Crew Members Wanted!

Despite war in Afghanistan and trouble in Israel, the cold war is over and the militaristic model of rural firefighting and the conceptual straightjacket that goes with it should eventually fade from the scene. There was a time in our nation's history when we could not afford the manpower to fight forest fires. From 1941 to 1945 fire was literally a tool of the enemy across the Pacific and forest fires, especially those started by balloon bombs launched from Japan and traveling on the jet stream, had to be prevented at all costs. 

As timber and rangeland losses to wild fire increase to the levels that existed when organized firefighting began in the early 1900's, eventually people will realize the waste of taxpayer dollars and needless risk to human lives that accompany this fundamental misunderstanding of the role of fire in nature. This creates an opening for vegetation management as a land management policy which incorporates firefighting as needed when human lives, structures, timber and wood fiber are at risk. In light of this analysis of the historical backdrop you know that I'll be asking a lot from my volunteers... but I don't forget my friends and the tides of change are moving with us.

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to the video project

The author has done a considerable amount of grant writing since the demo video shoot at Al's Nursery. When the first grant check comes in, those persons who showed up at the October 1st shoot will have first shot at all openings. There are still several openings for people, and according to their skills and availability, volunteers will be assigned to two different crews with complementary but quite different missions.

The "Unit 1" crew will be selected by our producer to videotape the actresses in the Botanist's scene etc etc.. This is a great opportunity for adults to polish established skills in film making. The "Unit 2" crew will be jointly selected by the author and the director to document the process of creating this public service message. Excellent service and team spirit on the Unit 2 crew may result in a promotion to the Unit 1 crew.

The Unit 2 assignment will begin with the taping of on-location preproduction meetings in April, continuing through auditions as necessary, resuming again for the big day at the nursery and elsewhere in mid May and shooting through the end of editing in early August of 2002. The members of this crew will be "doorknobs", unobtrusive to the max, quietly capturing the sparks of creativity that come with work on the cutting edge of video and political science. This is a great opportunity for students and aspiring film makers to get a comprehensive look at video production from start to finish. This video, about the video, will be used extensively to line up funding and political support in other counties in the Bay Area. The idea is to show them the side of acting that people in their homes in front of the TV never get to see, the flubbed lines and banter plus the business side of this art form. When we finish the pilot version of the Cannonball Express we'll have some credibility and momentum behind us for deluxe versions elsewhere.

An army runs on its stomach and so opportunities for casual assistants doing routine (but heroic) production tasks at the nursery are also available on both teams.

There are also volunteer opportunities to work on the video project from the comfort of your own home.

Here are a number of things that you can do in the pre-production phase of "The Cannonball Express" in your spare time at home. These tasks range from the casual effort to the dedicated commitment. Most of these opportunities are web related or part of the process of building grass roots support.

1) Arrange mutual links. Make cold calls and establish additional links to commercial businesses similar to the ones leading to the Yerba Buena Nursery and Weed Wrench sites. Our site has almost a hundred outgoing links and more will boost our hit count and reduce our cost per impression. Sites posted by native plant nurseries, rural home fire safety equipment manufacturers, forestry consultants, urban planners and landscapers are candidates for mutual links. Please submit URL's to the author before contacting the web masters by phone or email.

2) Write Letters.  Send letters and Email to grant makers, patrons of the arts, resource managers, legislators, fire chiefs, insurance industry executives and administrators at the City, County, State and Federal level encouraging them to visit our web site and support this project. Be sure to tell them that a letter of endorsement gets their last name up on the web in the "Endorsement" page. Please touch bases with the author before tackling this assignment. phone

3) Scout Locations. Supply us with the names, phone numbers and addresses of cooperative homeowners with hillside organic gardens located above open space areas anywhere in the Bay Area. We are eagerly looking for locations which might be suitable for filming the Naturalist's scene.

4) Speak Out Raise the issues of urban firestorms, fire safety and vegetation management by becoming a vocal member of Homeowner Associations, City Councils and County Government advisory committees (see ad below).

Future Opportunities. Should the remainder of this project be funded, things will start to happen very quickly and my happy hacker-do it yourself days will be over. I will offer veteran cameraman/director Greg Frediani the opportunity to choose a crew of volunteers from the resumes already gathered. Veterans of October's shoot at Al's Nursery will get first dibs. Again, the director will be the only paid member of the staff and will have complete creative control.

5) Code HTML This web site will become a vital tool for assembling the video crew for shoots on location and will need daily or hourly maintenance. Additional volunteer opportunities, on and off the web, will be abundantly available next Summer. Resumes and cover letters from video production people are always appreciated.

6) Keep on Surfin'. Wandering web surfers are welcome to add a short entry to my guest book, send me email with suggestions.

Thank you for your interest in "The Cannonball Express".

Steven P. Kennedy

Executive Producer

Please open a dedicated email program like Eudora and send email to me at....

Volunteers Wanted!


The Fish and Wildlife Committee was dissolved by the County Board of Supervisors in November of 2002. Stay tuned for further news.

The San Mateo County Parks and Recreation Commission is seeking applicants for the Fish & Wildlife Advisory Committee. The Fish and Wildlife Committee makes recommendations to the Park and Recreation Commission on matters pertinent to fish and wildlife and the improvement of habitat in County Parks. In addition, the Committee recommends to the Commission, projects to be funded from fines assessed for violations of the Fish and Game Code collected in San Mateo County. Although the size of the fund fluctuates erratically it is currently at about $40,000. Meetings are held once a month, on the third Wednesday of the month (except December) at 5:30 PM. The location of the meeting may be a County Park building or a member's home but is usually at 590 Hamilton Street, Room 101, just off the lobby. Please call the Parks Department for an agenda at least two weeks before the meeting.
Letters of application, which discuss areas of interest, including a brief statement of relevant experience in vegetation management, can be submitted to Mary Burns, Director, San Mateo County Parks and Recreation Department, 455 County Government Center, 4th Floor, Redwood City, CA 94063. San Mateo County has a diverse work force and applications from candidates who represent diverse points of view and diverse geographic areas of the County are most welcome.