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Good News - Bad News

Updated: Oct 18, 2018

By Roberta MacIntyre - October 9, 2018 (CS5711)

Interview with Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore
Interview with Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore

Some Bad News - we are behind schedule

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have gotten a bit behind with the making of our documentary film, FIRESTORM – The First 12 Hours, but in spite of setbacks, we will be completing the film project. This has the impact of being late getting our off-line edits to the on-line editor

Some Good News - the story is getting better

We are continuing to learn more about what happened that tragic night of October 8, 2017. This information will help us to endure our film is factual and accurate. So it’s probably a good thing it is taking longer. Moreover, we might receive our grant funding from ITVS before we have to pay out of pocket for our animator, on-line editor and film composer.

Some Bad News - we have to use narration

With the exception of our interview with Supervisor James Gore, we were barred from interviewing ANY currently employed public officials about the Wine Country Fires. Including the Sheriff, the dispatchers, anyone from the County Administration and anyone from County Fire and Emergency Services. This has forced us to use some narration in the film in order to fill in the blanks.

Some Good News - we have an awesome narrator

We have an anonymous source who was directly involved in the incident to help us fill in blanks in the story and we have found a former radio announcer with an amazing voice to do our narration for us.

Some Bad News - we didn't get feedback we wanted

Unfortunately, we did not get enough feedback from the last blog post to use input from our readers to help us with our decision as to what to include in the Sonoma County History Museum’s fire anniversary exhibit.

Some Good News - we have fantastic material

After discussing this with my co-producer we decided to use five of our interviews and make them each three minutes long. This will give us 15 minutes total running time for the exhibit.

We also discussed the proper theme and style of the content for this particular venue. We decided to go with a melancholy feel and use heartfelt interviews of people directly impacted by the event, and not to use any subject-matter experts.

Visually we will be showing the interviewee without any b-roll (images seen while the interviewee is talking) but instead will focus on the individual facial expressions and emotions of the interviewee. The sound design will consist of ambient sounds and little, if any, music score.

At this point, we are thinking of including the following:

  1. The story of how the Safari West owners responded and saved the animal compound

  2. The story of a woman who rescued several abandoned elderly people from a care home

  3. The story of a young couple who volunteer as firefighters and how they cut their vacation short and return to fight the fire.

  4. The story of a worker at the Pepperwood Preserve who took it upon himself to evacuate the neighbors around the campus on Franz Valley Road

  5. The story of the County Emergency Manager who received bad press in spite of doing the right thing.


Remember, with your feedback, good or bad, we can make this film the best and most worthwhile documentary about the Wine Country fires. There are other films about the fires out there, and there will be more, but this one is destined to be the most accurate, and inspiring, with the hope that we will all learn from what happened and not be repeating mistakes when this happens again – as we all know it will.

Thanks for visiting and reading!

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This documentary is an ambitious and worthwhile undertaking! Well done! The trailer engaged me from the start and I felt strong emotions, hearing the 911 audio clips you chose. Even reading the brief synopses of the personal stories you have selected to tell in your film evoked my emotions. Your important focus questions leave room for more exploration and other films. I'd like to see a film series with your subject matter and content. Each film could focus on a different aspect - Firestorm, it appears, will focus on the first 12 hours and some of the personal and heroic stories. So many elements of the Wine Country Fires and response came together in a Perfect Storm...both positive and negative…


Lisa Molvig
Lisa Molvig
Oct 10, 2018

I get chills every time I rewatch the trailer to this film! And once again, I'm surprised to learn the ins and outs of making a film. As a designer, I'm curious about how the titles get done in the film...along with any other graphics. Is that the job of the "animator" you refer to? I'll have to check that career path out! Also, I think the five stories you picked for the Sonoma County Museum are great. You have all the heroes covered: citizens, firefighters, officials. Personally, I'm super curious to know how the Safari West owners were able to save all those animals! Can't wait, can't wait, can't wait!!

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