Air Force Recruiting Post Docuseries on BMT> Air Force> Post Display

Anyone wondering what the Air Force enlistment process looks like, before and during the completion of basic military training, should check out a new docuserie that follows five people as they transition from civilians to Aviators.

Entitled “Basic”, the eight-part docuseries were published on the Air force recruiting official YouTube page October 28.

For Air Force leaders, this is a unique opportunity to show recruits an in-depth look at their experience to come.

“From the first meeting of a recruiter with a future aviator or Guardian, their first questions always seem to be about what to expect in basic military training, ”said Major General Ed Thomas, commander of the air force recruiting service. “Today’s BMT isn’t what mom or dad experienced decades ago, and it’s not necessarily what Hollywood portrays. The Air Force grants access to the BMT as has happened for all new Airmen. This series aims to highlight the reality and the professionalism of basic training. We want future Airmen and Guardians to know what to expect when making decisions and preparing for this extraordinary life.

“I am delighted to provide this unique look at the journey America’s sons and daughters take as they become aviators in the world’s largest air force,” said Chief Master Sgt. of the air force JoAnne S. Bass. “Their service to our Air Force and to our nation has never been more important, and seeing our military training instructors in action as they develop these Airmen to fulfill these roles is motivating to say the least. . “

Basic was produced and directed by Ken Raimondi, a former Air Force recruiter and current civil service producer and director with the 3rd Audiovisual Squadron. He led a team that went from four to 17 people to complete the project. Raimondi said he had always wanted to do an in-depth documentary on BMT since he was on active duty.

“I was a recruiter from 2003 to 2006 and I wish there was something like that back then that shows basic military training in detail from a military perspective,” he said. declared. “It just didn’t exist until the release of this project, in this depth.”

Raimondi said the series shows all the emotions the rookies go through in the process and gives viewers a taste of BMT.

“It shows their nervous thoughts at home before they left, the shock of the first few weeks, the ups and downs, the successes and failures, and everything in between,” Raimondi said. “The eight-part series opens the doors to BMT in a way you’ve never experienced. Imagine being a fly on the wall throughout BMT and once a week having the chance to hear the subjects directly, away from anyone, including their military-trained instructors, to hear exactly what they are thinking and feeling. .

The project was initially presented to Raimondi in 2019 by the then superintendent of BMT, Chief Master Sgt. Lee Hoover.

“They wanted an in-depth look at the BMT experience,” Raimondi recalls. “After an initial discussion, we agreed to bring in Air Force Recruiting Service as they have the highest traffic for the target audience we knew we wanted to target.”

Rather than just telling the story of BMT and some of the changes of the past few years, Raimondi had other ideas on how to tell this story.

“I pitched the idea of ​​not just telling the world how BMT has changed, but let’s show it through the lives of five civilians as they make this transition to Airman,” he said. “The great thing about BMT is that the drama is built in from the start. It’s a compelling story that thousands of people experience here every week and by taking just five of these stories and letting them tell it as they experience it, she has accomplished several goals. It’s fun to watch, authentic, and organically informs our audience of what today’s BMT looks like.

When BMT agreed to adopt the approach proposed by Raimondi, they knew this could not happen without the support of AFRS.

“First of all, recruiters are the face of the Air Force for many of our communities,” said Raimondi. “If recruiters weren’t involved in this, we’d be missing a huge chance to reach our target audience right where they would ask the questions this series might answer. Beyond that, we also knew it would cost money to send our team of four on the road for five weeks from one hometown to another to cover the pre-army lives of our subjects.

AFRS has agreed to help fund the project. Raimondi now had all the major stakeholders behind his idea and was free to carry his vision through. For AFRS, supporting this project was obvious.

“It was a great opportunity for Air Force recruiting to provide potential recruits with a glimpse of what this life-changing moment in basic military training is like,” said Wes Fleming, chief of plans and AFRS public affairs programs. “We felt like this story had never been told before, showing the life-changing experience of becoming an aviator.”

AFRS contributed to the funding of this project, but also played an essential role throughout the realization of these docuseries.

