Marine Turned Actor: Hollywood 'Becoming More Veteran-Friendly'

Friday, 27 Jun 2014 07:21 AM

By Sean Piccoli

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Hollywood is recruiting more military veterans for jobs in the entertainment trade and as consultants to help big- and small-screen productions depict the armed forces more accurately, a Marine Corps veteran of the Iraq war who now works as an actor tells Newsmax TV.

"I think it is safe to say Hollywood is becoming more veteran-friendly right now," Mike Dowling, co-founder of Veterans in Film and Television, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Thursday.

Dowling said studios, talent agencies, and production companies are "actively seeking to train and hire veterans."

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A big part of the motivation, said Dowling, is to prevent the "inaccurate depictions" of war and military life that crop up in a lot of screen portrayals.

Dowling said documentary filmmakers tend to be better at capturing the realities of wartime service, which entails more downtime and boredom than people realize if all they see is fictional treatments.

"Hollywood likes to focus on the .5 percent," he said, meaning the proportion of time a typical soldier actually spends in combat.

As a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Dowling has watched with some dismay the reports of Iraq unraveling.

"It's incredibly unfortunate and discouraging," he said, adding, "we felt like we left it [Iraq] in a good place."

But he said that ultimately he was in Iraq "to serve my brothers and sisters" in the Marines, and that "It's really up to the Iraqis … to take a stand now."

He is also aware of the crippling backlogs and scandalous treatment delays at military hospitals run by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"I'm an active patient of the VA," said Dowling.

He said that his own experience with military health care has been positive, but that "it's really shocking and discouraging when you see those headlines."

"I would encourage them to keep trying," Dowling said of fellow veterans trying to secure treatment. "I would say the VA has a lot to offer. You have to be very, very patient."

He said when the waits become intolerable veterans should also look for help from organizations that advocate for veterans and provide them with basic services.

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