly seems that she is becoming pretty comfortable in this mob role.  There was a scene that recently aired between Diane (Carolyn Hennesy) and Carly, where Carly was discussing her options of what to do with Gladys (Bonnie Burroughs).  Does Carly like the power this brings her?

LAURA:  I think so, but it’s not like she’s sitting around going, “Oh, this is amazing.”  It’s seriously what she has to do.  What she is seeing is that there are so many moving parts that she didn’t realize how difficult it was.  Sonny made it look easy.  There’s not a time to even take a breath.  You’ve got to always be on your toes.  You know, she is doing it in ‘Carly fashion,’ so it’s always entertaining, and trying as a woman to put out all the fires, but there’s 20 fires behind it, because there is just someone constantly trying to take your seat, trying to hurt your family.  There’s just always something to look out for whether it be from the other families or law enforcement.  I think that Carly is surprised that she is good at it and surprised at how making these decisions is becoming easier and easier for her, but I don’t know if she sits back and enjoys it.  At this point, from air to what we are taping, the decisions don’t stop, and the danger doesn’t stop, and more decisions have to be made, and there is no one else to do it.  This is a world that is life or death.  This isn’t like, “Well, if they don’t like me, I’ll just find someone else to do the job.”  There’s nobody else to do that job.  It’s not that world.  You don’t get to walk away, and she is learning that more and more, as she plays in the big world.

Photo: ABC

So, Jason went on the run with Britt (Kelly Thiebaud).  How does Carly feel about that?

LAURA:  Britt saved his life.  She said that on camera.  “She saved your life; she can take you wherever.  I trust her.”  Carly saw how Britt stepped up and helped him.  I don’t think there is anything else that Carly is thinking right now.  Carly doesn’t have the luxury of being old Carly and being snippy, catty, wanting to vet every person in Jason’s life.  It’s just not her reality right now.  That would be a luxury if she could go back and be that person, but that’s not it.  Right now, it’s assessing the situation.  “Is he safe?  Is she taking care of him?  Great.  I don’t care about anything else right now.”  This is the difference between old Carly and mob-boss Carly.  Those days are gone.  She would give anything to go back to those days because she didn’t have to have the world on her shoulders because Jason was safe, and Sonny was alive.  It’s not where she is now.  It’s a different dynamic that she was forced into.

Photo: ABC

When you and Steve Burton are in scenes together, whether it’s just in your eyes, or expressions or emotions, there is so much going on, or at least that’s how it plays to the audience.  Is the relationship between Carly and Jason one of your favorites to play, because it’s so unique and deep rooted into their history? 

LAURA:  Oh, I love the Carly/Jason relationship. It’s the loyalty and that their dedication to each other is unbendable, unbreakable.  It’s so unwavering.  It’s great to play because it’s like being in a really good relationship, even though he’s not her ‘person’, but he kind of is.  It’s being in a great relationship that means that you get to be 100% you and everything that means, and that person loves and accepts you. There’s such incredible love and freedom, and that’s what it’s like to work with Steve because Steve approaches our scenes – and almost every scene when I watch him with other people – that there is no undercutting judgment, only help.  If I’m struggling with a line or I don’t want to do something, he’s either like, “Yeah, I agree. That’s unnecessary; cut it,” or he gives me a really great way of looking at it, where I’m like, “Oh, that is a really interesting thing, thanks!”  So, then you have full freedom to feel and play and do anything, and that’s kind of what you see.  There’s just a confidence, and I think it is also the relationship.  I think it has to be there when I work with Steve because the relationship between Carly and Jason is that way.

Photo: JPI

Carly and Jason accept each other for who they are, all their flaws, and the dangers that come with their lives.  Wouldn’t you say?

