Warren G Branch
Gaulke Crew 602
492nd Bomb Group
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Blogs  (Updates, insights and ramblings from Alejandro Mena and his Team) . . .
Posted Saturday, November 26, 2011 by Alejandro Mena    

A new blog entry? I don't believe it!

Some of you might recall a rash comment I made several months ago. Therein, I mentioned that I would write a new blog around once a week. Oh boy. Well, it sorta didn't happen did it? My last blog entry was over two months ago. What happened, you ask? Well, it's more along the lines of what didn't happen, or better yet, what hasn't happened. Allow me to explain. Initially, my thoughts for writng this blog spot were that I would inform you the reader about new and interesting things happening to the film. Progress reports and so forth. A lot has happened and a lot has not happened.

Let's start with what didn't happen. I prefer to get the bad news out of the way first. We had plans to go to England this past Summer and shoot at the old airfield at North Pickenham. My producer Fiona Hall had worked really hard to line up interviews with locals, several who recalled when the big bombers lumbered out on their early morning missions. She had met with several of my British historians, even going as far as touring the old fields with Tony Wallis and Peter Bodle and sending me back photos. She said in one of her emails, "you MUST shoot here, the feeling of history, of ghosts inhabiting these old buildings is palpable" We were really trying to get there, but alas...funding never came through and the opportunity was lost. We then tried to get to Washington DC for the 492nd BG Reunion. Again, we tried and again, we were stymied by lack of funding. (Folks, you want a lesson in futility and a test of your patience?-make an independent film with no financial support!). The feeling of frustration mounted. At this reunion were veterans who I really wanted to interview, Bob Scott, Joe Dallon and historian Allan Blue. And once again we were frustrated by lack of funding. Folks, we really looked at all angles in order to get myself and my film crew to DC and we just couldn't do it. I even put up my beloved 1960 Ford Pickup; "Ol Yeller", up for sale in order to finance the travel, but unfortunately all I got were tire kickers but no buyers. So all in all, not a good Summer as far as production and work on CREW 713.

It wasn't all doom and gloom however.

Over the Summer and now into the Fall, we were able to focus on our pitch and our message to potential investors and donors. I think we may have come to a breakthrough in how we move forward with our pitch proposals from this point on. You might recall a quote, often attributed to Albert Einstein but actually written by Fort Worth mystery writer Rita Mae Brown, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results". Well, that was us. We were kinda stuck in a rut of sending off proposals, (well written mind you and well crafted), but still mailing proposals and hoping and praying that someone would say YES. That process never paid off for us. We're now pursuing a more aggressive approach of meeting with decision makers face to face and pitching CREW 713 thataway. We think this way of pitching the film will eventually pay off for us.

We do have some good news to report however. We secured the endorsement, (yesterday as a matter of fact) from the Frontiers of Flight Museum at Love Field. Museum Director Bruce Bleakley gave us a glowing letter of recommendation and we want to thank him and his fine organization for their support. One of our keys in securing funding for the film is in proving that the company and the film are both viable and worthy of support. Securing letters of recommendation has always been high on my list. They legitimize CREW 713 and Shanty Films LLC, and give us much need support and clout in our message and in our pitches. To date we now have the support of the Frontiers of Flight Museum, The Memorial Trust of the 2nd Air Division in Norfolk, Norwich, UK., The Commemorative Air Force-B-29/B-24 Squadron., The Dallas Film Society, The US Latinos/Latinas WWII Oral History Project at the University of Texas at Austin, The Arnett Institute, The Heritage League of the 2nd Air Division, and NY Times Bestselling author Kinky Friedman. That's not bad company my friend. Not bad at all.

Are there new shoots and projects, new pitches and announcements to make? The answer is YES! However, at this point we would rather not say what's brewing, but we will say that December promises to be an extremely busy month for the producers of CREW 713. We are happy to announce that a new addition to the team has been added. Kelly McNichols, who I have had the pleasure of working with the past few years at the Dallas International Film Festival, has agreed to come on as our Business Developement Producer. Kelly worked for 12 years with IBM as a sales and marketing representative. She brings a fresh approach to business developement for Shanty Films LLC and we welcome her knowledge, expertise and professionalism.

So some bad news, some good news. Overall, I still think the project is moving forward. Is it moving at the pace I would prefer? Absolutely not. But sometimes, you just have to accept that all things happen for a reason, and that the race is not always won by the swiftest but by the most determined and steadfast. We have been on this journey for three years now. It was in the late Summer of 2007, on a visit to El Paso, TX to visit my folks that I made a promise to my Father to make a film about his bomber crew. I look back and see how far we have come. We have 12 hours of astounding veteran interviews. We have some incredibly rare archival footage of B-24 liberators AND of the 492nd Bomb Group. We have the support of so many people and organizations. We have a website and a kick ass film trailer streaming there. Personally, I have made so many new friends over the last three years, some of whom have since passed on. And still we go on. Because this is a good story. A good tale. and it deserves to be told. Hang with us folks, the best is yet to come.

Peace out and I promise to write again very soon.

Alejandro Mena
2 Comments on
A new blog entry? I don't believe it!
  1. On Saturday, November 26, 2011
    kelly m wrote...

    I am happy to become a part of the "Crew" and am looking forward to hearing the stories and getting to know more about the men and their great contribution to our history.

  2. On Monday, November 28, 2011
    David Arnett wrote...


    Your optimism is inspirational and downright contagious. It can and will attract success.


  3. On Monday, November 28, 2011
    Alejandro Mena wrote...

    Kelly, we're looking forward to working with you on CREW 713. Dave, thanks for the kind words. We couldn't have come this far without the support of you and Paul and the Arnett Institute. you are a true friend and I'm a better person for knowing you and the Arnett Family!

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