If someone had told me during high school or college that someday I would be making a film about World War II submarines, I would have thought they were crazy. I may be going out on a limb, but I’ll bet I wasn’t the only person that ever dreaded history class. But we get older, wiser, and interests begin to transform and become a little more colorful.
I was always fascinated with how movies were put together to create a story. As a result of my intrigue, my mother gave me video camera as a high school graduation present. (I also got a weed eater, which was not used as much.) I had a lot of fun with that camera - made short films with friends, documented my last day in high school, shot many weddings and of course filmed many pranks on unsuspecting people with my buddies. How I wish I could find those tapes. That little camera fired up a desire to be a filmmaker and led me to the University of North Texas were I earned a degree in Radio, Television and Film. Now what do I do?
I started my career just out of college by working in the advertising department of a small company in Dallas. There I produced television commercials, radio spots, many company training videos and was introduced to the world of website development. Although this was not exactly my dream job, it was an interesting one that was full of many challenges and was a huge learning experience. The website training paid off and took me to the next chapter of my life, working for a small internet startup company. Several years of my life were spent there designing and programming websites until I was laid off, released or how I like to look at it - set free. I've learned that it doesn’t matter how bad things may seem, because there’s always an upside. When life gives you lemons, you make a movie. That’s what I did.
In 2001, (a few years before I got the ax) while traveling across Oklahoma, I ran into, of all things, a World War II submarine. Now parked in a field at a museum in Muskogee, Oklahoma is the USS Batfish - quite a remarkable boat during the war. During her seven war patrols she sank a total of 14 ships and damaged 2 others. History was made during her 6th war patrol when she sank 3 Japanese subs in 72 hours and was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. I had no idea that discovering this submarine would have such a huge impact on my life.
The crew of the USS Batfish meets every year in Muskogee, and I’ve attended every year since 2004. This is what eventually sparked the idea for “DIVE”. Over the years, I had been attending their reunions and listening to their amazing stories which inspired me to make the film. I can’t say I’ve been making documentary films for years and don’t have a case full of accolades to prove my worth as a filmmaker. This is my first film, but you have to start somewhere. This amazing adventure has taken me to many new places and introduced me to some very interesting people. This project has really been the most challenging and fulfilling thing I’ve ever done.
This website was created as an outlet to promote the film as well as give people a place to learn a few things about World War II submarines and the men who served on them. Throughout the site you can also read about my experiences while making the film.
I’m very proud of this film. Being one of the guys who has actually documented the lives of these American heroes is a pretty cool feeling. I don’t feel that I chose this project, rather it chose me. For some reason I just happened to be driving down a road and ran into a submarine that has completely changed my life. I hope everyone will discover their submarine.