LAURA:  She accepts him 100% for who he is.  She wants to manipulate the world around him, so he is safe, and perfect, and always there, but she still accepts him when nobody else does and vice versa.  He knows that Carly is going to destroy things, and mess up, and spiral.  Like, she had that scene where she said, “Even when Jason knows I’m wrong, he supports me.” It’s really that right there that is everything between the two of them, and it’s the hardest thing to find in any relationship, real life, TV, etc.  We always want to change people to make them be who we want them to be so that we feel okay. It’s a great soap opera relationship because it causes conflict in every other relationship that they have, which is great for storytelling in a show because then there is always a challenge, always a hurdle, always a problem built-in if you need drama. It’s because there is so much acceptance and unconditional love and support that they are free to be who they need to be, and I feel that as an actor working Steve as well.  I think that’s what you see when you say there’s ‘a lot going on’.

Carly’s plan for Gladys took quite a turn!

LAURA:  Well, Carly thought the second that Cyrus finds out that Brando (Johnny Wactor) is the father of Sasha’s (Sofia Matteson) baby that Cyrus is going to want to take him out, so she basically said to Gladys, “Look, I’ll set you up.  I’ll give you all the money you want.  Hell, I’ll even buy you a house.  Leave town, but you have to tell everybody that you lied about Jason,” and she doesn’t bite the bait.  So, you then have Carly saying, “Well, we can do this the easy way where I just pay for your life and you go, or we can do it the hard way,” and the hard way is me letting her know that, “You have a grandchild on the way, and your son is going to be murdered if you don’t do this for me,” because it puts Cyrus back in prison because he is on probation, and he has now obstructed justice.  It’s all on Gladys’s testimony.  That was Carly’s plan.  Right now, her biggest threat is Cyrus and obviously as viewers have seen things did not go as planned!

Photo: ABC

June 7th you will be celebrating 30 years on daytime! Do you remember your first day on Loving? What happened?

LAURA:  I do.  Oh, God!  I remember what dress I had on.  I remember how my hair was.

Were you like in “Oz”?

LAURA:  I looked like Oz. (Laughs) I looked like Dorothy… the dress they had me in, the hair, are you kidding?  I didn’t know what a boom was!  I was really loud.  I had one line: “Grandma!” and that was it, and then they had to note that because I kept saying, “Grandmaw,” and they were like, “It’s not ‘Grandmaw.’  It’s ‘Grandma.’”  Then, I did whatever they said at first, but then the longer I was on the show, I was like, “I say ‘Grandmaw.’ I’m not saying ‘Grandmuh.’ I don’t care. (Laughs) Everyone gets their own personalization of how they say what they say.”  That was my big argument, and now I’ve had a thousand arguments over 30 years, but that was my first big pushback because I would be doing, what in my mind was great work.  I got all of the lines out, my God, and that was before we could do pickups, and when we shot the show in order. Those cameras had wheels. So if you were on set, and they shot the scene before us, you had to be ready to go, and they would fly down the studio on those cameras to set up to start shooting the next scene.  If I got through a scene and they had to do it over again because I said, “Grandmaw,” I would be so angry. (Laughs)

Photo: ABC

Who helped you the most on Loving?

LAURA:  Nada Rowand, who played my grandmother, Lisa Peluso, who played my aunt on the show, and Eric Woodall was my best friend and he played Matt Ford.  He and I would get together every Sunday night, and here’s a little bit of trivia for you … Eric lived with Billy Porter! They graduated from Carnegie Mellon together.  So, I would go over to his apartment, and on Sunday night, we would go over all of the scripts together for the whole week because Eric graduated from Carnegie Mellon; I worked at a gas station. (Laughs) We had very different talents that we were bringing to the table for this soap opera job.  Eric helped me a great deal, my gosh, and so did Bernie Barrow (Ex-Louis).

Bernie was an amazing actor and the only Daytime Emmy winner, ever from Loving!

