A new reality series takes viewers into the trenches of real-life Navy bomb diffusers in Afghanistan airing on the G4 network titled, “Bomb Patrol: Afghanistan”.
We talked to the team that produced this project at Big Fish Entertainment, executive producers Doug DePriest and Dan Cesareo. They gave us an inside look of what it took to get the project off the ground and their unique style of story-telling.
Dan said that the idea for the show had come about by working with producer Katie Gilbert. Gilbert had a past history from doing a couple of Navy specials. In January 2010, Dan and Doug with Gilbert started talking to the Navy about doing a series. “At Big Fish, we were talking about EOD (Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal). It was the most dominate and pervasive threat in Afghanistan”, said Dan.
Doug said that there were a lot of chains of commands and levels of clearance in order to get approved to do the “Bomb Patrol: Afghanistan”. “You couldn’t open a newspaper, television or radio without hearing about a roadside bomb.” They had to get access agreement with the military. Because the Navy doesn’t have land bases, they stay at Army bases, Doug and Dan had to to get the Army to agree as well. “It was far more complex than we imagined,” said Dan. It took a total of 7 months for the process to get access agreement.
The show was inspired by current events. Doug stated, “It’s what’s happening in Afghanistan and what’s happening with IEDs (Improvised Explosive Device)”, Dan said “what we really loved about EOD is that it’s a small platoon of about eight guys that have a mission and goal. Every time that they succeed, they’re saving lives”.
“It’s the story of the men. They have the most dangerous job. They train for one year. They have wash-out rate second to the Navy SEALS. If you’re diffusing bombs together you really have to have a bond. It’s a tremendous story about these guys in five months and their deployment,” said Doug.
Dan said that what viewers will see, is not only the missions encountered, but their personal lives as well. They all have wives and families. Viewers will all identify with these guys. The point of the show according to Dan is “to experience their deployment and their missions as they experience it.”
The show was intentionally shot in a first-hand perspective. Different from a lot of the successful war documentaries and journalistic coverage in general. “It’s always been a third person P.O.V.,” said Dan. In “Bomb Patrol: Afghanistan” it’s their perspective. “Because there was up to 15 cameras when we went out on the missions, that’s viewers experience as they experience it.” Cameras were mounted on top of their heads and to their bodies. “The viewers are not removed from a third party like in the other stories where the camera is sitting in the back of a truck,” stated Dan.
Doug said that out of the 4000 hours of footage shot in the five months of filming, about 99.5% was approved by the Department of Defense whom had to declassify their footage to ensure no reveals were made to help enemies of the United States.
“Bomb Patrol: Afghanistan” airs on G4 Tuesdays at 10pm ET.