Wounded Soldier lives the dream at Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp
OK the following story was three days of shooting with 24 hours (strait) editing. With this story the subject matter was so compelling it was really my job NOT to mess it up.
I don't think I hit the mark. In the beginning I wanted to show how this Soldier was living the fine line between rock and roll fantasy and the harsh reality of war. In retrospect, the more I look at it the worse it feels. I'd like any advice on how to execute this kind of story better.
This will appear on the Army's flagship newscast Army Newswatch
Here's the story:
First let me say, that you have nothing tow worry about at a macro level. So much of your stuff is absolutely shizzle. That 101st Airborne Firefight video is showing mad skillz.
With this one, it's beautiful, on target human interest doc stuff... Did you tap into that dividing line between warrior and musician ? I don't know... I don't know if it was necessary to get down to mythological archetype here, if you know what I mean.
If there was anything I might ad, it would have been to ead with your intro (great work), but then give us just a brief introduction to what rock fantasy camp is, a little more detail on who our soldier is. You might want to think about some lower thirds to intro our rock stars (I work in the music biz and I can't tell who these guys are).
Other than that, story=great and editorial=great.
Keep it up !
When you get out, stay in touch ! Might have a gig for ya...
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super sweet. This is actually the unfonted version. The guys in the video are
Mark Farner formerly of Grand Funk Railroad, pony tail, green shirt. Do a mp3 search for "I'm your captain"
Glen Hughes of Deep Purple, shades on, Stevie Wonder said Hughes is his favorite white singer
Corky Laing of Mountain, curly hair with the "got balls" shirt. My favorite discovery this last week is "Mississippi Queen."
Paul Stanley of KISS, bright green shirt, long black hair
Leslie West, white shirt, singing lead with jason on final song. He does a renditon of Bob Dylan's "Blowing in the Wind" that is mind blowing...
Thanks for the kind comments.
24 hours straight editing? No wonder to more you look at it, the worse it feels, that's because you feel worse and it wouldn't matter what story you were editing. Take a break, sleep on it for a few nights, stretch and relax.
I think this is a great start. I hear what you are saying about the fine line of war and fantasy. That can be a hard story to tell and even harder to mix. Consider breaking up the parts instead of combining them (although it's a nice execution in what you have done there). I'd start with the gravity of war, then transition into the fantasy of the camp. Or perhaps you start with the camp, introduce Jason and the war, then introduce the two of them together. Treat the camp as a character and introduce it to the audience instead of letting us try and guess what it is. I would also consider focusing the music in vignettes, rather than have the music as a bed throughout, which will help introduce the music as another character. Use the music as the bond that holds these two worlds together and while you have the music in there, it should be showcased a little more and made a little bit more 'special'. Does that make sense? It's hard to know what to say because I don't know what you have in terms of story for your interviews, but if you can a little more introduction to everyone might help to let us in on what's going on. It feels a bit hurried at the moment, not bad at all, just a little hurried. Having him sit at the drum set for the interview was a nice idea.
I doubt there will be one piece of unison input here...
BUT...as a guy who has spent some considerable time doing pieces that make grown men cry...then open their checkbooks...some shot and edited in 10 hours straight, I've got a few notions.
#1 We know that he's at RnR camp from the beginning...he's sitting there doing the interview... There is no huge "reveal" when you find out that they invited him.
#2 We don't know why he called them...did he know what it cost? Was he disappointed when he found out? Who contacted the people at the camp? Can we hear from some of them?
#3 more peripheral info about this soldier would help us understand what all this means to him...did he play in a band in high school? Does he have any of these guy's albums? I'd spend some more time trying to convey how important this is to the soldier...who is obviously not exactly the most emotionally animated person (after serving in an active theater of combat, I wouldn't hold having some emotional distance against any of these guys/gals BTW...).
#4 was his wife at the concert? Did they see each other at the end? Did the guys introduce him to huge crowd response? We want to see the payoff. I want to see him overwhelmed with joy and disbelief as the crowd makes a deafening roar when he's introduced...
I guess the bottom line with these types of stories is making sure there is a ramp that peaks at the end...I've seen several videos lately at film festivals, etc that simply didn't know they were over and kept on going. I'm not saying that's what you have here, but you want to build everything to the end and make me feel good that this guy caught a break and got a dream to come true.
In order to do that, i have to be invested in this guy. I have to understand how his wife, friends, and comrades feel about him. I need them to describe him to me from a friend's perspective so I can feel that close to him.
Then i need to understand his life. He's a soldier...an injured soldier...with a wife and twins at home. They're probably financially struggling anyway as all of our US military personnel are so generously compensated for risking their neck... He's given a period of his life...and now his health, to his country and he suddenly sees his real chance to realize a long time dream of his...it's so close he can touch it...but it's simply too costly.
Then (I think) comes contact with the people at the RnR camp from others...others who know this guy...they care about him...THEY wish he could live this dream too. He's being unselfish by trying to come home, come back after an injury, and pick up being a Dad and he's willing to set his personal dreams aside as one thing this guy understands is what his duties are. These people who know him are being unselfish as they're expending their time and effort to try and plead this guy's case without him even knowing about it.
Then comes the RnR camp guys who went through the process of changing their minds. They decided to do something unselfish too...
Then he gets the call. I really really want to hear his recollection of taking that call...This is the first warm fuzzy emotional payoff here...his dream has just been put within his reach after he thought it was impossible. There is a lot of really visceral emotion there...
The time spent at the camp and how good a drummer he is...and the rock stars singing his praises and the praises of military personnel in general come in here. His time spent getting to know these guys and being at the camp would be the peak of the ramp if it wasn't for the:
Performance: I want to see him introduced...i want to see a bit of his performing, but I'd LOVE to see him walk off the stage and hug his wife, or see him say goodbye to these guys or...just end it with the crowd roaring as he's taking his final bow and show me the look on his face...maybe with some sound of something he said that was particularly inspiring running underneath it from his interview...slo mo to freeze...
fade to black.
I want to share this guy's joy, but I can only do that in response to the context of his situation. Your neighbor in suburbia wins the lottery and it pisses you off a little...a guy who's about to lose his house and his family will be out in the cold because he's been out of a job since the plant shut down wins the lottery and we have tears welling up because once in a while there actually IS a tiny bit of sweet justice...
Like I said, there are a LOT of ways to look at this subject. I'm just looking at it from my experiences...
Good luck with it.
get some rest.
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