West Coast Programs Seek Military-Themed Film-makers

Two West Coast programs for writers and creatives focused on telling military-themed stories via film-making have February 2020 deadlines.

Deadline for application to the annual Writers Guild Foundation Veterans Writing Project is Feb. 24, 2020.

The Los Angeles-based mentorship program will start in June 2020, and provides U.S. military veterans with screen-writing tools and insights. The year-long program begins with a weekend retreat, and continues with monthly follow-up workshops and networking events. Participants are paired with Writers Guild of America mentors. This is the 10th year for the program.

Monthly events take place at the foundation's Shavelson-Webb Library, and are scheduled on weeknights. The library is located at: 7000 W. Third St., Los Angeles, Calif. 90048

Approximately 50 U.S. veterans are accepted into the program each year. Participants must be age 21 or older, and citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Previous writing experience or education is not required, but applicants must "show a passion for the craft and business of writing, and a commitment to completing 1 screenplay or TV pilot during the program."

Veteran status is determined by submitting a copy of an individual's Form DD-214, with Social Security Number redacted.

For more information and a link to an application form, click here.

The Writers Guild Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, independent of the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW), with a mission "to preserve and promote the history and craft of writing for the screen."

The organization's veteran-focused efforts are supported by the California Arts Council and software provider Final Draft.

The foundation's veterans program is not affiliated with the Washington, D.C.-based Veterans Writing Project.

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In San Diego, Calif. this year's annual Film Con Challenge will focus on telling stories related to the U.S. armed forces.

According to the website: "The Armed Forces Film Challenge aims to tell stories in film that are written by military veterans or active duty service members and directed by military veterans or active-duty service members." Teams will be given stories written by veterans via So Say We All or other sources, and work to produce short films (less than 15 minutes in length) within 60 days.

According to the contest website, teams must:

1. Choose one of the three provided stories
2. Adapt the story into a screenplay
3. Choose a veteran or active-duty service member as a director (no sharing the role unless with another veteran/service member)
4. Inclusion of veterans and active duty service members in additional creative roles is encouraged
5. Include two creative elements in the produced film (see below)
6. Shoot, edit and hand in final film by deadline
7. Complete all paperwork, release forms etc and hand in with film.

Organizers hope "to create unique and interesting stories that are visually distinctive and highlight real stories of real people. We want to change the types of stories are told in San Diego and to create compelling films that are true and local. We also hope to create films that will be competitive entries into top film festivals worldwide."

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