Friday, April 9, 2010

The Audition

This isn't our first foray into the world of television production, here in the U.S. more than a decade ago, three of us, put everything we had, both monetarily and in "sweat equity," to produce our first show about the fire service, "America's Heroes: The Men & Women of Fire/Rescue."(c) That work occurred in 1999-2000 and the show became available in late 2000 and early 2001. "America's Heroes" Titles & First Story

While we had done all the production work and had a reputable agent, we had to find a way to have the show represented and distributed. That came about with a company who had had a decent track record with DCI (Discovery Channels, Inc.), which was very important to us as we believe that was where we belonged.

The company was willing to represent us and to distribute the show. And so they did, in a manner of speaking. While our pilot episode was a hit in parts of the UK, the Middle East, and the Far East, America barely gave us a glance. And that was because, the company never put any real effort into selling our show domestically; i.e. right here in the ol' U.S. of A.

As you can imagine, being told that we were a hit in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, didn't give rise for us to pop open the champagne bottles. Nevertheless, we struggled through with them, right through the summer of 2001. Then came the fall--both the season and our project.

I was sitting in our offices when word of the World Trade Center attacks came through on our scanner, as local dispatchers and officers announced the little bit of news they had and hungered for more. I quickly rolled one of our TV monitors out of the production office and hooked it up, and there, lay before us, the greatest tragedy in American history.

Oh, perhaps I forgot to mention that the then, three partners of Dalmatian Productions, Inc., were either still or had been members of the fire/rescue community. Three, snot-nosed, smoke-eating, bell-crawlers, trying to tell the stories of the men and women, both career and volunteer, who risk their lives every single day, to protect the lives and property of their own communities.

With that tragedy so fresh in America' broken hearts, there was no way that we could continue to market this show, without appearing to some, perhaps many, that we were looking to make a fast buck as we trampled over the boots of our fallen brothers. And with that, "America's Heroes" faded off into the proverbial sunset, as did our collective dream of telling our story and the stories that we had received and produced, from all over the country, from Texas to Connecticut.

"Next time," we thought, "Next time will be different."

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