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Why 'Band Of Brothers' Lasts: A Perspective From One Of Its Writers
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True story: When Tom Hanks told me and the other screenwriters of Band of Brothers that he was going to place interviews with the “guys” (as we called them) in front of our episodes, we all howled what a terrible, awful idea it was. It would make everything that followed look like Hollywood re-enactments, just actors in costumes with toy guns.
We were so, so wrong.
The interviews gave everything that followed a gravitas, a patina of reality, that drove home in a fashion better than any of our writing could do that this was real life. That this happened to real men. And many didn’t make it home.
I vividly recall our collective nervousness as the show was about to air. Were there too many characters? Aren’t they all dressed alike? Will the audience be able to track who is who? Or is it just a mush of handsome actors in Corcoran jump boots?
And then there was the concern (by the writers) of a certain unevenness in the show. There were seven writers, and surprisingly little communication between us. One lived in Paris, another on a boat in San Francisco, another in Carmel, and the rest in Los Angeles. We had exactly one “all hands” meeting, and barely talked story during any of it. We pretty much each focused on our own episodes, trusting that Tom and Steven would make sure it all fit together.
But we were definitely worried. One episode had “Bull in a Barn” (as we called episode four, the episode that was the most re-written, as I recall), another had a medic we barely see in other episodes, and another had an alcoholic intelligence officer trying to make sense of it all. Would it add up to a cohesive whole?
The answer, as we now know, is yes. That disparity of points of view is one of the show’s greatest strengths.
Another strength? Band of Brothers was one of the very first TV shows to be shot and broadcast in widescreen — at a time when very few televisions were made that way (most people originally saw the show with black bars on the top and bottom of their square TV screens). Same thing with the sound. Tom and Steven insisted that it be mixed like a movie, in surround sound, when very few people had home surround systems. I am convinced that if we had not done these things — at Steven’s insistence, by the way — that today, the show would look and hear antiquated, as if from another era. Instead, technically, it still holds its own against any movie or TV show made today.
But ultimately, I think Band of Brothers’ endurance can be attributed to two things: the inherent power of Easy Company’s story, and the commitment of every one of the thousand or so people who worked for years to get that story right.
Additionally, ten and a half hours gave us the time to explore the experiences of infantrymen in a way that had never really been done before. Universal truths about warfare were shown. Good leadership. Bad leadership. The exhilaration of war. The horrors of war. Fought by men of honor, and men not so honorable.
But mostly, Band of Brothers succeeded in living up to its ambitious title. Men (and now women) fight for many reasons, but mostly, they fight, kill, and die for their friends in the next foxhole.
John Orloff was nominated for an Emmy for his writing on “Band of Brothers,” as well as an Independent Spirit Award for his screenplay for “A Mighty Heart,” the story of Daniel Pearl’s abduction and murder. He is currently adapting Don Miller’s “Masters of the Air” into a 10-hour miniseries for Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and HBO.
Army study recommends more sleep for recruits at basic, which drill sergeants will absolutely not disregard or anything
(Reuters Health) - Soldiers who experience sleep problems during basic combat training may be more likely to struggle with psychological distress, attention difficulties, and anger issues during their entry into the military, a recent study suggests.
"These results show that it would probably be useful to check in with new soldiers over time because sleep problems can be a signal that a soldier is encountering difficulties," said Amanda Adrian, lead author of the study and a research psychologist at the Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland.
"Addressing sleep problems early on should help set soldiers up for success as they transition into their next unit of assignment," she said by email.
Thousands of U.S. service members who've been sent to operate along the Mexico border will receive a military award reserved for troops who "encounter no foreign armed opposition or imminent hostile action."
The Pentagon has authorized troops who have deployed to the border to assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) since last April to receive the Armed Forces Service Medal. Details about the decision were included in a Marine Corps administrative message in response to authorization from the Defense Department.
There is no end date for the award since the operation remains ongoing.
A former sailor who was busted buying firearms with his military discount and then reselling some of them to criminals is proving to be a wealth of information for federal investigators.
Julio Pino used his iPhone to record most, if not all, of his sales, court documents said. He even went so far as to review the buyers' driver's license on camera.
It is unclear how many of Pino's customer's now face criminal charges of their own. Federal indictments generally don't provide that level of detail and Assistant U.S. Attorney William B. Jackson declined to comment.
It all began with a medical check.
Carson Thomas, a healthy and fit 20-year-old infantryman who had joined the Army after a brief stint in college, figured he should tell the medics about the pain in his groin he had been feeling. It was Feb. 12, 2012, and the senior medic looked him over and decided to send him to sick call at the base hospital.
It seemed almost routine, something the Army doctors would be able to diagnose and fix so he could get back to being a grunt.
Now looking back on what happened some seven years later, it was anything but routine.
The US military now has to ask the Iraqis for permission before giving close air support to troops in combat
U.S. forces must now ask the Iraqi military for permission to fly in Iraqi airspace before coming to the aid of U.S. troops under fire, a top military spokesman said.
However, the mandatory approval process is not expected to slow down the time it takes the U.S. military to launch close air support and casualty evacuation missions for troops in the middle of a fight, said Army Col. James Rawlinson, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.