As exciting as it is to see "Tideline" in the newspaper
, I have to admit it's also frightening. Suddenly, I have to face the fact that "it" is out there. It's kind of that point of no return.Soon after the first print article about the film hit the news stands,
a local television news reporter contacted me and said she, too, would like to do a story on "Tideline." I realized then that maybe my main goal, starting THE conversation, really will be the easiest part of this journey.Since I refer to this blog as: SITREP (military speak for "situation report"), I think a few details about the production need mention. First, we are midway through fundraising via Kickstarter (see the campaign here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1994564730/tideline-a-film-dealing-with-the-invisible-wounds
).I can't say that I feel confident that we'll reach our goal...but I'm hopeful.Having said that we are prepared to film without those funds if we must. It just means we'll need to be a lot more creative and do more with a lot less. In other news, we've added to our posse quite a bit. Ricardo Lugo joins us as Lead Camera, Amber Jackson as Stills Photographer, Ada Jackson (Amber's daughter) will play "Starfish Girl" in the film and, of course, we've been working with Gwyn Russel, who provides us with some extraordinary concept art.There are a few others whose names will pop up here shortly, I'm sure.Now, we are in the "Do It" phase.Filming dates are solidifying around the beginning of May and we are 100% ready to go!So, I'll close tonight with a few goodies. First, a short teaser trailer I put together today. It's really a teaser-teaser trailer, as we have no story footage yet.The other thing is a completed sketch of the "Nicole" concept art (by Gwyn).
"One of our goals is to start "the conversation.' We want veterans to know that these aren't their invisible burdens to bear. We sent them into harm's way - we need to bring them all of the way home."
I recently wrapped up two newspaper interviews. Getting the word out about the film is easy. Talking about the thematic elements of the story is a little harder - but absolutely necessary.
The men and women we send thousands of miles away from home, task with missions that are dangerous and executed under harsh conditions will invariably be exposed to trauma.
The scale of that trauma varies from distant explosions to wearing a comrade's brains around because they got their head blown off right next to you. For some - many, actually - the most lingering traumas are the ones that happen unexpectedly and outside of the "normal" context of war.
Destruction, gore, violence and stress might be expected but their reality might be very different from what the combatant believed they would be before setting foot in a war zone.
For others, the morality of situations they found themselves in may go against everything they'd be taught as a child...or believed as a civilian.
It's disturbingly easy to squeeze a trigger with your rifle pointed at another human being if you feel endangered or your commander tells you to "open fire."
That was a big one for me.
A metal lever and a tiny spring mechanism, when coupled with the tension of drawing your finger in tighter, sends a bolt with a firing pin ramming into a cartridge and suddenly a steel bullet bursts out of the muzzle with a puff of smoke and a slight recoil against your shoulder.
Less than a second later, that piece of steel enters flesh, tears through muscle and slams into bone.
There's no discussion, no time to "think"...it just happens. The really frightening part is that when it does, there is no "Hollywood" close-up...no teary-eyed gaze... no tagline uttered... because there is still imminent danger, violence and chaos all around. In reality, you're still firing rounds into that person you just shot and then firing at the next "target."
Some people can reconcile that scenario fairly quickly: Life and death.
When I got home there were parades and a hero's welcome waiting. Everyone had yellow ribbons up and flags waving. But inside - in my mind - the gravity and finality of my experiences started to seep in.
A year after getting home form the war, I was out of the Army and in college. That's when I really started thinking back over my experiences and trying to find a balance between who I was, who I thought I was and who I would be from then on.
It is a reconciliation that is still ongoing.
Rick Wood (left) and a comrade in Iraq in 1991.
Fabulously talented artist Gwyn Russell created this stylized concept of "Nicole" in Iraq.
The image conveys the tense, difficult scene that takes place outside a factory during a combat raid.
I’ve read somewhere that many directors give their cast and crew a “pep talk” at some point in the production cycle. Whether it’s motivational, emotional or directive, the talk is used as a way to transport the film - and those who make it – further down the path towards completion.
I aim to break from canon just a tad and use this “pep talk” to delegate a heavy burden.
