Fort Devens Community
Kearsarge’s New Show Focuses on Crew, Ship’s History
Story by PO2 Ryre Arciaga on 05/13/2019
This deployment, they decided to change things up and started a comedy news program called Carasarga. The aim of the show is to “infotain” the crew by delivering relevant news and messaging in a fun and engaging package throughout deployment.
“I had a show on Truman (the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, CVN 75) years ago and it was a huge boost to morale,” said Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Mike DiMestico, Carasarga’s lead writer and director. “It was such a rewarding experience because we were able to showcase all the incredible things people did around the ship. I felt Kearsarge Sailors deserved the same attention. So many Sailors toil all day every day and receive little recognition outside of the command. I wanted to bring their lives and their experiences to the public’s attention.”
In addition to highlighting the crew and their achievements, the show was produced with the aim of uniting the crew and instilling a sense of pride in and ownership of the command.
“It’s important for the crew to understand we’re all in this together,” DiMestico said. “Our shared experiences, all the unique nuances of life on a warship, are the ties that bind us. There’s comfort in that. I wanted Carasarga to celebrate the current crew as well as all those who came before. This crew has a lot to be proud of and it’s important they realize that they are very much a part of Kearsarge history.”
Another important aspect of the show is the emphasis placed on Kearsarge history. Its intro takes viewers from the Pennacook Native American tribe that named Mount Kearsarge to the day the ship departed on its deployment. There’s even a segment that takes place in the 1960’s.
“The foundation upon which the show is built is humor and history,” DiMestico said. “It’s a celebration of everything that makes Kearsarge’s history so rich. We have a segment called Less Bow, More Stern that takes our audience back in time to 1968 aboard the last ship to bear the name Kearsarge, CVS 33. It is extremely important to us that crew members are aware of all they share with those who have gone before and that they are a vital part of the Kearsarge legacy.”
A lot of work goes into creating a show of this scope. The media team spends an entire month writing, casting, shooting and editing each episode. The team starts with a brainstorming session to ensure the material is relevant, original, clever and entertaining. Once an episode is conceived, an MC is assigned to each segment, to direct, produce and edit.
“We have to write a script and storyboard so we know exactly how each piece will play out,” DiMestico said. “Then we shoot. The hardest part of production is the scheduling and coordination, especially if you’re working with multiple actors.”
After shooting, they do some fine tuning before exporting the final product.
“That’s one thing that people don’t see, the hours we spend in front of our computers cutting, re-cutting, tweaking audio and creating graphics,” DiMestico said. “It’s a lot of work, but well worth every minute when you see people enjoying the finished product.”
Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Deven B. King, Kearsarge Media leading petty officer and Carasarga’s executive producer said that unlike an aircraft carrier, which has a shop of 30 or so MCs, Kearsarge Media only has 11.
“What impresses me most about Carasarga is how our team manages to pull it off every month,” said King. “There isn’t a group responsible for just video that can devote the whole work day to producing a show. Every one of my guys does everything in addition to collateral duties, maintenance, training and qualifications, which require a lot of their time. For these reasons, I was hesitant to sign-off on the project at first. I knew how much work goes into a production like Carasarga, and we were already so busy. But they told me they could and wanted to do it. I think anyone who watches the show will agree they knocked it out of the park.”
Besides the long hours and added responsibility that comes with making the show, another challenge is producing content that is both original and grabs the attention of viewers. One of the ways that Carasarga is different from most ship shows is the MCs never feature themselves outside of anchoring and interview segments.
“One of the most common mistakes MCs make with shipboard programing is they make it too much about themselves,” said DiMestico. “Nobody who has been doing back-breaking work in 100 degree temperatures all day wants to watch a bunch of MCs in air conditioned spaces laughing at their own jokes. Carasarga is all about the crew. We use every opportunity to feature someone new and try to spread the love as much as possible. We are extremely careful about making sure our only role is to facilitate each segment. The subject and focus has to be on crew members.”
Another element that makes Carasarga unique is the use of parodies and pop culture references. For example, the segment Personnel, which is a take on the popular TV show The Office, features Sailors who aren’t normally in the spotlight.
“The idea behind the bit, and those like it, was to highlight jobs on the ship people may not appreciate as much as some of the more high visibility jobs,” said Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael Eduardo Jorge, co-director and anchor. “It’s a parody, but also manages to disseminate relevant information to the crew about questions the personnel office receives on a daily basis. It’s one of my favorite skits because it isn’t necessarily as flashy as some of the other segments since it takes place in an office environment, but it still captures the different situations and frustrations they deal with.”
The show has been well received by the Sailors of Kearsarge.
“The crew loves it!” said Kearsarge’s Command Master Chief Ricardo Moreyra. “Every time a new episode comes out, it’s the talk of the deckplates. It’s made by the crew, for the crew, so it’s always fun to see Shipmates featured on the show.”
Carasarga doesn’t just entertain, it has become something bigger, something that’s made a positive impact on Sailors aboard Kearsarge.
“Deployments can become monotonous and stressful,” Moreyra said. “Carasarga helps us all break away from those negative influences. It provides our crew with something to look forward to every month and gives us a refreshing perspective on everyday shipboard occurrences. It’s always good for morale anytime we can set aside our differences, laugh at each other in a fun and constructive manner, and ultimately come together.”
The Kearsarge media team plans to air a new episode each month until the end of deployment and has begun releasing segments of the show on the ship’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Kearsarge
Kearsarge is the flagship for the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.