Friday, January 24, 2014

INTERVIEW: A Behind the Scenes Look at the Soap That Goes Behind the Scenes of a Soap, "Tainted Dreams"

Behind the Scenes: What happened to Austin?
Soap opera actors, producers and directors have been at the forefront of the movement and transition towards online programming. Securing investors, casting, lower-budget shooting and building audiences have become the new way of production. This new method breeds creativity and innovation because old boundaries are removed. The next challenge is finding the right platform, possibly sponsors, and an audience amidst the clutter of internet, streaming and traditional TV programming.
By Suzanne Ordas Curry
The latest entry into this genre is Tainted Dreams, a soap within a soap, produced by Emmy-award winning director/producer Sonia Blangiardo, who worked on As The World Turns, All My Children and One Life To Live. Tainted Dreams is the story of  the behind the scenes shenanigans behind a fictional soap, Painted Dreams. For all you soap fans, here's some trivia: Painted Dreams was actually the first daytime radio soap opera program, having been broadcast out of Chicago in 1930.

The cast is tremendous with a line-up of names any fan of daytime will recognize. I got a little melancholy just thinking about all these great dramas that are no more.

RHONJ Dina Manzo, Producer Sonia Blangiardo and Anthony Wilkinson
The cast includes: Alicia Minshew (All My Children), Austin Peck (As the World Turns, Days of Our Lives, One Life to Live), Collen Zenk (As The World Turns),  Terri Ivens (All My Children), Kelley Menighan Hensley (As The World Turns),  Grant Alexsander (Guiding Light), Walt Whiley (All My Children), Natalia Livingston (General Hospital), Marnie Schulenburg (As The World Turns), Michael Lowry (One Live To Live and All My Children), Bobbie Eakes (All My Children, Bold and The Beautiful),  James DePaiva (One Life to Live), Nathan Purdee (One Life To Live),  Larkin Malloy (The Edge of Knight and All My Children), Illen Kristen (One Life to Live and Ryan's Hope) Tonja Walker (One Life To Live). 

Alicia and Bobbie
TD also welcomes RHONJ Dina Manzo  (also of Dina's Party on HGTV (Read about Dina's  LadyBug Foundation on Suzee). Also new to this medium are Anthony Wilkinson (My Big Gay Italian Wedding and the new My Big Gay Italian Funeral), Lisa Marie Varon (Impact Wresting) and Jessie Godderz “Mr. PEC-Tacular” (Impact Wrestling, Big Brother and CAWLTo Arms) and Paul Moon (Film actor, The Sleeper and Through the Flowers). Journalist Carolyn Hinsey plays herself. There are also some new faces in the mix.

SuzeeBehindtheScenes went behind the scenes of this behind the scenes look at a soap opera!. Sonia was eager to talk about her new project and I talked to actor Paul Moon, who plays Brian on TD. New to the soap world but with a few films under his belt, you may recognize him from a few appearances on All My Children. Paul wears many hats in the production of TD.

Behind the Scenes: The Control Room and its Merry Cast of Characters
Suzee: Why are you excited about this new venture?

Sonia: Tainted Dreams is important to me because I was able to tell stories that have enriched my life for years. It gives you an inside peak on what went on day in and day out in producing these shows.

Suzee: That is quite a cast, so many familiar faces that I am sure soap fans would like to see in action again. Tell me about it.

Sonia: The blessing in all of this is that I was lucky enough to have a true dream team of actors who not only are the most talented daytime has ever seen, but passionate about the show and the best, kindest people I know in this business. I was able to combine all talent that has crossed my path, including actors from my 2 off-broadway plays, "My Big Gay Italian Wedding" and "My big Gay Italian Funeral"  and now truly have the best TD family I ever could have hoped for.

Suzee: What are you future plans for this show, scheduling and story-wise?

Sonia:  Since we are currently looking for the right home for TD, it's hard to predict when we will be shooting season 2, but my hope is by the summer. As far as story goes, I'm very happy with how the season has shaped up. We plan on introducing a few key characters who will be intertwined with some of our established ones. Hopefully the stories will entertain, make the fans feel and educate them on some social issues that are part of our everyday lives.

I also talked to actor Paul Moon, who plays Brian on TD. New to the soap world, you may recognize him from a few appearances on All My Children. Paul wear many hats in the production of TD.

Suzee: How did you like working with this cast?

Paul:  It was interesting working as a cast member and a member of the crew. Being in charge of continuity and set decoration kept me on set constantly so I got to know all the actors and watch them work. Working with a mainly daytime cast was amazing. They are some of the most reliable actors.

Suzee: Have you learned anything working with these veterans?

Paul: They're used to being handed a new script everyday of up to or over 100 pages and have to MEMORIZE it all. They always knew their lines and worked quickly and efficiently. I feel I learned a lot just from watching them work as well as being in so many scenes with them all.

Suzee:  What else would you like to point out?
 Paul: It was also nice to see reality stars like Dina Manzo and Jessie Godderz work in a scripted TV show because they rose to the challenge and it was a pleasant surprise to see the talent that came through. Overall I had a blast shooting Tainted Dreams and getting to do all the jobs I did. I learned a lot and I will cherish this experience.

For a sneak preview of the first three episodes, visit

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