Every one of us became involved with “Tideline” for our own reasons. For some the story and chance to play non-cliché characters lured them in like a siren softly calling sailors to their demise. For others, the technical challenge of putting together a high-quality film - like a cinematic MacGyver – with a paperclip, shoestring and a rubber band is intoxicating with adversity. Still others came onboard because they believe in me and simply trust that the project is worthwhile.
I know why I’m involved. “Tideline” isn’t just a flight of fancy I had to jot down on a notepad. I’ve lived every second of the story, firsthand, in one way or another.
The troubled vet who opens the film is me at 20 years of age. I was lost in myself…my combat experiences…and I couldn’t find a way to reconcile what I’d seen and done. The pained words that tumble out of his mouth – wrought with sorrow and tired beyond measure – once came out of me.
I would question the rationale of my survival almost every morning when I looked in the bathroom mirror. My first three years post-war I would have the same reoccurring dream - a segment of a real event that happened to me – every night. I reacted to stress in terms of “life and death,” even if it was something as benign as spilling coffee or a torn shirt.
In combat I was “Nicole.” Not that I was a leader of troops, mind you. I was her in the way I dealt with things under fire. I did as I was trained and did my job to the best of my ability.
I’m also “Nicole” now. I’ve sat on beaches and wrote resignation letters I would never send. I’ve learned the lessons she learns and I found the answers she finds.
I’m telling you this because it matters. “Tideline” will affect people who view it. The burden I have to share with you is that we cannot take the “easy” path on any part of this production. I know things will get hectic. I know money is going to be tight, schedules are going to get scrambled and hope will be tested.
But – if we do this and do this right – we can impact those for whom the discussions raised in the film have never been aired. We carry the burden of being “first” to do this story in a non-sensationalistic, grounded but powerful way. If we pull it off, we may even save a life.
So, now the burden is all of ours. Now, all of us will walk the tideline together.
Really busy day here at Tideline HQ. First off, we sent out our official press release to several news organizations here in Florida.Second, and even more daunting, is the fact that we've begun fundraising via Kickstarter. It works like this: People see projects they are interested in and "pledge" funds (in our case $1 - well....as much as anyone's willing to pledge, really). For the pledge, backers receive rewards.
We have some neat stuff in our rewards tiers...everything from t-shirts to actual props used in the film!To back the film through Kickstarter is a no-risk proposition. If we reach our goal ($3,000), then money is collected securely through the Kickstarter website/Amazon.com. If we don't reach our goal, no money is collected and we start from scratch.I've done this successfully for two other films and think it works really well.The nail-biter part is that we have just over a month to get to our goal.I think there are enough folks out there who believe in the project and its message, though. We'll do it.You can help. Check out the project here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1994564730/tideline-a-film-dealing-with-the-invisible-wounds
So, pledge if you'd like to support Tideline...or share the link to our project on Kickstarter. Thank you!
I thought I'd put up a short video that Micah and I shot today, out on-location in the area that will serve as our "Iraq" set.
You can watch the video in our "Multimedia" section, just under the stills.
Enjoy your "first look
What we do not overcome, simply overcomes us."
I think I'll start with the exciting news... Tony DeMil, a veteran television, theater and film actor has joined the cast! Make sure to check out his head shot and bio in the "Cast and Crew" section of the website.
With Helen and Tony adding their collective talents to the production, I have no doubt it'll be a powerhouse.
So, what have we been up to for the past two weeks? Mostly, we've been nailing down details, casting and planning for a few upcoming milestones.
The "biggie" that's popping up right around the corner is fundraising.
We'll be going after $5,000... maybe more. But our goal is to do this film, and do it well, with any budget.
Another big thing for us is the fact that we are ready to go "public."
I'll be crafting our first press release and targeting publications in the region to get the word out about the film.
Building publicity and a following is critical to the success of the film.
My most sincere hope is that by getting the word out, we generate some discussion about the difficult subject matter of the film. Tideline is about the conversation we need to have with our wounded warriors, society and the people in their lives.
It's a personal mission for me. Some of us who volunteered to go into combat came home broken in ways that cannot be readily seen on the outside. There's no missing limbs, no exterior scars...but we are injured...inside.
Tideline is where the conversation starts.
At least...that's what I hope it does.