LAURA:  I had scenes with Bernie because he played my grandfather on the show. I had no idea about half the notes that they were giving me. Bernie would pull me aside and explain what they meant and teach it to me in a way where I knew how to incorporate it into my scenes and adjust and take the notes.  He was extremely helpful.  Then, there is the famous Noelle Beck (Ex-Trisha) story, where two weeks after starting the show, Eric and I were invited to go to the Daytime Emmy Awards.  I was dying because I grew up watching daytime television, and I grew up watching the Daytime Emmys.  So, when I was allowed to go, I told my mom to ship me my prom dress from my senior year of high school, which was this poufy, emerald green thing, and it looked like something from Dynasty with jewels all over it.  I got it, and I was so excited, and everyone on the show was like, “Oh, my God, someone has got to tell her … she cannot wear that dress.”  I didn’t know you could go to wardrobe and ask to borrow a dress, because I’d only been on the show for two weeks maybe.  The same day, they came to me and said, “So, if Susan Lucci (Ex-Erica, AMC) doesn’t win, you’re going to be interviewed on Good Morning America the next morning about how the gas station girl got a job.”  So, it was a big deal. I’m getting ready for the Emmys, and to put this emerald-green dress on, and there is this knock on my door, and it’s Noelle Beck.  She has this beautiful, black, strapless dress. She’s like, “Your dress is beautiful, but I don’t know, I think this is really simple, and I think you might really look beautiful in it if you want to try it on.”

Photo: JPI

Her dress?

LAURA: Her dress! It was a dress that was in Noelle’s closet on the show because she went to wardrobe and was like, “Laura cannot wear that emerald green prom dress.  She will be laughed at.”  I would have been mortified because I did not know what people wore.  I had never been to a red carpet! Noelle went to wardrobe, and they all came up with this dress, and so she came to me and said, “Your dress is so pretty, but I think this might go better with Eric’s suit,” or however she sold it! I tried it on, and I just felt so sophisticated, and I was like, “It’s okay if I wear this!?” and she’s just like, “Oh, my God, yeah!”  When I think back to that story, I’m like, ‘thank God for Noelle Beck’.  It was one of the funniest stories ever, and her dressing room was right across the hall from me, and she was from Maryland; I was from Maryland.  She was like a sister.  Noelle was always looking out for me, personally.

Photo: ABC

Over the years, you have become one of the great leading ladies of daytime.  Was there a moment, when you were like, “I’ve got this down now … I really know what I’m doing.”

LAURA:   There have been different moments.  I remember the first time where I felt like ‘an actor.’  It was when they shot and killed Casey (Paul Anthony Stewart) on Loving, and he had to die in my arms.  I embodied something and felt it in a way that was different.  I didn’t know what it was at the time because I was playing my emotions of Paul leaving the show. I was really confused because I was like, “Do I really like this guy?” like in real life, because I didn’t know.  I didn’t have any tools of acting to know how to separate.  I was so in love with the characters’ love story, which was also my feelings at the time because I didn’t know the difference.  I didn’t know where Ally stopped, and Laura started.  I was just kind of playing myself.  I remember they called Paul to the set for a goodbye, and they were giving him a big cake and everything, and I could barely hold it together.  I couldn’t believe he was leaving.  I was like, “You’re going to say, ‘I changed my mind,’ right?” and I really believed that.  I really was like, “There’s just no way he’s going.”  Then, we had to shoot his scene, and I was very emotional and upset.  But, it was the next day where I had to go and play the scenes where he is dead and talk about it to the family, and that was when I just lost it.  I just changed as an actor in those scenes.  I remember having an opinion.  When the writers were telling me the story that they were going to tell, I remember saying, “Well, I think the interesting moment is she is not going to believe it,” and they were like, “What do you mean?”  I say, “When she comes home from the hospital, I think she needs to be like, ‘We have to go back.  Casey is at the hospital, and he needs us,’ and they were like, “That’s such a great thing to play.”  That’s what shifted for me.  I just remember there was a moment where Ally couldn’t lie anymore. She couldn’t convince herself, and then she had to tell her son that Casey wasn’t coming back.  I really understood what it was to get lost to a scene; what it was to not be Laura going, “I’m going to act now and play this scene.”  I learned how to become the character and transform in the moment.

It’s was on-the-job training.

LAURA:  Oh, for sure on-the-job training, because I went to one acting class thinking that in New York City I need to know what I’m doing, and I was so terrified to get up and speak in a scene that I literally could not talk.  I couldn’t even function outside of the safety of what I knew on a soap opera set.  I had that happen with my meditation teacher training a few years ago.  I almost left the training because it was terrifying for me to get up and not know what I’m going to do and have the script, no cameras in front of me!  It was very bizarre.

