Baylor Student Appears On Popular Soap Opera

May 28, 2004
News Photo 1999McFarland with Good Morning America host Charlie Gibson. While in New York, McFarland lived behind the Good Morning America studio.

by Julie Campbell Carlson

Kendall showed up to marry Ryan, but Simone let Greenlee out of the turret, and she told Ryan that Kendall had locked her in the turret and so he decided to go ahead and marry Greenlee. Greenlee and Ryan got married as Kendall looked on. A situation like this could only happen on a soap opera. Actually, it did take place on last week's popular "All My Children" and Baylor student Joey McFarland was there.

The junior telecommunications major, who was in New York City last semester for the "Baylor in New York" telecommunications program, was cast as the violin player for "the wedding" and spent four days hobnobbing with soap stars and learning the ins and outs of daytime television.

"My experience was really cool," said McFarland, a Hewitt, Texas, resident. "I was there for four days, but three of those were spent with wardrobe and meeting people. We actually shot all the scenes in one day at a place called the Castle of the Hudson, which is about 20 miles outside Manhattan."

McFarland learned about the chance to be on "All My Children" from a fellow telecom student Scott Lilly. Lilly's aunt is a cast member on the long-running show.

"The show needed a violinist and Scott knew I played the violin (McFarland majored in music performance before switching to telecommunications). So I went in for an audition, and I got the part," McFarland said. "What is funny is I look like I'm playing the violin when I'm not. I thought it would look horrible, but it came out okay."

Originally not a soap opera fan, McFarland said he has gained a new respect for the genre. He praised the actors and their work ethic, saying they start work at 6:10 a.m. and work until 9:30 at night, Monday through Friday.

"These people are obviously stars but they are kind and considerate. You just don't see the arrogance that you might expect; they are nothing like the characters they portray. For example, the actor who plays Ryan got in his little Toyota Celica after the day's shoot and drove home to his wife and child. These people have structure to their lives, and they see themselves as just doing a job," he said.

Appearing on "All My Children" might have been the highlight of his semester, but McFarland said his time in New York was a first-rate educational experience. He interned at a film company - Raw Media Network - and helped with commercials for major clients such as Louis Vuitton and Paul Mitchell, as well as music videos for MTV.

"It was really the best semester I have had," he said. "We lived at 44th and Broadway, right behind "Good Morning America." Within the semester, I met so many famous people, like Jim Carrey, Matthew Broderick, Ben Stiller, The Rock. I loved working in the media center of the world. I would love to eventually live in New York and run my own studio."

McFarland might get his chance sooner than he thinks. He will return to the Big Apple later this summer to audition for a permanent role on "All My Children."

"I never thought I would be interested in being on a soap opera, but you can't find more consistent pay or better people to work with in that industry," he said.

Who knows? Maybe one day, it will be McFarland's wedding that makes viewers tune in.

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