Tristan Rogers has been a favorite of soap fans since he first appeared as Robert Scorpio on GENERAL HOSPITAL in 1980. In recent years, through his online chats, video blogs and posts on his official websites, fans have gotten to know his thoughts on the world of daytime drama and what it takes to make a show successful. Many have said he would be the perfect person to run a soap. It looks like fans are about to have their wish granted as Rogers has teamed up with writer Kate Lang on the upcoming web soap REALITY BYTES. In this informative two-part interview with We Love Soaps, Rogers and Lang explain where the idea for REALITY BYTES came about, how they are approaching their series a bit differently from others and what their long-term goals are for the project.
We Love Soaps: Tell me about how the idea for the REALITY BYTES script came about?
Kate Lang: Reality is always stranger than fiction. It started as an actual dream to tell you the truth. It was a recurring dream every night and I wrote it down at some point because I wanted to dream something else. I told the idea to Tristan and it was his decision to try to make it a web series. We had been talking six to eight months before that about doing a project that would be suited for the web because it was something we both wanted to try. It just turned out that this was best suited for it in story style and structure.
We Love Soaps: Was there ever any thought of producing this in a different way or was it always going to be a web series?
Kate Lang: I'm a novelist by nature and I knew the tale was not really suited for prose. It was too short of a story for a novel so it wasn't suited for the normal endeavor for me. To make it work I had to bring in another party to see if it we could make it fit in another medium. It was a great story, but I didn't really know what to do with it until I started talking with Tristan.
We Love Soaps: For those who haven't read any of the previous material on the show, give me a quick synopsis of what REALITY BYTES is about.
Tristan Rogers: Anything can change down the line, and even the basic concept could possibly change before we actually start taping, but I'll talk to you about the concept of how it stands at the moment. It's about a show and a person who was connected to that show which made the person famous. At some point this person decided to change careers and stop being an actor and became a producer and he went on to do good things in that too. Then he gets a call to basically come back and resurrect the show that made him famous. It's a case of how he deals with all those things twenty years hence. [NOTE: Rogers is playing this character, Trevor Rains on REALITY BYTES]
Kate Lang: You were talking on the pilot for WE LOVE SOAP TV about how the backstage antics of what's going on politically behind the scenes of soap operas now days is often times more compelling than the actual soaps. This is something Tristan and I both realized. That's essentially what the show is about. It's the dual realities of life as a celebrity and a soap opera star. It's the perception of reality, and what reality really is.
Tristan Rogers: I think in the past few years, the public has become more attuned to daytime television politics. Prior to that they weren't all that interested in it. Now as the politics have shifted and the shows have become endangered, the public is taking a much greater interest in the politics.
We Love Soaps: As a lifelong fan, it's very frustrating to watch these shows be in danger and possibly going off the air and it seems like a few key people in charge don't have the love for these shows that the fans do.
Tristan Rogers: I don't think you can think about it in terms of love, especially not where networks are concerned and especially in this economy. Either these shows are a business viability or they're not. That's the only thing a network is going to think about. A network is not emotionally connected to a show like the public is. A network just looks at the show dispassionately and sees if it's making its numbers or making its money or it's not. If it's not, off with it's head. It doesn't matter if it's 80 years old, it's not going to make it. I try to walk between those two boundaries. I get what the public is all about and I get what the business side is all about. As I'm about to get into the business side of it, I have to project a really neutral image here. It's got to be all about the business. It can't be an emotional attachment because that's not going to work.
Kate Lang: Which is the conflict for Trevor since has such devotion for the show they are taping, which is called BEYOND REASON. He is in a position between the network and his love for the show. He knows what it's going to take to make it a viability versus a liability for the network. His love for the show puts him at odds with the network suits because he wants to do what's going to make it work, and that's not always what the network is going to want. That's a natural conflict there. It gives him a lot of story.
We Love Soaps: Tristan, what is your driving motivation for wanting to do this project and a web soap?
Tristan Rogers: It's no secret that ever since I've had a website I started preaching that I felt the current crop of daytime shows might be better suited towards being shifted towards the web. And I've been saying what the advantages of the web over a network are. On a network it's expensive to get a project going whereas on the web if you've got a laptop and a video camera you've got a network. This puts so many more things at the disposal of the public or people who have the ability to do a show like this. They don't have go through all the rigamarole and the politics of having to deal with a network or cable. I saw the instant advantage of it and what I started saying two years ago has started to come true. It's a reinforcement to me that I was on the right track. We see more soaps happening, and there's a lot more stuff going on than you think, and a lot of it's not apparently right now. This time next year I think they'll probably ten shows, maybe more, that are active out there.
If there are going to be a number of these shows, I'd like there to be some type of coordination which brings them together so we know where to find them all so that there's some type of creative movement in the same direction. Not a creative movement in a subjective way, but in a way to make the genre itself push ahead. I feel in the last 15 years it really hasn't pushed ahead. Right now with what we're talking about with this show and others out there, we're pushing the envelope in a different way. I think you'll see some really excting stuff and that creative endeavor and movement is what I want to be a part of. I've been telling people for ages how to do better soap. Now we're about find out if I know what I'm talking about.