The Story Behind the Song and Video
Sometime around 2009 Dallas found himself in a small diner. As often happens, he could not help but overhear the conversation taking place in the booth behind him. Two men were talking and one asked the other "how are you doing since your wife passed away?" The man replied that if it were not for his daughter, he never would have made it through. At this point Dallas started to listen more intently and found that the man’s wife had been killed in action while serving in Afghanistan. Thus the idea for the song was born.
Dallas filed away the thoughts and continued to work on the lyrics from time to time. Not thinking that women served on the front lines, he decided to do more research. It was then he discovered (depending on the sources) somewhere over 156 women have been killed by enemy forces while serving over-seas since the war on terror began. (The names scrolling across the bottom of the video are the names of those women recorded as killed in action)
The one thing Dallas was not able to find out during the two men's conversation was the actual name of his daughter. Emily was simply the name Dallas chose to represent her.
Finally, in mid-2014, Dallas was able to put all the pieces together to complete the song. Recorded in Fort Wayne Indiana, the song came together in just a few short days. As with all of Sierra Shame's songs, Craig Alan acted as the engineer and producer.
Even before the recording was finished, the ideas for the video were already starting to form...
In the beginning, the video was to be on a much grander scale. Several businesses came forward and wanted to support the video. Many offered the use of their businesses as set locations while others promised money or other resources. However, as the date for filming approached, many of the businesses either backed out, or wanted to push their own ideas. They put restrictions on what they wanted filmed and how they wanted their businesses portrayed. So it was decided that the video would be almost entirely self-funded and produced.
Dallas knew the story he wanted to tell, now he just had to find the actors and locations to make it happen. Craig covered all the technical aspects from producer and cameraman to chief engineer and editor.
Even before casting, locations for filming had to be found. With little money, the decision was made to film in 2 main locations.
The first was a home. This decision was fairly easy. Craig's house would do nicely. Two days were spent filming the interior and exterior scenes which make up about a minute of the video.
The second location was the cemetery scene. The Coldwater Michigan Public Cemetery was chosen because of its beautiful wooded scenery and the overall age. It’s a real hometown cemetery that has seen generations of families laid to rest. Which is exactly what the scenes needed.
Emily: Dalllas knew from the start who he wanted to play Emily. A young lady from Homer Michigan was his first and only choice; Juel Marovich. Juel's parents had been friends of the band for many years and Dallas felt she had just the right look for the part. Through hours of make-up, waiting for lighting to be just right, equipment to be set up and doing scenes over and over again, Juel put forth an excellent performance time after time.
Emily's Mother: We all knew from the start that the part of Emily's mother had to be played by a real soldier. Everything had to be correct from the uniform to the way she stood at parade rest, it all had to be authentic. The search had been dragging on until one fortunate day in July of 2014. The band was playing the Fremont Music Festival when Stacy Spence and her son happen to walk up to the band's merchandise booth. Our bass player’s wife Beth struck up a conversation with Stacy and found out she was former military. Beth immediately introduced her to the band and it was obvious she was perfect for the part. Stacy was a 9 year veteran of the Army and had attained the rank of Sargent. While parachuting in with troops and supplies, she was hit in the leg. The injury was severe, but her mind stayed focused on the mission until finally another solider pointed out that she happen to be bleeding quite severely. Stacy's wound ended her active Army career and has left her with a limp. Very shy when it comes to talking about her exploits in the field, she is the consummate soldier and exactly the right person for the part! (Just to prove how intent she was on getting everything right: When preparing to film her scenes she could not find all her insignias, so she ‘busted’ herself back to a private for the sake of realism in the video).
Emily's Father: The choice for Emily's father was again a fairly easy one. Greg Pant of Sturgis Michigan had been a longtime friend of the band and we all thought he had the right look. Just one problem; the part called for someone who could cry on-cue. If you think this is easy, just try it. Now try to do it again and again for hours as the scene is shot from a dozen different angles. But to our surprise, Greg was a natural!
All the actors spent hours on-set and they did it all for free. No one in this video was paid. All the money went into equipment and production costs. It was a labor of love by Sierra Shame and all the actors and behind the scene personnel who gave their time to make this tribute a reality. Our sincere and humble thanks to each and every one of them.
The Cast and Crew....
Emily: Juel Marovich
Emily's Mother: Sgt. Stacy Spence
Emily’s Father: Greg Pant
Taxi Driver: Jeffery Nosek
Makeup: Logan Tanner
Key Grip: Buzz Marovich
Writer/Producer/Director: Dallas McFarland
Producer/Co-Director/Videographer/Final Editing/Sound Engineer: Craig Alan