Photo: CBS

And later, Guiding Light came your way!

LAURA: When The City got canceled, I shot a pilot that did not get picked up, and my agents were like, “What do you want to do?” and I was like, “I’m really good at daytime… can we just stick with that?  I don’t really want to do this auditioning thing.” So, then all of the sudden within a week of me saying, “I think I’ll do daytime again,” I had a screen-test for All My Children and Guiding Light at the exact same time.  I was like, “What are the parts?” and I wasn’t going to pit them against each other because my agent was like, “It’s bad taste. We don’t represent that kind of negotiation.” You have to pick because before you go into any screen-test, you already have a pre-negotiated contract, and the deal has been placed.  So, you know going in what your situation will be.  So, it was All My Children, playing a doctor, or a stripper with a heart-of-gold on Guiding Light.  It was the role and that Guiding Light just had a better money offer that pushed me towards that screen-test. Then, I had to go in and meet Paul Rauch (Former EP, GL) before I screen-tested, and then Jim Brown and Barbara Esensten who were now the head writers at GL. They wrote for me on The City.  They were the ones who said, “Let’s get Laura Wright in here and see if she wants to do this.”  It’s interesting, because when they were shooting Annie’s (Cynthia Watros) big trial on Guiding Light, and Kim Zimmer (Reva) had these incredible, long days and tons of dialogue in the courtroom scenes. Then, they throw this screen-test at her with me in the middle of the afternoon! I remember when we were doing the scene. Kim had jumped to another part in it, and of course, I knew the script backwards and forwards because I’ve had it for a week and a half.  Kim had probably looked at it that day because she’s got a thousand other lines that she’s learning for that week of shows.  We were in the middle of the scene, and they’re rolling cameras, it’s very emotional, we’re going at each other, and Kim had jumped to the next page of a line, but I knew exactly where she went, so I went right there. We got back on track and ended the scene, and Kim goes, “She just saved my ass in that screen-test!” and we just started laughing.  It was a great moment.

Photo: LWInstagram

The cast of Guiding Light was so amazing!

LAURA:  So amazing, and that’s where I met my man.

Wes Ramsey (Ex-Sam, GL, now Peter, GH) at the time had a crush on you if I recall the story.

LAURA:  Yes, he had a crush.  I don’t know if he wanted to go out with me because when I first came on, I was pregnant, so that would have been weird! (Laughs) We have a funny story that he told me four years ago when we got together. Wes was going through old photos that he had logged into his computer and was trying to put things in different files, and he’s like, “Oh, my God.”  He had come back a few times on Guiding Light after he’d left, and one of the times was after I’d had my son, and this was when Richard had died, and Cassie had chopped all of her hair off.  So, he was going through these photos and he showed me that he had snuck a picture of me.  (Laughs) Then, he’s like, “See, I told you I had a crush!”  I’m like, “Oh my God, that’s so funny!”

Do you and Wes run lines together at home, even though you are in different storylines on GH?

LAURA:  If he needed me too, I would, but Wes has a totally different way of learning his lines than I do.  His prep work is very different than mine.  His is very professional and probably how you should do it. He is a Juilliard graduate.  So, he was taught well, and I’ve just figured it out.  Mine is just pure survival …’the gas station girl’.

Photo: ABC

What was the impact Guiding Light had on the trajectory of your career?

