Q & A INTERVIEW
Meet: EDDIE DRUEDING
a/k/a: Creator of THE ANOTHER WORLD HOME PAGE
a/k/a: Bay City Historian Par Excellence
Author of: The slogan "Putting the 'Core' Back in the Cory Family!"
Hometown: Montreal, Canada
Wish List: To gain public recognition for his incredible Web wizardry; to visit the NBC studios in Brooklyn, N.Y.; and to see AW storylines get back on track
HIS HOME PAGE... THAT'S WHERE HIS HEART IS
Talented writer/editor Eddie Drueding has designed a WILD AND WONDERFUL WEBSITE dedicated to his favorite pastime -- watching ANOTHER WORLD
I don't remember exactly, but it was in 1984. At the time, the show was very exciting, I thought, with Catlin and Sally. There was always an adventure, but it was sort of light-hearted -- there was a lot of humor, too. It got me hooked. Of course, I was at school full-time, so I couldn't really watch. I watched in the summer and during holidays.
In 1984, when I started, I was 15. Then in 1986, I got my first VCR, and I still have that first episode that I taped, in fact I have that entire week. As soon as I started watching, I just jumped into it with both feet and both arms.
Yes, I had just turned 17, so considering that, I think I did pretty well.
This is something that's sort of a separate entity from the page I do on the Web. I list the videos on the page, and all the details are there, but this venture sort of has a life of its own. Basically, I save the highlights from each show, and I've been doing that for over 10 years now. Once I got online, I began offering the videos to people. At first, no one was interested. I had to practically beg people to take them. Now, of course, I have to turn people away.
As far as I know, they don't know. I do this for no profit whatsoever. I make two to three copies of each tape -- so far I've released tapes from the years 1986-91. I have a mailing list of about 20 people, and when they get a tape, they make a copy for themselves and then mail it onto someone else.
Considering that I publicize it on the Web site, I'm not worried. And it helps support the show, too, I think.
I live in Ottawa now, but I grew up in Montreal. I went to West Hill High School there. Montreal's a very big ANOTHER WORLD fan town. I consider it the ANOTHER WORLD fan capital of the world. I just moved to Ottawa last summer. I'm very proud of the fact that a Canadian does the ANOTHER WORLD home page, considering that it's the number one soap in Canada.
The show has a very bad reputation, I find. Especially in the last years. It was doing great in the '70s, with [former head writer] Harding Lemay, but then he left and they made some awful decisions. I mean, there was one story in the early '80s with Rachel and she was pursuing this Russian expatriate. Remember that? It was strange. And ANOTHER WORLD never really bounced back. They kept making changes and more changes every few years. It would get a reputation of the show being in transition. People hear about the show and they say, "That's the show that can't get its act together." Why should people have confidence in a show that has none in itself? So we're sort of caught in a double bind here. I think that ANOTHER WORLD has to appeal to its long-term fans, make them happy, and once that happens, they'll spread the good word about the show and perhaps attract new viewers, but it's a long process. It can't be solved by a quick fix.
I'm just waiting for that Internet explosion. I mean, in a few years, there are going to be thousands of ANOTHER WORLD fans coming online, and hopefully to see my site. The biggest fear I have is that the show will be canceled before that happens.
I've tried to watch, but they can't really hold my interest. I follow about five others, and I keep track, so I know pretty much what's happening on all the others. I once said that if I had to start watching another soap, it would be AS THE WORLD TURNS, although I don't know if that's really true anymore. I mean, they've trashed that show almost as badly as they've trashed ANOTHER WORLD, and it's sad to see. I hear the same thing about ONE LIFE TO LIVE. Something about that 2 o'clock time-slot is cursed.
I got my bachelor's at the University of Sherbrooke, which is in Quebec [province]. I earned a master's degree in the same subject at Waterloo University, which is in Ontario.
Yes, I'm looking for anything to do with writing, editing or copyediting. The problem with these jobs is that they're very well-hidden, so it's hard to hear about them. I've been waiting for something to happen, maybe from someone noticing the site. I keep thinking that maybe someday, someone will see my name somewhere, and they'll recognize me. Maybe a bank teller will see my name written on a check and he'll say, "Oh, I know you, you're the ANOTHER WORLD home page.'' Well, just yesterday, I got an e-mail from someone. She works at a government office where I had sent a copy of my resume to request a job, and she is one of the people in charge of screening applicants. She's an ANOTHER WORLD fan, and she recognized my name as the creator of the ANOTHER WORLD web page. So this is really awesome to me; I feel like I'm becoming famous.
