Hollywood wants 200 good veterans now!
Post-9/11 United States military veterans can now sign up for free training at the LIMS Movie Studios in Castaic for well-paying jobs and careers in the Hollywood movie and TV industry.
LIMS (the Lifton Institute of Media Arts & Sciences) in association with the Santa Clarita-based 25Score Marketing Group is now accepting veterans’ applications for the intensive “VET 200” entertainment industry training program at the studio.
The sprawling four-acre complex with six sound stages, post-production facilities and screening rooms is located on Castaic’s Fantastic Lane (just north of Santa Clarita in Los Angeles County).
LIMS’ VET 200 free job training program is designed to create stability for veterans, including and especially homeless veterans, by offering immersive hands-on training, job placement, and a path toward financial independence, while fulfilling the industry’s ongoing need for a dependable production workforce.
Taught by working industry professionals, the VET 200 program is a 10-week boot camp covering every department and function of a working studio, and all aspects of producing a film or television program.
Students Pay Nothing for Free Job Training
Once accepted, VET 200 students pay nothing out of pocket for their free job training. Tuition is paid by funding through the Department of Labor.
Students get to choose a department that suits their existing skills and passion, among them camera/lighting, stunts, the Art Department, visual effects, production management, picture editorial, audio editing, wardrobe, makeup and hair, and more.
Guided by expert instructors, students work on production of a real 90-minute feature film for 8-10 hours daily Monday through Friday for two and a half months – a fairly typical production timeframe – gaining first-hand experience and developing immediately marketable skills.
“We put up the money for people to actually work on a real feature film and give them enough time on the film to mess things up and fix the mistakes,” said Jimmy Lifton, LIMS Studios founder and president, also a noted Hollywood filmmaker and Emmy-winning producer. “With that kind of completely hands-on training, they can walk into a paid job position.”
Veterans Already Have Production Mindset
LIMS has placed more than 80 percent of graduates in well-paying industry jobs in their chosen fields since 2015, when the boot camp launched with a program called “VET 50.”
“That was for 50 veterans including homeless veterans and it was a huge success,” Lifton said. “Now we’re looking for 200 veterans to enroll in the training.”
Lifton is offering free job training to military veterans because they have proven to be especially suited for jobs in film and TV production due to their military training.
“The way a military person operates in the service, methodology-wise, is very similar to what happens on a production set,” he said.
“You don’t have people shooting bullets at you on a set, of course, but each department has to get their people together and give them a specific objective to be met in a specific amount of time,” Lifton said.
“Then they go to work, with all departments working together in a cohesive manner. They don’t stop till the job gets done,” he said. “Certainly, if something breaks, they don’t sit there and worry about it. They fix it or work around it. And that’s a perfect movie crew member. That’s what they do.”
“The men and women coming out of the military already have the mindset, work ethic, desire and ability to work as a team, which is also imperative in production,” he said. “I just find that military veterans have so much of the built-in gumption that makes an excellent crew member.”
“It’s exciting to have an opportunity to get free job training like this in a short period of time, especially in the film and TV industry,” said Ed Bernstein of 25Score, which promotes the LIMS program.
“Lots of people only dream of working in the movie business,” Bernstein said. “The VET 200 program is a golden ticket to help make that happen for people who have already given so much. So we’re helping to get the word out to veterans everywhere, and bringing our local community together to support the program.”
80 Percent Job Placement Success
LIMS has all the required approvals from local, state and federal job placement authorities, which took about two and a half years to secure.
“We’re now working with U.S. Vets, AMVETS, the Salvation Army, Volunteers of America, Goodwill Industries, and all the various state and local WorkSource centers,” Lifton said.
“We’ve also just been approved by the VA (Veterans Administration) to work with the vocational rehab department and with some of the transitional housing,” he said. “So now we’re developing more ways to work directly with the military, to give veterans a clear path to a good career just as they’re being discharged.”
VET 200 candidates can come from anywhere, but the vets do have to live in the Los Angeles-Hollywood-Santa Clarita Valley area while participating in the free job training boot camp.
“For those who need transportation, we have a couple of vans that run around the city and pick up people at destination points,” Lifton said. “And then we provide meals for all the students every day for free.”
The VET 200 program’s future is as bright as those of its graduates.
“Our goal is to increase our trainees population to 300, and to put up student housing,” Lifton said. “There’s some land adjacent to the LIMS studio that we’re investigating to take that over, and then build dormitories. It’s just a normal move forward. We’re expanding and getting lots of people reaching out to us from around the United States, not just California, and we really want to be able to help a good number of people.”
Veterans interested in the LIMS VET 200 free job training program can sign up here , and then attend a free orientation at the studio any weekday at 10 a.m. before making a final decision.
The LIMS Studios are located at 27567 Fantastic Lane in Castaic, CA 91384.
For more information about the VET 200 program, or to sign up by phone, contact Ed Bernstein at 818-437-4619 or [email protected]