LAURA:  Guiding Light was 100% an actors show. They told a different kind of story, and the actors across the board were serious and wanted you to take it just as seriously. You were either going to sink or swim on that show, and I had to figure out how to swim. I think I spent the first six months in my dressing room crying when I wasn’t on set, trying to figure it out.  I was really taken care of on Loving.  I was 20-years-old when I got that part, 27 when I left. When I went to Guiding Light, it wasn’t like I wasn’t taken care of and protected, but it was a new energy. No one knew me.  No one knew what I was capable of.  I didn’t even know what I was capable of at the time, and you weren’t going to phone it in there.  I started working with Kim Zimmer and Jordan Clarke (Ex-Billy Lewis).  My God, you’re thrown in with people who make you feel things and play things that are uncomfortable, because that’s what we do as actors.  We make it uncomfortable, and we stretch the boundaries, and we play these emotions that are so raw and real.  One day I was freaking out over a scene with the characters of Edmund and Dinah, and I just said I would never do this.  I was just adamant. The director, said, “We have to do this.  So, you have to give me one reason where you could stay in this room.”  I said, “I guess my daughter could walk in the door, and I don’t want to leave her,” and he goes, “Great!  That’s great,” and I go, “Or…” and it just opened this door of there’s a thousand ways I could play a scene.

Photo: CBS

When you came onto General Hospital and embodied Carly, did you feel like this was it now… and that you were in command of your craft?

LAURA:  No, because it took me a long time to get comfortable.  I’m the fourth Carly, so you want to honor what they’re writing, you want to honor the fans and what they love about the character, and there were three women who played her before me and somebody loved something about all of them. So, you want to bring that, as well as make your own mark.  You’re taking over a leading female role of the show with that much passion and dialogue that comes with the character, so it was a lot of pressure at first, but I was excited for it.  I showed up every day ready to kick ass, but as far as feeling like, “Ha ha, it’s mine; I’ve made it!”, I’ve never felt that.

Photo: ABC

I have spoken to many of your co-stars through the years, and they often share how you helped them within a scene, or with something they were struggling with.  That is where experience can be a great asset for a performer in this medium.

LAURA:  As a female lead on the show, I do think it’s important to lift other women up to become their own female leads, and I do mean that.  If I’m working with someone, and I see them get a note that they don’t understand, or it’s a technical note, but gosh, it’s an important scene for them emotionally, anything I can do to help them in that moment, whether it has anything to do with me or not, I am there for.  There was a bathroom scene that I think aired a week or so ago with Carly and Sasha.  In the scene, Sasha (Sofia Mattsson) has all of her makeup in front of her, and the shot they need to get is through the mirror.  Sasha has a full conversation with Carly, who is standing upstage. It’s very difficult to do that when you don’t have rehearsal time to figure it out. They gave her the note that they needed her to say her line into the mirror, or they can’t get her face, right? I’m like, “Hey, do you have any idea how you’re going to do that?” because it’s so hard! I wanted to help. Having 30 years’ experience in something feels great, and it’s shocking because where did those 30 years go? What incredible memories I have, but what it’s gifted me the most is being able to help people through my experience, and through what I have learned along the way.  The whole show shines when we all shine, not just when one person does.

Photo: LWrightInstagram

What do you think your late parents would say about your 30 years in daytime?

LAURA:  Oh, they would be so proud… so happy.  It’s just so crazy that it’s been 30 years, and 2020 being the longest year with what we all experienced with Covid-19.  Looking back on my daytime career, I don’t know why, the shows didn’t let me go. I think it really was work ethic.  I can really say my work ethic is a huge part of me sticking around because I never got lazy.  I was never not going to figure it out.  I was never one to show up not knowing her lines, or being a problem, or not caring. I think that’s what kept me going, and then listening, watching, feeling, and I’m just so grateful.  I’m like, “Wow, what a ride!”

Photo: ABC

… And what can you say about what your time as Carly has meant to you within your now illustrious daytime career?

LAURA:  I love every second of it.  It’s my choice how I show up on that soundstage.  After 30 years, I am not bored.  I have had my moments of trying to find the fun in it and caring about Carly’s storyline at the time. That’s my own choice though, right?  It’s a choice – how I choose to show up every day there – and what I choose to find interesting and challenging, and I do.  No matter what storyline they’ve given me, I can choose for it to be, “Okay, I’m here.  I’ve been doing this for so long, I could do it in my sleep,” or I could choose to show up and go, “Where am I going to kickass today?  Where is the moment?”  Now, I don’t love the amount of time it takes for my hair to get blown out; I’ll be honest (Laughs). I’m an antsy person.  But when I get on set, it’s my choice to find the love and the fun of it, whatever that is for me.  I choose to open up every script I get, the second I get it, and am always excited to see what I’m doing.

