A new documentary that focuses on a genre that is as old as broadcasting itself and still manages to cling on despite challenges has been released and will soon be available to the public. It has been funded by Kickstarter.
Soap Life looks at the glorious past, rocky present and uncertain future of the American soap opera. The documentary by Matthew D’Amato looks at this broadcasting genre from the point of view of everyone who has a stake in the fate of this genre. It examines this world from the point of view of the fans, actors, and creators who have watched and helped make these shows over the view.
The once omnipresent and lucrative daytime dramas are now down to four on network broadcasting in the United States. These include NBC’s Days of our Lives , which is shown in the Fargo-Grand-Forks-Moorhead market of KVLY channel 11.1. General Hospital, which is available in the market on ABC, WDAY channels 6/7/8.1. CBS still has two, The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful, which are seen on KXJB, channel four.
Curiously, the forms still thrive in other countries, such as Great Britain, where one of the BBC’s most popular programs is the prime time serial drama East Enders, which can be seen in two back to back episodes in the Fargo market of Prairie Public Television on channel 13.1.
Though the form appears endangered in the United States, soap fans and producers are looking to either basic cable, or the Internet for new soaps. New soaps, like the predominantly, African-American, Anacostia have already been tried. Producers are looking for a new model of financial support for the shows, which they will need, such as advertising or a subscription.
The form has its defenders, and as this documentary shows that many people are still committed to the idea of serial story telling in the form of a dramatic presentation. This is a documentary that should be seen by anyone who is interested in broadcasting history, fan culture, and media history. Though the future of the genre is far from certain, what is certain is that there are still people from actors, to fans, to producers who do want to see this genre succeed in some form, even if it isn’t the exact from that they are used to. It’s refreshing to see people sincerely devoted a broadcasting genre and want to see it have a future in some format.