2004-07-25 @ 10:47 a.m.
Thursday night I was a total dork.
Several actors from the soap I watch (As the World Turns- think what you want, my soap has won Emmy’s for best writing for 4 out of the past five years) were having a personal appearance at the Mall of America, and I went because I wanted to get to shake hands with this guy because I’m on his mailing list, and he answers his e-mail promptly and sends me personally signed Christmas cards. Plus he’s got that dark-haired, big booted, Springsteen-esque appeal that has won me over since about birth. The guy is cute.
I (amazingly) got Sal to watch the girls at the last minute (which he did without hesitation) and was on my way. I still can’t figure out if my going to an event like this alone makes me small and sad, or independent and funny. Let’s assume I am both.
The event had begun when I arrived, and they were doing a Q & A. I was glad there was a sizable group there, which made me, feel like a good fan. I knew there was waiting in line ahead of me though. (the fact that I stood in line for more than an hour is the dorkiest element of all this. It also made my feet hurt.)
So really, I watched a little floor show, heard Martha Byrne (ATWT’s Lily Snyder) sing an original song that was above par for music by a soap star, laughed a lot at the scenes with fans that were done- (the fans chosen really let loose and hammed it up with their famous counterparts) and we were all feeling like a community by the time we were waiting in line and answering trivia questions for prizes. I totally got me some loot, because I remember all kinds of useless information.
When they started with the trivia questions, I decided to throw my hand up wildly For the one I was called on to answer my hand shot up determinedly at the name of the character, but before the question was asked.
MC: You don’t even know what question I might ask yet!
LAP: There’s not a question I couldn’t answer about Henry Coleman without even thinking.
And so he called on the “know it all” and I was able to yell out that Henry drinks a “vodka martini with 2 olives” - it was 3 times the answer required of me and now I am the proud owner of a ATWT tote bag (filled with styling products, tampons, and febreeze- thank you Proctor & Gamble) as well as an ATWT umbrella. We also got 8X10 glossies personally autographed for free. It was neat loot. I never know what to do with a signed picture, but they are kind of neat all the same.
So it was fun. I got to do something spur of the moment without my kids, and met people who play characters that pretty much touch my life everyday, and learned (once again) that the actors that play these characters do actually respect the connection the fans have to these pretend people, and appreciate what you have to say about who they play as much as what you say about them themselves.
I can’t explain why meeting an actor is gratifying. But the soap stars that I have met, are innately aware that without the support of fans, they are nothing, and if they hear you are a letter-writing fan, it lights up their eyes because those postcards and letters get noted by the producers ONLY BY VOLUME, so what you send in literally counts toward their next contract. The bulk of these actors are very humble and funny, and a little in awe of what adoration they indirectly inspire for the characters people connect with everyday.
I also got to talk to ATWT’s head of PR who frequents the message board I occasionally post at, and who also seemed to recognize that I am instinctively cool in even the dorkiest of my endeavors.