Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Operation Home Base: Demographics
Operation Home Base: Ensemble Cast for All Ages
In the style of MASH and NCIS, Operation Home Base has a strong ensemble cast that will appeal to a broad demographic base that includes gender, ages, and ethnicity. While MASH focused on the effects of war and NCIS concentrates on criminal situations involving military personnel, OHB will incorporate both while revealing the challenges military families face daily along with the conflicts that originate from involvement with civilians.
Although military issues and situations will act as a backdrop for the show, OHB deals with the human condition as it applies to those in and out of the military, civilians will also be able to relate to same the emotional, financial and legal challenges. From the murder of a Marine’s therapy dog to the foreclosures of the family home, the storylines will be taken from the headlines. OHB will have same divorce humor that made MASH popular for years, including long running jokes about donuts and the special benefits that Deek offered Randi to get her to join the team and how she implies the benefits are sexual because she doesn’t want to share Deek’s gourmet cooking with the rest of the team. The tension between Martin and Deek will force team to no only take sides, but push them both to the brink of self destruction.
Operation Home Base is first and foremost about people. They don’t have super powers. They don’t have fancy gadgets. Coming from all facets of life, the members of OHB have the courage to put themselves on the line to help others face and deal with the pain of separation and loss. They know how much honor costs. They have been there--done that and have the scars to prove it. Ranging in age from 8 to 70, each of the characters, as well as the actors who portray them, will bring their own unique perspective, strengths and viewer loyalty.
Written as an ensemble cast, who equally shares the spotlight, OHB will reflect the ethic diversity of the country. There will be no type casting. No matter what color of skin or cultural background, the characters will be developed into flawed, yet believable people that the viewers will not only like but also identify with.
Although his history will remain largely obscure, Walter will be the bastard you love to hate. Under the guise of providing financial and political support, Walter has been sent to destroy not only OHB, but the individual members’ credibility as well. Charming, yet deadly Walter’s total unconditional love of his great-granddaughter not only keeps him human, but in a strange way explains his actions
A full blooded Oneida, Martin Flying Crow enlisted in the Navy to escape the abject poverty of the Rez only to find the destiny his ancestors placed before him Trained by his shaman grandmother, Flying Crow has walked the Red Road from childhood. At age 13, he set out on vision quest to learn his life’s path. The Eagle Spirit showed him that he was destined to be a healer and guide others. This life was to be one of service to others. He was to teach them the way of spiritual balance. However, in order to lead others, he needed to walk the path himself. Enlisting as a combat medic in the Navy was the first step of many. In Vietnam, he served two tours as a medic. Although he was not officially allowed to carry weapons, he did not hesitate to defend those in his unit by whatever means necessary. It was during this time that he crossed paths with Deek. After his tour, he returned to the Rez. Working as Paramedic, he quickly learned how little emotional, spiritual, and medical support there was for the military personnel, vets and wounded warriors along with their families. Working on a local level out of his garage, he gathered information, contacts, and resources, which he used to improve the lives of those affected by war. He gained national attention when he was able to talk a wound warrior out of committing suicide.
Ex-Special Ops, James Williams was nicknamed Deek soon after he was deployed in Vietnam the summer of 1966. Assigned to Recon Intelligence, he worked closely with the Montagnards and the Vietnamese Army. Five years later, he re-emerged from his assignment and was immediately airlifted out, without any official records of his activities. His military records were sealed except to those with the highest clearance, he occasionally disappears for days without notice or reason. As part of the financial aid agreement with the government, Williams was named as Head of OHB, answering only to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Pentagon. Charming one minute, deadly the next, Williams is able to accomplish the seemingly impossible. A permanent bachelor, he has many love interests, yet no attachments. He sees the big pictures when it comes to his career and the military, but refuses to get caught up in the messiness of intra-personnel relationships. The "companions" who warm his bed at night are never there at dawn. Although there is a great deal of speculation about him, no one really has the courage to ask.
Classy by nature, when the situation arises, retired Army Lt. Col. Elaine Reynolds is not above low blows both physically and verbally. A career officer, mother of two, and a wife, Reynolds found a way to balance her career and family needs. However, she doesn’t know where she went wrong with her daughter Amanda, who chose the Navy instead of following her into the Army. Their good natured Army vs. Navy rivalry is always tempered by love of each other and the service. When Amanda is promoted into Naval Intelligence, she and her daughter, Izzy return to the family home to provide a secure home and care for the eight year old while Amanda is deployed.
Lorelei grew up as an Army brat and married Army. It was after his death she learned how little support military personnel and their families actually received. Although, she understood and accepted his death, her children, especially her daughter, bore a grudge against the military and the government for the loss of her father. Tensions and resentments were inflamed by Lorelei finishing her education and going to work for the government. Although she was unable to help her children accept and heal from the loss of their father, Lorelei has become part Mother Superior, part Mom and part USO entertainer to those she councils. Whether it is with a wise-crack, singing a song, or with a ruler across the knuckles, she has a unique ability to defuse tense situations that could have easily become violent. Growing up as an Army brat, she not only understands the mentality of those who choose to serve, but also the subtext of the messages behind the words. Although it is not part of her normal duties, she arranges special entertainment features for the troops. On occasion, she has participated as part of the program by singing and acting in comedy skits she helped write.
