To many it appeared that NBC was getting out of the daytime drama business. The network canceled Passions earlier this year, and there has been speculation that upon the completion of the current contract for Days of our Lives, the peacock may not re-up.
But maybe, just maybe, NBC is smarter than all of us when it comes to taking the soap opera into the 21st century by choosing to leap on to the internet broadband way of thinking and condensing it's soap opera story telling to a shorter, more updated, webisode format.
Enter and introducing Coastal Dreams"
"Coastal Dreams" (www.nbc.com/coastaldreams ) is a 24-episode series produced by NBC.com, which features interactive events (users will receive mobile text messages, phone calls and/or emails from characters) throughout the season. The show will also take advantage of NBC.com's social network, myNBC, which will tie into episodes with daily updates and in-depth back-stories on the characters. The show site will also include behind the scenes videos, a larger, more cinematic video player, an original soundtrack and a WAP site (m.nbc.com/coastaldreams ), for users to enjoy on the go.
Set in the idyllic town of Pacific Shores, "Coastal Dreams" (www.nbc.com/coastaldreams ) follows two twenty-something friends who hoped to escape the doldrums of their everyday lives, but soon realize their lives are at stake. Zoe and Stacey have been friends since high school and travel to Pacific Shores for a relaxing summer of beach-going and boy-watching. Zoe soon discovers a dark family secret and receives a visit from someone in her past that may end the summer on a deadly note. The series stars Danica Stewart (NBC's "Passions"), Tanee McCall ("Hairspray," "Starsky & Hutch"), Elena Campbell-Martinez ("Passions"), Kam Heskin ("Passions," "Catch Me If You Can"), Charlie Koznick (NBC's "Las Vegas"), Ken Luckey ("Las Vegas", NBC's "E-Ring"), and Noah Schuffman.
But get this. The production value of "Coastal Dreams" is unlike anything you've seen on the net. It's broadcast quality through and through. According to Robert Angelo, the show's producer, "One of our biggest issues was that we did not want this to look like it was shot for YouTube. We wanted this to be able to air on network television, if that was ever a possibility in the future, so we shot in HD, and we shot with the best cast and crew that we could get. And I think they did an amazing job."
A hectic, four-day production schedule yielded just over 60 minutes of content. That from an original concept of an hour-long feature and an original script of 185 pages. "We started scaling back from there and we got our final script down to about 60 pages," explained Angelo. "And with that said, when we were whittling down, we decided to start adding in these cliffhangers and start chopping up as we were writing. So we broke it up into the twenty four chapters in the script," which have resulted in the 24 webisodes of between three to five minutes each.
Angelo is no stranger to the webisode format. He produced all three internet productions for Passions including Passions Red, Passions Vendetta, and Passions Tabloid Truth.
For Passions' Danica Stewart (Zoe, Coastal Dreams) landing the role was a dream come true.
"My audition process was rather short," Stewart shares with Soapdom. "From the second that I read it, I thought to myself, this is my role. I love this character, I love this script. I just really identified with the whole story and the character, Zoe."
But Stewart almost didn't get the opportunity to audition. "I was actually working on something prior to this to where I was unable to come to go through the first couple auditions." Luckily, at the last moment, she was able to audition for the most important peeps, the producers. "When they were having their final producer calls and there were four of us girls there auditioning for Zoe and it was kind of between us, I went to that. They did a little bit of mix and matching and I auditioned with Charlie, who plays Christian. And I thought it went really great."
She did not get word right away that she got the part. "I guess a couple weeks after that I was kind of thinking well I didn’t get it, so you know -- moving on. And I went home to visit my family because I had a couple weeks off of work so I was at home and I got a call saying 'hey, you just got Coastal Dreams, when are you coming back because they start filming on Tuesday.'"
As she got the good news on a Thursday and was originally scheduled to fly back to LA on the Tuesday, she did some quick change of her travel plans. "I came back on Monday. And so it was a really quick, it was really like a whirlwind. But it was such a pleasure to work on the show and it was a great experience."
Oh, but not to worry. Stewart is still on Passions. "Coastal Dreams was only four days, so those four days were completely 100% Coastal Dreams because it was a lot of stuff that we had to get through in those four days," shared Stewart. "But I am still a part of Passions cast. I haven’t worked on the show in a little while. My storyline is kind of on the back side, but I mean you never know when that’s going to spike up again and start to where I’ll be working again a lot."
Coastal Dreams debuted on NBC.com Tuesday, October 2. It will air new episodes every Tuesday and Thursday through the end of the year. Don't worry if you miss an episode or two. Once they air, episodes will be archived on the site, pretty much forever, or so producer Angelo noted. Plus, you just gotta love Danica's Stewart's flowing blonde locks and all those hunky guys on surfboards.
