September 12, 2012 -
Dalmatian Productions, Inc. is proud to announce that we have begun production research for a new documentary about the brave men and women of America's fire/rescue services. We believe it is time that major cable networks, who have shied away from airing any reality series about the fire/rescue services for nearly decade, stand-up and remember who protects their studios, their homes and their families. We have all seen the scripted dramatic series supposedly about the fire service, but we would have to go back to the time of the TV show, "EMERGENCY," to see something that fairly represented the work that we do.
We are suggesting a multi-hour documentary that will let you tell your story. From Bangor to San Diego, Miami to Fairbanks, and Boston to L.A., we plan on traveling across this great country and stopping by firehouses, squad "barns", or wherever you meet and letting you tell why, over ten years after the tragedy of 9/11, you still do the job you do.
However, to do so, we need the help of "partners" from across the country.No, we don't want your money...we want your support.
1. If you are member of a fire/rescue department, career, on-call, combo, or volunteer and you would like to be featured, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
2. If you are connected with a company/corporation that would like to partner with us to tell this story in return for full promotional consideration, please let us know. What type of partners are we looking for? Great question. We're looking for partners in the RV, pro-sumer video, vehicle advertising, fire apparatus, fire/rescue support services, travel services, battery and fire extinguisher manufacturers, etc. Any company that promotes fire safety or is involved in the fire/rescue industries. Better yet, a corporation that is ready to stand up and support the brave men and women of America's fire/rescue services.
Still have questions? Drop us a line at email@example.com .
Most importantly to us, we are happy to be a friend of the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation.
Be safe and let's make sure everyone goes home!
Steve Greene, Executive Producer
Dalmatian Productions, Inc.
Is this like The Battalion? http://thebattalion.tv
Thanks for the question. However, our documentary will feature firefighters from all over the country, telling their stories. While there will be some scenes of apparatus rolling, etc. the point of our show is to let the men and women tell their stories as to why, even after the horrors of 9/11, they still are willing to serve.
First of all, I would say good luck in the endeavor and that it works out for you. However, I don't have a lot of confidence in what you are describing to be something that networks would be willing to pick up......it lacks the drama and I just don't see the pull for viewers by what you are describing.
In regards to 9/11, I hate to say it, but it does seem that there is a numbness to the events, 11 years after. The major networks would aknowledge and show clips of the name reading at the WTC site, but barely touched on it this year.....and NBC's Today show aired an interview with Jenner's wife on freaking breast implants. TLC and the History channel had a few 9/11 programs and Fox news and MSNBC both showed news clips from 9/11....but that really was about it. So, I just don't see how travelling the country and talking with folks as to why they do their job after 9/11 is really going to pull the viewers in.
Then there is the aspect of doing the job after 9/11. I could say with a personal view, this is the job I wanted to do well before 9/11 and the events of that day really don't hinge on my staying or contemplating leaving the job. I do the job for a number of reasons, but I don't dwell on the events of 9/11 each day as how you are making this sound. I honor and remember the day and the sacrifices of many, but I find many more reasons to do this job. I find that there is much more to this job and even to honor and remember so many others who have died on this job, that weren't involved in 9/11. There is so much more to learning, honoring, and doing the job, that delves beyond the events of 9/11 eleven years ago.
Then there is the aspect of running calls and seeing fire etc. Like I said, just talking with people isn't going to get the ratings. Showing footage of rigs leaving etc, also doesn't get the viewers....there is no meat. The link about The Battalion as provided is probablly the closest type of series you can get. The guy here etc spends lots of time at a dept and can spend a lot of time just waiting for a call. This is probablly the most realistic series and he is able to ride on the rigs etc and only catches a fire every now and then. He said he has tried pushing networks etc to pick up the series, yet the networks just brush it off.......so it is a web series. I just don't know how a series in which you are referring to is going to be accepted and shown on a network over what The Battalion has done.
How long do you plan on spending in an area? Are you going to ask to go on calls? How would you plan on keeping things interesting for viewers?
I really don't want to be negative here, but I just don't see what is being proposed as luring in the viewers. The fire service is a difficult profession for any type of reality show. There is just too many variables to capture the real drama. Most calls tend to be EMS in nature, but there are laws affecting filming etc. Calls are sporadic. Training, maintanence, daily duties, only captures so much attention. Then if one is lucky to catch a fire, the chance of getting inside is slim to none and even if a helmet cam is given, most fires are too dark to get a good view. This is why other series like Firehouse USA:Boston, and The Bravest only lasted so long. I would say The Bravest, was one of the closest to a good series, but predominently revolves around larger cities where there is more action.