Master Sergeant Stella Garcia had planned on being a “lifer.” However, the IED that killed her team and took part of her leg send her into an emotional tailspin that nearly ended her career and her life. The sole survivor of the three vehicle convoy, she suffers from PTSD and depression. Emotionally, she couldn’t find the reason for her surviving when the rest of her buddies were killed. Using alcohol and sex to numb the pain, she walked through life unable to feel anything. She settled into her new desk job, yet her dreams were haunted by the ghosts of her unit and the others. They asked her why she ran away from her duty--why she allowed their deaths to be in vain. Instead of seeking aid, she crawls deeper in the bottle. It was only by going back to her Native American roots that she was able to emotionally deal with her survivor’s guilt and find a new purpose for her service.
When a childish prank permanently disables Michael Woodsman he is unable to follow his family’s tradition of service. Instead, he went to college. Studying Political Science, he was determined to be as much of an asset to the country off the battlefield as his father was on it. A political appointee who knows the ins and outs of how and when to kiss ass and when to kick it, Woodsman worked his way up through the political system. His hard edge and cynicism makes him a dangerous opponent, but also a very effective Liaison for the OHB.
In her early twenties, Debra Ann is southern bell who grew up with seven older brothers most of whom join the military. A martial arts expert in her own right, she is proud of her family heritage that can be traced back to the civil war. Using the immortality of youth as a shield as well as her passion and natural curiosity, she would con, charm, or connive her way to achieving her goals.
Randi Cullen grew up as Marine brat until her mother divorced her father early in her childhood. Eventually her mother remarried and moved across the country, taking Randi and her brothers away from the military way of life. After the divorce, her birth father severed all contact. He quickly became the elephant in the room that neither she nor her mother were willing to discuss for fear of where it would lead. Following her stepfather‘s footsteps, she went to law school and joined the Prosecutor’s Office. She quickly rose in the ranks, being known not only for her fairness and tenacity, but her outspoken views.
Special Agent Simon Behan grew up as a Navy brat, who jokingly claims to have an allergy to water to cover his sea sickness. Clever like Columbo, charming like Magnum, yet he is a family man that would make even Bill Cosby proud. Although originally intending to be a defense attorney, the death of a friend and a series of coincidences brought him to the attention of director of NCIS, who made him an offer he couldn’t refuse, in spite of his allergy.
However, these brief descriptions are only the starting point. As a writer and creator, it is my job not to only setting the stage but also incorporating the actor’s talents and egocentrics’ into their characters. The writer and the actor need to be the parents of the character with each contributing equally to its growth and development. Without an effective partnership, the character will be stilted and flat. Several of the characters were written with specific actors in mind.
Deacon (Deek) Williams: Tom Selleck
Martin Flying Crow: Graham Greene
Randi Cullen: Alyssa Milano
Michael Woodsman: Drake Hogeston
Lorelei Stewart: Gloria Loring
Elaine Reynolds: Deidre Hall
Walter Hummel: Alan Alda
Simon Behan: Malcolm-Jamal Warner
Although realistically, it may not be possible to hire my dream team, each of these talented actors would bring not only their vast experience and talents to the show, but their established fan bases.
In spite of the fact of the decades of decreasing birth rate and increasing healthy longevity, most new shows consider those 25 and under as the most treasured demographic. OHB’s broader based character demographic, which actually reflect the 21st century population, will not only attract those over the age of consent, but teens and tweens as well. The successes of NCIS, CSI and Criminal Minds have proved creative story telling and strong characters are what attract viewer long term viewers and loyal fans.
The baby boomer generation was not only the largest to date, but they were also the ones who originally made television successful. They were the ones who talked their parents into at least one TV in every home. From computers to cell phones, each subsequent generation has had its own invention, which has become trade mark. Not only have the baby boomers remained completely loyal to television, but they have the most stable income base. For the first time in generations, the current generation has not financially done better than their parents. With less debt and with more stable incomes, those 35 and older are the least courted when it comes to programming and advertisers.
By deliberately casting to this demographic, OHB will follow a long line of successful series such as: Gunsmoke, Bonanza, All in the Family, Marcus Welby, MASH, China Beach, etc as well as the current favorites Criminal Minds, NCIS and CSI. An undeniable fact of life is that generations relate to their own age group and those who are older. While teens can associate to older characters as siblings, parents, grandparent in older age groups, the reverse is seldom true. A 40-something doesn’t connect with the life experiences of tweens, teens, or 20-somethings. They’ve been there and done that; they want to know what is coming up for them as they grow older instead of looking back at their youth and daydreaming about going back.
Many of the new shows titillate with T & A, but don’t really develop characters or plots. Even though each new generation wants to thinks it invented sex, there hasn’t been a new position created since the Karma Sutra. OHB will be dealing with issues and challenges of those in the military, veterans and wounded warriors along with those their families must face. Sex and relationships will be dealt with honestly and strictly within the context of the plot. The gratuitous sex and violence will be left for the James Bond movies. Although it might push the limits when it comes to the pain and tragedy of war, OHB will remain as family friendly as the nightly news cast.
Much like many successful series such as MASH, The Waltons, and Little House on the Prairie, OHB cannot be easily pigeon holed into a single category. Tears will be followed by laughter. Joy will be interlaced with pain. At different moments the labels legal, mystery, medical, war, military, police, and domestic drama could all equally apply. All encompassing, OHB could be best described as a family of man drama, which will show the best and worse of the human condition. The viewers will be able to easily relate to the characters as family members, friends or the person they see in the mirror. Unfortunately, there will be an endless supply of stories about those who currently serve as well as those who served in the past, whose truths were never told.
OHB’s contemporary and relevant storylines will sometimes spark controversy as old wounds are once again examined as a way to release the past and create a path for healing to begin.
To Learn more about Operation Home Base please visit www.theresachaze.com or email Tirgana at yahoo.com
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