In the latest update to the saga of Bravo!, co-producer Betty Rodgers remembers the people who made the film possible. And the events. And a few places.
The next step on our serendipitous journey was hearing the news from our profoundly creative editor, John Nutt, that he had arranged to complete our final sound mix at Skywalker Ranch in northern California. Yes, as in Lucas Films, as in George Lucas! John had said all along it would be great to mix it there, but these fledgling filmmakers knew little of the possibility. The thought sounded very exciting, but when the mixing room was actually scheduled, it was nearly overwhelming.
John also explained that we needed to call and make arrangements to stay at Skywalker Inn because the days would be very intense, and we wouldn’t want to make the long drive to and from Skywalker Ranch every day. It is located out in the hinterlands of Marin County. So yes, we have confirmed our reservations.
As if that weren’t enough excitement, we then learned from John, a Stella recipient himself, that his colleague Mark Berger would do the final mixing. Mark has won four Academy Awards and several Stellas (the British equivalent of an Oscar) for his work. The thought of being in the mixing room…at Skywalker Ranch…with Mark Berger…and John Nutt…and my own husband who was a courageous Marine and is a brilliant mind, author and teacher in his own right…wow. This is the stuff of which filmmakers’ dreams are made.
And it’s not just in the film end of this enterprise, but in all the avenues down which we need to proceed. We can’t help but remember one of the first people to volunteer their expertise. Dave Beyerlein, a website developer and cousin of a dear friend of ours, knew we were trying to put together something for Bravo! A former Marine himself, Dave patiently guided us through the steps and did most of the work setting up www.bravotheproject.com. Our feeble attempts to learn social networking skills were then rescued by Eric Jacky, Amanda Turner, and now our nephew, Galen Rodgers. All these youngsters are carrying us, Bravo Company, and this film with them into the future.
Bravo! has also received media attention: The Springfield, IL, State Journal-Register, the Alamogordo Daily News, the Idaho Statesman, the Casa Grande Dispatch, the Arizona Republic, Tucson’s Arizona Daily Star, and probably others we aren’t even aware of. A friend of mine since high school, Frances Rae, wrote about Bravo! in northern California’s Territorial Dispatch. Author and radio personality Amanda Turner has scheduled Ken for her show, the Writer’s Block, on September 15. Tune in for live streaming on your computer at Noon MDT at www.radiowritersblock.com.
And so here we are today, scrambling to make all the final decisions and tie up loose ends, dealing with licensing and rights and permissions and where our dollars will best be spent. And we realize how this project would have never come this far, this fast, without the continuing support and encouragement of our generous donors, friends, family, acquaintances, colleagues, strangers, and people who know and respect the veterans who gave so much. There are people who have checked in with us regularly with an inspiring thought, a word of encouragement, a nudge in the right direction, who understand the enormity and complexity of our undertaking. There are people who have bent over backwards to provide helpful advice and information as we walk this path.
And all of this…all of it…because of the 18-year-old boys who were not afraid to put their own lives on the line, to go off to war on foreign soil in order to help preserve freedom and save a country from oppression. They saw horrors they never want their children or grandchildren to experience, they did exactly what they were trained to do, they lost buddies and witnessed and exhibited heroism, and they will never forget this experience that changed their lives forever. This is the story we are telling in Bravo! Common Men, Uncommon Valor. We are telling it because these men speak for all veterans, everywhere.
In the words of Alan Heathcock, author of VOLT (www.alanheathcock.com), “This film is an important historical and human document, priceless in its truth. I saw an early cut of this film and I haven’t stopped thinking about it. The men of Bravo Company, who survived the siege of Khe Sanh, deserve to have their voices heard.”
Carol Caldwell-Ewart, Team Bravo’s online impressaria, says, “I saw the current cut of the film last night for the first time, and I believe that all who see it will be powerfully moved. It tells the story of this siege and its aftermath in the lives of the men who fought there with no flash and no glorification—it simply reveals the beauty of their love and sacrifice, their pain and courage and endurance.”
We have two days left on our Indiegogo fundraising campaign. Donors have carried us over the top, but there are many more expenses ahead. Please help spread the word so more people can join our other generous donors and be part of telling this important story. www.indiegogo.com/bravo-common-men-uncommon-valor.
Bravo! co-producer Betty Rodgers is getting her camera ready to take to western Marin country.