Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Interview: Alina Adams Brings Soaps Into the Digital Age

While you might not know Alina Adams by name (yet), you do know her by her body of work. She’s worn many hats in the soap-opera community, including writer, host, content producer, developer, etc. She’s authored soap-opera tie-in books “Oakdale Confidential,” “The Man From Oakdale” and “Jonathan’s Story,” and is also the woman behind the “Another World” website, which has carried the show on into the 21st century even though the NBC version was canceled in 1999. Alina is also the writer of Mindy Lewis Bauer’s Twitter feed (twitter.com/MindyLewisBauer), the writings of the popular “Guiding Light” character, who chronicles the ongoing drama that’s still happening in Springfield, after “Guiding Light’s” 2009 cancellation.

Perhaps most forward-looking of all Alina’s projects is the development of enhanced electronic books which, in addition to standard text, features video, music, graphics and links relevant to the story. An enhanced e-book can be experienced on tablets, iPads, smartphones and computers — all you need is an Internet connection and a free Kindle app. I spoke with Alina recently about electronic innovations and the future of soaps.

Celebrity Extra: One of your first interactive projects in the genre was to bring “Another World” back via storytelling on AnotherWorldToday.com. How did you decide on the format in which to bring it back?

Alina Adams: TeleNext had put up reruns of “Another World” on hulu.com. It was 2009, exactly 10 years after the show had gone off the air. I suggested we do some out-of-the-box thinking. Instead of just telling people: “Here are some reruns. Watch these episodes,” we’ll update the story. Let’s work with the characters that were in the episodes that they were showing and use the episodes on Hulu as flashbacks, and combine text and video in a completely new multimedia format.

CE: And then when you incorporated Mindy with that by having her refer to “AW” on her Twitter feed, that was a great tie-in.

AA: Everybody loves a crossover! You could either pick up new readers — or in this case, new followers — or you won’t. It’s highly unlikely you would lose anyone as a result of it. So it’s a win-win situation.

CE: Mindy’s “Guiding Light” Twitter started as a promotion for the 25th high-school reunion of the Four Musketeers (Phillip, Beth, Rick and Mindy), and you guys decided to keep it going. Back then, it was affiliated with “Guiding Light,” but you’ve decided to continue it on your own since the show’s cancellation.

AA: TeleNext knows this is going on. They can’t officially sanction it, but they are not taking it down. It says right there on the profile: “This is no longer affiliated with TeleNext.”

CE: I also love the interactive quality of Mindy’s Twitter, where she asks her followers for advice on what to do in certain situations.

AA: Twitter is terrific that way. It creates immediacy and intimacy. And believe me, the fans definitely have their opinions on how things should be handled, and they aren’t afraid to voice it.

CE: Tell me about your enhanced electronic book “Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime’s Greatest Moments.”

AA: I reached out to the fans on transmedia — Facebook, Twitter, fan clubs, soap sites — and I asked them to tell me their favorite, most memorable moment from the beginning of soaps until now. I received a wonderful avalanche of responses. Once I compiled those lists, I went to either the actor, writer or producer who was involved in the scene, and I got the story of how the scene came together.

For example, after Linda Dano tells you about what it was like to shoot the intervention scenes on “Another World,” there the scene is — you can click a button on your tablet and watch it. I developed the idea as a fan and as a consumer. If you’re reading a book that’s telling you about something great that happened, you want to see it right then, and we now have the technology to make that happen.

Read more about Alina Adams and her innovations for the future of soaps at alinaadams.com. And if you need a belated gift for the soap lover in your family, go to amazon.com and order “Soap Opera 451” for immediate download.

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