The industry-affiliated veterans org Got Your 6 is marking its five-year anniversary with the launch of a fellowship program designed to help military alums build careers in entertainment.
Got Your 6 has teamed with Veterans in Media and Entertainment to offer veterans internship and career development opportunities through placements in everything from corporate offices — working in marketing, legal, or business affairs — to creative jobs on film and TV sets or at live performance venues.
Veterans who are selected as fellows for the program will be paired with mentors, receive monthly educational and training sessions and take part in networking events. The effort, funded by Got Your 6 and retailer Macy’s, will be formally unveiled tonight at the org’s Storytellers event, held on the Paramount Pictures lot.
Got Your 6 has enlisted a broad range of industry firms to support the employment development initiative, including 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal, CBS, HBO, Viacom and Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Lionsgate, A+E Networks, Live Nation Entertainment, UTA, 44 Blue, The Ebersol Lanigan Company, DreamWorks Animation, Endemol Shine North America, and Valhalla Entertainment.
“As Got Your 6 celebrates our five-year anniversary, we applaud the entertainment community’s growing recognition of our veterans as the leaders and assets we know them to be,” said Got Your 6 executive director Bill Rausch, an Iraq war veteran. “In the past, veterans were the best kept secret in Hollywood. Today, they are not only proving to be invaluable contributors in telling accurate and compelling veteran stories, they’re bringing their ingrained sense of teamwork and dedication to employers all over Hollywood.”
Amy Gravitt, exec VP of programming at HBO, is a prime example of how a targeted development initiative can change the course of a veteran’s career.
“Making the leap from the Navy into an industry internship was a dizzying and pivotal moment in my life,” Gravitt said. “I’m proud to work at a company that is providing that same opportunity for a new crop of veterans, with the help of Got Your 6 and VME.”
Got Your 6 was created in 2012 with the support of major studios, networks, talent agencies and guilds. Part of the org’s goal is to change the perception of America’s veterans, which is greatly influenced by how they are portrayed in film and TV.
Got Your 6 has released its latest list of “6 Certified” shows that offer balanced depictions of veterans in their post-service lives. The aim is to combat the stereotype of veterans as “broken” heroes.
The five shows earning recognition from the org are:
“The Gifted” (Fox): “The character Thunderbird is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran (and mutant) who utilizes the skills he learned in the Corps to protect other mutants from a pipe bomb thrown at them while raising funds for Team Rubicon, a Got Your 6 partner and veteran-led disaster relief organization.”
“Disjointed” (Netflix): “Cannabis legend Ruth Whitefeather Feldman (Kathy Bates) employs her newly graduated son and a team of young “budtenders” to help run her Los Angeles marijuana dispensary. The security guard, Carter, is a U.S. Army veteran focusing on successfully reintegrating into civilian society while grappling with survivor’s guilt and PTSD.”
“Last Flag Flying” (Amazon): “Thirty years after they served together in Vietnam, former Navy Corpsman Larry “Doc” Shepherd re-unites with his old buddies, Marine Corps veterans Sal Nealon and Reverend Richard Mueller, to bury his son, a young Marine killed in the Iraq War. These veterans are represented as diverse and human, neither heroes nor broken.”
“The Long Road Home” (National Geographic TV): “The series follows the lives of those affected by the events of April 4, 2004, when a platoon was ambushed in Sadr City, Baghdad … telling their varied and human stories with kindness and care.”
“Returning the Favor” (Facebook): “In the pilot episode, host Mike Rowe travels to Indiana to meet Jason Zaidman, a former Army engineer who runs a therapeutic motorcycle-building program for veterans. Another episode showcases Army veteran and quadruple amputee Travis Mills who runs an outdoor retreat for veterans with limb loss, spinal injury, and partial paralysis.”
(Pictured: Actor Ryan Phillippe took part in a 2016 Got Your 6 event at the Television Academy)