*** A&M Football/WWI Film Brainstorm ***

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TCTTS
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So... a conversation in another thread led to me wanting to try a little experiment here. I've always wondered what could be achieved with the TexAgs hive mind in terms of working together to brainstorm a film or television series idea. There are so many incredibly smart people here, with such a vast knowledge of history, and this is one of the rare, more popular boards/communities that isn't full of the toxicity or mother's-basement-dwellers of a reddit or 4chan. Yes, we have our fair share of arguments from time to time, but for the most, this board makes for some of the best discussion and insight I've ever had on the internet.

That, and I own a production company here in Los Angeles, founded with three other industry friends, and our speciality is optioning the rights to books and magazine articles (really, basically any IP - podcasts and life rights as well) and turning them into films or television series. Our company is still relatively new to the game, but we have a lot of exciting projects in development with some big names and notable companies attached. In other words, what I'm laying out below is right up our alley, and if there is, indeed, something to this, I have the means to potentially get it made.

I also worked for the A&M athletic department - in the video lab (now 12th Man Productions) - from 2000 to 2005, while in school. Summer 2004, a co-worker and I were given the exploratory task of potentially producing a history of A&M football documentary, which was ultimately scrapped due to time and cost. However, we ended up doing quite a bit of research that summer and eventually/randomly connected the dots between a series of events no one in the department had ever really pieced together before.

Now, I'm sure a good number of you know a great deal about aspects of these events, and might have even previously been aware of the entire picture here, but over the years, in telling this story to friends, family, and colleagues, I haven't met a single Aggie who knew the story in this exact context; a story I think might have the potential to be an epic, sweeping film, though whether or not that turns out to be the case partially rests on this thread's shoulders.

So, without further adieu...


THE PREMISE

- 1917 was Dana X. Bible's first full year as head football coach at Texas A&M. Coach Bible led A&M to an 8-0 record that season. But not only did they go unbeaten, they went went un-scored upon in those eight games as well, and were crowned Southwest Conference Champions. In other words, the 1917 Aggie football team was, in effect, perfect...



- 1917, however, also saw the United States' entry into World War I, with many Aggies joining the efforts by the end of the year. I'll let this excerpt from Texas Aggies Go to War: In Service of Their Country provide the pertinent details

Quote:

In addition to the commissioning of the class of 1917 at Leon Springs in June, former students, undergraduates, and some faculty now entered service in large numbers. Among those who left the campus to go to war in 1917 were Isaac S. "Ike" Ashburn, secretary to the board of directors, who left his duties at the college to serve as a major with the AEF. Dana X. Bible, who had come to A&M as head football coach in 1917, resigned after the close of one of A&M's most successful seasons to become a fighter pilot. By Christmas of 1917, virtually all of the members of that championship team were in the army. Coach Bible completed aviation ground school in Austin, earned his wings at Love Field in Dallas, and became a U.S. Air Service pursuit pilot in the 22nd Aero Squadron of the First French Army. Team members who entered the service included Jack Mahan, Roswell "Little Hig" Higginbotham, Tim Grisenbeck, Scotty Alexander, and Kyle "Slippery" Elam.

- In 1918, with Bible and the varsity team members off to war, D.V. Graves took over in the interim and the junior varsity team filled in that season (going 6-1, and was scored on in three of those games).

- However, in 1919, Bible, along with the soldiers/A&M football players who hadn't yet graduated, returned from the war, and returned for the 1919 football season. Not only did they go 10-0 that season... they went un-scored upon yet again.



In short, Dana X. Bible went unbeaten and un-scored upon in 1917. In 1918, he literally went and won a war. Then, in 1919, he returned to A&M and went unbeaten and un-scored upon again.

Tell me that's not an amazing backdrop for a film.

Yet, films aren't about characters succeeding over and over and over again. They're about characters faced with obstacle after obstacle, who, more often than not, fail over and over again, until they finally succeed in the end. It's just that the story of a college football coach, along with a handful of his players, who utterly dominate college football - go win a war - and then return to dominate college football once more, seems too good not to at least explore. There has to be something there worthy of a cinematic treatment; some kind of grander, deeper inner conflict; some kind of sacrifice or mission or loss underneath all that "perfection" that can be brought to the screen against such an incredible backdrop.


