This week I wrapped the first draft of the United States Coast Guard Academy recruiting script, 52 pages long, that’s right, the longest script I have written. I read through 63 transcriptions and compiled the best quotes from each interview and then continued the process of only holding on to the best and creating a story from what was left.
While going through this arduous task, I began to reflect back on the many trips I made to the Coast Guard Academy. It started to feel like a second home traveling back to New London, Connecticut, every few months. I traveled to the Academy three times last year and Tam made the trip four times, and each journey had it’s own adventure. My first outing was in May (it was the second time I had been to the Academy, the first being a year prior for a project for their Leadership Institute). On this visit, we interviewed cadets and parents and also Admiral Thad Allen. With every interview I conducted with the cadets, I realized how amazing these young adults were and how the Academy was molding them into the officers they were bound to be. Our days were spent running around the Academy, capturing interviews and b-roll wherever we could.
On the night of the Commencement Ball, a time for all of the soon-to-be graduates to let loose and dance the night away, we got all gussied up and drove out to the Mohegan Sun. This Casino/Hotel is absolutely stunning and beautiful. The cadets were so much fun to hang out with and they definitely know how to throw a party. The ballroom dance numbers were such an enjoyable surprise until Tam, camera on his shoulder, eye pressed to the eyepiece, intently following a couple executing what seemed to be a flawless tango, tripped over a potted plant and started to fall with a little less grace than the subject of his intense concentration. Amazingly, he didn’t totally biff it, he caught himself and managed to continue shooting as I promptly about faced in the opposite direction cracking up (I probably wasn’t supposed to tell that story).
The next morning it was graduation day and while Tam baked away in the hot sun, I was sitting pretty in the Press Booth. I listened to many great speeches including one by the Secretary of the Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano (I hear Susan plans to travel back to the Academy when President Obama makes his rounds there).
Before we knew it, we were on a plane home, realizing we were just at the beginning of an amazing and enlightening experience, not knowing it would last a year, and feeling fortunate to have the opportunity to tell such an incredible story. The nugget that stuck with me on this trip, “Do the right thing, even when no one is looking.” My son will grow up knowing that, every day.
Back to present day…now 52 pages is entirely too long for the finished recruiting video that we are working towards (which needs to be in the less than 30 minute time range). So what are the next steps? Tam is doing a cut based on my script and then we start the next process of cutting out what’s not working based on what we see. I’ll keep you all posted on what comes next as I fill you in on some more of my adventures at the United States Coast Guard Academy.