Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Operation Home Base: Bringing Back Age Diversity to Television

Recently it was pointed out to me that I have been focusing on the older characters of Operation Home Base to the exclusion of the rest of the characters as a way of promoting the show to investors and sponsor. Instead of furthering my cause, it has diminished my chances of finding support in the entertainment industry.

Investors, sponsors, and networks’ consider those between 18-35 to be the prime demographic age group. They believe that in order to have hit show, whether it be television or film, this demographic needs to be courted by featuring characters from this age bracket. I, on the other hand, believe there is intelligent life out there, who will be attracted not by the age of the characters, but by the depth of the personality of the characters, complexity of the storylines and the quality of the production.

Although the older characters are very important to the show, they are only the support pillars for the storylines. OHB has always been based on diversity of age, gender and culture. The characters ages range from 7 to 70. Being the youngest in the regular cast, Tessa and Izzy are children, who are connected to the military families. Still children, they have learned how to live and function in the world of adults. Together, they learn how to be children. Walter Hummel is the oldest of the regular cast. At 71 years, he has survived his own military career and has retired into civilian life. His experiences go back to the Korean War as well as many of the subsequent conflicts. These are the bookends; most of the remaining characters’ ages fall between them.

The older characters are important simply because they are the pillars of the show. In order to fully understand how deeply the emotional traumas cut into a person’s soul, you have to have lived and survived it.. It is through them at that younger staff members will learn how to help others. It is this reason I focused on introducing them first. Without Walter, Deek, Martin, Elaine, Lorelei, and Michael, the OHB would have no credibility. In addition, there will be semi-regulars and guest stars, who are also of an age; they will reflect real life and keep the show honest. It is their experience, wisdom and personal challenges that create the healing atmosphere that the rest will build from.

The 18-35 age group will be well represent as regular cast, semi-regulars and guests. However, these characters will not just be chip beef--chippies in bikinis and beef cake. Each will have depth and character, which make them individuals with personal challenges, desires, and faults. No one will be perfect. No one will be completely evil. What they will be are real people that viewers of all ages will be able to identify with as family members, friends, and the person they see in the mirror.

Master Sergeant Stella Garcia is OHB’s Casualty/mortuary officer. Half Potawatomi half Mexican, Stella Garcia is woman in her late 30’s who planned to be a career soldier; however, the IED, which took her left leg, ended her active field duty. She is the only active duty member of the OHB staff. Emotionally and physically injured, Stella finds her way back to life and love. She learns how to find happiness in spite of her disability.

Being the youngest member of the OHB staff, Debra Anne Lee is more than capable of holding her own not only with the rest of the staff, but also military personnel from the lowest to the highest ranked. As the Red Cross Liaison, Debra Anne would be assisting family members in communicating with military personnel through official channels. In her mid to late 20’s, she is a newly wed, whose husband was deployed shortly after their wedding. She will show how military families survive the separation both as a professional and a wife, who never knows when or if her soul mate will be coming home.

Randi Cullen is the thirty-something legal advocate. She grew up as Marine brat until her mother divorced her father early in her childhood. Eventually her mother remarried and moved across country, taking Randi and her brothers away from the military way of life Although both of her older brothers enlisted right out of high school, Cullen both loved and hated the military. She loved the discipline and the service, yet she blamed it for the loss of her father. Unlike her brothers, she followed her step-father’s example by becoming a top litigator before she reached her 30th birthday. However, she never forgot her birth father. She met Deek while searching for him. They became close friends, who tried to take the relationship to the next level.

In her early 20’s, Denise O’Dell is a third year law student, who started as a volunteer with OHB as a receptionist/gopher. As a regular member of the cast, she will help Randi deal with legal issues and help keep the office organized. A bright, intelligent, and ambitious woman of African-American decent, she works hard to make a difference. Although she doesn’t have any direct connection to the military, she has chosen to step up to help simply because she cares and she sees the need.

Special Agent Simon Behan is also African-American. He will be a reoccurring character.. In his early 30’s, he has a proud family man. Coming from a law enforcement heritage, Behan was recruited by NCIS after he help clear a Marine of murder charges. By speaking the truth, he broke the Blue code and put himself at risk. His choice not only put him at odds with his co-workers, but with his own family.

In his mid twenties, Shawn Michael Knox is Deek’s hand picked assistant, who frequently disappears without explanation. Self assured, Knox diffuses personal questions with humor. A combination of computer geek and profiler, his charming personality and sex appeal gets him where he needs to be and what he needs to have. Although he is sexually desirable, he appeal comes from his good heart, quick wit, and the courage, which comes from his soul. His secrets and his inability to give a straight answer about his past will keep him a mystery to both the other characters and the viewer for the first two seasons.

Family members and people who come to OHB for help will also fall into the younger age group. Stella and Debra Anne both have siblings who will visit on occasion. Lorelei’s children are in their twenties and early thirties. Elaine’s daughter, Amanda will be a very important reoccurring character. In her late twenties, she is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force. As a character, she plays an important role in understanding not only women who serve, but she will show how military personnel find the balance between duty and caring for their children. Most military personnel and their families that will need OHB’s help will be in their late teens and twenties. Although most will appear as guest stars on the show, they will add age and ethic diversity.

Operation Home Base is far from being an old folks show. In reality, it will actually portray the diversity and challenges of life, becoming the first true family of man drama since MASH.

To read the full proposal go to www.theresachaze.com

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