TITLE AND THEME

J.V. "Pinky" Wilson wrote the lyrics to the Aggie War Hymn in 1918 on the back of a letter from home while holed up in a trench during a battle in France. He later put the words to music before returning to the United States. Upon returning to Texas A&M in 1919, the song was frequently performed by a quartet that Wilson organized, called the "Cast-Iron Quartet." I don't yet know how, exactly, Wilson would tie into the events, but I'm sure there's a natural way to do it. Either way, that's the film's title...

"THE WAR HYMN"

A "hymn," obviously, is "a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of adoration or prayer." It is written in praise or celebration of something. War, of course, is the opposite of celebration; it is chaos, the opposite of perfection. While I would never argue that war itself is "necessary," I feel like there's something worth exploring, thematically, in terms of "celebrating" the challenges and hardships in life; realizing that true perfection isn't about succeeding; rather, "perfection" is whatever series of experiences lead you to a greater understanding of self. In that sense, the title would ultimately have somewhat of double meaning. Not that the writing of the Aggie War Hymn would be any kind of major plot point - no one outside of A&M really cares about that - but it could be woven into a poignant thread or moment in the film.


THE PLOT

Ultimately, what I need to know is if there's a film-worthy war story buried somewhere in these events. These guys didn't need to have gone on a grand, Saving Private Ryan-esque mission, but there does need to have been some kind of tangible, cinema-worthy goal or mission or battle. It could even be multiple battles/missions that we cut back and forth between via our characters. Simply having a film where a football coach and football players go to war isn't enough. It's a nice hook, but there needs to be A LOT more meat on that hook for this to ever have a chance.

In a perfect world, I'm envisioning something along these lines as the basic structure...

Act 1 = The 1917 season. We're dropped into the middle or toward the end of the season, we meet Coach Bible, we meet the notable players, characters, etc., and see their utterly perfect season come to a rousing end.

Act 2 = World War I comes calling. Coach Bible & crew accept their calling, go through their respective training, then off to fight the war. Their personal/tactical missions take us all the way through Act Three. During this time, we're also cutting back home every so often and seeing what efforts and sacrifices are being made in College Station, be they school wide or personal plights - that in some way are tied to the characters fighting the war (potential girlfriends, wives, parents, teachers, etc.).

Act 3 = Our characters win the war (i.e. their respective missions) and return to College Station as changed men. For those who have seen Braveheart, if you recall the final scene of that film, after Wallace's death, all the Scots are there on the battlefield, waiting to pay homage to England. Except Robert the Bruce convinces the Scots to fight the English instead. We don't see the fight - just the Scots charging at the camera in slow motion - as Wallace's voice over tells us they won their freedom. I would do something similar here. We don't actually need to see the 1919 season. We simply see them strapping in and gearing up, then, via some kind of voice over or post script - as they charge field - we're told that they went undefeated and un-scored upon yet again. Only this time, because of their journey in the war, it's clear that being "perfect" now has some kind of newer, deeper meaning for them.


QUESTIONS / RESEARCH

All of that said, NONE of this works if the war aspects these specific characters went through were relatively uneventful, or were without their larger challenges. If that does happen to be the case - if their respective war efforts don't stand out in some notable way (and by "notable," I'm speaking cinematically as, of course, all these men were more than "notable" in their efforts) - the question then becomes, should a composite football player/soldier character be created, and should he be placed in a more "important" tactical mission/battle, as long as it honors the "spirit" of what these guys generally did? At this point, my honest answer is I don't know. From a creative standpoint, I certainly see the advantages. But from an accuracy standpoint, I can already hear the outcry.

Other questions worth considering...

- Is Dana X. Bible the main character? Is it a player/solider instead? Is it a combination; a group of men?
(Ultimately, I feel like this will be decided naturally should additional info be found.)

- I know there were plenty of non-football-player Aggies in the war as well. Would they factor in? If so, how?
(Films like this need a fairly narrow focus - it can't just be "Aggies in World War I: The Movie," so it would take something monumental or truly organic to be woven in, if not football team related.)

- What was going on in College Station during this time?

- Could the horrific flu pandemic of 1918 factor into the drama back home somehow?

