with support from the corporation for public broadcasting

Help: Thoughts Needed

February 17, 2009 by Dave

I need some feedback. I feel like I am on the right path with this idea but some outside comments/thoughts would help me put into words the theme I am visualizing in my mind.

My documentary will focus on an Army cadet and an Army veteran. What is the documentary about? The exterior story of this film will focus on the experiences of an Army veteran has been to Iraq and the experiences (or lack thereof) of an Army cadet at Penn State enrolled in the ROTC program. The underlying theme will try to convey the reality of what a cadet will have to face when they leave the comfort of their predictable and usual lives for a threatening and volatile environment. The Iraq war is long past it’s original shock and awe and has now become as mainstream as games such as ‘Call to Duty’ and ‘Brother in Arms’ that litter family entertainment centers around our country. Why do I want to do this topic? I want to pursue this story because I feel that our youth (which the ROTC is solely comprised of) have lost the appreciation and reality of the journey they are about to embark on by joining the military. Our society, as a whole, have conditioned our youth to become very naive by deceiving them of the consequences of reality. I hope to address these issues by comparing the experiences of each of my subjects.

What will I focus on and why? I want to focus on the daily experiences that the cadet goes through along with the expectations, thoughts

What is my approach, why?

Who will I interview? I would like to interview a cadet, a soldier who has been to Iraq and possibly both sets of parents. What kind of questions? For the cadet, I want to understand why they want to join the service, what they expect and the experiences they have had so far. It may be interesting to ask the parents if they understand the gravity of the situation with their child joining the military. I would like to know the same type of information for the veteran but more of the after effects of being deployed and any differences from what they expected going into the situation.

What activities will I tape and where will I tape them? Some activities I intend to shoot of the cadet include: the cadet participating in daily PT in the morning, getting dressed in uniform to include putting on their boots, playing video games, training (on campus or off). I may also film the cadet in a normal school environment such as walking to class and hanging out with friends to get a sense of normality. Most of the activities of the veteran will be previously recorded material from Iraq and pictures. I may also want to shoot the veteran in his normal routine.

Thanks everyone!



February 19, 2009

It seems pretty well thought out so far. I noticed a few times you referred to the cadet as a kid and assumed he or she didn’t truly grasp the scope and severity of what they’ve signed up for. I would suggest remembering how you were when you first enlisted and how naive you may have been. You could also take a closer look at how the ROTC prepares cadets. Are they sugarcoating things? What are the reasons your interviewee joined the ROTC?

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