“AFRS has been involved since pre-production,” said Raimondi. “They helped me refine our casting and paid for our travel from location to location before we started filming at BMT. Their involvement from the start was essential to the success of this project. They also helped me coordinate with each person’s recruiters so we could see some of that interaction. In fact, we get to cover a possible aviator on the battlefield as he trains for the [Physical Ability Stamina Test] used in Special Warfare career areas before he left for BMT. This access is entirely due to AFRS.

Raimondi realizes that this is not the kind of product normally produced for AFRS.

“You can expect something shorter, more punchy, or smoother, and that would be fair,” said Raimondi. “They compete for the attention of a target audience that has a lot of other things to do and see besides what the Air Force has to offer. As a former recruiter, I know how difficult it is. Now, this series may not bring more people to recruiting doors; I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that AFRS wants to make sure that the people they send to BMT are knowledgeable and ready to succeed in the Air Force. I am 100% convinced that this series will succeed.

Raimondi optimistically believes this series will motivate people to want to join, but at a minimum, it gives rookies some understanding of what to expect at BMT.

“The important thing is that now the world has a glimpse of how the Air Force trains civilians to become aviators,” he said. “With this knowledge, potential recruits and potential Airmen can make an informed decision and be ready for the challenge of their lives. “

Tackling a project of this magnitude is no easy task for Raimondi and his team.

“I was fortunate enough to have the Navy produce a short documentary series called ‘Boot Camp: Making a Sailor’,” he said. “I reached out to the producer, Austin Rooney, to hear some things that worked and some that were difficult before we moved forward. His insight has certainly helped me think about some things and he has helped me avoid some of the challenges they faced in producing theirs. It’s a great show and I’m thankful Austin for taking the time to share the background with me.

The only thing he knew he wanted to do differently was to be there every step of the way. From their hometown to graduation, his small team of four spent seven days a week and over 18 hours a day with them.

“The philosophy being that if we’re not there to capture what’s going on, we can’t tell the whole story to the audience,” Raimondi said. “Documentary is about being there when it happens and we’ve made the sacrifice to make it happen, including holidays, weekends, evenings, mornings, whatever it takes. It was a grueling effort that allowed us to bring home over 20 terabytes of footage. Hundreds of hours of footage reduced to around five hours make up this eight-part series.

The other thing that was really important to Raimondi was absolute authenticity. He said it’s not the story of the Air Force or BMT, it’s the story of the five.

“We did not conduct traditional interviews outside of hometown visits,” he said. “The intern sat in front of what we called a confessional camera and was allowed to speak freely about everything he thought and felt about the week he had been through. As a publisher it wasn’t the easiest thing to cut because people weren’t just giving out simple sound clips, but for me that’s where the authenticity lies. It’s messy, real, raw… that’s life. I think modern audiences appreciate projects that shine and show you what it really is like. My goal is for audiences not to feel the hands of the director or editor, but rather to be immersed in the story as it unfolds.

Raimondi and his team felt lucky to have completed their production on this project on January 6, 2020.

“If COVID (-19) had hit us while we were in production, we should have stopped filming and lost the whole project,” he said. “Training and safety come first and if the presence of our team bothered either of them, we should have stopped filming. While I was editing it, isolated in the editing bay during social distancing measures, it was weird watching all these unmasked interns working nearby. At the time, it was like another world. Fortunately, with the acceleration of vaccines, I think a return to normal is on the horizon. I know I am grateful for it.

I am so proud of this project, ”said Raimondi. “I expect this to reach a lot of people, and when they get to BMT, they’ll be ready to find out what’s in store for them. For parents and families of those leaving to serve, this will give them a glimpse of the BMT experience. For casual documentary fans, they will love the drama that takes place at BMT. Tears, cheers, blood, sweat and even laughter… it’s all there because it’s the BMT experience.

“Basic” will air on the Air Force Recruiting Service’s official YouTube at 8 p.m. EST, with a new episode every Thursday, excluding Thanksgiving night, starting October 28. Viewers can access it. here.

About Ethel Nester

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