(For the record, the book I linked to above, Texas Aggies Go to War: In Service of Their Country, goes into some detail about a lot of this. Again, I just haven't yet fully submerged myself in all that.)

Right now, I simply don't have the time to go tracking down any additional details. But if certain threads were to start presenting themselves, and this story truly does begin to show itself as one that just has to be told, I can eventually start making the time. Right now it's just in this weird limbo stage where, frankly, it's going to take an effort like this to potentially point me in the right direction.

That said, I'm NOT asking anyone to go spend hours at the library or anything like that. I'm simply saying, if any of you guys already happen to know any details about this time period as it pertains to these events - or want to do some online research/digging to see if there's anything out there that might give us an idea of what, exactly, any of these people did during the war (where they were stationed, the battles they fought, etc.) that kind of info could very well end up unlocking this whole thing. That, and any character, plot, structure ideas are of course welcome as well. Who knows, I might have the structure all wrong, or there's some gaping opportunity or idea I'm completely missing. In other words, let's just play this by ear and see where it takes us, if anywhere.


IN CONCLUSION

This could very well be a lost cause. There simply may not be enough info out there to truly figure any of this out in a meaningful way. Some bits and pieces might be unearthed, but not enough to really move forward in any tangible way, and this whole thing falls by the wayside. Conversely, a treasure trove of information could be unearthed, but this ends up having the makings of the most expensive film ever made, and the whole thing is simply untenable. All I know is that it could still be fun to arrive at either of those conclusions, if not the perfect middle ground that sees an actual script from this someday in the relatively near future.

Again, I'm fairly busy right now, wrapping up writing another project, and might only be able to chime in here and there over the next few days, but I'll do my best. Also, we're on no kind of timetable here. I've had this story in my back pocket for 15 years. So what's another few months, or even years?

That said, have it, and let me know what you guys think.

Thanks!
third coast..
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AG
First because obviously credits will be based on order of replies in this thread.
JABQ04
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I'd be interested in seeing this. In regards to your question on the main character Coach Bible would be a good one, anytime a fighter pilot is involved it should make for an exciting follow. Maybe through your research see if a group of players served in the same unit? Might be easier to focus on a handful rather than trying to encompass the majority of the players. Folks are going to want to see the battle scenes. No offense to those who serve in support roles, but following a character who was a truck driver or a logistics person won't be the same as following an infantryman in the trenches.

Not sure you need it but I would like to help especially with the WWI aspect.

Another place you might want to hit up is the Museum of the American GI in College Station. I think they incorporate A&M into their military museum. Might be a good place to check
third coast..
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Damn. Those men were some tough SOBs
TCTTS
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Good to hear. And yeah, I should clarify that this definitely wouldn't follow the whole team. It would only be from the pool of players who played in both the 1917 and 1919 seasons, and then just a small handful or group out of those. Maybe two groups, if they fought on two different meaningful fronts. And I agree on the Bible angle as well. He's feeling more and more to me like he'd be the primary focus. The key is if his efforts abroad were film-worthy or not (as in he went on a meaningful mission or something along those lines).
jeffk
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Ok, fine! I'll be in your movie.
ok_ag95
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caleblyn
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Love the idea. If it never comes to be, I highly enjoyed the read. However, I think you have something mainly because...I enjoyed the read.

You need a base...an author! Need someone to write the book or the screenplay. I know this is what you are asking, but these people are special with wonderful gifts.

I would think you would need to start researching the newspapers from old. Might have to go to micro fish.

Wish I could help but this is not my gift.
Big Al 1992
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So sort of like Band of Brothers but with Aggie Football mixed in before and after the war. I like it!!

Would love to see them recreate a 1917 Kyle Field!

