If your production is military related or has a military element, your first stop should be one of the Department of Defense uniformed services entertainment offices. There is NO COST to receive their services. Their function is to review your treatment/script, review the funding and distribution arrangements (to determine the likelihood the project will be completed), and ascertain the accuracy of the portrayal, viability of the story and value to the service/Department of Defense. You will probably want to contact their offices first. You do NOT need a liaison as your go-between to “speak military” to the people in these offices. They ARE the liaison for your access the DoD. (As the Director of the Marine Corps Motion Picture and Television Liaison Office in Hollywood from 2012-2016, I would not deal with a “third party” who “spoke military lingo” as though they were going to get further with me. The military personnel in those offices understand that most of you don’t speak military lingo.)
Links to the uniformed services Entertainment Media Liaison Offices:
Historically, the process to request support from the services requires an initial Production Assistance Request Form (the form for each military service was slightly different but required basically the same information).
Here are primary questions they want answered:
1) Production Company name?
2) Current name of the project?
3) Is the project fully funded through completion?
4) What is the distribution plan (how will it be seen by audiences)?
5) What are you requesting from the military service/DoD?
You need to state what support you are actually seeking:
You need to tell them EXACTLY what you are requesting from them. Do you want a script review with notes and/or recommended changes? Are you looking for a Battalion of troops with a compliment of helicopters? Are you seeking to shoot aboard military installation(s) or aboard military equipment (aircraft/ships/tanks)?
What is the DoD/military service getting in return for their support? If you’re asking for 2,000 troops or an aircraft carrier shoot… all for something that will be a 15 second scene in your film, it’s probably not going to get approved. That’s a lot of personnel or coordination for something that will not be a major part of your production or story. The primary mission of the military service entertainment offices, at least for the Marine Corps when I was Director, was to educate and inform the American Public on the roles and missions of the specific service or the Department of Defense.
Reasons your request for support might be denied by the service entertainment offices:
1) The script/treatment/storyline portrays the military service(s) and/or service members in an inaccurate manner that would give the viewing audience an incorrect understanding of the roles and missions of the U.S. military and/or demonstrates violations of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice or Law of Armed Conflict without the appropriate subsequent investigation and disposition.
2) The project is not fully funded.
3) There is no distribution plan.
4) The ROI/bang for the buck isn’t there for the military service.
If you have been denied support through the uniformed services entertainment offices or prefer not to pursue that avenue, please CLICK HERE for MTA services.