Today’s challenge…

8am
Sitting at home with a sore throat (bad for teaching), coughing and unable to keep food down, so I’ve challenged myself to write and edit a story I shot this past Sunday. Went to a radio controlled model airplane field near Modesto to shoot the launch of a model P-38 WWII aircraft. Had a ten foot wingspan. Both the builder and the veteran whose plane this model was a replica of were on hand. It began as a wonderful warm and fuzzy story that ended with irony…during WWII pilot Bill Behrns crashed his P-38, the San Joaquin Siren, into the Burmese jungle. He was rescued the next day and back in the air that same day. At Sunday’s event builder Greg Zola was landing the replica and a cross wind caught the plane and sent it tumbling. Let’s see how this turns out. There are several choices of imagery to tie this to – a group of (older) men who appear at first glance to be holding fishing poles (the controller and antenna)…near a lake. The WWII connection. The passion of a man who spent three years and more than $5,000 building a model – and is now willing to rebuild and fly again this summer. After a cuppa hot tea I’ll sit down and get to work.
11:21
Just finished logging interviews – on to nat sound next. No, they weren’t that long. Word of warning to those who want to do it right. There are several ways to write a story….write and then find the interview and sound to support what you’ve written or log and write to the sound. I’m doing the latter…although I’ve gone the other way when in a rush, I do remember the good sound and am actually writing to what I remember. Logging and then writing is more accurate. I still may make changes as I edit, but most of the hard work is already done. There will be some holes in the story when I initially post it. My main subject – Bill – did not have his collection of WWII photos with him. When I have time to go by his house (after I get over this cold) I’ll copy them.
11:31
Heading back with yet another cuppa tea. And another comment. When logging, you can transcribe every single word or pick and choose. I try to log exactly the words used in the interview segments I know or think I might use. However, when there are segments I know I will use purely for information I summarize or paraphrase…I need the information but not the word for word detail.
4:30pm
So much for plans. I’ve crawled out of bed when absolutely bored and finished off the script. This is more than a news story. Found some non-copyright military photos (thanks to the US Air Force) and will contact my subject once I’m past the danger of infecting him about copying any photos he may have. So it will take a few days – probably until the weekend – to get this up online. Logging pages and script below. My primary camera was my JVC 300 on tripod and hand held. Backup/notebook was the Canon ZR60 with wide angle adapter…shot putting plane together with it and then put it on a minitripod right next to the take-off point and let it roll (not allowed on the airstrip when planes are in the air). Stay tuned to see how closely I stick to it when editing.

B-ROLL LOGGING SHEET/S

JVC Cover Camera
1:17
This is old Nosey – a special two-seater P-38 (old guy w/photo book) pix @ 1:56
Wind bird
Guy w/big yellow & white plane … smaller purple plane taxiing up

JVC Cover Camera w/Crash
Starting planes…flyers turning heads, controls…
3:37 red and yellow plane crashes/picked up by owner
Wind sock…more guys w/controls…good shots red/white plane buzzing airstripe…
5:40…prepping P-38 at end of field
6:46 P-38 taxis out and takes off
9:02 tele shot of Bill
9:14 Greg w/controls
10:41 Bill walks out and watches/quick pan to plane crash (listen to engine failing)
11:07 Too slow for one thing…B: it absolutely looks like that airplane
11:21 Easy come easy go man what are you going to do?
11:24 Yeah the cross wind wasn’t thrilling me we had a little trouble with that but – what ya going to do?
12:02 (in reference to pilot) Look he’s still in the seat!
12:18 Hey not big deal it’s not the end of the world it’s just a model airplane (sound/not a good pix)
12:33 Tara, Bills wife being comforted by Greg: Awww – hey, it was worth it. I coulda worked better but…
13:15 (need to cover) You went all the way to copy my dad – even to the landings, huh? When I went down on the Burma Road this is what happened. Just like this.
14:05 We’d swear that was a plane

Canon WS Camera
Putting plane together
8:00 Greg repeats how he first called Bill
8:44 Red/white checkered plane flying, tele shot guy with controls…folks watching…planes on ground in shade…
13:09 Wheeling it out

Bill Behrns Interview/87 years old
11/4/07
WWII P-38 Pilot

1:17
Didn’t have any idea what it was but when I saw it and gracefulness and everything I determined that this was what I was going to fly.

