Zero Dark Thirty, Act of Valor and The Hurt Locker were just a few modern-day military movies raking hundreds of millions into the box office. Americans love a good action packed national security related movie as well as similar style television shows (NCIS), mini-series (Homeland), and books (American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History).
Today, it appears veterans know this insight better than anyone and are willing to capitalize on their experiences through the entertainment industry.
The days of traditional entertainment houses capitalizing on veteran's stories may soon be doomed. Doomed may be the wrong word used here however, the point is, traditional entertainment houses better beware. Veterans are on to something very unique.
More and more veterans are including writing as a form of therapy. The Military Writers Society of America was formed specifically for veterans and their families to help record history, the complexities of war, and to promote general awareness to the public. Workshops like the Sangria Summit: A Military Writers Conference was specifically established for military writers.
Some veterans are writing just for the love of it knowing their past experiences will spark the attention of many. Others just feel writing has become enjoyable. And a few believe it is their duty to ensure the truth does not become tainted with extreme inaccuracies.
These veterans are not only writing books but also screen plays and running blogs.
Military blogging is like never before. In fact, while many non-military blogs have far more traffic than the military related, you will find no loyal following as strong as those who stick with military bloggers. These include but are not limited to Blackfive, SOFREP, This Ain't Hell, and the Duffle Blog.
Most Americans never heard of people like Brandon Webb, Jack Murphy, Dalton Fury and the likes until they left military service and started blogging. Of course, operators like the aforementioned needed to stay out of the limelight while serving this great nation. But today, they can be seen and heard all over media outlets due to their writing talents and first-hand knowledge of war-fighting.
Webb and Murphy, two key figures at SOFREP.com, just recently became New York Times bestselling authors for their newly released book Benghazi: The Definitive Report. Their website could easily be argued the key to their recent success due to the large amount of loyal followers and fans they maintain.
There are many upcoming rising stars in the military writing world. Peter Nealan, who just last month released an action packed war novel about a unique anti-piracy contractual force that saves the day in East Africa, is one of them. His book is titled Task Force Desperate.
Veterans have a story to tell. Not only are they telling their stories well, they are infiltrating the entertainment industry which has the potential to explode. Kathryn Bigelow, Nicolas Chartier and Mark Boals need to take caution because with so many veterans writing these days, surely they will sooner rather than later find a way into Hollywood.
In fact, a team of unique former government and special operators have already taken the initiative to ground themselves in Hollywood. Some of these players have been involved in television shows like Stars Earn Stripes and One Man Army. Others have consulted for movies like Act of Valor and Zero Dark Thirty. A select group of these operators just recently formed a new entertainment production company called Zulu 7.
Zulu 7's mission is to partner with pre-existing groups who seek to create television shows and movies rather than just consult with such organizations.
Hollywood depends on military technical advisers to serve as consultants to ensure validity and accuracy exists in such productions. Why just consult when you can do so much more? "Doing more" is a brilliant move on behalf of the Zulu 7 founders.
Veterans have always been smart but today's veterans are showing absolute brilliance. Many are continuing to work together as a team in the blogging world as if they were still wearing a uniform. They are writing, vetting stories, consulting with film crews and now seeking to expand their horizons through the creation of production companies.
With traditional publishing houses facing unprecedented amounts of issues, many of which face bankruptcies, veterans are taking things into their own hands when it comes to getting published. But they are doing more than just that. They are expanding their works in storytelling and reaching into the big screen.
Our nation's veterans are talented, highly skilled and knowledgeable, willing to capitalize on opportunities that come in front of them. The entertainment industry has become a huge opportunity and veterans are taking advantage. If you're into national security related entertainment, the future looks incredibly bright.
Kerry Patton, a combat disabled veteran, is author of Contracted: America's Secret Warriors.