US ARMY BASIC COMBAT TRAINING
Client: digital OutPost (for US Army Recruiting Command)
Awards: Silver Telly (2015)
For three months in 2014, we followed a dozen soldiers through Army Basic Combat Training. Across four separate trips, we shot over 50 hours of footage, capturing every phase of training-- from arrival to graduation.
One of my favorite aspects of this production was how often I found myself with a camera in my hands, as we often split the crew into multiple units to increase our coverage and reach. It was truly an all-hands-on-deck approach on this project, and the long hours were all worth it.
Getting the chance to see parts of Basic Training that are normally only experienced by the soldiers going through it (and their tireless Drill Sergeants, of course) was especially rewarding. These young men and women inspired the entire crew to bring that extra effort, through early calls, long days and some pretty challenging conditions. This experience went far beyond the production, and it's a project that I know will always hold a special place for me.
CONTINUING THE JOURNEY
With the success of the Basic Training piece, we were asked to create a follow-up series featuring several of the soldiers from the original video, continuing their stories as they progress in their Army careers. It was a rare and rewarding experience to reconnect with these young men and women. Despite knowing firsthand how impressive each one's journey to join the Army was, I was still surprised to see just how much they had continued to mature in the time since we had last seen them.
SOLDIER STORIES: PRIVATE MILTON KING
The first in the follow-up series commissioned to document the journey of American Soldiers fresh out of Basic Training features PVT Milton King, an Artillery Mechanic from Dayton, Ohio. It was a privilege getting to know Milton better, as well as his family and other key influencers in his life, and I'm honored to help tell his inspiring story.
SOLDIER STORIES: PRIVATE MIRIAM SCHOLL
This piece picks up the story of PFC Miriam Scholl, a Blackhawk Helicopter Mechanic from Kimberly, Wisconsin, as she returns to her hometown. Miriam, her family and other important figures in her life respond to the myth that opportunities for women in the Army are limited. Miriam's story reaffirms that becoming a soldier can offer multiple paths for career and personal advancement-- especially for young women.
SOLDIER STORIES: PRIVATE HOVLAINE MARCELLUS
PV2 Marcellus has such a moving story: first generation Haitian-American, middle child of five, working multiple jobs to help her siblings buy schoolbooks. Born in NYC, she witnessed the 9/11 attacks from her family's 65th floor apartment. Her choice to to join the Army Reserves was completely in-character for this young woman, since it helped take financial pressure off her parents. She's worked hard for everything she has in life, and the opportunity to give back to her country played a big part in the path she has chosen for herself.
SOLDIER STORIES: THE DRILL SERGEANTS
Drill Sergeants stand as one of the most intimidating aspects of Basic Training for many young men and women considering a future in the Army. This piece gave us the chance to help pull back the curtain just a bit on these imposing figures, while helping prospective recruits see them more as mentors and motivators.
SOLDIER STORIES: PRIVATE MATTHEW TURLEY
Of all the soldiers we saw during the initial BCT project, PV2 Turley underwent the biggest transformation. When we first met him, I was honestly afraid that he might not complete Basic; but Turley simply would not quit, and he turned himself into a model soldier. It was a privilege getting to know him during this journey, and to see him doing his job as a Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic at his duty station of Fort Drum, New York.
SOLDIER STORIES: PRIVATE ACACIA BOBOTAS
For Private Second Class Acacia Bobotas, joining the Army wasn't really on her radar until late in high school. Despite this, she found a renewed sense of purpose while gaining discipline and focus. Coming home to family and friends, Acacia came to realize that she wasn't a different person-- just a better, stronger version of the person she had always been.
Creating stories that challenge expectations is always a rewarding process of discovery, and Acacia's story is no exception.