Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Day of Mixed News 3/25/2015

Our Toughest Job

As emergency service workers, whether active or retired, one of the hardest tasks we are constantly faced with is, balancing our emotions. Each dispatch, run, call, etc. holds the promise of a surprise that often bears no relation to our initial call, as described by our dispatchers. 

If we were or still are on the job for any decent amount of time, we have all had to deal with loss. Sometimes it's health related, others it's an MVC. Still others are common (OK, some uncommon) accidents that can happen to anyone. The worst of course, is when the loss involves a child. They often think they're indestructible and we pray to the Lord that they are. While we are working the call, we do our very best to remain stoic and unmoved, yet still trying to be comforting, to the public. When we get back to our station, cruiser or home, that stoicism often melts, as we feel that knot in our guts, our eyes water and our bottom lip quivers.

Then comes the day like today; one that we all dread, yet often feel powerless to stop or prevent. That is when we hear about a line of duty death. No matter where we are or what we doing, when the news, social media or a colleague notify us of an LODD, it's like a punch in our guts; one that reaches inside of us and twists our intestines into knots.

It makes no difference which emergency service we serve; police, fire, EMS, or the colors we wear, the blue, the red, the green. Neither does location have a bearing. Even if the loss occurs completely across the country, it still hits all of us hard, as it did this morning, when we all received word of the LODD of Fire Apparatus Officer Daryl Gordon of the Cincinnati Fire Department. And that's because, beyond our jobs, we are a family.

Nearly 40 years ago, I lived in Cincinnati while attending grad school at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, where I studied for a masters degree in broadcast education.Our apartment was outside the city limits and in that small town was where I tried to join my first volunteer fire department. Had I been able to join, so they told me, I would have been the first college graduate in the department. It never came to pass there, as they needed daytime responders, but  I was in class.

However, it was probably once every couple of weeks that once I was done with class and didn't have to rush anywhere, I'd visit a CFD barn. What a great bunch of characters they were. I wasn't even a probie or a member of another department. However, they always welcomed me. And looking at FF Gordon's picture today and that smile, it was easy to see that that same tradition is true today. A great bunch of firefighters who love the job they do and the people who love it, as well.

So, we pause for a moment to remember FAO Darryl Gordon. We remember his family, friends and colleagues. We hope and pray that the Heavenly Sovereign of all will welcome him in sheltering care, bring solace and comfort to his family and may the memories of his devotion and love for his family, his job and the community he protected, be for a blessing and inspiration to all.

A Job We Love to Do

There's no doubt that we love to talk about our jobs, especially firefighters, EMT's and paramedics. There's something that we get out of reliving the call, poking fun at our colleagues, arguing over details, etc. However, something is missing. Because, if we look to our primary source of entertainment, televisions, we don't have much of a presence there. There are probably over a dozen shows that deal with law enforcement, in one manner or another, but where the hell are the firefighters?! Currently there is "Chicago Fire," and I'm sure most of us remember, "EMERGENCY," from it's initial run or through reruns. There was also some short-lived series, "Code Red," and "Firehouse.."

We want to change that. And today, for the third time on a Thursday, 2 weeks after another Thursday with good news, we got more good news this morning. Our partner in L.A., Jesse, dropped us a line at 4:30 AM, EDT, that the producer and a rep from the talent management agency were calling him all afternoon. Jesse has a great project on a major crisis event in NYC and these calls were primarily dealing with the fact that all these people were calling because they love it and it's targeted to be a motion picture.

However, because Jesse is also our partner at DalmatProd, they also are very interested in our project as well. Let me say this: Jesse has been in the production business for a good long time. He's sharp in the ins and outs, the phonies and the real deals. And he doesn't get excited easily. But there was no doubt from this email that he was really excited, as the interested parties see, not only his movie, but our TV show, because they love the premise and because Jesse is the one bringing the project to them, along with his own. 

Also in our favor is the fact that we have both the pilot script written and a three-year plan for the direction of the show. The producer loved it from his first read of the premise. Then, after reading just the first 10 pages of the script, he jumped on it. And it's been Jesse who's been out there in Tinseltown, carrying the "ball" for us.

We'll keep you posted via this blog and through our Twitter account @DalmatProd. Join us and see where we go. 

Till next time....




Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Surprise Turn - Who Knew?

It's been quite a while in our endeavor to bring a TV show about fire-rescue to television. We've received many promises that dissolved into the air. We've had a nearly carbon-copy of one of our shows aired by a famous national and international network. There has been a lot of disappointment and very little joy. 

That path took a somewhat better turn this afternoon when our partner, Jesse, based in Los Angeles, called me. When I answered the phone, he told me that he was calling because it was his birthday and he wanted me to enjoy it as much as he would. As much as he would? "What gives?" I asked.

He laughed and then told me that his friend, an independent producer and actor had just called him to tell him that he had just finished the first 10 pages of the script and loved it! He said it was great and loved our lead character, a firefighter and the complexities of his life. He said that after reading just those 10 page, he knew that no one had ever done a show like ours. And he wanted to change that fact and get our show produced.

He then informed Jesse that when he finished their call, he was going to finish reading the script, then call his management group to set up a meeting to discuss taking the the steps necessary to move this project along.  

Was I excited? Nah, no big deal! ARE YOU NUTS???!!! Of course I was. Who wouldn't be after pouring over 20 years into a project to bring the story of America's Bravest to the TV audience.

That's it for now. Be well and please keep our efforts in your hearts.

We'll do the rest.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

What We Are Learning About "Cyber-Life," the Hard Way!

I awoke this morning and, as usual, checked our Twitter account, @DalmatProd. It's been the same routine for the last couple of months. Perhaps unlike a lot of Twitter accounts, we don't sell anything, we're not big stars. What we are is a group of good friends who have all been or still are in, emergency series, that have been working for over 20 years to bring a program to television that will faithfully represent the fire-rescue service. So why Twitter? Simply to get our name out and to posit our strong beliefs in fire and personal safety.

Way back when we started this endeavor, we decided on several tenets of our company:
1. We will answer every phone call or email.
2. We will always represent the fire-rescue with honor and professionalism.
3. We will always respect and honor the memory of those who came before us and those who paid the ultimate price to be a part of the fire-rescue service.

So when I checked our Twitter account this morning, there was a new follower. And now, in the much more complicated cyber world in which we live and communicate, we always try to respond and thank a new follower and return the favor by following them, if we're not already doing so. Thus, I send our "Thank You" tweet and clicked on her "Follow" badge. 

When I did, a browser pop-up appeared telling me that I've been restricted from following any more Twitter accounts. Why? Did I break the language rules? Did I libel another user? Perhaps I missed thanking a new follower? Nope, that's not it.

Twitter has certain rules that, since we all read the complete Terms and Conditions when signed up, says somewhere that I am at an imbalance between how many followers we have and how many we have followed! There is some sort of balance that Twitter requires as if our little company may tip the Twitter scales askew, throwing the entire system out of balance.

As I write this post, @DalmatProd has 178 followers and we're following 2,001. Would we like more followers? Absolutely! Are we promoting our Twitter account? Yes we are, in every way affordable at this time. All our letterhead, emails, etc., promote our account. All we can respectfully ask is that if you are a member of Twitter, please look us up at @DalmatProd and "follow us." If you already do, please tell your friends to follow us.
Thank you!