Quondam Dreams

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A New Record

I've been doing web sites for a long time -- really, nearly as long as there have been web sites to do. I picked up my first book on programming sites for Mosaic right after I graduated from college, and it's been a life of markup tags ever since.

I've worked on a lot of web sites. I've never been so relieved to get a site up and running.

And here it is... Phase One of www.ovationtv.com.

Innit pretty? I can't take credit for the overall look and feel, but I can -- and will, thankyouverymuch -- take credit for making sure all the content's there.

I won't get into all the tsouris here. Buy me a drink, and I'll rant until you're sorry you've asked. For now, suffice it to say that this is my first actual weekend in nearly a month. I have no idea what to do with myself. It's kind of a nice problem to have.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Department of Old Habits that Die Hard: Daytime Emmy Predictions

Oh, what the hell. It's not like picking the soap category winners requires actually following any of the shows. The voting has nothing to do with a yearlong body of work. The voting is based on the two episodes which each nominee submits to a panel -- a panel whose collective tastes remain remarkably consistent from year to year. I always kind of hope that my picks will turn out to be way off, because that would mean that the panels finally got some new blood... but even since I stopped working in the soap world, I've been distressingly close to the mark.

Lead Actress: Crystal Chappell, Guiding Light. You'll notice a lot of GL picks on this list. A little while back, they started doing these weekly "Inside the Light" episodes, which focus on a particular character or story for the entire hour. Besides being an interesting break from form, they have the potential to provide some serious showcases for actors who can handle the pressure. Crystal Chappell and Kim Zimmer are both formidable forces -- and, if the panel is small enough, it's entirely possible that they'll cancel each other out and As the World Turns' Maura West will slip in there. From what I've gleaned about the reels, though, it's Chappell's standout material edging out Zimmer's same-ol', same-ol'. Which, mind you, is Emmy-winning, same-ol', same-ol'.

Lead Actor: Ricky Paull Goldin, GL. Because the only thing that the voters like more than Tony Geary's Luke Spencer angst is a guy going through withdrawal.

Supporting Actress: Genie Francis, General Hospital. Oh, come on -- like they won't? Never mind that it's great work by an icon who's been away for a while -- did you see what that month-long return did for the ratings?

Supporting Actor: Dan Gauthier, One Life To Live. With no nominee who stands out demographically, and no one from GL, I have no choice but to actually go by the submissions. I know!

Younger Actress: Julie Berman, GH. Because the only thing the voters like more than a second-generation actor who happens to be pretty decent at what she does (hi, last year's winner Jennifer Landon of ATWT) is another generation of Spencer angst.

Younger Actor: Tom Pelphrey, GL. Daytime's not going to miss one last chance to remind him where he started. (But pencil in ATWT's Van Hansis for next year.)

Series/Writing/Directing: Distribute among The Bold and the Beautiful, Guiding Light and General Hospital, roughly, but not necessarily, in that order.

UPDATE: Post-Mortem

Here's how things turned out:

Lead Actress: Maura West, ATWT
Lead Actor: Christian LeBlanc, Y&R
Supporting Actress: Genie Francis, GH
Supporting Actor: Rick Hearst, GH
Younger Actress: Jennifer Landon, ATWT
Younger Actor: Bryton McClure, Y&R
Writing: GL
Directing: ATWT
Show: GL and Y&R (tie)

Nailed one supporting actress, picked out the spoilers on the other two -- this year is proof that Jennifer Landon is going to win every year she's in it (cf. Jennifer Finnigan) -- and looked a little confused at the rest. I'd never begrudge Christian LeBlanc an Emmy; he's a fantastic actor, and all-around good people, and always gives the best speeches. But his reels just weren't up there with Goldin's or fellow Y&R nom Peter Bergman's. Rick Hearst... totally solid actor, fine human being... whatever. Bryton McClure was the big "Who?" of the evening, though it did make more sense than when, say, David Lago won a few years back: McClure gave a nice, under-the-radar performance as a teenager dealing with difficult family stuff and sudden deafness -- so, fine, whatever.

The real story, to me, is in that tie for Best Show. There were two other ties last night, and at least a couple of others in the creative arts awards. You know what this says to me? They couldn't get enough people to be on the judging panels. With small panels, you're going to have ties. You're going to have canceling-out. You're going to be at the mercy of the biases of the judges, and while I really do believe that the voters make every effort to be impartial jurors, at the end of the day this is a pool who knows what they like going in. It's not just the soaps: Ellen DeGeneres won her fourth consecutive Emmy last night, and even she seemed a bit confused as to how she'd beaten the Rosie O'Donnell-fied View. Bob Barker won his 19th award for host, and you can bet that next year, if he submits his final episodes, he'll win his twentieth. Unless and until the academy gets some new blood, panels will keep defaulting to the same winners.

Not that I care, really. I just can't help but notice that the trends -- trends which the newer system of nominations was supposed to break -- continue on. But, hey! It'll make for easy pickings next year.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Time Is Relative (Or Maybe Math Is Hard)

I'm adding up the numbers, and they keep telling me that I worked almost two weeks last week -- and spent two days shooting a pilot, too.

But, dammit, we got that site launched. A few days before launch, with things not going as planned (as if they ever do, especially when they rely on other people), a few of us took a collective deep breath and launched into a frenzy of site-building not seen since about mid-2000. Take note, all you kids with your dynamic this and on-the-fly that: We don't need you. Yes, we like the tools; yes, we like the part where you don't have to create and save a bunch of static pages. We also know how long it will take to create a static version of a site to hold us until you've held up your end of the bargain, which we will do. In fact, we'll finish early, because when you've been cranking out pages for fifteen hours, what's another two or three more?

And, dammit, we got that show shot. When the show is picked up and we go on the publicity circuit (just smile and nod, folks), we will have amusing anecdotes about the trials and tribulations of independent television production, including how one goes about mounting a production when the building in which one is shooting loses power. We will give shout-outs to the sympathetic crew shooting a couple of doors up, who let us plug into their generator; to our phenomenal crew, who made sure we looked and sounded great despite the less-than-ideal circumstances; and to our audience, who gamely hung in there despite the heat.

I know all that stuff gone done. I have no idea how I squeezed it all in.

No wonder I'm tired. I get a little loopy when I'm tired. I find myself doing odd things like... you know... getting home before midnight. And going to bars and... asking for a Diet Coke.

"That stuff's poison," this guy said to me at the Kitty the other night. (So sue me, I went out on Monday night. I'd meant to take it easy, but I was bored. I stayed for maybe an hour and a half, belted out a couple of karaoke songs, consumed perhaps a bit too much soda, and was home by 12:30. Really, Mom.)

I looked at my cola, communing with a plinth of ice in a highball glass. I looked at the suspiciously amber contents of his tumbler. And I asked him: "And that stuff's not?"

He looked like he was sorry he'd gone through all the trouble of trying to save my life.

Somewhere in all this, there's a lesson about how you can sit around waiting for conditions to be perfect, or you can make whatever it is you want to happen... happen.

I'm just not entirely sure where.