I just don't see the draw about watching people tell their stories about why they are willing to serve after 9/11. Quite frankly I could care less about most of those stories. I don't care about some volly in the rural area, who was still in grade school on 9/11, talking about how the day affected them, etc. Everyone has their own story, but for the vast majority of any of us FFs, we really don't have a connection to 9/11.....which means the majority of your stories are going to be similar.
What I would care about in such a series is seeking out those departments that have experience a Line of Duty Death and how THAT has changed things for the dept. The accounts of people on those scenes, what others can learn from it etc. Quite frankly in the fire service realm, at least that would be more educational than people talking about an event they really don't have a clue, nor real connection with. There have been about 1000 FFs killed in the line of duty since 9/11......where are their stories??
Very well said John, very accurate and well written as always.
I agree, there are firefighters killed in the line of duty every day, and yet the only thing anyone can talk about is 9/11 and the 343 that were lost to us then...Its a tragedy, yes, it was a tremendous loss to us yes, but what about the others that give their lives to attempt to save the life of a stranger?
What gets me sick is the number of reality shows there are...and they are getting rediculous too. Like "Deadliest Catch", they always portray that as the most dangerous job??? My question is, do we need crab? Do we need to eat it in order to live? Do we use it for some life saving medicine? If it is so dangerous than stop fishing for crabs, period. Firefighters are NEEDED, and what we do is IMPORTANT, a hell of a lot more so then catching crabs for the rich snobby stuck up elites that spit on us when we have fund drives yet when their mansions burn suddenly we are important.
If you do a series on firefighters, honor all of the fallen, not just 9/11, and tell the story of all firefighters from the extremely big city departments to the one engine kept in a barn volunteer departments...maybe then we can get more support to buy the equipment we need and keep the career staffing levels we need to stay safe while doing our jobs. Because as everyone knows, its always the public service branch of government that gets cut first, and firefighters, and police officers get laid off to save money...and the ones left on the job have to do 3 times as much with half the numbers, and they get hurt, or killed. Lets do a little "prevention" here, and educate the public on the reality of what we face to help them.
Good luck with the project, I hope you are successful.
I would be honored to help you out in any way I can. I know you have the fire service's best interest at heart and if anyone has more passion than you at getting this done, it would be the spirits of those who have gone before us!
Just my opinion...Remember how "Dragnet" and "Emergency" were based on actual events, but "...the names were changed to protect the innocent..." ? I would say that those incidents at www.firefighternearmiss.com and those NIOSH studies of firefighter fatalities would provide a great script for a docu-drama.
Thank you all for your replies, thoughts, and ideas. Luckily, this isn't our first "rodeo." From 1999-2001 we worked to produce our first show, "America's Heroes: The Men & Women of Fire/Rescue." That show had all the ride-along and action shots, interviews, etc. We had videographers from all over the country sending us video clips of real calls, then we would follow-up with visits, additional ride-along footage, and interviews.
We picked up the interest of a distributor who had had a great deal experience dealing with one of the largest cable networks of the day and signed with him. Next thing we know, our show is a hit in Bahrain, the U.K., and Singapore, but we couldn't get it shown domestically. Then, came 9/11 and we decided to stop the marketing of the show, out of respect for our lost brothers. Even though all of us had been or were still in the fire service, we felt our actions might have been misinterpreted in regards to the tragedy.
We have worked on several other concepts since then, most were for a weekly reality series that would feature the fire/rescue services. But we were constantly told, "Don't show us any fire-type programming for a weekly." The joke in the business was that if we produced a show about "cross-dressing firefighters who want to have paternity suits adjudicated on TV and get caught behind a shopping plaza," it would sell.
So, after a great deal of thought and discussion, we decided to pass on trying to sell a weekly series and instead, work on a six-hour documentary that would provide a historical view of the American fire service, its growth, its changes and adaptations, its greatest challenges, and the people who have dedicated themselves to serve on that "Thin Red Line," today.
We hope that this explanation with help to "re-kindle" your interest.
Be safe and let's make sure everyone goes home!
You're right about the author of the article in your link. Most likely, neither he nor anyone close to him has ever had to call 911 for any type of emergency. And by the tone of his article, he would be the first one to condemn his local fire/rescue service if they did not arrive in what he thought was the appropriate amount of time.
As far as television audiences, you need look no further than the "rubberneckers" on the road when there is an MVC or other type of emergency. The public always has an interest in flashing lights and sirens.
