With the recent success of military genre films such as “American Sniper,” “Lone Survivor,” “Fury,” and a slate of more military movies and shows currently in production, Hollywood is becoming more veteran-friendly.
There are even organizations set up to support veterans pursuing careers in film and television and recent hiring initiatives by entertainment companies targeting vets. When pursuing careers in entertainment, many think of the high-profile careers such as acting, directing, and producing, but there are many ways to find success in the industry.
Here are 11 veterans who are finding success in entertainment with some of the coolest jobs in Hollywood.
1. RON MEYER – Studio Executive
Ron Meyer is a Marine Corps veteran who went to Hollywood shortly after his discharge. He became a talent agent who — along with four other agents — founded the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in 1975. He represented top talent like Tom Cruise and others, and eventually built the agency in to the world’s top agency representing the top 1% of all talent in entertainment.
From 1995 to 2013 he served as President and COO at Universal Studios, and was the longest-serving chief of a major motion picture company in the history of Hollywood. He currently serves as the Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal.
2. Lt. Col. Steven Cole – U.S Army Liaison to Hollywood
As the Deputy Director of the U.S. Army Film and Television Liaison office, Lt. Col. Steven Cole is responsible for facilitating the accurate portrayal of the U.S. Armed Forces when studios and production companies request it. Some recent military portrayals his office was responsible for included work on the films “Man of Steel,” “Godzilla,” aircraft in “Lone Survivor,” and work on the television show “Nashville.”
3. Amy Gravitt – Senior Vice President of HBO Programming
Amy served in the U.S. Navy, and as the SVP of Programming at HBO, she is responsible for developing and overseeing the production of original comedy series. She oversees the shows “Silicon Valley” and “VEEP,” and oversaw the hit series “Eastbound and Down” as well as “Entourage,” “Extras,” “Flight of the Conchords” and “Summer Heights High.”
4. Mark Semos – Technical Advisor
As a former U.S. Navy SEAL, Mark has become one of Hollywood’s top technical advisors. He’s consulted on recent films “Lone Survivor,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” and the upcoming “Man Down,” starring Shia LaBeouf. Pictured above is Mark on the set of “Lone Survivor,” consulting director Peter Berg and his production team.
5. Jackie Perez – Executive Assistant to Chief Innovation Officer at CAA
Jackie is a U.S. Navy reservist who works at Creative Artists Agency, the world’s leading talent agency — with a roster of talent that includes Jennifer Lawrence, Tom Hardy, and Scarlett Johansson. She handles all things pertaining to CAA culture and implements innovative programs agency-wide.
6. Fernando Rivero – Senior Writer/Producer, On Air Promotions for FX Networks
Fernando is a Navy reservist who works at FX Networks creating trailers to promote their original series productions. He has created trailers for many FX shows including “The Americans,” “Justified,” “Archer,” and “Sons of Anarchy.”
7. Tim Norman – Director, Human Resources at DreamWorks Animation
Tim is a U.S. Army veteran who has worked in recruiting at DreamWorks Animation since 2007. Dreamworks is responsible for highly successful films like “Shrek,” “Kung Fu Panda,” “The Croods,” and “How to Train Your Dragon.”
8. Michael Moriatis – International Cinematographers Guild Local 600 Set Photographer
Michael did a career in the armed forces serving in the Air Force and retiring from the Navy. He took his skills as a photographer in the military and applied them to film and television, working his way in to the coveted IATSE Local 600, which represents the most talented camera professionals in the world. As an in-demand unit stills photographer, he regularly takes stills on the sets of major Hollywood productions.
9. Mark August – President of The Society of Camera Operators
Mark is retired from the U.S. Navy and now works as a camera operator in film and television. His talents and hard work have earned him the position of President of the Society of Camera Operators, an organization dedicated to the advancement of the art and creative contributions of the Camera Operator in the Motion Picture and Television Industries.
10. Rock Grant – Producer/Editor – Marketing Promotions at American Forces Network (AFN)
A U.S. Air Force veteran, Rock now works at the American Forces Network. His work includes attending and overseeing many AFN productions including red carpet interviews with Hollywood’s biggest celebrities to be broadcast to over 1,000,000 U.S. Military and DoD Civilians serving in 175 countries.
11. James P. Connolly – Comedian / Host
Establishing himself as a quick witted funny man while serving in the Marine Corps, James was tasked with writing jokes for his commanding officer. He took his comedic skills to Hollywood and has found success performing on stage at The Comedy Store, The Improv, and has performed on Comedy Central, HBO, and VH1. He is one of the most-played comedians on Sirius XM Comedy Channels.