After flight school sent to Olympia WA on red alert due to leafleting by Japanese. There for six weeks and then sent to Burma. Japanese had taken most of China and come across the Himalayas and taken Burma (and others)…poised to take India. 32 pilots in a squadron on the shore of the Bay of Bengal – 90 miles from Japanese airstrip. We had to kinda watch over our shoulders.

2:26
Of the thirty-two pilots, four of us came home….we had a very large casualty in the squadron.

2:45
I spent 19 months there in combat. Six times I had an engine shot out and I was able to evade the enemy and make it home safely back to our base. Seventh time I did get shot down. I barreled in on the Burma Road just south of Mandalay and I spent the night in the jungle there. I did not get hurt in the flying in. And I spent the night and the squadron came in the next day and which I knew they would do with a small aircraft and an escort and I had a mirror so I could step out and shine it so they could spot me and they came in and landed and I was able to get out.

3:25
When I got back to the squadron the commanding officer and the flight surgeon came up to me and said how are you, any injuries, what happened to you and that. And I said nothing I’m fine I didn’t get a scratch. And the commanding officer said that’s good, there’s a flight taking off right now on a mission and that’s your plane right there and I said well I’m just coming home from yesterday’s mission and he said yes, and you’re going on today’s.

4:04
Burma’s a wild country so we had tigers…we had cobras and boa constrictors and we had quite the most poisonous snakes in the world. We had to watch all these things.

He last flew in 1945…talks about how he and Greg met/on phone. Might be interesting to inter-cut their stories. Also talks about how Greg modified and worked on the plane.

6:22
He loaded it in his truck…drove to California and we wound up here at this beautiful spot today and unfortunately we had heavy cross-winds and (goes into the crash)…

7:00
He did this all the way through right to the crashing the plane.

They had to go back to the air force…back to a Lockheed aeronautical engineer who was the tech rep…my crew chief, me Lockheed.

7:26
Every number had to be identical. Every part had to be exactly the same as the plane that I flew. And that’s his business anyhow – he’s a precision grinding company. And so he took the past three years to make it that way. Unfortunately on his third flight…disaster.

8:08
It’s a very complicated airplane. The P-38 was a workhorse that did everything. First of all, it was a fighter plane. All of the major records set up by the United States were done in P-38s. The plane flew just beautifully – just absolute beautifully. It had twin engines, but they had counter-rotating props so there was no torque in the airplane. It just flew like you were driving an automobile, it steered beautifully. It had tremendous firepower so if you shot anything it was going to wound it or knock it out of the sky.

Greg Zola Interview
11/4/07
Precision grinder

1:30
I’ll never forget it cause I called Bill and I always introduce myself and tell them what I do I model airplanes and I’m going to do a 459th and I asked him I said do you mind talking about it cause a lot of these war guys don’t like to talk about it and he said oh no I don’t mind and I said I was gonna do Web’s airplane and he said what the hell do you wanna do Web’s airplane for? I’ll never forget that.

A little over three years ago..he worked from a plan…had a kit cutter cut it out – there is no real kit. He bought the fiberglass booms, which cut down the time

2:57
Ironically there’s a lot of guys who build P38’s but you never see them – they always become hanger queens because they’re either afraid to fly them because of the amount of money involved or the amount of work that has to go into it – there’s a lot of parts and things – just like a real aircraft to get that thing to work.

3:25
How many hours do you think you put into it?
Gosh – I wouldn’t want to guess. (laughs) Thousands.

3:44
The cockpit – you saw the cockpit you took pictures of that? Just that there’s probably 16 hours in that.

3:57
Right – I stopped keeping track after I crossed five thousand dollars.

4:09
Ya build them to fly them. I don’t build hanger queens.

4:18 (best part of model airplanes)
The enjoyment of seeing something I put together work.

4:26
Oh yeah this is for Bill. This (??) is for Bill.

They’d never met in person…talked on the phone for three years for three years every week, but I’d never met the man til last night. He was in the army for four years in Germany as a field artillery crewman. His rant: today’s kids don’t understand comradery and esprit.

5:38
It was a cross wind and I’m not real thrilled about cross wind landings anyway even with an airplane in a field I’m familiar with and then the other problem is I let it get too slow. And in the interim with the weather and trying to get it back onto the runway – over the runway – I lapsed the part about adding power and it got too slow and it went in.

