Technical advisor

Technical advisor

A technical advisor is an individual who is expert in a particular field of , hired to provide information in that field to a movie or television director, to ensure that this area of knowledge is portrayed accurately in the production. For example, a director for a show involving combat aviation might hire one or more current or former combat pilots to serve as technical advisors. Similarly, a period movie may include one or more historians of the period, or eyewitnesses if possible, for the same purpose.

These individuals typically answer to the director. Their expertise adds realism both to the acting and to the setting of a movie. Some advisors for military movies have been known to run miniature boot camps to give actors a first-hand experience of a setting. Captain Dale Dye is a noted technical advisor and provider of military training for actors through his Warriors%2C_Inc.

The US Army has often provided technical advisors to war films, not necessarily to ensure accuracy, but to impart a favorable impression of the Army.

Technical advisors who have become actors include George Kennedy (an Army advisor to the "Sgt. Bilko" television show) and John Dierkes (an accountant working for the U.S. Treasury, who provided technical assistance to the makers of "To the Ends of the Earth"). A former child actor, Frank Coghlan Jr, enlisted in the U.S. Navy, and later became an advisor to Hollywood on Navy-themed films. [Coghlan, Frank "They Still Call Me Junior" McFarland & Co 1993]

R. Lee Ermey, a former U.S. Marine who became a technical advisor on several Vietnam War films lensed in the Philippines became a lead actor in Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket" as well as an advisor. Ermey said "A technical advisor must be a salesman. He's got to be able to sell the producer-director on his way of doing things" [ p.158 Smith, Larry "The Few and the Proud: Marine Corps Drill Instructors in Their Own Words" 2006 W.W. Norton & Co] Ermey told of battles with Kubrick over the reality versus what looks good on the screen and can be appreciated by a cinema audience. Ermey lost battles over such items as a recruit having concealed a fully loaded magazine in his footlocker rather than a few stray rounds and the way Marine Corps Drill Instructors hit their recruits in the solar plexus rather than slapping their faces. Ermey won over Kubrick in the blatant unreality of a proposed scene where platoon members urinate in a toilet and stick Vincent D'Onofrio's head in it. [ibid p. 159 ]


External links

* [ Warriors, Inc. Official website]
* [ Directory of Technical Advisors]

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