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Date Posted: 14:22:36 08/19/13 Mon
Author: GoodWillTalking
Subject: April 2011 Interview with SoapZone

I have had a few of you ask me about the interview I gave Soapzone in April of 2011, over the past several months, with someone asking me to do an interview for them today, which reminded me of it again. I am putting it out for those of you that missed it. Since that interview was written, John and I got back together again as you all know. The actor is where he should be, in my rearview mirror. I hope he is well and has found happiness.......

Carol Banks Weber:
Many have asked. Many have been refused. But I landed an exclusive interview with the soap blogger who first broke the news of AMC and OLTL’s cancellation – way before TV Guide’s Michael Logan did. The elusive, private RavenBeauty recently spoke to me about what it was like to be the messenger a lot of fans and some idiot actors wanted to shoot, as well as how she got her start, her sabbatical from the online craziness (she just returned this past winter after a year-and-a-half break). Look for an exclusive scoop at the end. Enjoy:

Congratulations for breaking the AMC/OLTL cancellation story -- months ago as rumor, then on March 21st as a confirmation for AMC. How'd this even come about when there are so many soap bloggers and columnists out there in this cutthroat industry trying to claim their fame?

Thank you, Carol. I am honored and grateful to you for that. I think it's refreshing when one of your peers is willing to give you credit for a scoop these days. I wish I could give you a great big hug! You don't see much of that in our industry. When my source first informed me of the dire situation that AMC and OLTL were in, it was January 18, 2011 (I remember it well). I began first warning fans about the cancellations in my January 20, 2011 column (still archived at my site). I prefaced it by telling them that this was not one of those annual garden-variety cancellation rumors. That we had a real fire this time. I actually confirmed that AMC was out in my March 21, 2011 column. I did not refer to it as a rumor. I was trying to give fans a heads-up, because it was a done deal. I was told that OLTL was on the chopping block as well, but that they had a little more time (I had no idea that more time would translate to a four-month advantage only)!

How did it make you feel when almost all of those same soap bloggers and columnists ignored your warnings, then eventually gave full credit to TV Guide's Michael Logan?

In all honestly, I wasn't surprised. I've grown accustomed to it over the years. I was genuinely touched when I visited my Facebook page on the day the cancellations broke only to find hundreds upon hundreds of posts from fans thanking me for giving them the truth. Fans congratulating me for yet another scoop on the heels of my Roger Howarth scoop. When I learned that Soaptown and Soapzone were also giving me credit, I was overwhelmed to be honest. That more than made up for the rest of it. To be perfectly honest, I adore Michael Logan and find him to be a very genuine and honorable man. I was actually grateful when he came out and confirmed what I have been warning fans about for nearly three months. Until Michael Logan wrote that article, I was on my own island taking all of the heat by myself. Everyone else backed down and began calling it a rumor. They believed ABC's spin, and it was killing me because I knew better. I was told that I was a horrible person for scaring people this way. I was called a liar, and it really hurt my feelings at the time. I was merely trying to warn fans so that they would not be blindsided. They were so happy and excited as they read tweet after tweet telling them that everything was fine, but it broke my heart because I knew they were about to get their hearts broken. I felt helpless. I was getting it from both ends.

What did you think of AMC actors Bobbie Eakes (Krystal), Ricky Paull Goldin (Jake), and even Susan Lucci (Erica) turning these cancellation rumors into denials, excuses, and reasons to basically shoot the messenger(s)--right up till the very end?

I felt badly for Susan Lucci because this put her in a terribly awkward position. ABC was furious that this was leaked early. I was told that Ricky Paull Goldin called this a vicious rumor. The only thing vicious about it was ABC's response in calling together a meeting with the cast and crew to assure them that the shows were not being canceled (they out and out lied to these people). Now that was truly vicious and beneath contempt. Allowing the cast and crew to give up their homes and lives in New York when they knew the show was going to be canceled in a year is vicious indeed. It's unimaginable that a company like Disney could do such a thing to the people who trusted them.

Have you listened to Daytime Confidential's April 19th podcast with Logan, yet? In it, he pretty much confirms that ABC Daytime president Brian Frons lied to everyone about waiting until the week before the April 14th announcement to cancel both AMC and OLTL and that Frons and Co. were planning on this over a year ago. How does he get away with this? Any idea, theories, inside scoop?

It was done because they are soulless. Instead of telling the cast and crew of AMC the truth, so that they could better prepare themselves and opt out of giving up their homes and lives in New York, they just sat back, watched and waited. They knew all along what they were going to do. All of these wonderfully gifted performers will now have to face an industry with nothing but reality shows. They will fight over scraps because that is all that is left these days thanks to networks like ABC who are so willing to sell their soul for a buck. Anyone with a connected brain cell knows that people are no longer home watching these shows live anymore. They tape them and watch them in the evening. The Nielsen system should have been tossed years ago! It's grossly inaccurate. ABC was not losing money here. This is all about greed.

You've been breaking soap news and gossip before the rest of the pack for years and years, including the Roger Howarth (returns) score. You've also earned yourself some rare integrity as a columnist fans can assuredly go to for straight talk and gossip that almost always comes to pass. How do you account for such a sterling reputation? More to the point, how in the world did you score such accurate inside sources?