Also you could cross post this on the Premium Football board - lots of Aggie Football historians over there - bulldog73, DTP02, coastag, and of course Hop, Gabe, and Looch.
Also reach out to the Military Board and folks like titan.
Rex Racer
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I cross posted this on the History board. Those guys are quite knowledgeable.
bearamedic99
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The We've Never Been Licked Prequel- The Practice War

I'll volunteer as a stunt double and fighter plane.
A. Solzhenitsyn
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I don't think there needs to be a super heroic war moment for the movie to work. The heroism is them going off to do their duty. World War 1 was a pointless war fought for ambiguous reasons. It's hard to say if there were even really good guys and bad guys, and if so, if we were on the side of the good guys. But regardless, Americans went to serve just because their country called.
AgStuckinLBK
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Quote:

. I've always wondered what could be achieved with the TexAgs hive mind in terms of working together to brainstorm a film or television series idea


If you ever wanted a thousand monkeys on a thousand typewriters, here's your chance
aTmAg
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So I'm pretty sure TCTTS has me blocked, so if somebody could quote this so he can read it, I'd appreciate it. This is a serious suggestion and not me trying to argue about anything:




I do not think a movie that is so focused on A&M will make a lot of money. I think at most, A&M should be a backdrop for the main story, but the story should be the focus, not A&M.

That being said, I heard a story during a muster speech at A&M about WWI that stuck with me for decades. I always thought it would make a great movie (at least part of a movie). Perhaps your idea and this idea can be combined, since this idea probably isn't long enough to warrant an entire movie anyway. The crux of story is this:

There were 2 guys who grew up together and went to A&M together. They were old ladies in the corps, and then left to go fight in WWI (perhaps one of them could have been a player on Bible's team). Somewhere along the way at war they promised each other that they would always be together have each others back. That they would never let the other die alone. So fast forward to some big battle.. one of them gets shot while they were retreating back to the trench. The other didn't realize until he got back to the trench that his buddy wasn't with him. Remembering their vow, he started to climb the ladder to go back for him, but their officer demanded that he halt, saying it would be a suicide, that he lost plenty of men, and did not want to lose another for something so pointless. So this guy languished for an hour or so staring out into the no-mans-land wondering where his along the path his buddy fell. Eventually he said F-it, defied his superior, and climbed the ladder anyway. Since the Germans were not expecting a single dude to do that, he was able to do it with suprising safely (only a few shots taken). He finds his buddy in a crater in bad shape and obviously in terrible pain. He had made a tourniquet for himself and was desperately fighting to stay alive. His buddy, seeing him in this condition, broke down. He apologized, "I'm sorry I wasn't here for you." And his buddy responded, "It's not your fault. I knew you would come. I was waiting for you. Tell my parents I love them and give them this." He gives him a diary and then dies. His buddy cries and then makes a break for the trench. This time the Germans were ready and took better shots at him and one hits. He stumbles back to the trench despite his injuries. The superior officer cusses him out upon his return. Despite being shot, and likely to die, the soldier was at ease in comparison to before. Before he dies, he tells the officer what happened. The officer is stunned and that is how the story was remembered for eternity.

One thing that may not be obvious from the story, is that the reason the guy in the fox hole fought so hard to stay alive was not because he wanted to live or wanted to personally hand him his diary. He imposed misery on himself for over an hour doing so. The reason was because he didn't want his buddy to live with a lifetime of guilt. He KNEW his buddy would return to him no matter what and would be damned if he was dead already. He HAD to tell him that it wasn't his fault and that he knew he was coming to hopefully take a weight off his future conscience. When he said this to his buddy, his reason to live evaporated and he died.



Anyway... This is a movie I wish would be made. I do not have any ability, contacts, or money to make it happen. So maybe you can. Perhaps this could be squeezed into your story somehow.
bearamedic99
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aTmAg said:

So I'm pretty sure TCTTS has me blocked, so if somebody could quote this so he can read it, I'd appreciate it. This is a serious suggestion and not me trying to argue about anything:




I do not think a movie that is so focused on A&M will make a lot of money. I think at most, A&M should be a backdrop for the main story, but the story should be the focus, not A&M.

That being said, I heard a story during a muster speech at A&M about WWI that stuck with me for decades. I always thought it would make a great movie (at least part of a movie). Perhaps your idea and this idea can be combined, since this idea probably isn't long enough to warrant an entire movie anyway. The crux of story is this:

