Monday, October 02, 2017

AGNES NIXON BOOK REVIEW: My Life To Live

A year after her death, I review Agnes Nixon's autobiography, My Life To Live for SoahHub:

One Life to Live (OLTL) and All My Children (AMC) creator Agnes Nixon completed the manuscript of her autobiography, My Life To Live, only a few days before she died in her sleep on September 28, 2016.
A year later, her book is available for soap opera fans and television historians alike.
In the Beginning
The first half of Nixon’s book is devoted to her childhood, her admiration of her hard-working, single mother, also named Agnes, life with her beloved Grandma Kate (sound familiar?), and her difficult relationship with her distant, demanding, and controlling father.
She based Pine Valley’s Palmer Cortlandt on him (though without the Dobermans). That should tell you everything you need to know about him.
Read the entire review, here.
And for more from Agnes and about Agnes, keep reading....
Originally published January 7, 2017

It was a big weekend for All My Children and One Life to Live fans!

The shows' original creator, Agnes Nixon, released a statement on Facebook about her babies continuing on with Prospect Park, and Emmy-winner Debbi Morgan revealed on Twitter that she'd signed on to play Angie again... as had her leading man, Darnell Williams (Jesse).  (For those interested in this sort of thing, it is fascinating that public figures are choosing social, rather than traditional, media these days for their breaking news.  Presumably they prefer to control the story instead of leaving it in someone else's hands.)

In light of this great news, I thought I'd repost a blog from 2011, wherein onetime OLTL Headwriter Michael Malone shared what he learned from Agnes about writing a compelling soap opera.

Enjoy!

Originally published 10/24/11

AGNES' ALWAYS APT ADVICE

As the clock ticks down to One Life to Live's last airdate on ABC, and Prospect Park, the company scheduled to take both it and sister show, All My Children, on-line continues to be skimpy on the details: Will it be daily? Weekly? Will it be ad supported? Subscription-based? Will it be an hour? A half hour? Will it be all video? Will it be multimedia? Who is in the cast? Who is writing?

I thought now would be a good time to share the advice AMC and OLTL's creator, Agnes Nixon, gave to Michael Malone prior to his first daytime assignment.

Malone recalls, "When I first joined One Life as Headwriter, Agnes Nixon invited me to her home for dinner. That evening she graciously asked me about my novels. I didn’t want to talk about them. Here was one of the most gifted creators of a great American genre right across the table. I wanted advice on how best to write serial for television. Her metaphors were a master class in how narrative must move when story is open-ended, now in the case of her One Life to Live, for more than forty years. She said, “Keep turning the diamond to the light. There’s a lot to see.” She said, “It’s a big ship. If you want to change directions, start way ahead.” She said, “Don’t let all the waves break at once. One wave crests; there’s another behind it, then another.”

Read more from Michael Malone and dozens of other soap opera writers, actors and producers about what made - and still makes - the medium great in Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama's Greatest Moments. (Direct link at: http://tinyurl.com/SoapMomentsEBook)

Friday, September 01, 2017

SECRETS OF GETTING INTO HUNTER COLLEGE ELEMENTARY & HIGH-SCHOOL REVEALED!

Hunter College Elementary School's Kindergarten 2018 application is finally open!

You only have one chance to do it right, so don't fill out any forms until you use this calculator to figure out the optimal test-date for your child.

Percentiles are based on your child's age, and choosing the wrong date can mean the difference between qualifying for Second Round, and being shut out. (Also read this interview about the pros and cons of sending a child to an Accelerated Kindergarten before they turn 5 years old.)

Next, watch the videos below.

Still have questions? Get them answered at our exclusive G&T Test Prep Tips and All Your Gifted School Options Explained Happy Hour on Tuesday, October 24. We'll explain how to raise your odds of getting in, offer test prep tips and free practice materials, and take you through the application timeline, step by step.

RSVP, here. Space is extremely limited. (The 9/9 event is already sold out.)



And if you're looking to get a head start on Hunter College High-School applications (there is no middle-school; to read more about Hunter's unique status, including why it's not, despite popular opinion, a public school, but actually closer to a charter school, click here), listen to the podcast below:


Lots more info, plus inside intel from parents who successfully got through the process, in my books, "Getting Into NYC Kindergarten" and "Getting Into NYC High-School!"

