The Emmy-winning digital drama series THE BAY marks 10 years since its debut, and its stars share their memories.
What do you remember about your first day?
Matthew Ashford (Steve Jensen; Jack, DAYS): “For my first day of shooting, all I remember is walking into a shed and tying up a young woman to a chair, strapping a bomb between her legs, setting a timer, and subsequently blowing her up. All in a day’s work!”
Brandon Beemer (Evan Blackwell; Shawn, DAYS): “My first day of shooting was when I played a young John Blackwell and I had to wear brown contacts. That was a first!”
Najee De-Tiege (RJ Garrett-Foster): “My first day was an unforgettable experience that’s never happened to me in my life. I was initially booked for a small day player part and I remember meeting the director, Gregori [J. Martin], and immediately connecting and having great vibes in our conversation. The next thing I know, he’s talking to a couple other producers for a while, and then walks over to me and offers me the role of RJ. My mind was blown away and I was beyond excited to be a part of this great show. I remember it being a lot of fun and a very successful shoot.”
Erik Fellows (Damian Blackwell): “What I remember about my first day was I was playing a young Steve Jensen. It was a super-cool moment for me because I got to reunite with a very close friend of mine that I had originally met in New York and even lived with at one point but hadn’t seen in many years [Abby Wathen, who played a young Sara Garrett]. What a small world it is!”
Celeste Fianna (Tamara Garrett): “I got asked to play a part in a wedding scene, and I thought I was just a day player. I was excited to meet Mary Beth Evans [Sara; Kayla, DAYS] and the other icons on the show, and it was a ton of fun.”
Jade Harlow (Lianna Ramos): “My first day shooting, I remember it was the first day that THE BAY had shot, period. It was a big ensemble scene, so it was nice for us all to be starting at the actual starting line of the show. It was a great way to get to know everyone, not just the characters my character mainly worked with.”
A Martinez (Nardo Ramos): “I remember looking into Lane Davies’s [Mackenzie] eyes as we played our key scene of the evening, and thinking how much I’d missed the joy of acting with him [from their SANTA BARBARA days]. It was like playing a beloved game again with your most excellent brother, after years of interruption, and picking up without the slightest hiccup. A good omen for what was to come.”
Eric Nelsen (Daniel Garrett): “My first day was very exciting for me. I had just finished doing a year on ALL MY CHILDREN [as AJ] for Hulu so getting to dive into THE BAY as a polar opposite character felt so fresh and exciting.”
Tristan Rogers (Lex Martin; Scorpio, GH): “The first day of shooting was unforgettable. We were in a shi**y bar in Hollywood that even I wouldn’t drink in. It was hot, there were people everywhere and the noise was horrendous. No changing area, and facilities were scarce. Later on, we were to discover that the sound could not be improved upon, which dictated what would happen to the footage.”
Brittany Underwood (Riley Henderson): “My first day on THE BAY was technically a table read and I walked in and was pleasantly surprised to see an old friend from New York, Eric Nelsen, and I instantly felt at ease and not like such an outsider. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, it was a great experience.”
Alicia Leigh Willis (Avery Garrett): “My first day I remember shooting at Mary Beth Evans’s house. I remember feeling like I was working with people I had known my whole life. It felt like being with family.”
Jacklyn Zeman (Sofia Madison; Bobbie, GH): “My first connection to THE BAY happened in July, nine years ago. I was on campus with my daughter Lacey Rose in San Diego. It was ‘Parents and Family Day’ for the freshman students to tour and explore the campus with their families. My cell phone rang and it was Tristan Rogers calling to tell me that Gregori Martin was producing, writing and directing a new indie drama. Tristan said that he had signed on and he told me that Gregori was interested in meeting with me to discuss the possibility of me joining the cast. I was thrilled! This was a very happy, lucky day for Lacey and for me that I will always remember.”
Cari Shayne (Genevieve Cates; ex-Karen, GH): “It felt so great to be on set again after my 11-year hiatus. It was made even more memorable by reuniting with my GH family, [Executive Producer and Executive Story Editor] Wendy Riche and Mary Beth Evans. I felt totally at home!”
Karrueche Tran (Vivian Johnson-Garrett): “I remember being very nervous! THE BAY was the first show I joined in the very beginning of my career. I was very excited to work with Gregori and the rest of the cast.”
What has been your most memorable moment with THE BAY?
Kristos Andrews (Pete Garrett): “I should acknowledge the latest, filming through- out COVID-19 and how different it’s been overall, making for quite the memorable experience. As far as one single moment goes, pertaining to THE BAY, I should say the most beautiful feeling moment was when I first won the Emmy for lead actor in digital streaming, where I was able to share the moment with my mom who was right there with me.”
Mary Beth Evans (Sara Garrett; Kayla, DAYS): “My most memorable moment with THE BAY is when I won my very first Emmy.”