There were 2 guys who grew up together and went to A&M together. They were old ladies in the corps, and then left to go fight in WWI (perhaps one of them could have been a player on Bible's team). Somewhere along the way at war they promised each other that they would always be together have each others back. That they would never let the other die alone. So fast forward to some big battle.. one of them gets shot while they were retreating back to the trench. The other didn't realize until he got back to the trench that his buddy wasn't with him. Remembering their vow, he started to climb the ladder to go back for him, but their officer demanded that he halt, saying it would be a suicide, that he lost plenty of men, and did not want to lose another for something so pointless. So this guy languished for an hour or so staring out into the no-mans-land wondering where his along the path his buddy fell. Eventually he said F-it, defied his superior, and climbed the ladder anyway. Since the Germans were not expecting a single dude to do that, he was able to do it with suprising safely (only a few shots taken). He finds his buddy in a crater in bad shape and obviously in terrible pain. He had made a tourniquet for himself and was desperately fighting to stay alive. His buddy, seeing him in this condition, broke down. He apologized, "I'm sorry I wasn't here for you." And his buddy responded, "It's not your fault. I knew you would come. I was waiting for you. Tell my parents I love them and give them this." He gives him a diary and then dies. His buddy cries and then makes a break for the trench. This time the Germans were ready and took better shots at him and one hits. He stumbles back to the trench despite his injuries. The superior officer cusses him out upon his return. Despite being shot, and likely to die, the soldier was at ease in comparison to before. Before he dies, he tells the officer what happened. The officer is stunned and that is how the story was remembered for eternity.

One thing that may not be obvious from the story, is that the reason the guy in the fox hole fought so hard to stay alive was not because he wanted to live or wanted to personally hand him his diary. He imposed misery on himself for over an hour doing so. The reason was because he didn't want his buddy to live with a lifetime of guilt. He KNEW his buddy would return to him no matter what and would be damned if he was dead already. He HAD to tell him that it wasn't his fault and that he knew he was coming to hopefully take a weight off his future conscience. When he said this to his buddy, his reason to live evaporated and he died.



Anyway... This is a movie I wish would be made. I do not have any ability, contacts, or money to make it happen. So maybe you can. Perhaps this could be squeezed into your story somehow.


So TCTTS can read this
'03ag
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aTmAg said:

So I'm pretty sure TCTTS has me blocked, so if somebody could quote this so he can read it, I'd appreciate it. This is a serious suggestion and not me trying to argue about anything:




I do not think a movie that is so focused on A&M will make a lot of money. I think at most, A&M should be a backdrop for the main story, but the story should be the focus, not A&M.

That being said, I heard a story during a muster speech at A&M about WWI that stuck with me for decades. I always thought it would make a great movie (at least part of a movie). Perhaps your idea and this idea can be combined, since this idea probably isn't long enough to warrant an entire movie anyway. The crux of story is this:

There were 2 guys who grew up together and went to A&M together. They were old ladies in the corps, and then left to go fight in WWI (perhaps one of them could have been a player on Bible's team). Somewhere along the way at war they promised each other that they would always be together have each others back. That they would never let the other die alone. So fast forward to some big battle.. one of them gets shot while they were retreating back to the trench. The other didn't realize until he got back to the trench that his buddy wasn't with him. Remembering their vow, he started to climb the ladder to go back for him, but their officer demanded that he halt, saying it would be a suicide, that he lost plenty of men, and did not want to lose another for something so pointless. So this guy languished for an hour or so staring out into the no-mans-land wondering where his along the path his buddy fell. Eventually he said F-it, defied his superior, and climbed the ladder anyway. Since the Germans were not expecting a single dude to do that, he was able to do it with suprising safely (only a few shots taken). He finds his buddy in a crater in bad shape and obviously in terrible pain. He had made a tourniquet for himself and was desperately fighting to stay alive. His buddy, seeing him in this condition, broke down. He apologized, "I'm sorry I wasn't here for you." And his buddy responded, "It's not your fault. I knew you would come. I was waiting for you. Tell my parents I love them and give them this." He gives him a diary and then dies. His buddy cries and then makes a break for the trench. This time the Germans were ready and took better shots at him and one hits. He stumbles back to the trench despite his injuries. The superior officer cusses him out upon his return. Despite being shot, and likely to die, the soldier was at ease in comparison to before. Before he dies, he tells the officer what happened. The officer is stunned and that is how the story was remembered for eternity.

One thing that may not be obvious from the story, is that the reason the guy in the fox hole fought so hard to stay alive was not because he wanted to live or wanted to personally hand him his diary. He imposed misery on himself for over an hour doing so. The reason was because he didn't want his buddy to live with a lifetime of guilt. He KNEW his buddy would return to him no matter what and would be damned if he was dead already. He HAD to tell him that it wasn't his fault and that he knew he was coming to hopefully take a weight off his future conscience. When he said this to his buddy, his reason to live evaporated and he died.