Good luck and feel free to reach out to me with questions!

Monday, August 14, 2017

HOW NYC SCHOOLS TEACH STEM (STEAM? STEAM'D?)

Some call it STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Some call it STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math.

Some call it STEAM'D: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math & Design.

But one thing needs to be spelled out clearly: No school in NYC is doing a particularly stellar job teaching it.

While NYC public schools are forced to report their students' English and math state test scores, they stopped reporting science scores several years ago. And not because they were so wonderful.

These days, you need a Freedom of Information Act request to find out how NYC kids are doing in science, and, even when you get those results, how well each individual school is doing, is obscured. Find out why, here.

And despite NYC's moniker as Silicon Alley, the public school Computer Science curriculum isn't much better. (It doesn't help that those in charge use the terms Computer Science and Computer Programming as if they were the same thing; get the details, here.)

For more on the state of STEM in NYC schools, public and private, watch our video, below:

Sunday, July 30, 2017

WHICH NYC SCHOOLS STILL HAVE SEATS AVAILABLE FOR SEPTEMBER?

NYC school waiting lists began moving right after public school General Ed Kindergarten placements were announced in March, and parents decided whether to accept or pass.

They really picked up speed in June once Gifted & Talented seats were assigned, and the musical chairs of G&T, General Ed, charter and private schools began in earnest.

August tends to be a slow month, though September brings a new, brief, final shift when people who'd registered for a given school simply don't show up.

But for parents who don't want to wait until the fall, there is another option: Religious schools.

Many offer rolling admissions and tend to have spaces even in late summer (for Kindergarten and higher grades, too). They also can be much cheaper than other private schools.

How do they manage to do that while still providing a quality education? Find out below;


Then learn how to apply to Catholic, Jewish, Christian and Muslim schools from Pre-K through High-School, as well as what they have to offer that secular schools don't, here:


Read more in Getting Into NYC Kindergarten and Getting Into NYC High-School at the links.


Monday, July 24, 2017

SECRET TO GETTING KIDS INTO NYC SCHOOLS' DUAL LANGUAGE PROGRAMS

With two-thirds of NYC kids who qualify for Citywide Gifted & Talented programs not getting seats due to a lack of space, many parents opt for Dual Language to give their children more of a challenge.

NYC has changed the application process to Dual Language Kindergarten programs several times.

Find out how to maximize your odds of getting into the language option of your choice, here:


And hear from parents who got together to start a Dual Language program of their own - and how you can, too - below:

Monday, July 10, 2017

HOW DO I GET INTO NYC HIGH-SCHOOL? LAST MINUTE SHSAT PREP TIPS!

Getting Into NYC High-School: This Time It's Personal!

My ONLY High-School workshop before applications are due will be this coming Thursday, October 5 at BASIS Manhattan on the UWS. Please RSVP here; space is extremely limited.



When I wrote Getting Into NYC High-School last fall, my oldest son was already a HS junior, so the book was a combination of research, personal experience, and input from other students and parents who'd recently been through the process.

This year, as I've updated the book for 2018 admissions, my middle child is embarking on the process.

Yesterday, he took his first practice SHSAT test. And while he accepted the math questions he got wrong with grace, boy, did he fight me on every single reading comprehension question, insisting that his answer was just as valid as what the sample test said was right.

So, parents who buy my book for help with 2018 admissions, know that none of this is theoretical. This year, I'm right there with you!

And I want to help, because I know just how overwhelming this application season is.

To that end, please click on my video about all of your NYC high-school options, including Specialized, Screened, Arts, Limited Unscreened, P-Tech, Zoned and more, below:



Then listen to this podcast about SHSAT prep:



And check out my blog post about why I think attending a Specialized High-School was good for my son (and it's not the reason the Department of Education wants you to think)!

Friday, June 23, 2017

TEST PREP TIPS FOR APPLYING TO ALL NYC GIFTED SCHOOLS

In NYC, a child applying for Kindergarten may be deemed gifted on one test - but not on another.

That's because different schools require different tests.

Click below for inside info on how to prep your kids for each one!