Susan Dansby: The question that I am starting out with everybody is: How did you get that job? But you’ve had so many. So, where did the interest in theatre start? And what was the first form it took?
Christopher Goutman: Well, my mother was also a Carnegie Mellon graduate. She was an actress, and she taught for 42 years in a private school, and did community theatre during my entire childhood. So that was my first start in the theatre, I did community theatre plays with her. The Rosemont Rolics. And my dad was a painter, so I come from a pretty artsy-fartsy family. So that was my exposure to theatre, and I resisted it for as long as I could until it completely overtook me after I went to college – I have an undergraduate degree in literature.
After that liberal arts education, I wrote ads for a year in Philadelphia, and then applied for MFA program in directing at Carnegie and was accepted, and actually studied under – for me – one of the most influential people in my life, Larry Carra who co-wrote the book, Fundamentals of Directing, which to me is the bible of directing. And he was my mentor and he actually taught with my mother as well. So I got a sort of a family thing here.
Anyway, that sort of, you know, the interest, the genesis of what got me into the business. I came to New York as an actor and acted in New York for, I think, about 11 years and I did lot of theatre and television. And the transition from actor to director came in 1981 when I was on a show called Edge of Night.
Susan Dansby: I didn’t even realize you were on Edge of Night.
Christopher Goutman: Yeah, and the Executive Producer, Nick Nicholson – the late Nick Nicholson – was a supreme gentleman. And I just came up to him as I was finishing my first stint there. And I said, “You know, I direct.” And I gave him my resume, and he asked, “Well, do you want to do this?” And I said, “Sure, why not?” And that was when I first started directing television.
And it that easy back then – it’s so much harder now. But it was great. And I really enjoyed it. I freelanced on every show in New York – which I think was a real blessing for me, because I got exposed to so many different styles of directing, and learned not just in one place where you get one sort of way of doing things. But I learned from many directors and many shows, and that was a real education for me.
And in 1984 was when I got my first directing contract – I think it was ‘84 – and that was with Another World. I was there for five years, then I was at All My Children as a director for about eight or nine years. And then from All My Children, I went to As the World Turns as a director. And after about two years there, I was offered the executive producership of Another World, which was failing. And I think they just threw me in a last gasp attempt to save the show – which unfortunately we could not do. But, it was a great experience and I loved producing. So it was a very intense time and I thought I’d go right back to directing.
More on Christopher Goutman:
Christopher Goutman: On Working with Writers
and Saying Goodbye to As the World Turns
The Challenges of Getting Hired as a Soap Opera Director
How Does a Soap Opera Executive Producer Choose Actors?
Christopher Goutman: What it’s Really Like to be a Soap Opera Executive Producer
Christopher Goutman Bio