Imagine that you awaken one morning and go about your usual routine, put the coffee on, get the paper, prepare things you will need for the day's work. You get in the car and on the way to work you listen to the news from around the world, realizing once again what a blessing it is to live in this country, where bombs are not exploding around you and where you have a job to show up for at all.

You arrive. As you enter the building, you amble down past the huge stage doors and say hello to the ever-friendly Stephanie at the security desk and continue on down the hall. Moving down the hallway, passing the costume department, stage manager's desk, and makeup departments, waving and exchanging hellos, you notice something feels different. The place has a different energy. The place is buzzing.

A feeling of anticipation permeates the studio and no matter where you go in the building, this energy is there along with a feeling that everyone present has a renewed interest in his or her particular job. Wait a minute... this is a good feeling.

You go into your dressing room and drop your things. There you find new pages for the day's work, some pink with little tweaks and rewrites to the dialogue. Cool. You are in the makeup chair and this DUDE IN ORANGE SHOES bounds in. "Oh, I have something for you," he says excitedly. He opens his script and gives you a couple more changes, some subtle, fine-tuning type stuff. You check your script - the changes are insightful and good. THE DUDE IN THE ORANGE SHOES bounds out of the room. Now you are buzzing. Your heart is beating a bit faster. You feel flushed. You look up at Gail, who is applying your makeup, and say, "Wow!" She giggles that infectious giggle and you both smile from ear to ear.

You go to the set for rehearsal. You see your buddy Peter Reckell. He is checking his script, getting ready to make an entrance, as are you. You catch each other's eye. You don't have to say anything. You both know the stakes are higher now. Boom, he goes with intensity. After a bit of dialogue, it's your turn. You enter, and bang... the rehearsal is done. Almost instantaneously, THE DUDE IN THE ORANGE SHOES is there on the set working with our director Herb, the cameramen and the lighting crew. You get to tape. You do a take. Not bad, you think. But there is TDITOS with notes for some of the actors. Good, constructive notes. We're doing another take... this time for acting... to get it even better. Wow. This guy is good.

Cut to two days later. You are on the set with your costar Mary Beth Evans. You have done several scenes leading up to the two final climactic scenes of your day. You rehearse, get set for tape, and suddenly the furniture in the downstage area of the set is being moved. Cameras begin to roll toward you on either side, to get better angles, so your face and that of your costar's can be read more clearly. New lights are placed on the floor. Key lights are lower than you have ever seen them, so that you and your costar look as good as you possibly can. Mary Beth looks at you and breaks into the biggest, sweetest smile. You smile, she begins to laugh. There is nothing like good honest laughter shared with someone you love. Mary Beth looks at you and says, "Well, this is different." You think to yourself what a surreal moment this is and all you can say is wow.

Imagine that what you expect in a day's work brings you something completely different. The work that you do is no longer done in a vacuum but rather is done as collaboration added to and enhanced and shaped by your fellow workers, who are feeling that same collaborative energy. You throw the ball back and forth and feed off of each other as the thing you are doing grows. You hit bumps and help each other over them. You don't leave your fellow workers to fall and fail and walk away feeling disappointed. You are working harder and longer than you have in some time but it is worth it and the work is easier, because you see the results right away.

What a good feeling. What is this? At the end of the workday, you feel... happy?

This happened to me, and my coworkers, last week. How? Mr. Edward Scott was hired as coexecutive producer.

At the end of the first week, we had a luncheon to introduce Ed and Marnie Saitta, our new casting director. Our insightful executive producer Ken Corday emceed, and following his delivery of inspiring words, he introduced Ben Silverman, the new head of NBC, who assured us of his support for Days of our Lives.

Everyone was in attendance, including the full cast and crew, Annamarie Kostura, VP of NBC Daytime, and Greg Meng, Senior VP of Corday Productions, who have long been outspoken champions of the show. Our fabulous publicity team was there in force, as well.

Finally, Ken then introduced - you guessed it, THE DUDE IN THE ORANGE SHOES - Edward Scott. Ed gave an uplifting speech while his three lovely daughters looked on. He said his wife (Melody Thomas Scott of The Young and the Restless) would have been there but had to work. When Ed was finished speaking, he mentioned that he was going to get back into his orange shoes and get to work. Ken asked Hogan Sheffer to say a few words and he gave a rousing and hilarious account of seeing happy actors in the building.

Thanks to the people I love to go to work with, cast, crew, upstairs, downstairs, on the floor, at the door. Also to Annamarie, Greg, Ed, Hogan, Meg and especially our captain, Ken Corday, who made it all happen.

Here's to happy Days ahead.

Peace Out,
The Patchman

For the latest on-set photos, visit StephenNichols.net.