Sign The Guestbook
View The Guestbook
Archived Guestbook
Submit An Article
Staff List
Privacy Policy


APTRA Academy
Vaughn Armstrong goes where no Star Trek actor has gone before -- APTRA Academy

NOTE FROM HAL: As we were planning APTRA Academy 2002, it struck me that having a real actor play a victim in the boot camp's wild fire simulation would just enhance it's sense of reality. And, that's exactly what happened when Vaughn Armstrong, who plays such roles as Admiral Forest on Star Trek Enterprise, volunteered his time to the Academy! Remember the scenario at the camp is a growing brushfire (triggered by a methlab explosion) is raging through parts of Malibu. Vaughn will play himself, but his role will be a distraught and disoriented actor who was rocked from his bed when his next door neighbor's house (methlab) blew up. He's injured, has been separated from his family, is desperately trying to find his kids and is an emotional wreck! It was amazing to watch this man play out such a role -- if it was really on TV -- he'd get an Emmy!!! Thank you so much Vaughn. What follows are his post Academy thoughts.

A few days ago Hal Eisner asked me if I’d like to help a bunch of college kids. He hit me where I live. I have a son whom I just dropped off at the dormitory of an art school. I miss him dearly. At the same time I’ve been feeling very fortunate to be able to do what I love for a living. Add these two elements together and stir in a need to give back to the community that has been so good to me and you have the potion that made me jump at the chance. The answer was yes before he finished asking. Am I glad!
The morning was crystal clear, and so was the mission. Simple: help these kids learn to do what they love for a living. It doesn’t get any better than that. Hal brought together a group of volunteers in this beautiful little canyon in the Malibu hills to run some 30 students through a boot camp designed to train the student to be a television and radio news broadcasters. And by the time they leave, they can take on anybody or anything and tell you all about it in living color.
And what a group of volunteers! I was surprised he didn’t have #43 himself. He did have most of the local police department in full regalia, most of the fire department and their equipment, including a helicopter spraying water on the hillside just yards from us. He did have some of the most prestigious reporters and anchor people. He did have some of the finest technicians and camera people in the business. All volunteering their time to help make the dreams of these young people come true.
These people put together an incident to be reported that had the smell and the taste of reality. And they did it with such dedication and verve you’d have thought they were being paid. This was an event that may change a life or two. Done out of the kindness of some very professional and experienced hearts.
And the students were superb! They were eager and bright and excited to be there. The combined positive energy of the people in this event was something to behold. I almost hated to leave.
I must commend you, Hal on the event. These young men and women who took part will never forget this day and the lessons they learned at your camp…..even better……it could lead them to employment.
So, Hal, thanks my friend. When someone is committed enough to ask for help in something like this I encourage everyone to just say yes. They’ll have a great day.