Gender Equality and The Military

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It’s official – women can now serve in all areas, in all jobs, in the Armed Forces. The ban has been lifted. So what does that actually mean for the men and women who serve in the military?

Since 2013, the military has opened the doors to allow women in combat jobs. However, it was Former Defense Secretary Ashton Carter who put the finishing touch on this process. Carter already knew, and acknowledged, that for many years U.S. women have fought, and sometimes died, during combat posts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
(Former Defense Secretary Ashton Carter)
The uplifting of the ban means no matter what the job is – infantry, artillery, sniper – women in the military can be assigned to any of those roles. Even the elite and Special Forces teams, like Navy SEALS and Army Rangers, are open for any military woman to apply.
       (Military men and women compete against each other during mixed martial arts fights)
“As long as they qualify and meet the standards, women will now be able to contribute to our mission in ways they could not before. They’ll be able to drive tanks, give orders, lead infantry soldiers into combat,” U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said at a news conference in December 2015.

Former President Obama, a long advocate for gender equity, said:

“One of the qualities that makes America’s armed forces the best in the world is that we draw on the talents and skills of our people. When we desegregated our military, it became stronger. In recent years, we ended ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and allowed gay and lesbian Americans to serve openly — and it’s made our military stronger. Over recent decades, we’ve opened about 90 percent of military positions to women who time and again have proven that they, too, are qualified, ready and up to the task. In the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, our courageous women in uniform have served with honor, on the front lines — and some have given their very lives.”

Ranger Women

(Captain Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver)

In August 2015, the first women to ever pass the Army’s elite Ranger training were First Lt. Kristen Griest, who has since been promoted to Captain, and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver. No special guidelines were instilled to make the grueling training, which included exhausting hikes, horrific weather, simulated combat patrols, sleepless nights, any easier for Haver, an Apache helicopter pilot, and Griest, a military police platoon leader. Both women had to complete the course at the same standards as their male classmates.

The Army Ranger school is designed to build world class military leaders. The course usually has a high dropout rate.  By the end of the 62-day course, which started with 381 men and 19 women, only 94 men and two women completed all the necessary requirements to become Rangers.  What is even more amazing is the fact that Griest and the Haver, who both graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., beat out most of the men for the honor of becoming a Ranger.
“We felt like we were contributing as much as the men, and we felt that they felt that way, too,” Griest said.
Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said “It’s clear to all of us that women are contributing in unprecedented ways to the military’s mission of defending the nation,” Panetta said. “Female service members have faced the reality of combat, proven their willingness to fight and, yes, to die to defend their fellow Americans.”

(Griest and Haver with their Ranger badges)

Stats According to the Defense Department date:

  • During a decade’s worth of conflict, more than about 300,000 women were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • More than 9,000 female troops have earned Combat Action Badges.
  • More than 800 female service members have been wounded and at least 161 have died from combat – and noncombat-related incidents.

Cons – The Naysayers

Despite military women’s involvement in combat, there are still haters and naysayers who believe women have no place beside male soldiers.

When the US Special Operations Command surveyed a number of men in the military, 85% stated they opposed women being in combat roles. One solider wrote, “It’s a slap in the face telling us that chicks can do our jobs.”

Here are some of the arguments against women serving in combat roles.
1) Women aren’t strong enough.
2) They are too emotional. With war comes death and many men think women would crack under the strain of combat. “Women are very protective,” a sergeant in the Army’s Special Forces wrote. “They nurture kids. Will a woman return fire and kill a child insurgent fighter?”
3) Menstrual Cycle and PMS are problems.
4) Male infantry soldiers shoot more accurately than women.
5) Men can carry more weight and move more quickly through some tactical maneuvers.
6) Women have higher injury rates than men.
7) Military men tend to take on the “protective” role to a female, which is counterproductive on the battlefield.
8) Women get pregnant. In an article from The Wall Street Journal it stated: “Female soldiers were evacuated at three times the rate of male soldiers – and that 74 per cent of them were evacuated for pregnancy-related issues.
9) They can’t endure the physical and physiological rigors of sustained combat operations.
10) Women serving alongside men in combat roles will hurt the units’ morale and cohesion.
11) Although men and women can become prisoners of war and are at risk of being raped and tortured, women prisoners are more liked to be sexually abused than men.
12) Men who go by society’s tradition of male/female roles may become resentful of having women in the unit, which could present a problem.
13) Higher number of sexual assaults and rapes of women by the males in their unit.


