Monday, May 31, 2010

An Open Letter to Military and Veteran's Organizations

A Message to Veterans Organizations

Over the past few months, I have contacted many veterans organization to gain their support for my new military series, Operation Home Base. Although they liked the premise and the entertainment value of OHB, most felt that the conspiracy would reflect badly on their organization and the military in general. I am writing this open letter to them clarify my intentions and goals.

Operation Home Base is not a documentary or a reality show. A documentary couldn’t possibly tell the heart stories of those who serve. They are great at giving facts and information, but it takes time for the viewer to see beyond the surface and to care about the characters. When Henry Blake died on MASH, everyone mourned his loss much more than the soldiers that came through the 4077 as patients. It was not that the viewers didn’t care about the soldiers, they just got to know and love Henry. The members of Operation Home Base--Deek, Martin, Walter, Randi, Elaine and the rest will be the continuity that the audience will be able to relate to as family members, friends or the person they see in the mirror; because of that simple fact, they will care about what happens to them just a little more. And like with Henry, when one of them is injured, it will affect them on a deeper level. Although OHB will be dealing with real issues and situations, it is not a Reality Show. Reality shows have very little to do with reality; I see them as exploitive of people and situations. OHB is a scripted show that is first and foremost about people and the human condition. I know where the show is going and how I’m going to get it there.

Although the conspiracy and the characters of OHB organization are fictional, the stories they will be dealing with are based on real life situations. Unless a vet or active duty military personnel does something really naughty, their stories don’t make the front page. Although I will also be using some of those, most vets and military stories don’t make the news at all and if they do, it’s somewhere on the back pages. In real life, a Marine’s therapy dog was killed, family members did get their letters back marked “Returned to sender. Deceased, family homes are being illegally foreclosed; it has all happened and so much more. OHB will call attention to these kinds of stories.

I will also be using history. WWII, Korea, and Vietnam--they all have stories that need to be told. Some of them won’t be so nice to hear. But the healing has to start somewhere. So many vets came back and just buried what happened. But no matter how deeply they dug or how much denial they dumped on top of it, those experiences don’t just disappear or heal themselves. I would like to help the healing process by lancing those boils. In order for there to be healing, there has to be forgiveness not only of others, but the vets need to forgive themselves. War brings out the ugliness in life and in people. When you live on the edge, sometimes pieces of the soul get cut off. It is time for those pieces to come back so that they can become whole again.

The conspiracy is the hook to get people to come back week to week. I’m very old school. Not only will the characters have personalities, but the actors who portray them will have the maturity to understand the times, the people and why the healing process sometimes takes time. Until you have lived a little life, there is no way you can bring that kind of wisdom to the table. But OHB is swimming in the deep end of the pool. The characters have issues. They are damaged on many levels, but in spite of all their pain, they still are willing to help others heal even if they can’t help themselves. No matter how talented the actor, a twenty-something doesn’t have the chops or experience to be credible. So many of the new shows are what I call chip beef--chippies in bikinis and beef cake; they look good but the characters aren’t written with depth and the stories are only excuses to show off bare skin.

I’m also a big fan of cliffhangers. Every episode and each season will end with one. The end of the first season will make who shot JR seem tame with more than one question left hanging. It is combination of caring about the characters and this tension that will not only keep the viewers coming back, but it will make it a must see hit.

Several of the representatives that I talked to were afraid that the show would spill over on to their organization. I hope it will. The more people understand the need, the more likely they are to help the organizations who step up to the plate. The episode about the therapy dog’s death will lead to a fundraiser on the show that could be carried over into real life. It will also raise awareness of how therapy dogs help those with PTSD, which in turn will help those who need dogs get them and homeless dogs find homes. It is a win-win situation. Another storyline will talk about how military families can’t make financial ends meet; it is a situation that civilian families are also unfortunately challenged with. OHB will inspire both to think outside the box to find solutions. But more importantly, OHB shows the brother and sisterhood of the those who serve. When push come to shove, all branches of service and their family members circle the wagons to protect their own during times of hardship and loss. I want to show that.

Operation Home Base will not only be great entertainment, but it will also share the stories and challenges of what it means to live and love military.

The proposal and the demographics can be read on my site at However to read the pilot and the first season Bible, you will need to email me from my site.

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