I began like everybody else. I am first and foremost a fan. Nobody is born with sources. You have to earn them. I began gathering spoilers from my favorite haunts back in the day and compiling them in one place to make things easier for fans. I began throwing in my own commentary, and soon I began to get quite a few readers out there. One day, I received an e-mail from someone, who said that they admired my style and wanted to give me a few tips. I wasn't sure if they were joking or not, but I thanked them and sure enough, their scoops were right on the money (they were AMC scoops). I was mainly known for my AMC scoops for many years. I then began getting more e-mails from another source as well. I was taken aback at this point. They told me that they liked my spunk and honesty and began giving me AMC and OLTL scoops. About a year before I left [for a sabbatical], I was lucky enough to hear from a GH source who told me that they had been giving another person scoops for a long time, but didn't like their attitude anymore (I never did find out who it was). They said that they had been watching me for a while and liked what they saw. Armed with all of these sources, I finally had my own scoops to share. It was very exciting for me.

I've heard that SoapNet will remove any mention of you on their boards. It's almost like they and other mainstream soap media outlets are afraid of you. What's going on?

Actually, I was informed that the very mention of my name creates wars and chaos out there. I am guessing that it can get a bit exhausting for the moderators in those places. I made a promise to myself that I refuse to break. I told myself that if I came back to all of this, I would never visit another message board ever again (I have kept that promise). In fact, this is why I discontinued the copy-and-paste portion of my column. I decided to shelter myself from the insanity and negativity that drove me away before, and keep only to my spoiler site, MySpace, and Facebook. That kind of intense negativity out there is pure toxin. It's poison and nothing good can ever come from it. I choose to let the sunshine in, and keep the darkness at bay. I am much happier these days by doing this. I have a great support system out there, and they make it all worthwhile for me.

What's your view about the social jockeying for position and showboating going on in the online soap community, what with so many SoapZone.com/PCOspin-offs?

I see many new guys out there. When I came back after my year-and-a-half absence, I saw many names I didn't even recognize. I guess soap fans decided to take advantage of the online potential and began creating their own sites. It's sad to think that they may all be ending now. What ABC has done will most assuredly create a disastrous Domino effect.

How'd you get your start as RavenBeauty SoapDiva? What made you want to become a soap columnist in the first place?

My mother was a stunning woman who had a large heart. People would always remark on how beautiful she was (and of course, on the resemblance to Susan Lucci, which many Facebookfriends of mine have taken note of). She was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside. She was my best friend. She had breast cancer very young, but she fought the good fight and managed to live on for years afterwards. One day she became very tired and felt that she could hardly walk. She became worse as the days progressed. Her bones ached and throbbed and she was experiencing horrific night sweats. By the time they did blood work and a bone marrow aspiration, they found that she had three weeks to live (80 percent blasts in her marrow). She died of Acute Myelogenous Leukemia M7 (worse grade). I think a piece of me went into that coffin with her. It didn’t make sense. She looked so beautiful and alive, but inside she was dying and we had no idea.

Three and a half months later, after I watched her being placed in the ground, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I couldn't believe it. I had been crying for hours every day for months over losing my mom. This just seemed surreal. I remember saying that I cannot deal with this now, so I will ignore it until I can (the lump). I knew in my heart what it was. My best friend marched me into my doctor’s office on a lunch hour, and later it was confirmed to be stage 2, grade 3 Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma. You are not supposed to be dealing with things like this in your late 20s. This should be the furthest thing from your mind at that age (I was my mother's daughter in every way). It rattled my doctors as well (that I should get this so young). I refused chemo, but underwent weeks and weeks of radiation and two lumpectomies.

I felt like I was sleepwalking through it all. I didn't feel like going out and having fun as I used to. I was exhausted and heartbroken. I was still grieving my mother and dealing with this too. I needed a distraction. I had won awards in school for my writing, and had a few of my poems featured in various places at one time. I decided to take all of this pain and channel it into something that would keep me distracted from the obvious. It worked for a long time. It turned out to be very rewarding for me, and just what I needed.

Ironically, it was tragedy once again that led to my return. I just came out of a three-and-half-year relationship with an actor who shall remain nameless (not a daytime actor). We ended up meeting as a fluke. I never knew I could love anyone like I loved him. He used to say that we would spend the rest of our lives together. That he had never felt like this in his life for anyone. He ended up tearing my heart out of my chest. I never even considered a life without him. It was as if he took over my whole world when he entered my life. When it ended, all I could do was curl up in bed and cry. I did that for days and weeks and even months (lost weight that I didn't have to lose) and finally found myself searching for that light again. That light was this column (my Tara). Time is the greatest healer there is.

What have been the highs and lows of being RavenBeauty in the past few years up to now? I mean, what keeps you going when you're maybe not always in the mood to keep writing updates?

