Deep Soap: Short Film Festival

by | July 17, 2009 at 2:09 PM | Deep Soap

Student Film

I checked out Forbes March’s debut episode as Noah’s film professor on As The World Turns.  I was looking forward to seeing him in a new role, particularly because his character is named Mason.  Santa Barbara’s Mason Capwell is still in my top five soap characters ever.   So far, he seems like the standard issue hot soap professor.  Thanks to spoilers, I know that Mason is gay.  The wardrobe department decided to make it clear by wrapping a scarf around Mason’s neck.  In July.  In Oakdale.  He’s Professor Chuck Bass.  The poor guy is probably deeply bitter that he isn’t teaching at NYU.

Mason seems like a competent professor, who advised Noah not to use Luke’s apparently lame script as the basis for his senior project. (Shouldn’t Noah write it himself, since it’s his thesis, anyway?)  He was instead thrilled by Noah’s allegedly brilliant, as yet unwritten idea.  I found myself focusing on the film itself. There are few soap occupations that I can relate to on a personal level.  I have never been a cosmetic mogul, mobster or a brain surgeon. However, once upon a time I was a college student who wrote a stupid, self-indulgent screenplay. I imagine that most of the writers on ATWT are guilty of the same cinematic sin.  So this is one storyline that they have no excuse not to get right.  I desperately wanted to know what the films were about.  Noah’s rejected original idea, a mediation on his relationship with his father, is the typical navel-gazing autobiographical student film.  Although, given that Noah’s father tried to kill him rather than just pressuring him to go pre-med, it might have actually been interesting.  But what was Luke’s script about?  Our only clues were that A) it was too complicated for a short and B) poorly structured.  Was Mason turned off by the protagonists’ post-coital celebratory ice cream with Grandma?  Did he find it implausible that the characters, despite being in love, barely touched each other for months?  Or did Luke write a $100 million action movie featuring a a gay farmer/philanthropist who battles a hundred bisexual martians for his land while tracking down a serial killer?   Inquiring soap cinemaphiles want to know.

I am equally intrigued by Noah’s potential film project.  I had no issue with Mason approving of Noah’s movie based on a paragraph.  As every screenwriting book says, if the idea can’t be summarized in one sentence, it won’t work.  But the show was maddeningly vague about this amazing short film concept.  Is it about a gay man in a sham marriage with an Iraqi woman?  A college election scandal?   An experimental film where different actors take over the roles every five minutes?  A campy Lucinda biopic? (Please?)  I hope ATWT takes the opportunity to exploit this potentially humorous premise, as well as using the sexy March in the inevitable student-teacher forbidden romance storyline.

Not So Much More Life To Live

I was excited about a new One Life To Live feature that debuted last month on Soapnet.com, called More Life To Live , that showcases deleted scenes from the air show.  I was surprised that the well-produced  OLTL had enough deleted scenes to make a regular feature out of them.   As it turns out, it does not.   So the brief segments feature snippets, most of which would not have added much to each episode. The most recent July 10 edition is only two minutes and four seconds long, and that includes Kassie DePaiva’s introduction.  There is a fragment of a scene concerning Starr’s wedding preparations in which Addie sprays perfume at her and Blair wonders if they should have brought Starr a veil.  Then there is a touching full length scene of Brody and Jessica at Baby Hope’s gravesite culminating in her kissing her daughter’s gravestone.  It’s a shame that it had to be cut from the show.  That’s it.   The other More Life To Live’s are equally short.  I have a feeling that, barring ABC cutting another thirty seconds from the show, (a distinct possibility given that the networks are cutting primetime ad rates thanks to our lovely recession), there is not going to be a ton of content for this feature.  While I’m glad that the best of OLTL isn’t going unseen, I hope SoapNet expands the feature by including clips from all three of its soaps.  I realize that some viewers think we are already getting 40 minutes a day more of All My Children and General Hospital than we need.  But together the three shows should have enough material that ended up on the cutting room floor for, say, five minute biweekly episodes.