Anyway... This is a movie I wish would be made. I do not have any ability, contacts, or money to make it happen. So maybe you can. Perhaps this could be squeezed into your story somehow.
Doesnt sound like a central plot point to me, but does seem like a good story within the story. Maybe the captain is also an Ag and that's how it ties back to whatever happens when they get home.
Junkhead
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I don't really have anything to add here except my support for the idea.
aTmAg
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'03ag said:

aTmAg said:

So I'm pretty sure TCTTS has me blocked, so if somebody could quote this so he can read it, I'd appreciate it. This is a serious suggestion and not me trying to argue about anything:




I do not think a movie that is so focused on A&M will make a lot of money. I think at most, A&M should be a backdrop for the main story, but the story should be the focus, not A&M.

That being said, I heard a story during a muster speech at A&M about WWI that stuck with me for decades. I always thought it would make a great movie (at least part of a movie). Perhaps your idea and this idea can be combined, since this idea probably isn't long enough to warrant an entire movie anyway. The crux of story is this:

There were 2 guys who grew up together and went to A&M together. They were old ladies in the corps, and then left to go fight in WWI (perhaps one of them could have been a player on Bible's team). Somewhere along the way at war they promised each other that they would always be together have each others back. That they would never let the other die alone. So fast forward to some big battle.. one of them gets shot while they were retreating back to the trench. The other didn't realize until he got back to the trench that his buddy wasn't with him. Remembering their vow, he started to climb the ladder to go back for him, but their officer demanded that he halt, saying it would be a suicide, that he lost plenty of men, and did not want to lose another for something so pointless. So this guy languished for an hour or so staring out into the no-mans-land wondering where his along the path his buddy fell. Eventually he said F-it, defied his superior, and climbed the ladder anyway. Since the Germans were not expecting a single dude to do that, he was able to do it with suprising safely (only a few shots taken). He finds his buddy in a crater in bad shape and obviously in terrible pain. He had made a tourniquet for himself and was desperately fighting to stay alive. His buddy, seeing him in this condition, broke down. He apologized, "I'm sorry I wasn't here for you." And his buddy responded, "It's not your fault. I knew you would come. I was waiting for you. Tell my parents I love them and give them this." He gives him a diary and then dies. His buddy cries and then makes a break for the trench. This time the Germans were ready and took better shots at him and one hits. He stumbles back to the trench despite his injuries. The superior officer cusses him out upon his return. Despite being shot, and likely to die, the soldier was at ease in comparison to before. Before he dies, he tells the officer what happened. The officer is stunned and that is how the story was remembered for eternity.

One thing that may not be obvious from the story, is that the reason the guy in the fox hole fought so hard to stay alive was not because he wanted to live or wanted to personally hand him his diary. He imposed misery on himself for over an hour doing so. The reason was because he didn't want his buddy to live with a lifetime of guilt. He KNEW his buddy would return to him no matter what and would be damned if he was dead already. He HAD to tell him that it wasn't his fault and that he knew he was coming to hopefully take a weight off his future conscience. When he said this to his buddy, his reason to live evaporated and he died.



Anyway... This is a movie I wish would be made. I do not have any ability, contacts, or money to make it happen. So maybe you can. Perhaps this could be squeezed into your story somehow.
Doesnt sound like a central plot point to me, but does seem like a good story within the story. Maybe the captain is also an Ag and that's how it ties back to whatever happens when they get home.
When I was thinking about how I would make this into a movie (as if I ever could), I was imagining following them from childhood all the way through A&M and the war. Spend the whole movie making the audience become "buddies" with the two guys. Have interesting historical anecdotes, funny corps stories, and whatnot, then have them go off to war. I'm not a writer, so I would suck at achieving that. But I agree, this would not be a 3 hour epic movie. It would be 1.5 hours tops (and that would be trying to stretch it).

I wasn't even considering that this was during the Bible era. Replacing all the filler that my story would require with TCTTS's idea would make my idea a far better movie, IMO.
'03ag
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Oh yeah I was strictly speaking in the context of TCTTS's movie. Whole movies have been built around that kind of story before.
CoachRTM
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jeffk said:

Ok, fine! I'll be in your movie.


