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.

Take care,

-Rick Wood


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