6:13 (re Bill’s crash)
Yeah – that had to be something. I mean, I wasn’t trying to mimic that by any means. It just turned out that way.

SCRIPT – WWII Pilot & P-38 Model

BEHRNS
Of the thirty-two pilots, four of us came home…

NATS
Plane

BEHRNS
Six times I had an engine shot out and I was able to evade the enemy and make it home safely back to our base. Seventh time I did get shot down. I barreled in on the Burma Road just south of Mandalay and I spent the night in the jungle there.

NARRATION
Eighty-seven year old Bill Behrns spent 19 months flying a P-38 out of the Bay of Bengal during World War II. He had to watch over his shoulder not only for the enemy – a Japanese airstrip ninety miles away – but also for the denizens of the jungle. Tigers and poisonous snakes.

BEHRNS
The P-38 was a workhorse that did everything. First of all, it was a fighter plane. All of the major records set up by the United States were done in P-38s. The plane flew just beautifully – just absolute beautifully. It had twin engines, but they had counter-rotating props so there was no torque in the airplane. It just flew like you were driving an automobile, it steered beautifully. It had tremendous firepower so if you shot anything it was going to wound it or knock it out of the sky.

NATS/Greg
Talking about his first contact with Bill/inter-cut with Bill’s account.

NARRATION
The result of this conversation was three years’ of phone calls as the two men discussed the details of creating an exact replica model of Behrn’s WWII P-38.

BEHRNS
Every number had to be identical. Every part had to be exactly the same as the plane that I flew.

NARRATION
The passion that drove model builder Greg Zola resulted in a radio-controlled aircraft, complete down to the pilot in the cockpit.

ZOLA
The cockpit –just that there’s probably 16 hours in that.

NARRATION
Zola estimates he spend thousands of hours – and much more than that.

ZOLA
I stopped keeping track after I crossed five thousand dollars.

NARRATION
However, the intense research and building were only the first steps in this distant partnership. The plane had to fly.

ZOLA
Ironically there’s a lot of guys who build P38’s but you never see them – they always become hanger queens because they’re either afraid to fly them because of the amount of money involved or the amount of work that has to go into it.

NARRATION
Zola steered his model through two test flights on a grass field in _______________ and then loaded everything into his pickup truck on Friday, November 3 for the two day trip to Stockton, California – where Bill Behrns lives.

NATS WIND/AIRPLANES

NARRATION
Sunday, November 4 finds both men at a model airplane field near Modesto, putting the model back together.

NATS
(Greg says thanks to a guy who gives him a tool)

NARRATION
The airstrip is on a rise above Woodward Resevoir. It’s a windy day. Members of the ______________________ take turns piloting their models – of all sizes and shapes.

NATS
Plane crash

NARRATION
Greg Zola is now ready for the best part of building a model airplane

ZOLA
Ya build them to fly them. I don’t build hanger queens.
The enjoyment of seeing something I put together work.
NATS
Greg taking plane to runway

NATS
San Joaquin Siren takes off
Montage of shots/folks watching…Greg at controls

BEHRNS (cover with P-38 flying)
…when I saw it and gracefulness and everything I determined that this was what I was going to fly

NATS
Crash
Bill & Greg: Too slow for one thing…B: it absolutely looks like that airplane

ZOLA
It was a cross wind and I’m not real thrilled about cross wind landings anyway even with an airplane in a field I’m familiar with and then the other problem is I let it get too slow. And in the interim with the weather and trying to get it back onto the runway – over the runway – I lapsed the part about adding power and it got too slow and it went in.

NATS
(Greg comforting Theryl) Awww – hey, it was worth it.

NARRATION
Unknown to Greg Zola at the time…

BEHRNS
He did this all the way through right to the crashing the plane.
When I went down on the Burma Road this is what happened. Just like this.

ZOLA
I wasn’t trying to mimic that by any means. It just turned out that way.

ZOLA (cover with plane being carried off field)
Oh yeah this is for Bill. This (??) is for Bill.

One thought on “Today’s challenge…

  1. If there are any teachers out there who want to teach editing a fairly typical news script, I’ll check w/my subjects – and I’m sure they will agree to allow the raw video to be used in lessons. For cost of files burned onto DVD or onto a mini-dv tape and a copy of the script plus postage I can mail you one. Will post as soon as Bill and Greg give okay.

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