You and I could be un-named assistant coaches. Need to start researching 1917 position and conditioning drills.
Quad Dog
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That's quite a story to tell and a lot to bite off. I tend to oversimplify, and it can be a strenght and weakness of mine.
If you wanted to tell it chronologically it would be best as a mini-series.
But that might be too much for a feature length movie. What if for a movie the 1919 season is your backdrop? The 1917 isn't really seen, but talked about and the record shown a few times as if it were a myth and another lifetime ago. The struggles of the 1919 season to live up to the 1917 season could be told through flashbacks to the war. Give some of your players what we would call PTSD now, but would have been "shell shock" back then. They struggle to find purpose in football and life after the war. But use their experiences in WW1(told through flashback) to help them find meaning and reason to push through. Your last Braveheart moment would be in the Texas game at the end of the year. If you've got 3 hours to tell this story that's 5 mins for 1917, 5 mins for your Braveheart ending, and about 30 minutes each for 5 stories (15 minutes of 1919 struggle, 15 minutes of WW1 flashback)


Logistically for this story you would want to find some contact to get WW1 service records for every player. When and where did they serve? What battles? Who didn't make it home? From there you could research those battle and (maybe fictitiously) insert your protagonists into those battles.
Does anyone have that kind of contact?
HerschelwoodHardhead
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AG
Like the idea.

My only (albeit uneducated) opinion about the story structure is I agree Dana X. Bible has to be the center of the movie. May need a brief introduction into his upbringing or something at the beginning of Act 1 to show who he is and why he is such a man of valor (or whatever character trait you want to define him).

I'm imagining a similar story arc as what was in the Dennis Quaid movie "The Rookie". Introduce hero coach, have the team building season with winning a championship, coach leaves to go off to majors (or in this case, war), come back a changed man and go back into coaching which was his true calling all along.

Name of the movie: "Bible Studies"....or maybe we can workshop that one a bit.
Quad Dog
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Bible Stories
CoachRTM
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There's definitely something there, but definitely need to find a monumental battle or moment in the war for the guys. It could be a battle that's almost been forgotten, but where a group of guys pushed through adversity and maybe lost a friend or two along the way.

I do feel like some people might underestimate how much different a WWI movie would be in comparison to a WWII movie (which we see all the time)
aTmAg
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'03ag said:

Oh yeah I was strictly speaking in the context of TCTTS's movie. Whole movies have been built around that kind of story before.
The reason the story sticks with me is that it seems to do a real good job of stressing why I think individual soldiers fight. Often it's not for the "cause", for their officers, the president, or any of that, but for each other.

I don't care about making money off of it or any of that. And if I were to try to write a screenplay, it would be laughably bad. I can't write dialog or any of that. At best, I can take what somebody else wrote and add suggestion, but that's about it. I think that:

1) WWI is becoming a forgotten war, and deserves more time
2) a story is needed that is not about bravery, super fighting skills, or any of that. But why do people do it.




BTW, here is a historical anecdote that TCTTS may consider (I heard about it when I was thinking about my idea):

I guess back in the day hitchhiking was more normal than it is now. There was a story about an Ag student who was waiting on a street corner with several other people waiting in line of sorts to be picked up by somebody willing to take them to their various destinations. He had a bag of some sort (maybe a laundry bag? not sure) that anybody who had gone to A&M would recognize. A guy in a truck pulled up and asked, "who's bag is that?" "Mine, sir." he replied. "Get in" and that's how he got to A&M.
mazag08
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Can the after credits scene show A&M scoring the last 2 pt conversion against LSU and say "suck it cornholes"?
Junkhead
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I think Bible Stories or Bible Studies are horrible names. That's going to be confusing to people. 99.99% of this country have never heard of Dana Bible so it's going to make them think this is a religious movie.
CoachRTM
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I think the best chance this movie is made is by getting stories from these men's descendants as opposed to research.

Plus, I'm sure the stories might have been "grown" over time making them more apt for use in a movie/ series.
bearamedic99
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Junkhead said:

I think Bible Stories or Bible Studies are horrible names. That's going to be confusing to people. 99.99% of this country have never heard of Dana Bible so it's going to make them think this is a religious movie.
AgGrad99
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Is this movie going to be historically accurate?