Here’s what the United States President, Donald Trump, said about sexual assault in the military.
“26,000 unreported sexual assaults in the military-only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?” Trump goes on to say: The Generals and top military brass never wanted a mixer but were forced to do it by very dumb politicians who wanted to be politically C!”

In 2013, even before Trump became Commander-in-Chief, he stated why sexual assault in the military is out of control. He blamed it on “men and women serving together in the armed forces.”

Pros – The Believers

1) Women in combat situations have proven they are physically, mentally, and morally capable of handling pressure under stress.
2) To help reduce injuries for females they can do extra pre-training.
3) Take any women who is an athlete, especially Crossfit women, and they will out do most men physically.
4) Females have wonderful decision making skills, which is useful with the military’s high technology battlefield technical components.
5) Just like with other male dominated positions – firefighters, cops, construction workers – cultures evolve over time. The military will set into plan a way to successfully integrated women into combat units.
6) In the past two wars (Afghanistan, Iraq), females in the military have already been upfront and deeply involved with combat situations, so being in combat roles wouldn’t be such a big stretch.
7) In many circumstances women, who are usually great with communication, are more effective than men, e.g. deescalating a potentially dangerous situation. This skill comes in handy in situations between military units and people in foreign countries, especially during time of war.
8) The Armed Forces have noticed that with women there are fewer disciplinary problems than with males.
8) Being male does not necessary mean he will be a superior solider. Many men aren’t capable of dealing with the physical and mental stresses of military life.

Equality At What Cost?

After looking at the pros and cons of having women in “male-dominated” roles, people who are in the military and civilians, will always take one side or the other. Which do you choose? Should women be allowed to serve in any, and all, jobs in branches of the military?

#ASOPmovie #JillianBullock #TamaraWoods #JohnQuinlan #PTSD #PostTraumaticStressDisorder #SexualAssault #Veterans #LamontFountain

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Independent Movies and Film Festivals

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Once a movie is finished being edited and the music and score have been completed most independent filmmakers hit the film festival circuit. This means usually the director or producer submits the film to various festivals in hopes that their movie will get selected. Once it does, the key members attached to the film (director, producers and lead male and female actors) attend the festivals. The goal is to network with other filmmakers and of course, hopes are high for a win. Winning a festival, especially if it’s a big one, e.g. Sundance, Tribeca, Cannes, can change a filmmaker’s life. A win normally includes media interviews, exposure to agents and distribution buyers, and in some cases cash awards.


Film festivals are events or venues that provide an opportunity for filmmakers, especially up-and-coming filmmakers, to get their movies screened in front of an audience and to have their films reviewed by professional critics and distribution companies.
Film festivals are a golden opportunity for filmmakers, but it can be quite expensive. To enter a film into a festival it can cost anywhere between $30 to $100. Most independent filmmakers don’t remember to include these fees in their budget. That means the money for entry fees must be paid out of pocket by the director and/or producer(s). Due to the high fees, a director or producer will be more selective when choosing a film festival to enter their movie into.

For “A Sense of Purpose: Fighting For Our Lives,” Jillian Bullock, writer, director and producer, will enter the film into major film festivals - Sundance, Cannes, and Tribeca, among others – but she will also enter the movie into smaller festivals which are Academy Awards qualifiers.


Every independent filmmaker wants his or her movie to get picked up by a distribution company, whether it’s a big studio or a smaller one. With a distribution deal the film can either go into theaters, straight to DVD or to TV with online streaming through channels such as Netflix, Hulu, AmazonPrime. It used to be that filmmakers frowned at the mere thought of getting offered a deal from companies like Netflix, but that has changed in a big way due to the power this company has generated over the past few years. Currently, Netflix has over 16 million paying customers and it’s the world’s leading Internet subscription service for movies and television in the U.S. and Canada. Even A list actors, including Dwayne Johnson, Robert DeNiro, Will Smith, and more, are making lucrative deals on Netflix.
(Will Smith)
(Dwayne Johnson)
(Robert DeNiro)
Most filmmakers want to make a deal with a company who will 1) pay them a fee that will help them recoup the money they put out to make the movie. 2) An advance so they can benefit financially from making the movie. 3) A company who will put in marketing dollars to help promote the film.
It is rare that an independent movie, with no named actors, will garnish millions of dollars upfront fee from a distributor. However, a good sum can be secured if the movie is marketed and promoted properly. For the director and producers this means getting as much press as possible before the movie goes to film festivals. Doing this is called Pedigree.