Photo: ABC

Finally, what would you say, as a tease of what we should look forward to in the coming weeks involving Carly?

LAURA:  All I can say is there is amazing stuff coming, amazing performances, amazing excitement, amazing heartbreak, amazing surprises.  It’s all coming.

So, are you into Carly running the mob? What do you think will happen when and if Carly finds out Nina has been with Sonny aka Mike for months?  What has been your favorite moment of Laura’s on the soaps throughout her 3 decades in daytime? Share your thoughts and congrats to Laura in the comment section below.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Telma Hopkins and Bryton James Talk on their ‘Family Matters’ Connection, Amanda Sinclair’s Past, and the songs of Tony Orlando and Dawn

This week, kicks-off a very special guest appearance by Telma Hopkins on CBS’ The Young and the Restless.  Hopkins plays Denise Tolliver, a private eye with some very important intel for Amanda Sinclair (Mishael Morgan), about her past, her father, and her biological family drama.

Photo:CBD

Telma’s guest stint on Y&R reunites her with her dear friend and former on-screen son, Bryton James (Devon Hamilton) after they appeared together on the late 80’s and 90’s sitcom Family Matters.  Fans of the comedy series remember a very young Bryton as Richie Crawford and Telma as his mother, Rachel.  Year laters, they now have the opportunity to work together in Genoa City.

Photo: CBS

In a new interview out today on the Michael Fairman Channel, Telma and Bryton chat virtually with Michael, and we learn that Telma is a longtime fan of Y&R, a huge fan of Mishael Morgan’s, and just how Denise Tolliver’s arrival in Genoa City will set the stage for fireworks to come.

And while Telma and Bryton reminisce about first their first impressions of each other on the Family Matters set, we also delve into another key part of Hopkins career as part of the iconic singing trio Tony Orlando and Dawn, whose hit singles included: “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole’ Oak Tree”, “Candida”, “She Don’t Love You” and more.

Photo: CBS

So, excited to see Telma and Bryton together again? What were your first impressions of Telma as Denise Tolliver on today’s Y&R? What is your favorite Tony Orlando and Dawn tune? Did you watch “Family Matters” with Telma and Bryton years ago? Share your thoughts in the comment section.  But first check out their full interview below.

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Days Of Our Lives

WATCH: Daytime Emmy Nominations Special 2021 Replay

Last night, during the Daytime Emmy Nominations Special Livestream on the Michael Fairman Channel, 15 nominated performers who will be going for gold on the upcoming 48th annual Daytime Emmy Awards, shared their reactions and their excitement at learning they were in the running in the major Daytime Drama performer categories as chosen by their peers.

Throughout the livestream, the actors also shared what scenes they chose for their reels in the competition that landed them in the top spots in their respective categories.

Photos: ABC, CBS, JPI, NBC

During the broadcast, Michael welcomed: The Bold and the Beautiful’s Darin Brooks and Courtney Hope, General Hospital’s, Maurice Benard, Finola Hughes, Max Gail, Briana Lane and Dominic Zamprogna, The Young and the Restless’ Bryton James, Melissa Claire Egan and Alyvia Alyn Lind, and Days of our Lives nominees: Victoria Konefal, Cady McClain, Wally Kurth, George DelHoyo, and Tamara Braun.

In addition, NATAS President and CEO Adam Sharp shared insight into this year’s nomination process, the year in daytime, and teased what to look for on the upcoming Daytime Emmy Telecast on June 25th on CBS, where the award show recently got a two-year pick-up.

In case you missed it, enjoy this kick-off to Emmy season and watch the Daytime Emmy Nominations Replay below.  Then let us know what moments you enjoyed the most during our show, and who you are rooting for to take home Emmy gold in the comment section.

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GH’s Kelly Thiebaud (Britt) chats with Michael Fairman about Britt being on the run with Jason, their burgeoning romance, working with Steve Burton and her other co-star and Britt’s diagnosis of Huntington’s Disease. .Leave A Comment

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