Is there a chance it could be a movie about Bible, but from the eyes of another player, who also serves with him in the War? The movie could zoom in on them, their friendship through those times, background, etc.

Could you start the story during the last game of the 1919 season...but flashing back to the 1917 and 1918 years?
rednecked
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very cool idea! I just watched the 3 episode mini-series, "Our World War" on Netflix. it's a British WWI docu-drama based on first hand reports and letters from British soldiers. Fascinating stuff! People don't know enough about that time and the people of that time. It's been 100 years!
'03ag
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aTmAg said:


BTW, here is a historical anecdote that TCTTS may consider (I heard about it when I was thinking about my idea):

I guess back in the day hitchhiking was more normal than it is now. There was a story about an Ag student who was waiting on a street corner with several other people waiting in line of sorts to be picked up by somebody willing to take them to their various destinations. He had a bag of some sort (maybe a laundry bag? not sure) that anybody who had gone to A&M would recognize. A guy in a truck pulled up and asked, "who's bag is that?" "Mine, sir." he replied. "Get in" and that's how he got to A&M.
That sounds like a good scene in any movie. Could even make the trailer.
bobinator
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To me for this to work, you are going to have to focus a little bit on the 1917 season, because the hook here is really how motivation, leadership, etc changes.

I can envision something like:

(Note, I have no idea of the historical accuracy of this, just basically talking in general plot notes)

Act I: 1917

We drop into the celebration after beating Texas in 1917. This is where we meet our main characters, celebrating victory over their rivals. Then we see a practice before the final game of the season. The coaches and players are doing your typical 'this is the most important game of our lives' sports-as-war type stuff. "Finish them off," etc etc.

Act 2: War

Our characters are all doing important stuff, but through various ways they're showing that they miss the simplicity they had before. Sports aren't anything like war, because sports are simple. You know who the opponent is, and you know what they're trying to do and why they're trying to do it. You're also face to face with your opponent. Sports have a humanity to it that the first truly modern war has stripped away from the battlefield. I think to drive this point home we never really see the enemy. Bombs/gunfire/etc are just coming from a vague 'beyond.'

I think this sets up a moment of why he'd write the war hymn. He's not only remembering a time where life was better, but where it was simpler.

I think to make this work you're going to have to have someone in his outfit that's a Longhorn fan and they give each other crap all the time but also help each other out of some sticky situations. They're rivals, but also friends. And he writes the 'War Hymn' because he thinks it will be funny to the other guy. He doesn't really intend for it to become a school song later on. But it sort of hearkens back to that desire for the simplicity before.

Act 3: 1919

They come back, and now the focus of practice isn't on 'destroying the opponent,' it's more about improving yourself. The focus is no longer on the external, but the internal. For those that went to war, they don't worry about the opponent as much, even though the fans do. It's a different approach, but it's just as effective and they're perfect again.

- I think you have some modern relevance here because how often these days do we see people define themselves by the external? Everyone always wants to shoutout the haters, or talk about how nobody believed in them, etc. So much of what people talk about as motivation is external, but the most effective motivation is always internal.

Anyway, those are some random thoughts.
Quad Dog
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Was Pinky Wilson on the football roster?
If not, is this a Wilson movie or a football movie? Because if he's not on the team then he's in two scenes in the movie. One scene at A&M watching a game and one writing the War Hymn. If he's not on the team would he and Bible have ever interacted?

If he was on the team, then he's your protagonist and this is a Wilson movie.
bobinator
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I don't think so, that's probably where the biggest problem in my story is. Pinky's going to have to be involved with the football team somehow before he leaves. Either that or some of the players could be end up in his outfit or something.

Per the museum of the American GI Wilson actually left A&M as soon as the US entered the war, turning down a commission in the army to join the marines so he could get to the front line faster. So he was already there when the 1917 season was happening.

Maybe this could be a juxtaposition of the film?

While the 1917 team is still back home doing their thing and thinking they have it rough playing football, Pinky is already over there fighting.

I don't really have all the dots connected on how those plot points would work yet, so I'm mostly just talking in kind of thematic touchpoints.
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