Pedigree means getting tons of press coverage, interviews, quotes from critics, and awards, if possible. By doing this it says to potential distributors that you have a winning movie.

The road to acquiring a distribution deal for a movie is arduous and not for the weak at heart. It takes time, patience, and a great deal of hard work to secure a deal that benefits the filmmaker and the distribution company.

#independentfilmmakers  #filmmakers #WomenInFilm #FilmFestivals  #FemaleDirectors #Netflix #Hulu #Amazon  #ASOPmovie #JillianBullock #JohnQuinlan #TamaraWoods #LamontFountain #PTSD #SexualAssault #Veteran


Equine Therapy For Veterans With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

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The United States Armed Forces currently has a far-reaching epidemic. With the return of active duty members, who are now veterans, the number of these men and women who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which many times includes years of depression and other debilitating psychological issues, continues to be an on-going problem.

The repercussions of veterans serving in the military, whether he or she served in a combat situation or was a victim of sexual assault or rape, or anything in between, the result is the same. PTSD often finds a veteran who has a difficult time adjusting back to a “normal” life. As a result he or she constantly lives with fear, anxiety, anger, nightmares, confusion, startle reflexes, irritability, depression, hyper-vigilance, and hopelessness. When the emotional, and sometimes physical pain, becomes too much to bear veterans often result to taking their own lives.  

 In 2012, the U.S. Army reported that for the first time in history of the United States more soldiers were lost to suicide than to combat.
Therapists who treat veterans for PTSD and other mental health issues are always looking for better ways to help their patients. Instead of spending years in therapy session trying to make a breakthrough, many therapists have introduced their patients to Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP).

Horses For Therapy

(Misty Godfrey, owner of the Bill Picket Riding Academy in Philadelphia, PA)
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is being used more often by therapists to treat the aftermath of what military men and women deal with while serving in the Armed Forces. The U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs estimates that Post Traumatic Stress affects roughly 300,000 men and women who return from overseas. For the past few years, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy has grown because the results of treating veterans who suffer from PTSD shows great promise.

Almost any kind of pet – dog, cat, rabbit, bird, etc. – helps the owner reduce stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, and boost the immune system. But with horses, patients with PTSD show tremendous reduction with their symptoms. Horses are hyper-vigilance and rely heavily on body language. They recognize and react to levels of anger, anxiety, fear, or sadness. This is why veterans learn how to react to their horse with calmness.

 Talk Therapy  

Talk therapy between a mental health professional and patient can take years to produce positive results because the doctor and patient have to establish a connection and form trust between each other. This can take extensive time to do, especially for a veteran who fears being judged or told what to do or made to seem like it’s their fault.

According to Dr. Laurie Sullivan-Sakeada, a Utah based Clinical Psychologist and leading practitioner of EAP, stated “one session of EAP in the barn is equal to five sessions on the couch.” She goes on to say that using horses as therapy tools helps speed up the therapy process.

Although equine therapy is relatively new compared to other forms of therapy for PTSD, doctors are enthusiastic about the positive results they are seeing.

Emotional Healing Power

Veterans who participant in equine therapy are required to groom their horses, tack them up, ride, cool them down, feed, water, and clean stalls. This is part of the daily routine that goes into properly caring for a horse. These interactions help veterans bond with their horse and at the same time gain confidence, build emotional growth, and learn about themselves.

Veterans also learn to be vulnerable with their horse and let their guard down knowing they won’t be judged or feel pressure. In fact, through horse therapy veterans gain confidence by learning how to master horsemanship skills. They also learn how to communicate, sometimes non-verbally, with their horse and achieve harmony and a sense of relaxation, which helps veterans control their rage, anger, agitation, and aggressiveness. Instead, the gentle and loving way veterans care for their horse leads to cooperativeness and behavioral control, along with developing the skills to express themselves better and with more patience. This translates to a deeper relationship with veterans’ loves ones, especially their spouse and children.
(Actor Tamara Woods feeds a carrot to a horse in one scene)
In “A Sense of Purpose: Fighting For Our Lives” Sgt. Diane Torres (actor Tamara Woods) suffers from PTSD as a result of being raped by her commanding officer, Captain Jake Nixon. Later, she finds out she is pregnant and she has a difficult time deciding whether she should keep the baby or abort it. Having PTSD Diane sinks into a major depression and becomes unhinged and violent at times. It is through therapy with horses, or Equine Therapy, that helps Diane cope with the horrible experience she endured in the Army. She eventually comes to terms with what happened to her and decides to keep the baby.  
(On the left, Misty Godfrey, was the horse stunt double for actor Tamara Woods, (center) who was eight months pregnant at the time of this scene. On the right, Jillian Bullock, director, writer and producer)