I was at University of Waterloo, taking a course in computer-aided learning. For the final project, we had to do a module and I decided to do one on how to learn about ANOTHER WORLD, how to start watching ANOTHER WORLD. I did that throughout my university career. In every course I could, I'd try to use ANOTHER WORLD to spark a term paper idea. So for this class, I created a module on how to watch the show. It was the summer of '94, and I wrote up all these character guides. You'd have Vicky's lovers file, then you'd have her spouses file, and her dates file. They'd be all separate, and there would be links within each file, so if you mentioned Donna's name, there would be a link to Donna's file. There were cross-references all over the place. But you could also just jump in at any point and start reading the storyline, and go where the storyline interested you. It went up on the Web for about nine months, because in that class everybody's module went up on the Web.
Actually, I first went online in '93, and by then I had all these files in my computer, all this data and information I'd collected over the years about ANOTHER WORLD. Before I got a computer, it was all on paper. When I got online I wanted to share it with everybody, but I wasn't sure how to do it, whether to post the information on bulletin boards, or put all the files on a disk. I thought I might get everybody's address and mail the disk to them; they could make a copy for themselves and mail it to the next person. At first, I did this with two or three other ANOTHER WORLD fans, and then this Web site learning-module project came up. I realized that was a better way to go, so I asked for a permanent spot on the Web and they gave it to me. It was just a matter of transferring the files from my home computer to the Web site. It's a bit of a job having to code each file, but once it's done, it's done forever. And then the site was pretty much finished. It's just a matter of updating it every day. Still, it doesn't take me more than five minutes per day. The original name of the page was going to be "AWstruck," but when it came down to it, I changed it to "The Another World Home Page." At the time, there were no other AW web pages. Mine was the first, so it made perfect sense, it was even proper, to call it the Another World Home Page. If I were to introduce it now, if course, such a name would be ostentatious, and I would opt for a more unique name.
The feedback I get is very important. I've gotten absolutely no acknowledgement from anyone with the show, or NBC, so the feedback from the fans is all I get, and it's important. In fact, I've gotten e-mail from around the world -- from AW fans in England, in Ireland, Belize, Netherlands, and just today I got one from Germany. I answer the e-mails, answer the fans' questions, answer inquiries about the videos I make. I also have an online fan poll that I send out on request, and that's a lot of fun, too. When I went to the fan dinner of '94, I brought with me a duo-tang full of print-outs from the page. I passed this around from table to table during the actual dinner and was delighted to see everyone pore over it with great interest. At the end of the dinner, I went to get it, because the actors were coming out and I wanted each one to autograph his or her character file. I couldn't find it anywhere. Finally, I saw it sticking out of this woman's purse. I went up to her and said, "Excuse me, but that's mine." Now, this woman was extremely drunk and stubbornly insisted that it was her personal copy. I said, "No, it isn't. There's only one copy, and it's mine." She refused to give it back. Finally, one of her sober friends snatched it out of her purse and gave it to me, apologizing for her friend. That night I received a lot of compliments for the material, but that episode was definitely the most flattering!
All in all, managing the site takes me about an hour each day, which is all I have to spare, actually. My account is at Freenet. It's basically free, but I can only use it for an hour a day. I don't have an Internet connection on my home computer. My home computer is about seven years old and it crashes about half the time I want to use it. Fortunately, Ottawa has public access terminals at the public library; so every single weekday, I go to the library to update my Web site. You have to go right when the library opens; otherwise you're not sure of getting a terminal, since there are only four of them. And I have only one hour maximum to do all that work, so I usually have to rush at the end, but I get it all done. Sometimes, there may be a bunch of school kids milling around me, so it's not always the greatest environment in which to work, but I get it all done somehow.
Freenet doesn't have a graphical Web browser, so I've never seen the site with all its graphical elements. Ironic, isn't it? I designed the site, and I've never seen how it really looks. I said, "Okay, take the three graphic logos and put them in and put the title in the middle centered." Then I said, "Okay, take blue and yellow dots and put them along there, because they seem to be the colors of the show." And someone else had AW wallpaper, so we put that on the site. I'm not even sure what the wallpaper looks like, actually. It's been several months, now, and I've never seen the site with all those graphics in it. It's a bit frustrating.
