Captain Dye's Blog
These are all the Blogs posted in December, 2008.
Saturday, 13
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 / Category:General News
Tuesday, 2
Return of the Blog
A couple of years ago I couldn't have told you what a blog was. Yeah, I'd heard the term a time or two but 'blog' to my untrained, slightly techno-phobic ear sounded like something a Drill Instructor calls a recruit when he can't remember the poor guy's proper name. "Real good, Private Blog! Now get up here and commence bends and thrusts until I get tired." Other times it put me in mind of one of those words that's defined by the sound it makes when spoken. "So, this guy sticks his finger down his throat and blog - he tosses his cookies all over the floor." Note: As an English major, I am familiar with the word onomatopoeia but it's very hard to type.


It was only after my spouse started making me read a few of the things by otherwise refusing to help me resuscitate a dead laptop that I came to understand that blog is short for web log, or the internet version of those notes we used to write and then tear out of our Big Chief tablets to clandestinely pass to our buddies in grammar school classrooms. Further investigation led me to understand that blogs are handy forums for a True Believer to hold forth on any subject and say anything that trips his trigger - or floats her boat - without substantiation or recrimination while sitting in front of a computer keyboard in some dingy corner of Mom's basement wearing week-old underwear and manipulating a mouse covered with layers of Tostitos-grease. And - here's what's really cool - there's always some other TB out there in cyberspace that is willing to read it and often respond via the same medium. So much for handwriting, the U.S. Postal Service, collegiate debating societies and face-to-face human discourse during which too much fat-mouth can result in fat-lip. It's enough to make a guy blog all over his shoes.


It's also a quandary and a wonder all at once which is why I'm about to blog all over those who visit the Warriors Inc. website as a regular weekly feature...or weekly frustration, depending on your perspective. If you're looking for political screeds, surf along, little doggerel. There's enough of that stuff out there to gag a maggot. I will, however, have some things to say about the military, movie-making, television, the entertainment industry in general and other less weighty subjects that happen to be giving me a warm buzz or a case of chapped-ass at deadline time. That should provide a template sufficiently broad to piss off at least someone most of the time. I'm restricting the blog-standard to these subjects as they are some of the few topics with which I am intimately familiar. Also, because I can probably bloviate in these areas without fear of having my hooch fragged or finding my assets seized by the FCC, CIA, FBI or the Thought Police.


Here's what's on my mind as we de-bone the turkey detritus and roll our way into a Christmas season that looks barren, bleak and dank if you check with the economists or just listen to the mall-rats bitching about Black December. National economies under stress are a lot like those little Super Balls we used to play with - and some of us still do - in that they tend to bounce around seemingly out of control until they run out of kinetic energy or someone fields the ball and stops the motion. So, our current fiscal situation is nothing new. It's happened before in various permutations and with varying consequences. You can engage in fuzzy-headed finger-pointing all you want, but you won't escape the fact that as a nation - by commission or omission - we screwed the pooch economically over the past decade or so. Now we'll pay the price, suffer the outrages and then resume life mostly as we knew it with a few significant changes due to pertinent realities that we've come to recognize. That's the nature of the beast as you could learn from a little less blog and a lot more reading of our history.


From a show-biz perspective, there's a lot to bitch about in these uncertain times. My outfit has had one major motion picture fold in mid-production due to economic concerns - and a little dastardly fiscal chicanery. And we've got two other projects out there on the horizon that were blinking steady yellow - just short of a green-light - that are now showing blood-red as in stop, halt and don't even ask when you might see some money. That's painful, especially when you consider that the one industry that typically shows a bounce or upsurge in hard economic times - believe it or not - is the entertainment industry. People anxious for escapism, I guess, or just wanting something other than a tidal wave of bad news on the tube, but there are a number of big movies and TV pilots that are not moving ahead because the investors are afraid to spend the required money. When those projects involve military themes - and a number of them do - I take it particularly hard. It means another opportunity to shine the light of popular media on our tremendous men and women who wore the uniform or are wearing it now will not be taken. That's a fall-out from our economic mess that's least palatable to me and the folks here at Warriors Inc.


We're hanging on - waiting for the Super Ball to stop bouncing or for the new administration's economic recovery team to get their poop in a group - and in the meantime trying to diversify into publishing (see Warriors Publishing Group) or Corporate Leadership/Team-Building (See Warriors Leadership Group) but our focus still remains on films and TV. And our agenda remains the same: We want to use those popular media to be sure the public understands the service and sacrifice of military men and women who are willing to lay it all on the line for us and our way of life. You can't ask for a better Christmas gift than these folks give us every day of every year we live in a free country.


When the smoke clears and the shrapnel stops falling, we'll be back on that mission. Nietzsche had it right: What does not kill us makes us strong.
Posted By Captain Dale A. Dye at 9:21 PM / Category:General News
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