Admin up front. Erik Bernard is a former Army Ranger and Attack Aviator. Erik and I graduated Officer Candidate School together and served as members of the 3d Combat Aviation Brigade during Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan. You can support Erik’s current film In the Deathroom by clicking this link.
Having a creative release is an awesome way to reduce stress and anxiety and give back to your community. When I was in Iraq, I had a co-pilot that would knit. Of course, I would give him the business every time I saw him doing it, but it kept him calm and kept his mind off of his wife that he missed dearly.
Erik’s thing has always been filmmaking. Even while on Active Duty he was called upon to honor the memory of Medal of Honor recipient Chaplain (Captain) Emil Kapaun, with a stirring video tribute. Please take two minutes out of your day to learn about this great American.
Since departing from Active Duty, Erik has kicked his filmmaking into high gear. I was able to catch up with him in Austin for a quick chat.
What was your motivation to get into film?
I was always inspired by film. Before joining the Army, I worked in a video shop and would watch hundreds of movies. During one of my deployments to Iraq, we watched Kill Bill in between missions. I saw how my fellow Soldiers were taken to another place in the midst of all that was going on and it was then I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker.
What are some of the biggest hurdles you have faced in chasing this passion?
Time. Full-time job, family and I have to find time. I started by taking classes on my lunch break when we were at Hunter Army Airfield at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). I was lucky to have some great teachers help me overcome some of the technical hurdles.
What has been your greatest reward thus far?
The greatest reward is having someone come to you and say that you made something that helped them through a tough time. I think any artist is looking to create something whether it be a film, a painting or novel that has a positive impact.
Advice for other Veterans transitioning into the creative space?
Having a creative release really helped me overcome some tough times as a Soldier, father, husband and citizen. I think you have to have some kind of hobby that helps you really hone your passion into something that you want to develop. Get out and meet people that are doing what you want to do. My Chamber of Commerce has been able to help me tremendously. LinkedIn been able to help me network and meet new people across the cross the world.
Support Erik’s current project by clicking here.
Thank you for your time.