Wednesday, 28 March 2012

"Hey, Dom! What's holdin' you up?"

This post has ended up becoming quite a long feature, so please bear that in mind if you'd rather read it at a more convenient time. As Stringfellow Hawke quips in 1st Season masterpiece 'To Snare a Wolf':
"That's quite a mouthful!"

Dear all,

Sincere apologies for not posting on here for over 3 months. I've had some of the fans from the online forums enquiring what the progress is with the project. I must make a clear and polite point first though regarding that matter.

This documentary is being worked STRICTLY on an AS-AND-WHEN BASIS. Myself, Eric Shepherd (camera & sound) and Nick Light (our appointed editor; please see below regarding post-production) all have our own seperate & on-going professional commitments. "AIRWOLF" unfortunately isn't the only production we're working on, so I hope everyone can understand that and appreciate it.

Archangel's line in Season 2's 'Sins of the Past, during his heated confrontation with Hawke over Dominic's framed-for-murder arrest, just about sums it up: "Don't jump all over me, I'm asking you to GIVE ME SOME TIME!". But please, try not to take that to heart. Perhaps Hawke's one-liner in the equally dramatic 1st Season episode, 'Mad Over Miami', would be more apt: "I simply trade for trust."

Onto to the production update. On my return back to the UK last November, following the principal 5-week shoot Stateside, I was pleased to secure local Newcastle and London editor Nick Light, to fulfil the demanding role for what is still a growing and evolving documentary. You may have noticed that I've updated the blog description below the custom logo above, with the indication of not 50, but now 60 cast & crew interviews.

This is because I have decided to schedule and make arrangements to gather finance for a 2nd shoot back in the USA, but this leg will also include time in Toronto and Vancouver in Canada, to interview the cast & crew of the notorious 4th Season of the series. The so-called "sequel" year, entitled "AIRWOLF II" in production, has undoubtedly divided fans across the world since its debut on the USA Network in 1987, not at least for its severe budget cuts, the original cast being written out in favour for an all-new group of actors, led by "Battlestar Galactica: 1980" star, Barry Van Dyke, but the absence of the real, flying Bell 222 modifed helicopter as well.

As a result, extensive use was made out of access to multiple reels of un-used aerial stock footage, which were incredibly left over from the CBS seasons. Many of the shots not included by the Universal editors were phenomenal, and it ponders the question why they weren't utilised, considering their exceptional photography and action. But anyway, back to the subject in hand.

I've already secured a number of the Canadian team, both performers and technicians, and that number is still rising. I hope you'll agree with me that, despite it's flaws and constraints, the 4th Season is still a significant and intriguing part of the "AIRWOLF" canon, no matter what your opinion of it is. I for one have always enjoyed it thoroughly on it's *own merits*.

I've honestly believed that the fans would of taken to it far more warmly, if it of had the same million-dollar production budgets and resources as the American show, regardless of "killing off" the original cast. After having brief discussions with some of it's directors who helmed the Vancouver-shot episodes, they certainly deserve their stories, memories and recollections to be heard, for at the very least to be appreciated a great deal more.

Alongside those Northern "AIRWOLF" film-makers, several other cast and crew from the original 3 seasons, who we didn't have time to interview last year, because of the gapless schedule and already-high number of people to cover, have also been lined up. We intend to reach Los Angeles, once all Canuck filming has been completed.

But there is a but, and I do need your help to make it happen. I had hoped to present all the confirmed aspects of the plan I have in mind to you in this post, but since some of the original CBS production team are still considering their involvement in it, and again, its been quite sometime since my last post on this blog, I'll instead for now explain it briefly.

Within the next month, we'll be launching a large, fund-raising campaign on the popular online crowd-funding platform, Kick Starter ( Many productions and film-related projects, including ambitious, feature-length documentaries, have been successfully financed as a result of Kick Starter efforts. It is hoped that "AIRWOLF: ECHOES FROM THE FIRM" will be one to add to the list.

As the entire 5-week shoot last Autumn (Fall) was self-financed by myself (and it was a fortune!), I therefore cannot provide the money required to return to the United States and Canada, and fully complete the filming of the interviews required to make this documentary the most in-depth, comprehensive and *completist* retrospective on ANY past television series.

Since the secondary shoot will only be 3 weeks and no more, the budget that we require is $7,000. More details will follow regarding how you can consider contributing to that figure, including being credited on-screen as either an Associate or Executive Producer in return, amongst other rewards, and for smaller contributions, under the ever dedicating "Special Thanks" title. 3 of the incentives we can confirm at present, that will be offered, include private phone calls with:

* 1st Season writer/producer, Burton Armus ('Daddy's Gone a Hunt'n', 'One Way Express' and 'Fight Like a Dove' were penned by the "Kojak" man himself)
* Concept design artist and illustrator, Andrew Probert (the helicopter, the helmets, the logo, the cockpit, the flightsuits, the 'Santini Air' paint-job? That was him)
* 1st & 2nd Season recurring cast member, and writer of Season 2's fan-favourite episode, 'Fallen Angel', Deborah Pratt (one of the finest of the entire series)

In addition to those, we have a number of excellent gifts and materials in exchange of specific amounts, including special one-off editions of Mark J. Cairns' internationally best-selling and critically-acclaimed "Airwolf Themes" soundtrack. Similarly exclusive copies of his forthcoming sequel soundtrack, "Airwolf Extended Themes", in collaboration with Polish musician Jan Michal Szulew, will also be on the table.

Until we hear back from the remaining cast & crew members who we hope will support this campaign, to enhance and extend the project to an even bigger scale, the campaign won't be going live for now. In the meantime, myself and Nick (the editor) will be working on the 1st 'story edit' of the entire programme. This entails assembing of the 40 plus hours of footage already shot, including one that I made an genuine oversight of, when posting screenshots and names of interviewees in America last year.

The unrevealed person was Ray Austin, who directed the classic 2nd Season installments of 'Firestorm' and 'Inn at the End of the Road'. This was the only interview that took place here in the UK. An image from his conversation will be released in the next post.

For now, I hope that you can all continue to support "AIRWOLF: ECHOES FROM THE FIRM", and perhaps you can have a good, careful think about becoming an integral part of it's production, when we launch the fund-raising campaign. We would certainly be indebted to you if you did, and the rewards to be gained from such a collaboration will be priceless.

"You through?"
"Yeah. I just had to get it off my chest." (can you guess which episode? and who said it?)


The producer of the forthcoming "AIRWOLF EXTENDED THEMES" album, Mark J. Cairns, and his orchestrator/associate producer, Jan Michal Szulew, have been working flat-out on the highly-anticipated sequel soundtrack, to the original best-selling "AIRWOLF THEMES". Check-in with their individual blogs for updates and preview teasers from the all-new tracks, by clicking on their names above.

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