Get to Know the Cast
Coastal Dreams Actor Bios
Danica Stewart > Zoe
Danica Stewart stars in NBC’s “Coastal Dreams” as Zoe, a young woman ready to escape the despair of everyday life by spending some time in Pacific Shores with her best friend Stacey (Tanee McCall, "Hairspray"). Stewart was born and raised in the small town of Kennewick, Washington. Encouraged by her mother Donna, Stewart secured her first agent in Seattle. Two days after her 18th birthday, Stewart moved to Los Angeles and soon began working in film and television. A starring role in the Aaron Spelling pilot, “Home of the Brave" helped launch her career. In addition to a recurring role on the FOX show, "Quintuplets,” Stewart has also appeared in "Oliver Beene,” “CSl: Miami,” “Skin, “Drake and Josh,” "CSl: Crime Scene Investigation," "Thick and Thin" and "Crossing Jordan.” Her film credits include “Self Medicated,” “Last Run,” and “McBride 9: Semper Fi.” Stewart previously had a contract role on "General Hospital,” and is currently a series regular on "Passions," in the role of Jessica Bennett. ln her free time, Danica enjoys dancing, skating, biking, swimming, running and golf. During time off from her busy work schedule, she returns to Washington for visits with her parents and older brother.
Tanee McCall > Stacey
Tanee McCall stars on NBC.com’s first online original series, “Coastal Dreams” as Stacey, a young hot twenty-something who tries to escape the boredom of every-day life by visiting the town of Pacific Shores with her best friend since high school, Zoe. McCall was born in Boston, Massachusetts, but her family moved around the country for most of her pre-teen life. The arts of dance and theatre were the one constant that kept her focused. At the age of 13, she convinced her parents to let her attend the performing art’s boarding school, Idyllwild Arts Academy in California, where she immersed herself in the arts. Tanee continued to train rigorously while attending Southern Methodist University. She graduated a year early with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance Performance and headed to Los Angeles the week after graduation. McCall has danced in a variety of films, commercials, television shows, videos and tours before hanging up her dancing shoes to concentrate on acting. Fans will know McCall from films such as “You Got Served,” “Coach Carter,” and “Hairspray.” She also appeared in small roles on “The Shield,” “All of Us” and “Everybody Hates Chris.” She currently resides in Los Angeles.
Noah Schuffman > Sebastian
Noah Schuffman plays Sebastian on NBC.com's first online original series, "Coastal Dreams." Originally from Columbia, Missouri, Schuffman graduated with a Minor in Theater Performance at the University of Missouri. He moved to Los Angeles via Chicago where he studied theater and performed on stage. His stage credits include Martin in "Fool For Love", Thomas in "Marty", and Kal in the world premiere of "Infinite Black Suitcase" at the Los Angeles Theater Company. Schuffman's film credits include lead roles in the upcoming independent projects "Pranksters", "Twenty Twenty," and a supporting role in the independent feature "Homecoming.” In his spare time, Schuffman enjoys playing baseball, reading, and playing with his French Bulldog, Luna. His birthday is May 6.
Kam Heskin > April
Kam Heskin stars as April in NBC.com's first online original series, "Coastal Dreams.” Kam is a native of Grand Junction, Colorado. After graduating college with a degree in political science, she began her career in Chicago with a brief stint in modeling before moving to New York City. Her first role came when John Woo selected her out of hundreds of girls to play the lead in his pilot, "Blackjack." Upon learning she had landed a contract role on "Sunset Beach," Kam literally had to disembark a flight back to New York, and head straight to the set, where her career in Los Angeles was about to take off. She has worked steadily ever since, appearing in numerous films such as Revolution Studio's "Tomcats," 20th Century Fox's "Planet Of The Apes," Sony's "Catch Me If You Can” directed by Steven Spielberg, and Sundance favorite "Dirty Love," co-starring with Jenny McCarthy. She starred the lead role in "The Prince and Me" sequels from First Look. Kam is also attached to the film "Howl" along with Eric Stoltz, and will also be shooting a third installment of "The Prince and Me." Kam took over the character of Sheridan on "Passions" for several months on NBC. She is currently playing the secretive Suspect X on “CSI: NY,” and was named online as one of the 10 stars to watch for 2007.
