Feb 21, 2020
Dotan Baer of Associated Artists Group chats w/ Birdman in the 2020 SHOT Hospitality Suite
“I was born into a country of turbulence, that lies between the Mediterranean and Dead Sea with sworn enemies outnumbering both size and population 38 to 1, where the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, & Islam were formed. A country besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, captured 44 times, recaptured 44 times that today is barely 70 years old.
My mother from the start of my life felt a need to protect me as a registered American birth overseas. The war was ongoing terror that seemed endless if not more intense in 1972 when she fled to America, and that is how I grew up in Florida. By age of 17, compelled to know the country I was born and meet the family still have there, I was involved with a special overseas program through my high school which would involve learning a non religious historical perspective of the region.
I remember one summer at my aunt’s house in the Judean side of the mountains, where from the balcony saw a bus traveling a road then suddenly a plume of smoke, rushed in to the news reporting a Palestinian had just hijacked the bus and drove it off the cliff in protest, killing 39 innocent people and himself. To me, that was the first-hand realization of the extremist brutality of this region.
Around the time of that same trip, a bomb had gone off in a park that the entire school had just been at the day prior, where I learned about the instability of the region being so close to the Jordanian border. Living there was such a diverse and intense time getting to see first-hand attacks every other day that the world seem immune to. That haunted me the rest of my life. The experience was breathtaking and life changing seeing true customs, culture and history, but the price was the lives of the innocent.
Once back in the U.S. and being a fifth generation military family, I was at University of Georgia for the start of the Gulf War where for the first time America was going to attack neighboring states to Israel. Though immediately enlisted in the Army, I wasn’t granted security clearance and a contract to enlist until 1992. Challenging myself to becoming an Army Ranger, where I trained with America’s best.
This training included small unit leaders course, combat expert riflemanship, combat pistol expertise, grenadier, light armor, advanced anti-tank missiles (Dragon, TOW 2 and Javelin) I.E.D. improvised explosive device training, sea and land navigation, Ranger indoctrination, Airborne, Infantry program, among other things. In all, I had fired expert or was trained up on over one hundred fifty weapon systems, including middle eastern weapons and weapons of the far east well versed to those still in use today. Personally, I enjoyed my military service and my extended military family.
All of my combined experiences have placed me into the unique position of being one of the best qualified middle eastern movie television advisors in our industry.
After the military using my G.I . Bill, I graduated a Golden Key National Honor Society member, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Finance with a minor in International Marketing at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida in 1998. That same year, I was picked to be Cosmo’s bachelor of the year, Aaron Spelling hired me to play a Marine for a commercial, then was hired for the Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday as well as my first of many comedy roles in Vince Dirosa Smokin’ Stogies. All of these events in the same year led to me leaving for Hollywood, CA by 1999.
Arriving in Hollywood Hills, which oddly looks a lot like Jerusalem, I worked for a producer as a proofreader/ script advisor with focus primarily on the aspect of writing a good story that was within the budget. Plus, I did many military consulting scripts for writers both TV and film that lead to work in all aspects of production. By 2002, I was signed by Associated Artist Management to be their middle eastern military advisor consultant, which lead to joining SAG in 2005. It cannot all be great, of course, and in 2005 tragically the owner of Associated Artist passed away. We brought the agency back on its feet and it’s still running to this day.
Yet, we very quickly learned that one advisor alone seldom knows everything needed. Today, I’ve amassed endless resources of friends from my time serving in the military, and from those friends and advisors that have met over the many years working in the movie and television industry.
To me what matters is the story. A good story prevails – that is why am flexible with my advising tactics, as this is not a real war or real life situations; ultimately, this is for the camera, therefore what is necessary to me is to give the audience the best entertainment of the story!”
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