A question I get asked a lot is, “What was the best shoot you ever did?” This is a tough question, but perhaps one of the top 10 would have been a few years back for Wide Awake Films. Wide Awake has a deep blood line of telling historical stories and is very good at getting the look and feel of a time period. We were shooting for Nat Geo, a show called “Day Under Fire“. Each episode would be from a different war and would focus on the soldier’s account of the battle.

Our location was to resemble Saipan during World War II. I was kinda stoked about this particular episode because my grandpa had served in the Pacific in very similar circumstances, although not on Saipan.

Sgt. Max Fowler, my grandpa, prior to being sent overseas to the Pacific Theater.

The set was a private island off South Carolina. When we arrived, I made the decision to just pitch a tent and stay on the island as opposed to driving 45 minutes back to the hotel. After each 14 to 16 hour day, we would have a bonfire and watch the tide roll. Each morning and evening I would wade in the ocean and let the salt water wash me. Meals would magically appear from a gator that Ed drove. It was paradise.

Jib Arm on the beach.

Max was about 12 at the time and came along as a PA to help with the jib arm. He would spend spare time in the surf and watch for sharks.

Shark patrol. For 6 days we lived and worked on a wild stretch of beach, untouched by development. We never actually saw any sharks, but had heard that they where out there…

During one of the evenings of shooting, I was recruited to play a part in the show. My role was a GI who could feel his own death coming and was drinking saki from a canteen. We did not have any saki, but Shane the director thought it best to have some sort of hard booze in the canteen to get the reaction correct, so we used bourbon. I had a blast. I did a little acting in high school and had forgotten how much I enjoyed it. Of course, for me, it was easy method acting.

Between the awesome subject content, great crew, fantastic location, and my son working beside me, it became one of the best shoots ever. We had authentic vintage weapons, explosions and great props. Yes, perhaps the best shoot ever.

Explosions and gunfire were a standard part of our day.

Max, named after the before mentioned Sgt. Max, getting into a part. I think Shane, the director, let him play a dead body on the beach.

Rob, our prop master, had an endless supply of cool stuff.

One of the pyro guys, standing in my backyard.

Nichole, one of the make up artists. She seemed to be quite popular amongst the male cast members.

And I would like to thank Robert Szabofor all the wonderful images. I spent the entire week there, and took no photos for myself.

 

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