Finding Peace In The Saddle

For veterans who struggle with PTSD or depression horse therapy may be the answer to helping them find peace and cope with their daily life. For those interested search for a local therapeutic riding center in your area. Be mindful to check to make sure the staff is accredited by a national organization.

Check out Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International and for more details and information.  

#ASOPmovie #JillianBullock #JohnQuinlan #LamontFountain #TamaraWoods #PTSD #SexualAssault #Veterans


Difficult Scenes To Direct In Movies

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(Director of Photography Lamont Fountain and Director Jillian Bullock) 

Award winning filmmaker Jillian Bullock has worked on her own and other filmmakers’ movies as a director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and fight choreographer. Sometimes she has worn all these titles at the same time. Each hat she wore took on its own unique challenge, but for her as a director she has learned over the years that some scenes are much more difficult to direct than others. Here are Jillian’s top four choices.  

Rape Scenes

Jillian has said that directing any type of brutally violent scene, whether it’s rape or torture, is the most difficult for her. A Sense Of Purpose: Fighting For Our Lives #ASOPmovie #veterans #military #PTSD #militarysexualtrauma #suicide # honor #respect #ASOPtour #jillianbullock#tamarawoods #lamontfountain #johnquinlan 
In “A Sense of Purpose: Fighting For Our Lives” the movie deals with not only with the rape of a female Army Sergeant, but it also sheds light on men who are raped or sexually assaulted in the military.
(Actor Kerwin Gonzalez)
According to the Pentagon, thirty-eight military men are sexually assaulted every single day. Every four hours a sexual assault or rape is reported in the United States Military. A military survey indicated that there were 26,000 cases of unwanted sexual contact in one year; More than have of the victims are men.

(Actor Kerwin Gonzalez)
The aftermath of military sexual assault can include post-traumatic disorder, substance abuse and homelessness:
Half of military veterans suffer from mental illness; two-thirds suffer from substance abuse problems; and many from dual diagnosis, which is defined as a person struggling with both mental illness and a substance abuse problem.
(Actor Kerwin Gonzalez)

57,849 veterans are homeless on a single given night.

Directing a rape scene is difficult because it’s such a sensitive subject. To make it look real the actor who is portraying the rapist must come off as a despicable asshole to the audience even if he is a nice person in real life. In “A Sense of Purpose: Fighting For Our Lives,” John Quinlan portrays Captain Nixon who rapes Sgt. Diane Torres, played by Tamara Woods. John was naked during the scene and Jillian stepped in to be the body double as the rape victim since Tamara was about eight months pregnant at the time. The other men in the scene, actors David Bazemore, Ben Yon and Nicholas Mangino, who portrayed military men and buddies of Captain Nixon, were also involved in the sexual assault. As the men groped Jillian’s breasts and body and John simulated the rape, it was not only difficult for Jillian to be lying on her back getting “raped” but to direct from that awkward position.  

