Screenplay Writing for Veterans as Therapy

Author David Bryant Perkins speaking to the American Legion Post 581 at the Belo House in Dallas, Texas over, among other things, the therapeutic benefits of screenplay writing for those with PTSD conditions.

Since 1983, David's entertainment & academic work has been published throughout Europe, from technical articles in journals to weekly entertainment columns.

  While playing chess in a Hamburg Germany city park, David met a WWII survivor who worked in the SS Department of the Occult - The Black Sun -becoming the catalyst for his historical novel and later award winning screenplay:

Hitler's Astrologer

Description of Program

Screenwriting for Veterans as Therapy (SVT)

Background & Benefits 

Screenplay Writing is an Effective Form of Therapy

            Screenplays & other formats such as poetry have been shown to be highly effective (Deshpande, 2010) in having veterans actualize their changed emotional states when coming from a war zone to civilian-life. Monson et. al (2008) has also shown a strong motivational incentive with those suffering from military-related posttraumatic stress disorder when given the opportunity to produce saleable material created from their own cognitive processing - such as a writing a screenplay script - that can be immediately marketed, as well as be the stepping stone into a new career.

 Writing Skills Facilitate Success in Career           

            In a study to identify key business & individual skills required by businesses within the G8 nations, Andrews & Higson (2008) found that writing skills was not only one of the most important consideration for employability, but also a skill on the top of the list for the likelihood of a promotion within the company or organization as well.

Screenplays are the Writing Jobs of the Future  

            Combining the art of screenwriting skills within a course that also teaches the fundamental & required elements of educational writing proficiency, the SWTV program will allow veterans to develop their writing skills not only in preparation for re-entry into the civilian professional workforce, but also to develop a veteran’s skill to pursue careers in the film industry, whose growth in size and scope has created a demand for original content that is at an all time high.


Program Design 

            The program would be able to reach a maximum number of Veterans with the lowest cost by having a Texas wide lecture tour arranged to introduce the material (which has already been created & tested in high schools to improve writing proficiency) to veterans group halls or meeting venues. Those wishing to take the online course will receive a weekly assignment by email.  Dr. Perkins will offer online instruction and review the drafts of each step of the screenplay writing process, offering guidance & suggestions before the learners go on to the next phases of developing their script.     

            Upon completion of the course, the veteran will have a finished screenplay, which can be entered into film festivals, screenplay contests, or submitted to an agent.  An additional suggestion would be for the creation of a Texas-wide veteran script contest, with the proper press & media support would create awareness for the benefits of the program, as well as much needed attention on the winner, increasing his or her chances of having their script made into a film. The program can then be expanded nation-wide.

Contacts & Information for David Bryant Perkins         (725) 202-5056


Andrews, J., & Higson, H. (2008). Graduate Employability, 'Soft Skills' Versus 'Hard' Business Knowledge: A European Study. Higher Education In Europe, 33(4), 411-422. doi:10.1080/03797720802522627

Deshpande, A. (2010). Recon Mission: Familiarizing veterans with their changed  emotional landscape through poetry therapy. Journal Of Poetry Therapy, 23(4), 239-251. doi:10.1080/08893675.2010.528222

Monson, C, M., Schnurr, P. P., Resick, P. A., Friedman, M. J., Young-Xu, Y., Stevens, S.P. (2006). Cognitive processing therapy for veterans with military-related posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology,        74(5), 898-907.