A Martinez: “When the cast and crew surprised me on my birthday. We had inadvertently finished a certain sequence sooner than expected, and the birthday cake was not yet on the premises. There was a tremendous amount of energy expended to chat me up about various subjects –– many lovely compliments and intense curiosity about my ‘process’ and such –– and keep me from going home. And then the cake showed! And I was serenaded with the song, made to feel loved, and forced to eat more chocolate than I’d seen in months. To say it was a glorious end to a happy day is an understatement.”
Ronn Moss (John Black- well; ex-Ridge, B&B): “I quite loved helping produce the first remote shoot overseas in Belgium and helping to create an international look for the show and for Blackwell. This is also an aspect of the show I think we should continue to take the series to, an international level. Definitely a very memorable moment.”
Eric Nelsen: “My most memorable moment would have to be when I won Outstanding Supporting Actor [in a Digital Drama Series] at the Emmys. It was truly a dream come true. To be surrounded by my entire BAY TV family, as well as my actual family, was something I will never stop reliving in my mind, a moment I’ve never taken for granted and one I also hope to relive again one day.”
Taylor Stanley (Zoey Johnson): “My most memorable moment is working with [the late] Jed Allan [ex-Harold]. We knew it was becoming increasingly difficult for him to cope with the long days and the travel, so we drove to Palm Springs and shot one more scene, just the two of us. I’ll never forget that. He was such a good soul. My dad had only recently passed away when we started THE BAY, so that connection was incredibly soothing for me.”
Michael Copon (Colton Kurosaki): “My most memorable moment on set is every moment I’m on set! When that stops, that’s when I realize life is kind of boring without THE BAY family.”
Andrea Evans (Patty Walker; ex-Tina, ONE LIFE TO LIVE): “I think my most memorable moment on THE BAY happened while shooting the next season. Due to COVID, we were all sequestered together in our own little ‘NBA Bubble’. It was very safe and definitely turned into a great trust-building exercise. It was so nice getting to know everyone better, and to be able to be creative and productive during this time.”
James Preston (Nick Myers): “My most memorable moment is filming in Turks and Caicos!”
Swen Temmel (Logan): “My most memorable moment with THE BAY is definitely sitting at home in my sweats watching this year’s online Emmy ceremony and hearing that THE BAY won for Outstanding Digital Drama Series. It’s a thrilling experience knowing that the show received the credit it deserves.”
Creator/Executive Producer/Director Gregori J. Martin looks back on his journey with THE BAY.
Soap Opera Digest: What do you remember about your first day of production?
Gregori J. Martin: I remember it being a little surreal. I had directed eight feature films or so by this point in my career, but never a series. Let alone a series with a slew of faces I grew up watching. We had a rocky start, so as a critical director, the content we originally shot is unwatchable to me today, yet those moments I will always cherish because THE BAY was based on a childhood concept of mine that was finally coming to life.
Digest: What does it mean to you that THE BAY is marking 10 years?
Martin: I’m extremely grateful that we are still going and going strong. We strive to keep increasing the production values every year, as well as growing our audience. We’re still the little engine that could in many ways but have also been referred to as the GAME OF THRONES in indie digital space, which is very flattering. I’m so happy that we’ve built what we’ve built with this show and that we remain a close-knit family.
Digest: What has been your most memorable moment?
Martin: It’s too difficult to name one memorable moment, but some that stand out is the first time the show was recognized by NATAS and nominated for Outstanding Short Form in 2012. We didn’t win that year, but it was great to be recognized by our peers. Winning our first Emmy three years later was also a memory I could never forget. And anytime we shoot on location, it’s always memorable.
Digest: What has been your favorite location shoot?
Martin: England was awesome, as was Belgium. And of course taking the show to New York — my hometown — felt amazing, but I think I have to give it to our Turks and Caicos experience. It was pretty outstanding. I’m looking forward to doing more location shoots.
Digest: Do you have a favorite season?
Martin: Well, personally I think season 6 is going to be our best season yet. Everyone was really on their “A” game this season and the content we were shooting was so relevant. It’s great to shoot THE BAY when it’s not just all guilty pleasures and we are helping make a difference in the world. I feel like that’s what season 6 will do. But speaking of guilty pleasures, next to season 6 would have to be season 2. Sara in jail, both of Pete and Vivian’s weddings and Jack’s road to redemption.
Digest: What are your hopes for the future? Martin: I am still working on getting our show massively distributed. We are currently only in the U.S. and Australia, and we want to open it up to more territories around the world. THE BAY is now being distributed domestically by Associated Television and GRB internationally and will be available on Popstar! TV starting this September and is also available on Channel 10’s TenPlay in Australia. Soon we will be releasing the entire THE BAY catalog on multiple streaming platforms aside from Amazon Prime. As far as how many more seasons I plan to shoot, I guess its success will determine that. I’ve always anticipated the series would come to an end. Wendy [Riche] is having lots of fun so she doesn’t ever want it to end. We’ll see what the future holds. I’m ready to start shooting season 7 already.