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Q&A with Mark Jones

Soap opera webisode director



Local filmmaker Mark Jones has always been a fan of "daytime stories," but his new web soap opera — On the Edge of Happiness — is available for viewing anytime.

The weekly show, which debuted at last week, centers on conniving bride-to-be Sarah Perkins. She stole her cousin's fiancé, who happens to be the richest bachelor in town. She's also sleeping with her college flame, hiding the fact that she's pregnant, and blackmailing her gay minister brother. To top it off, Sarah is shot in the first episode by a mystery assailant.

New episodes will air each Tuesday through March 24th, but viewers can watch them on the website at any time. This is Jones' first online soap opera, but he's produced two films — screwball comedy Eli Parker Is Getting Married? and campy B-horror flick Fraternity Massacre at Hell Island. — by Bianca Phillips

Flyer: What inspired this latest project?

Jones: For every film festival I'd gotten into, I got four or five rejections. This time, I wanted to be more in control of getting my work seen, so I thought I'd do something for the Internet.

Why the soap opera format?

I'm a big fan of the daytime stories, because you get so much in one episode. Plus, on the Internet, it's hard to post a 90-minute film.

Each episode is divided into several short chapters. Why?

The first episode is 18 minutes long, which is a lot longer than I ever intended. But not everyone will be able to watch 18 minutes straight, especially if they're at work. But in chapters, you can watch four minutes and take a break. You can watch a chapter, go say hi to your boss and tell him you're busy, come back and watch another chapter, maybe do some filing, and then watch another chapter.

Are the actors local? Yes. A lot of these people have been in my previous two films, and we had auditions as well. [Corie Ventura, who plays bride] Sarah does traffic reporting at WREG.

What are some of your favorite soap operas?

I watched a lot of Dallas in the early '80s. I was closeted gay and not going out on a lot of dates on Friday nights. My parents were like, "Why don't you date the nice Smith girl?" and I was thinking, I'd rather date the Smith boy. So I stayed home and watched Dallas.

I watched Days of Our Lives in the late '80s and early '90s almost daily. But right now, I watch As the World Turns. They have a gay couple, so I started watching that about a year and a half ago.

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