From soaps to webisodes

The day Alex Chando got the call that she would be appearing on MTV’s True Life: I’m Getting My Big Break, her dream came true. Since that day in 2006, Chando has appeared on almost 300 episodes of the popular soap opera As the World Turns.

Now, following in the footsteps of shows like Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Chando is set to star in a new Web show, Rockville, CA. With only a week till its launch, Chando spoke about the new show and how she made the transition from soaps to webisodes.

The Oracle: To start things off, why don’t you give us the scoop on Rockville, CA?

Alex Chando: Well, it’s basically a group of 20-somethings who spend most of their time in a rock club in East L.A. called Club Rockville.

It’s really one big musically driven romantic comedy made for the Web and music lovers and non-music lovers alike.

O: So did you have to take any music lessons for the show?

AC: Actually, it’s not really a musical, so we didn’t have to do any of the singing ourselves, but rather the music is done through bands performing at Club Rockville. All of the bands on the show are real up-and-comers in the music industry, so it’s neat to get in on the ground floor with all of those talented performers.

O: In that case, how did you manage to immerse yourself in the music world so quickly? You play a character who’s very knowledgeable in the field.

AC: Yeah, my character is a talent scout, so I had to familiarize myself with almost everything in the industry.

My character talks a lot about specific music and bands, so I ended up spending a lot of time listening to records and scanning over Wikipedia pages.

You were a regular cast member on As The World Turns. How would you say soap acting differs from what you have to do in Rockville?

AC: Oh, there is a huge difference between the two. A lot of people may not think this, but I really believe working on a soap opera will be the hardest an actor will ever have to do.

We have to get things down in only one or two takes, with multiple cameras running at the same time. The time and quality in soap acting is a completely different world from what actors do in most other roles.

Why the constraints on shooting? Are soaps usually cut the day before airtime?

The reason is because of time. There are so many episodes in a season of a soap opera it’s almost impossible to count.

We will shoot 20 scenes a day or maybe even more. There are days where I’ve had 30 pages of script to get through, but I did it. It’s a fast-paced world in soaps.

O: In many ways it seems that acting in soaps leans more toward theater performance than film. Do you have any background in theater?

AC: Absolutely. I’ve done theater since I was about 7 years old. I started musical theater in high school. I originally set out to have a career in musical theater in New York, which is where I got my first off-Broadway show. It was fun performing on the stage, but it’s so hard to stand out in a city so big.

O: Well, eventually you did — and that was when you landed a spot on MTV’s True Life. Tell me about that.

Ah, that was an exciting time in my life. Well, I mean, it’s all pretty exciting, but that’s when it all started.

The special was called “I’m Getting My Big Break,” and as luck would have it I had just found out I was going to be on As The World Turns when my publicist called me and told me about the MTV spot.

O: I imagine that was all pretty overwhelming.

Yes. MTV started following me literally the day after I got the call. It was all pretty intense, but I’m glad it happened. It was a great way to start my career.

Going back to Rockville, how do you think the webisode format will be received? As I’m sure you know, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog did something similar and was a pretty big hit on the Internet.

AC: We keep getting questions about whether or not the show will be successful, but I don’t think there is really much to worry about.

I’m really excited to be working on the Web, because that’s where I think the entire showbiz industry is headed. Everyone’s on the Internet. The Internet is the future. Web shows are the future. I’m glad to be a part of this.

Rockville, CA premiers Tuesday on