Charlie Koznick > Christian
Charlie Koznick stars in NBC’s “Coastal Dreams” as Christian. Koznick was born and raised in the great state of Minnesota, where alpine ski racing was a large part of his life growing up. His only sister is a three- time Olympian in women’s slalom and giant slalom events. Koznick attended St. Thomas Military Academy High School. By the time he graduated, he knew that continuing to ski race was not in the cards for him. Koznick went on to attend the University of San Diego. He graduated with a degree in finance and a minor in philosophy. It wasn’t until his senior year that he even thought about the acting profession. On a random weekend trip up to Los Angeles from San Diego, Koznick caught the acting bug and hasn’t been able to shake it since. Koznick had a very successful start to his career. Last season he had a recurring role on NBC’s “Las Vegas,” playing Dean Cain’s younger brother. Some of his other credits include recurring roles on “Veronica Mars” and “Joan of Arcadia.” Koznick also has guest starred on “CSI: NY” and “The District.”
Ken Luckey > Will
Ken Luckey stars in NBC’s “Coastal Dreams” as Will. Luckey started acting in elementary school in Dallas, Texas, and even had an agent in Dallas, but decided to follow his dream to move to Los Angeles. In August 2003, at the age of 18, and with $200 in his pocket, he moved west and landed his first professional job on “General Hospital.” When Luckey first arrived in Los Angeles he studied with Ivana Chubbuck, worked with the Groundlings, and was the youngest performer at the “Improv Olympic.” He has also studied with Patrick Malone at the Actor’s Spot, and is currently taking scene study classes with Cameron Thor. Luckey’s credits include the feature film “Marsten Manor,” as well as television’s “Cold Case,” “House,” “Las Vegas,” “Over There,” “E-Ring” and the recent pilot, “Women’s Murder Club.” Luckey also volunteers his time for charities, including “The Deaf West Theatre,” which supports the deaf arts, and environmental groups such as Greenpeace. When he is not on set, he can be found in a football game with his buddies, practicing yoga, hiking, playing tennis or a game of Texas Hold’em.
Elena Campbell-Martinez > Mirabelle
Elena Campbell-Martinez plays Mirabelle on NBC.com’s first online original series, “Coastal Dreams.” Campbell-Martinez grew up with a mother from Mexico and a father from Illinois. She has always kept one foot in each culture, enjoying her childhood summers at her grandparents’ home in Guadalajara, Mexico, and attending school in San Antonio, Texas. The young actress has always shown a passion for social work, volunteering for six years to serve underprivileged families in Antigua, Guatemala. During this time she was able to balance her life by doing theatre in English. Campbell-Martinez has dabbed in the daytime genre with a guest appearance as a nurse on NBC’s “Passions” and “The Bold and the Beautiful.” Fans will also recognize her from roles on former CBS show “Heartland” and Nickelodeon’s “Zoey 101.” Campbell-Martinez currently keeps busy with film work. In her spare time she renovates her 1930s Spanish home with her fiancé, Dennis, and planning her upcoming wedding. She is also looking forward to working with President Carter this October, when she brings his annual Habitat for Humanity building project to Los Angeles.
Now that you got to know the actors, here's the skinny on just who their characters are...
Hailing from Plano, Texas, budding jewelry designer Zoe is the girl we all knew in high school. You know, the beautiful, popular confident one with a heart of gold? When her boyfriend Sebastian started stalking her and even tried to kill her during their senior year of college - she just had to get out of Texas. Luckily, her favorite cousin April invited Zoe and her best friend Stacey to escape to her place in Pacific Shores, California for the summer.
Zoe’s lifelong best friend is Stacey, and she’s had her entire future mapped out since she was a little girl. Wicked smart and maybe a little uptight, Stacey had had to work hard for everything in life, and plans on working her way through law school, which she’s set to start in the fall. Stacey is thrilled to be spending her last summer away from the real world in Pacific Shores with Zoe, even though she’ll have to find a job to afford it.
Ex-model and global business woman April has always thought of her cousin Zoe as more of a little sister than a cousin. Even though they spent every summer together as kids, April grew up worlds away, in the Fox family’s sumptuous coastal mansion. Her world may seem fabulous on the outside, but April has endured a lot of hardship in life: her mother left when she was a baby, and her beloved father Gabriel died a few years ago, leaving her an orphan in charge of a billion dollar fortune.
Christian is a bit of a mystery man, and a hot one at that. He rode the waves into Pacific Shores a few summers ago, with little more than the clothes on his back and a surf board. Having enrolled in the oceanography program at the local college and made a good friend in Deputy Will Carpenter, Chris makes ends meet by working as a carpenter and handy man. He stared doing odd jobs for April, and it wasn’t long before they discovered they had a lot in common… But is April’s cousin Zoe more Christian’s speed?
Born and bred in Pacific Shores, easy-going Will grew up idolizing his father, the town Sheriff. Following his dad into the family business, Will had to work hard to prove himself worthy of becoming a Deputy. Most people in town think his father is a hard ass, but Will’s much more easygoing. Although he’s done some dating amongst the locals, Will has yet to find the right woman for him, and is beginning to doubt if she’ll ever come along.