Love Scenes

Love scenes can be some of the most difficult to shoot for a number of reasons. From a passionate kiss to a full out love making scene when actors are naked, basically two strangers must appear to be in love or in lust with one another. Sometimes, like on the movie “An Officer and A Gentlemen” where actors Richard Gere and Debra Winger hated each other, it makes the director’s job so much more challenging. Between the arguments and screaming matches, it’s almost impossible to get two actors to look like they are in love on film. But a great director knows how to bring out the best in actors, even when they hate each other.  
On some sets, like “The Notebook,” you have two actors, Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, who get along so well they end up getting together sexually and having a relationship in real life, at least for the duration of the movie, sometimes even afterwards. Their chemistry during intimate scenes come across the screen so real because off screen it is real. Then you have actors who are just damn fine actors. They work together seamlessly to make sure the audience believes their lovemaking scenes, but afterwards when the director calls cut, both actors retreat to their dressing rooms, and that’s the end of it. No matter what scenario love scenes take on, directors always have a closed set to respect the privacy of the actors. This means only the most essential crew members are on set, e.g. the director, assistant director, director of photography, sound person, lighting person, script supervisor.    
On the set of “A Sense of Purpose: Fighting For Our Lives,” John Quinlan and Jillian Bullock had already established a relationship as friends so they didn’t feel weird doing their intimate scenes. Jillian portrays Jessica Winters, the ex-wife of John’s character, Captain Jake Nixon. As their characters rekindled their love for each other they had to do kissing and intimate scenes.
Jillian noted: “In all the kissing scenes with John, he kept messing up.  We had to do take after take after take.” John said: “What can I say, Jillian’s a great kisser.”
 If actors can get to know each other and build chemistry before they have to shoot love scenes it helps makes their lives and the director’s life much more comfortable. Since Jillian was the director it was a smooth shoot with John because they knew each other for five years prior to beginning work on the film. They had already established a connection which helped make filming their love scenes a breeze.  

Fight Scenes/Action Scenes

Directing fight scenes are challenging because actors must look like they are hitting each other either with a punch, kick, or an object. Even with careful rehearsing and step-by-step choreography actors often get injured on set.  With a fight scene one actor may throw a punch and the receiving actor may bob when he should weave and then the punch connects to the actor’s face. Or a kick from an actor can land a bit too hard to the body of the other actor involved and ribs are broken. With action scenes the same rule applies. During explosions on set, car crashes, buildings falling, etc. actors can be injured. Although stunt men and women are used to ensure the actors don’t get injured, often times many actors want to perform their own stunts. Think Tom Cruise in all of his movies. Any director would be horrified if any of his or her actors were injured during filming. Not only do you want your actors to be safe, but injury could halt production of the movie, especially if it’s the lead actor, and depending upon how severe the injury is. Jillian said it is always a stressful day her as a director when fight/action scenes are filmed.  
(Actors Michael Pleasant and John Quinlan) 

(Actors Sara Osi Scott, Joe Hunter and Tamara Woods) 

Since Tamara was about six months pregnant at this time, Jillian had to be extra careful  how she choreographed the scene to ensure Tamara’s and the baby’s safety. However, Joe did take a hard elbow to the chin from Sara during rehearsal. He took it like a man.
(Actor Robert Murray and Tamara Woods rehearse fight scene as Jillian, in orange shirt, looks on) 

During filming of “A Sense of Purpose” there were a few fight scenes, which were choreographed by Jillian Bullock. Using her extensive background as a martial artist and boxer, Jillian has choreographed fight scenes in other movies as well.  

Crying Scenes

In movies you often see actors cry. However, some actors can’t pull it off and then you have what’s called in the movie business – dry eye crying. This means the actor has no tears coming out of his or her eyes.  It is not a good look on film. To be a pro at crying and how to put off all the emotional essence behind such a dramatic scene look no further than actor Viola Davis. If any actor truly wants to learn from the master on how to bring a heart stopping crying scene to film, she is the woman to study.

(Viola Davis) 

In “A Sense of Purpose: Fighting For Our Lives” there were a number of crying scenes. Being new to acting John had a difficult time bringing tears during a scene he shared with his wife, portrayed by Jillian. Directing John, Jillian explained to him what “method acting” is, which means to dig deep down inside yourself and think of a very painful memory in your past. Use that pain to bring forth tears. After several takes, John was able to conjure up the tears needed to make the scene believable. However, crying, especially when the actor has to do multiple takes is draining on him or her. With professional actors, they can turn on and off tears like a switch. But this takes years of practice or studying with an acting coach. It isn’t something most actors can do right off. In the end, the scene with John and Jillian came off wonderfully. 
(Actors Jillian Bullock and John Quinlan share a tender moment) 


Most people don’t realize how challenging and hard acting is. Actors transform themselves to portray characters, who in most cases, are nothing like them in real life. The true test of any actor is to make his or her character so believable that audiences become engrossed in the movie, play or TV show and forget it’s all just “acting.”   

#JillianBullock #ASOPmovie #JohnQuinlan #TamaraWoods #LamontFountain #JoeHunter #PTSD #FilmMaking #Veterans #Military #Films #Movies