Captain Dye's Blog
Saturday, 13 December 2008
This is some weird stuff right here
Yesterday evening around midnight I said goodbye to a group of young actors who had just completed some additional photography in LA on a project we'd begun together more than a year ago in Australia. The occasion marked the end of a long journey for many of them who worked on the upcoming HBO mini-series "The Pacific." Under normal circumstances it would have been showbiz SOP; just another notch on the old pistol grip in an inherently transient endeavor that has more in common with a wandering gypsy circus than a real profession. You wrap your role in one of these gigs and it's lots of congratulations, hugs, handshakes, empty promises to keep in touch, and then a few beers or a split of champagne to mark the milestone. But this parting between me and my charges on "The Pacific" was both poignant and peculiar. These men were so glassy-eyed and disoriented they couldn't break out the cell phones and start haranguing the agents about the next gig. That's some weird stuff right there. They were all suffering from the same sort of post-partum anxiety and aimlessness that real military veterans feel when they shed the uniform, preparing for return to a life that's been alien to them for a long and meaningful stretch. These guys all told me their experience on "The Pacific" had changed their lives in one way or another - mostly for the better - and they now understood much more of what the people they'd been portraying must have felt at the end of World War II. Many of them told me the change was so significant that they just didn't know how they would go back to auditioning for roles in romantic comedies or other Hollywood fluff. They'd spent most of a year out of their lives - beginning with two weeks of rugged field traning before filming began - and suffered the outrageous fortune of having me and my staff breathing down their collective necks; demanding constant concentration, technical expertise and discipline, reminding them at every twist or turn that they were portraying genuine heroes who wore the eagle, globe and anchor of the U.S. Marine Corps in WW II. Sure, they got paid well for all the hardship involved in an unusual and demanding project under a merciless task-master, but it didn't take long for the effect to outweigh the bank balances. They were changed. And just now - at the end of the ordeal - they were beginning to really understand in a very visceral way the noble service and sacrifice of military men and women. They had a chance to understand how - and why - some people are willing to dedicate themselves to something larger than self-interest. Now, they had the chance to forget it and get on with their lives, but they couldn't do that. And neither can I because it means that our full-immersion, constant vigilance methods work and we are teaching as well as entertaining. That's our reward and it's tremendously satisfying. Now I think I'll go find those beers. Champagne makes me fart.
Posted By Captain Dale A. Dye at 5:39 PM in Category:General News
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