I'm in Entertainment Weekly!
Okay, yes, it's a letter to the editor, but everyone's got to start somewhere, right?
I'll have the scan up later, but in the meantime, here's the letter they printed:
It's unfortunate that soaps are teetering on the on the brink just as they are becoming more poular overseas. Thanks to the internet, fans around the world are enjoying and discussing soap storylines, particularly those featuring gay couples such as Luke and Noah from ATWT and Kyle and Oliver on OLTL. Perhaps the powers that be should focus on finding a way to tap into that audience.
So how, exactly, did I end up in EW with a letter about international fans of gay storylines in US soaps? Uhm, that's a pretty good question.
A couple of weeks ago EW ran an article on soap operas, illustrated by a graphic of a cemetery, showing all the "deceased" soaps – and an open grave for One Life to Live, the soap widely assumed to be next on the chopping block.
I got a little peeved.
Like I said in the letter, there's an untapped viewer pool out there, and I so wish the powers that be would try to find a way to access it.
It used to be that people could only watch soaps in their country of origin. German fans watched German soaps, US fans watched US soaps, UK viewers … okay, you get the picture. But now, thanks to the wonders of the internet, fans are being created all over the world.
And one of the biggest fandoms around for soaps is gay storylines. There's Kyle and Oliver Fish (Kish) on One Life to Live. Luke and Noah (Nuke) on As The World Turns. Both of these pairings are popular around the world, with fans connecting through the internet to watch, discuss, and enjoy the storylines. There was even a fan event held in France last year for Nuke fans (the actors even attended!).
Going the other direction, fans in the US watch German, Spanish, Welsh, even Dutch soaps that have been painstakingly clipped, translated, and uploaded onto the internet. In the fandom I've connected to, Alles Was Zaehlt, thousands of fans all over the world watch the uploaded videos on Eskimo Kiss Project, a joint venture of three women who live in Canada, the US and New Zealand. Conversations in the comments fly fast and furious after every episode, with people weighing in from around the globe.
So why don't these soap operas look beyond their borders to figure out how to tap into this enthusiastic fan base? If I lived in Germany, I could buy a subscription to the production company's website and watch the episodes a day early. But that option isn't available outside the country. Why not? (Again, my old nemesis geographical restrictions rears its ugly head.)
There's even a convention being held in New York City at the end of March, Gays of our Lives, which is bringing together actors from three different German soaps, plus several US soap actors.
People are flying into NY from all over the world to meet the actors – and each other. Wouldn't it be nice if the people in charge of the soap operas would think outside the box and find a way to access this fan base? Who knows, maybe it could be enough to save soaps after all.