I've met some actors in person, at malls and special dinners. I did meet Charles Keating in '94, and I was able to ask him some very pithy questions and he was obviously impressed. He shook my hand very warmly and thanked me for being such a discerning viewer. I was just very impressed at how generous he was.
Oh, gosh, no. That would be a dream, of course -- a goal. And if I did go, I would take note of everything. I would make meticulous notes about all the details, every crack in the wall, what the toilets looked like. I would write about everything, because a lot of people would be interested in that.
Sure, I have my views, too. There's an online collective called the ANOTHER WORLD Fan Brigade that I'm a part of. I am what you would call the idea man; I thought of the slogan "Putting The 'Core' Back In The Cory Family," and that's sort of a mini-campaign to get the focus back on the Cory family. I also thought of a campaign called, "Viewer For A Day.'' We're trying to get non-soap-viewers to check out the show.
Oh, gosh, there's not much to tell, I guess. I'm 27. I look for work most of the time. I'm also into comic books a lot, which I think isn't surprising, because of the parallels between comics and soap operas. ANOTHER WORLD is a big thing. If I have a purpose in life, it would be this, the ANOTHER WORLD Web site. I realize that I've given countless hours of pleasure to hundreds of people.
Yes, it makes me feel really good.
No, not at all. I don't have the time. I don't have the interest, either. To me, a soap opera is televised, and these cybersoaps just aren't soaps.
They could always follow my format. In fact, I'm surprised that no one has copied it so far -- the character guide, for instance. But I guess the only advice I have is, "do your own thing," because you have to really enjoy what you're doing, and put yourself whole-heartedly into it.
The information comes from me, and me alone, but I don't have FTP capabilities, which means I can't upload files. So, I have a very nice file manager who helps me download files and upload new files. Her name is Barb Schroeder, and she's from Tennessee. I've never met her, but we work well through cyberspace.
This is going to open up a whole can of worms. My favorites? I guess Cass and Frankie, and when you see them, Carl and Rachel. Honestly, though, I'm really disappointed in the show, if not downright disgusted. I don't really enjoy the show anymore, and I haven't all year long. I watch it, but more often than not, there's a frown or a scowl on my face. I have nothing against changes, it's just that they're coming so fast and so many. I really feel the show has lost its heart. Jill Farren Phelps went online recently, and said that the show is in another transition, the second one since she's been executive producer. But the thing that I don't understand is this: Why are they doing the same thing again -- making change for change's sake -- if it didn't work the first time?
It's very hard to watch ANOTHER WORLD nowadays. I might even stop watching if I didn't have all this other stuff going on -- the Web site and the video library. It's just very difficult to be a long-term fan. To me, the definition of a soap opera is a show full of characters you care about and relationships that develop over years -- and that just isn't happening on ANOTHER WORLD. With Cass and Frankie gone as a couple, practically all the relationships are new. All the couples, except one, started this year or last year; they really rebuilt the show from the ground up last year. And this plan to turn ANOTHER WORLD into a daytime version of NYPD-BLUE-meets-ER? It's fundamentally flawed. I think no one would watch either of those shows if every week, the exact same group of characters were getting sick or injured, and the exact same group of characters were getting accused of every single crime. Ever since last year, there's been mostly a string of forgettable stories. I mean, Laurie Michaels and Andrew Miller, all these characters grabbed the spotlight, while the major characters were left playing supporting roles. I think new characters should be supporting, so they can slowly work their way into our hearts. But instead we're getting the new characters shoved down our throats. It's very hard to welcome them. The women -- the once-strong women of the show -- have been toned down. Donna actually said the most ridiculous line: "I always need a strong man to help me out." They had the most popular couples of the '90s -- Jake and Paulina, John and Sharlene, Cass and Frankie, Carl and Rachel, Matthew and Donna, Vicky and Ryan -- and they've all been either destroyed or just ignored into oblivion. The fact that Nancy Frangione [Cecile] could be fired is as inconceivable as Charles Keating winning the Emmy and the show still refusing to give him a story. It's just very frustrating. The whole reason to watch a soap is because of the payoff you get for being a long-term viewer. The longer you're a viewer, the bigger the payoff should be, but that's not true anymore.