Although I have been out of active service for many years, I have repeatedly found myself "on scene" at emergencies on airliners, at MVC's, full arrests, etc. And each time, I give of myself to do what I can. And always, after every incident, I have been asked why I did what I did, and why to we do what we do. Why do we run in when everyone else is running out? Why was "COPS" on as long as it was? And on a Saturday night? Because the viewer wanted to see the cops interact with other people and satisfy than own voyeuristic curiosity.
The author of that article was right, some of us join for the "rush," for the same red lights and sirens that grab the publics attention whenever apparatus rolls. However, from both my own time on the job and from all the research we have done over more than the last ten years for other productions, most of us join for other, more altruistic reasons.
Thus, in today's "me" society, when most folks only have time for themselves, their own small circle of life, they can't understand why over a million of us do what they do. Just this past Sunday, when I mentioned how important the eleventh anniversary of 9/11 was to me and why, one of my colleagues stood there, surprise on her face and asked, "You went into fires? How did you do that?"
That's what we want our show to answer. It's not set to be a weekly series, it's a limited-hour documentary that will tell our story, who we are and why we do what we do. We understand what the production values must be and that we must include the required amount of "action" shots to wet the viewers' appetites.
Nevertheless, most firefighters and rescue personnel are proud of who they are and what they do. We see our task as telling those stories and what's behind them, families, sorrow, joy, pride, etc.
Thanks for your feedback.
Why was "COPS" on as long as it was? And on a Saturday night? Because the viewer wanted to see the cops interact with other people and satisfy than own voyeuristic curiosity.
Police shows have the opportunity to be more interactive than what a fire dept would be. You had a crew going with an officer and the unit was roaming, and the unit could be sent on calls it may not have been ordinarily assigned. Just look at how many times the officer with the film crew raced to a scene, only to have things under control by several other officers on scene.
Fire side of things, it is tough to do that. You typically aren't riding around and you really aren't going to be sending a fire rig with a film crew to calls outside of their area just for some footage. Yet, COPS also tended to be in the busier cities etc, because there is more action to film.
Just saying there is a difference and from what is being described, I'm not seeing the pull you may be and I'm a potential viewer. I can understand about wanting to make a documentary (a bit of difference than a weekly series) but again, I can see many similar stories where it would make such a series/film etc boring.
In a sense it would be like sitting on a hiring panel for FF candidates....you ask the same questions, you get the same answers. It gets old and it gets boring. What sticks out? What makes the candidate the better choice?
So like such a film, the larger cities and busier depts will be more interesting because there is more to see and do. Small rural depts where a small handful of calls run each year isn't going to be as interesting. Asking the same questions may seem to lose the luster pretty quick......especially when most people have no ties to 9/11.
Then there is the aspect of 9/11.....why? You do realize how significantly different that day was right? Even for FDNY standards, there was no day like that and yes, 343 FFs perished, but why keep a focus on 9/11.
FDNY lost 3 members on Father's Day 2001, lost a new FF just weeks before 9/11....Black Sunday in 2005 for FDNY claimed several FF lives, with another FF injured in the fire perishing not long ago. These guys were jumping from a 4 story building because of the fire and led to changes with escape belts etc.
There is Charleston, SC which just saw the 5th Anniversay of the Sofa Super Store fire claiming 9 firefighters. Chicago lost a couple guys in a vacant warehouse a couple years ago.
The comment about Detroit FD and what they have gone through is also significant and pertinent.
The fire service has seen cuts and political attacks. Heck if anything has changed after 9/11 is how FFs went from being honored for their job and profession, to being villified today because they are public workers.
My point being is that while I can see getting stories out may help sway some opinions and could help exonorate FFs again, I think you may need to focus on things beyond just 9/11. Look at how budget cuts have impacted the services and especially those depts that seen layoffs and how those decisions impacted the dept. There is the aspect of the LODDs and what has changed from a dept after such an event.
Quite frankly there is so much more than just 9/11 that affect the fire service. Trying to tie anything back to that day doesn't do justice to those FFs lost since then.
John, et al,
I apologize for my absence from this forum for an extended time. There have been multiple personal and business issues that have had to take my attention, all on top of promotional work for the program.
Again, I wish to thank all of you for your feedback, comments, and suggestions. All of the constructive criticism has been noted and will be added to our talks regarding the production. And yes, the concept of including a “chapter" regarding LODD and departments that have had to deal with them, has always been a part of our plan. Our company has been a "friend" of the NFFF for several years now. We also work hard to make sure we "Tweet" every LODD notice that is officially released. The loss of every firefighter/paramedic/EMT/police officer, is one loss too many. Thus the pain of that loss, experienced by that firefighter's colleagues and department are integral to who we are and what we do.
Again, our thanks for your feedback. Be safe!