I co-produced the insta-doc Secrets of Seal Team 6 for Discovery Channel. Here’s the back story. Remember when Navy SEALs assassinated Osama bin Laden in May 2011? One day later, NBC tapped me to co-produce an hour for Discovery Channel called Killing bin Laden. Executive Producer Gretchen Eisele ran a tight ship herself. She inspired our team at NBC News to do our very best work. The Discovery Channel executives were thrilled with the show. And, like the rest of the country, they were intrigued by the Navy SEALs behind the mission. They wanted more. Secrets of Seal Team 6 was born.
NBC often tapped me to write and direct the cold open plus the first two “acts” of these shows, to set the tone for the rest of the hour. I did so for Killing bin Laden and again for Secrets of Seal Team 6. This is the result.
Training From Hell
Don’t let the pretty picture fool you: Training to become a Navy SEAL sounds like torture (at least to me). Candidates must endure a seven-month training known as BUDS (Basic Underwater Demolition). They have to jump into pools with their hands tied behind their backs. Then they have to grab something off the floor. Another exercise involves sitting in the ocean with their arms linked—for hours. Many men break. Those who don’t, make it into the big leagues. The types of guys who get sent on missions to kill Osama bin Laden, or rescue a hijacked ship from Somali pirates. One retired SEAL told me, “It is probably the most exclusive fraternity in the entire world.” Another explained it this way: “Nobody became a SEAL playing the violin after school. These were all these super Type A personality guys.”