Bravo! The Project - A Documentary Film

Posts Tagged ‘Crowdfunding’

Documentary Film,Khe Sanh,Marines,Vietnam War

January 4, 2011

The Year in Review

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As do many things in my life, Bravo! Common Men, Uncommon Valor, started out as a conversation, a dream, a boast, and as long as it remained as such, nothing about it really mattered much. My wife and I could sit around with coffee, lattes, mochas, maybe a plate of tamales and enchiladas and palaver about what a movie might look like, or how one would structure it, or how one would even go about contemplating making a movie about Bravo Company, First Battalion, 26th Marines at the siege of Khe Sanh when you have no filmmaking experience.
After a phone call to the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, Betty dashed off a letter telling them what we would do (as if we really knew what we would do) and what a shock it was to have them grant us funds to begin making the film. Not only did they give us seed money, they offered help with historical aspects of the film. And with our heads spinning around and around, our minds dreaming of how and when and where, we were suddenly movie makers. And we knew we had some quick learning to do.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog, in early April 1968 when, for the final time, I got off a chopper that had departed Khe Sanh, I stood and looked back into the mountains and swore that there was a story there that needed telling and that I would tell that story. And in April 2010, forty-two years later, we began with interviews of me, then in July off to the Khe Sanh Veterans annual get-together in San Antonio where we interviewed, John “Doc” Cicala, Mike McCauley, Lloyd Scudder, Ron Rees, Frank McCauley, Michael O’Hara, Ken Pipes, Peter Weiss and Steve Wiese. Betty and I hit the road in early August and traveled back to Washington, DC, and on the way there and back interviewed the late Dan Horton, Cal Bright, Tom Quigley, Ben Long and Ken Korkow. We also did three weeks’ research in the Marine Corps University (what an anomaly to me, a Marine Corps University—I’m more attuned to Quonset huts and bayonets, loud staff sergeants and getting online—and not on the internet—and assaulting a hill) at Quantico and at the National Archives.
We returned to Boise and catalogued photos, film, sound and watched interviews, interviews, interviews as we made trailers and stuck them up on YouTube and Vimeo and assessed our funding needs. Reality set in. We started computing funds needed versus funds on hand and we knew we needed to raise more money. So, we began serious fund raising efforts which, despite my natural pessimism, are beginning to flow in. A special thanks here to Mary McColl (our chief money finder) and Carol Caldwell-Ewart (who built our crowdfunding website at IndieGoGo) and Michael and Linda Hosford who are doing the grunt work in beating the bushes for individual funders. A big shout out, too, to all the former marines and corpsmen who have also helped us raise money, and to all the movie-making people in Hollywood and Boise and Springfield, IL and Omaha, NE who have helped us leap forward with our movie making. And of course, a big hearty thanks to all the other helpers and contributors out there who love our vision and want to help.
And now, as the year 2010 has ended, we contemplate the editing process and the actual making of the movie in some coherent, historical and artistic form that will educate and (I don’t want to say entertain) move, emote, people on a visceral level. We have one final interview with the military historian Dr. David Walker at Boise State University. After getting his cuts into the film, we want to move on to film festivals and openings and showings and distributing DVDs so the story I contemplated telling back there in 1968 will get told, fairly, accurately, and most importantly to me, told emotionally. The story these interviews, these photos, these film clips tell is history, but it is about people who overcome and persevere, who live and stand tall in the face of unimagined adversity; and I want viewers to understand those traits beneath their own skins, not only in their brains, but in the way the hair stands up on the back of their necks, how they shiver and how they fight to keep tears from falling as they watch the movie.
So into 2011 and onward and upward. We still have until 1/9/2011 on our crowdfunding website, Indiegogo, to collect more money, which we will need to help pay for editing this film.
Thank you all, dear supporters of Bravo, for staying interested, for helping us, for keeping your fingers crossed for us. Don’t stop now.