Trailer to our Documentary "Secret Sins: Untold Stories of U.S. Veterans
Prior Military Productions:
Narrative (Historical) Overview
Conceived by a decorated U.S. military veteran who wandered accidentally into the motion picture/television industry in the early ‘90s, our founder worked with such notables as :
Mike Nichols, Sam Raimi, Stephen J. Cannell, Chris Carter and more prior to attending film schools in Vancouver, B.C. and Los Angeles.
His path would diverge through dark corridors until ending up at the Westwood VA Hospital where unfortunately he was misdiagnosed. Cultivating seminal (Hollywood) relationships, he continued as an independent film/television producer until the mid 2000's when his path was curtailed once again due to mental illness.
While in seclusion, he met a former U.S. Naval psychiatrist who instantly diagnosed him with acute PTSD, depression and anxiety. The doctor excoriated the VA for its mistreatment. He prescribed prozac. Within months life improved dramatically.
During this time of improvement it became patently clear the mission our founder was to undertake - Promoting mental wellness; Removing the stigma of mental illness; Creating jobs/career paths for disabled veterans.
His industry contacts still intact, he began reaching out to fellow producers, technicians, well known talent agents, studio executives as well as actors such as John Savage (The Deer Hunter) who rallied with him in agreement, supporting his new mission.
His first project was a touching piece produced totally (below-the-line)
by U.S. vets - a one hour poignant documentary called “Secret Sins: Untold Story of U.S. Vets” starring John Savage.
Following a tumultuous election year, he reached out to the new administration for support. He received shocking news - The U.S. Department of Labor offered their assistance.
Armed with fresh backing he contacted (2) retired WME executives, a Louisiana investor and a couple of international sales agents who, through their mobilization, stand ready to create an independent slate of feature length films along with (25) television /streaming pilots all to be produced by U.S. military veterans under the Prior Military Productions Shingle.
Disabled Veterans Retraining (DVR)
- Veterans are Capable Learners
(Proven through basic training - AIT)
- Motion Pictures Provide Unique Employment
(Many tasks/jobs blend well with DAVs)
- How Our Program Works
(Structure - Time)
- Number of Projects
(Queued for development/Production
- Measuring Results
Veterans are Capable Learners
I remember landing at Fort Jackson, SC (18) years old, nervous, scared, apprehensive. I had never touched a gun or rifle in my life. Once the shock of losing all of my hair wore off (barely), I had an M-16 weapon thrust into my hands by a ranger/special forces drill instructor. In a few weeks I could dismantle and reassemble it in the dark.
At AIT (Advanced Individual Training) I knew absolutely nothing about the human body except you feed it, exercise it and clothe it. At Fort Sam Houston (San Antonio, TX) under rigorous training, in a few short weeks, I was a qualified medical specialist (field doctor).
Veterans are proven capable learners as referenced by their (MOS) military occupational skill. Every vet did a job in the military he or she was trained to do under supervision from experts in that field Our program is no different. Seasoned (industry) veterans train U.S. military veterans consistent with prior military training.
Motion Pictures Provide Unique Employment
As prefaced in the historical overview, I happened upon the film/television industry by chance. While in Vancouver a friend invited me to be an extra on the set of (then) 21 Jump Street. The director liked me, gave me a few lines - the following week I had my first talent agent.
While on set, I realized everyone was assigned specific tasks. The gaffers (lighting guys) didn’t touch the grip equipment and vice versa. The wardrobe people had their own corner of the universe as did the script supervisor, swing gang, etc. Making a film is similar to constructing a home or a building, I thought.
The blueprint is the script. Artisans, craftspersons contribute under the direction of the foreman (the director). Many of these jobs can be performed by disabled vets. Wheelchairs, prosthetics, mental disabilities (under treatment) do not preclude vets from learning/thriving in these new career paths. A script supervisor (for example) can do her/his job just as easily from a wheelchair as standing. These are tenable tasks DAVs can perform well, with training.
How Our Program Works
Similar to (MOS) training, each job position has an academic, followed by practical skills (hands-on) training component culminating in apprenticeship. Vets get the chance to learn next to seasoned union workers a wide variety of vocational skills ranging from:
Set Decorations Grip
Script Supervision Property Master
Camera Sound Engineering
And more. Along with accounting jobs like:
Unit Production Line Production
Script-writing and Physical Production (Producer) round out the compliment. Film school scholarships will be awarded for those seeking additional higher education within the industry.
While film school taught me a lot, I found the best education in the form of apprenticeship. One of my greatest moments was Mike Nichols allowing me to sit behind him as he worked. Veterans are accustomed to learning from other military personnel. Our program is a symbiotic transference of skills.
The classroom component comprises (4 - 8) four - eight weeks. Practical application happens on live sets in groups of (20) per project.
Special Training (ST) affords trainees the opportunity to show their skill level on individual projects (again, live sets) with no mentors (short films).
Once certified by our industry professionals, our vets will comprise predominant numbers on actual working crews. Each film made by these vets will be labeled in bright red, white and blue lettering on each movie poster (television show end credit):
Made in America
This conspicuous branding garners public attention promoting larger consumption.
(75%) seventy-five percent (less overhead) of all generated revenues filter back into the program facilitating model perpetuation.
(25%) twenty-five percent (less overhead) of all generated revenues will be distributed among qualifying DAV charitable organizations.
Number of Projects
Currently (30) feature films and (25) television pilot episodes are queued for development and production awaiting funding. The average film costs $3.5 - $5.5 million. The average television pilot runs roughly $1.5 million.
Audience consumption and demand is experiencing a tremendous growth spurt. The convergent pace of technology continues to promote a rapid consumption innovation. Five (5) years ago seems eons, while ten (10) years ago feels like the dark ages as far as how audiences consume movies and tv shows. Who heard of “binge” watching in 2007?
450 scripted shows air annually via broadcast, cable, streaming media. Demand will grow forcing the demand curve into expansion. Our proprietary in-house model offers pseudo vertical integration.
In time, we hope to create, produce, market and distribute all under one roof. This demand requires well trained, qualified crew. Between now and 2027 we hope to have trained 2,000 disabled veterans providing sustainable employment for the same.
Realistically, imagine (10) ten disabled veterans, unemployed, winsome, little or no hope of career advancement. Imagine a brother or sister, aunt, uncle, mother or father returning from service with a new disability.
Imagine these (10) DAV entering our program, meeting the likes of Amy Adams, Sam Worthington, Pierce Brosnan or Reese Witherspoon on set. Imagine them seeing their names on opening and end credits. What type of hope does this give? In real terms it is unquantifiable. Now imagine those simple (10) ten are 2,000. These are life-changing events.
Many vets have given up hope. The suicide rate is staggering. One young man in San Diego left a note behind saying he felt like the VA had given up on him.
One project we hope to make in the near future is called: PTSD. It tells the powerful story of a family rocked to the core by suicide and how they (dysfunctionally) manage to cope.
I felt like the military (VA) had given up on me at one point. After the fog cleared I realized a very simple, sophomoric truth. In the military I was there for the man or woman next to me. It was my responsibility to carry them forward. This program is empirical genesis.
We (as vets) are not mendicant, impecunious loafers looking for handouts. We are men and women ready for the next phase of our lives. I strongly believe this program will not only change/affect lives, it will save lives as well.
Thank you, God Bless!
Please be sure to watch the documentary - “Secret Sins” before you leave. Veterans Documentary (Rough Cut)