I love the idea of working with veterans who are also actors. I think this puts us in the perfect middle ground to capture authentic stories through lived experience, while also being flexible in our filmmaking approach.

Those experiences can also inform us in the type of information we choose to share on screen. I would love to have a look at some of the testing footage you did just to see what some of the responses were for your questions. Something we could discuss is what responses really resonated with us, what we like and don’t like— allowing us to formulate a rough list of “script notes” that we can pursue with authentic interviewing on the casting day.

In the casting process, I think a good prompt would be for veterans to give us an answer to each of the two questions, with a reason or accompanying story that gives context to their response. What we can leave open ended is whether it’s a real story that pertains to them, or something they workshop as a performance themselves— perhaps inspired by someone they know, or a story they had heard. This will allow us to hone in on who is giving us the most authentic version of themselves, both as an actor and as a veteran.

Finally, hiring veterans for this is a great way of supporting and acknowledging their service by giving them the platform to speak on their experience— something that I really appreciate about this idea.

Let’s put our heads together on this style of casting in our follow up.