Television Projects Film Projects The Up-Side to Cliches and Type-Casting
It all began as a simple concept based on a general complaint about the quality and content of military movies and TV programs. Why, I wondered back in 1985 during a period of fuzzy-headed navel-gazing, were the vast majority of American films and television programs portraying the military in a foolish, flag-waving propaganda style or in a totally negative light? Very little of what I was seeing portrayed the military or people in uniform the way I knew them to be from personal experience. And as a professional soldier and film buff, I was making it a point to see virtually everything with a military theme. There was something wrong beyond the usual carelessness with uniforms, haircuts, weapons and equipment.
Setting out to investigate with very little background in film-making and huge amounts of Hollywood naivety, I made certain discoveries that refined my focus on what Warriors Inc. might be able to do to correct the situation. Basically, the military was getting short, unfair shrift in many Hollywood productions for both the large and small screens due to a mixture of ignorance and arrogance.
For years prior to the time Warriors Inc. came on the scene, Hollywood producers and directors employed "Technical Advisors" or "Military Advisors" primarily to avoid obvious gaffes such as putting a sailor in a soldier's uniform. Beyond such superficial contributions there was a feeling that no professional soldier, sailor or Marine could be much of an asset in dramatic imagery or storytelling. Only those grounded and anointed in the dramatic arts could make a valuable contribution. There was also a tendency to believe that the audience was ignorant of technical details and such things were not important anyway. Who cared? Wasn't it all about rock 'em sock 'em action and handsome heroes? No, it wasn't and thinking that way did a disservice to audiences who were regularly seeing either wartime documentaries or live reports from worldwide battlefields on television every night. Audiences today are savvy consumers and media saturation is making it harder and harder to get them to suspend their disbelief.
Further, there was a blatant belief on the part of some - not all, but some - producers and directors that professional soldiers were society's castaways. They were poor, ignorant, bloodthirsty, self-serving and politically wrong-headed. Since very, very few of these folks had ever worn a uniform or talked to a professional soldier, all of this, I suppose, was to be expected. It was also to be corrected if Warriors Inc. had anything to say in the matter.
At length - as we struggled to correct these biases and misconceptions and establish Warriors Inc. military advisors as valuable assets in the film-making process - I also discovered a thing or two about actors and the art of acting. It's about telling the truth, or convincing an audience through your portrayal that you are telling the truth. That requires that an actor have at least some nodding acquaintance with the truth and very, very few actors had ever served in the military. That's what led me to design and implement the full-immersion training and team-building regimen that has become the hallmark of Warriors Inc. in Hollywood and around the world.