My readers keep me going. They never gave up on me (even when I gave up on myself). The negativity had just taken its toll one day, and I had to walk away. You can give fans 50 scoops that come to pass, but it will always be the five that didn't happen that they will become fixated on (it cancels out the 50 beforehand like magic). It just got to be too crazy for me. I also found that every scoop that I passed on would end up being credited elsewhere and eventually, I just felt that it was pointless to carry on (my sources were even angrier as they knew they had given me the scoops in question). If you are no longer enjoying what you are doing, and find yourself in a toxic environment, you need to be strong enough to get yourself out of there. I turned in my resignation at SoapCentral,and stopped writing my column. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.

Have you ever run into backstage gossip that horrified you and you couldn't use? Whenever I've heard really bad things about the actors, for example, I've almost wanted to quit right there. It's like I don't even want to know these things and then continue watching my soaps after they've been contaminated because I now know that this actress is a bitch to her fans, or that actor couldn't be bothered to show up on-set wearing underwear for a love scene.

I have heard plenty over the years. I could write a real sizzler if I wanted to, but I gave my word and your word has to mean something in this world. Some very surprising people have contacted me over the years. I've had actors contact me just to tell me that they love my column and to keep up the good work. The first time that happened, I felt like I was walking on air. I really had no idea. I became close with some, and others I lost touch with over the years. I have had many impart some very juicy stuff; however, I would never tell anyone what they said to me in confidence. Some things that I was told over the years have affected me to some degree, but I try to put that aside and just focus on the scoops.

I know that you do not visit a great many soap sites, you do not go on Twitter, and you avoid the message boards; you pretty much keep to yourself. First of all, what is the secret of your success in doing this?? The name of the game in the blogosphere is to get around to as many sites as possible, spread your name around. You seem to be able to generate buzz without even trying.

I actually try to avoid growing any larger out there for a reason. As those closest to me know, I have been dealing with a stalker for many years. He was an old boyfriend that just became incredibly violent when I tried to leave him. We grew apart and he began drinking. I didn't want this in my life. It's a nightmare I live with every day. I have to do things very carefully. I had to move to another state because he found me. I haven't voted in years, and nothing is under my name. I know that if he ever finds me, I will probably be killed because he is not your average stalker (he has promised to kill me if he should ever find me). I've had to involve three police departments over this. It's why using my pen name is just fine with me. I do not want to divulge much more for a reason. I hate that he has this kind of control over my life, but I have to be extremely careful with good reason. A soap column or fame over a soap column is not worth my life (I do not want to inadvertently give him the crumb he has been waiting for to find me again).

Second, how did you find out about me then? Here's where you devote some time to loving on me. ;)

Years back when I had the courage to visit soap sites, I first learned of you and Soapzone. I was very impressed with your dishy style and felt an immediate kinship with you. I loved the articles, and loved that you were always very raw and honest with your readers. I was also grateful to you over the years for always giving me credit for the scoops I passed on from my sources. You were like a lighthouse in a never-ending storm for me in that regard. I will never forget the day that one of my dearest friends (a news anchor in Canada) contacted me to tell me that Amanda from Soaps Up mentioned me on the air and gave me credit for the "Todd lives through his execution scoop"! I was so happy that someone else was decent enough to do this without any unnecessary pettiness and jealousy. I really feel that if anything, we all need to band together as one and try to fight the common enemy here.

What, in your learned opinion, is the solution to dealing with these soap cancellations? There is a lot of talk of petitions, campaigns, protests, boycotts, and pressure for advertising pull-outs to save AMC and OLTL from the fire, as well as making sure GH doesn't get canned next. Will any of this work or should we just let go?

I began a huge campaign on the day the cancellations were finally announced, and we are growing stronger ever day. I have over 2,000 friends on Facebook alone and they are putting their hearts and souls into this fight (and spreading the word everywhere). I get almost 5,000 hits per day on my spoiler site alone. We have been contacting the sponsors, ABC, and Disney directly. We were elated when Hoover announced that they were pulling ads from ABC. It was nice to see such a large company stand behind values rather than the almighty dollar. This is not just about canceling a television show. It's about canceling a way of life. A tradition that has been handed down over the generations for a reason. These stories are deeply woven into the fabric of this country. This is about good storytelling and so much more. If ABC believes that all we want to see is a web cam shoved in someone's face for entertainment, they are sadly mistaken. We want good old-fashioned television with beautifully crafted stories that are a distraction from the everyday stress of life. Sure, it costs a bit more, because it's a gem instead of a bunch of cheap costume jewelry. We need to fight until the bitter end. When we finally do walk away, we don't want there to be any what-ifs left out there. We will know that we did all that we could. That is all we can do. I think it's very important that we continue to watch all three ABC soaps until the end. When they are gone, many fans will be gone with them (myself included). Time to find another network to watch.

I need a scoop. Current rumors out there have GH gone by September 2012. What's the deal?

General Hospital's fate is already sealed. The plan was to get rid of all three from the get-go. Hear tell they are merely waiting for the right replacement for GH. It’s done.....

Is there anything you can dish just for me?

One of the actors from the upcoming "A Tale of Two Todds” will be gone sooner than later. Once the story wraps, he will be written out. The show will close with the real Todd.

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