Entertainment Media Liaison Office FAQ
Official Seal of the Marine Corps for webpage
Communication Directorate
Los Angeles, California
Collapse All Expand All
 1. What can the Entertainment Media Liaison Office do for me?

The Entertainment Media Liaison Office is the entertainment industry's direct link to the Marine Corps. Since 1917, we have assisted film and television professionals to obtain accurate portrayal of the Marines. We are staffed with experienced personnel who are thoroughly familiar with industry production requirements. Our personnel will:

  • Coordinate the use of personnel, aircraft, and/or equipment.
  • Assist in obtaining broadcast-quality Marine Corps stock footage and B-roll footage.
  • Assist with script and story development.
 2. What is the criteria to obtain assistance?

The production must benefit the Department of Defense, or otherwise be in the national interest, and must:

  • Have proof of an acceptable distribution agreement with a recognized network, studio, or other mass distribution outlet. Increase public understanding of the Armed Forces, the Department of Defense and the Marine Corps.

  • Be authentic in its portrayal of persons, places, actual military operations or historical events. Fictional portrayals must depict a feasible interpretation of military life, operations and policies.

  • Not appear to condone or endorse activities by private citizens or organizations that are contrary to U.S. Government policy.

  • Agree to, sign and abide by a production or documentary assistance agreement with the Department of Defense. 

  • Provide a certificate of Standard Industry Liability Insurance, if filming aboard a DoD installation. 

  • Provide any funding requirements associated with DoD support.

  • Not appear to endorse any commercial and/or non-profit organization not specifically approved in writing by the Department of Defense.

 3. Who decides if the Marine Corps will support my production?

The Office of the Special Assistant for Entertainment Media, based on the recommendation of the Entertainment Media Liaison Office, will have the final word on whether or not the Department of Defense will support, and will assign a project officer to assist in the production.

 4. Will the Department of Defense want to review my project?

In accordance with the production assistance agreement, which must be signed prior to any support, the DoD project officer will have the right to review a rough cut of the production for accuracy and operational security. The rough cut must be viewed before public release and early enough to make needed changes.

 5. What does the project officer do? Can I get a technical advisor assigned to my project?

The project officer is the authority on all matters pertaining to the depiction of the Marine Corps in a production. However, he or she is NOT a technical advisor. On matters that require a special skill, or when the project officer considers it necessary, the production may hire a technical advisor. As with the project officer, the production company will be responsible for all expenses incurred by the technical advisor to include travel, housing, and per diem.

 6. Is it possible to hire active duty military personnel as extras in my project?

Military personnel in an off-duty, nonofficial status may be hired by the production company to perform as actors, extras, etc., provided there is no conflict with any existing service regulation. In such cases, contractual arrangements are solely between those individuals and the production company. Payments should be consistent with current industry standards. The project must be approved by DoD for the service members hired as extras to wear their Marine Corps uniforms.

 7. Will the Marine Corps review my project for errors without my seeking official assistance?

The Marine Corps will NOT provide courtesy assistance to your project. We will provide either full support or decline your request in accordance with DoD criteria.

 8. Does a television series or special show require the same approval process?

Yes. All non-news media productions go through the same approval process.

 9. What are the criteria of support for reality shows?

The Marine Corps generally does not support reality TV shows due to the lack of educational, informative content - but all requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

 10. What if I only need stock footage?

Department of Defense motion picture and video footage is available for download from the Defense Video & Imagery Distribution Service (DVIDS) or for purchase from a government contractor when a production qualifies for assistance. Any costs incurred in connection with the selection, processing, and shipment of stock footage will be the responsibility of the production company.

 11. My project is still in development. Do I need to go through the approval process for resource access to stock footage?

All support requests must go through the approval process. Due to limited resources, we cannot provide “courtesy” research support for productions.

 12. What is the process for buying stock footage?

If your request is approved, we will provide an official authorization letter you can use when contacting the Defense Imagery Management Operations Center (DIMOC) where you can purchase the required footage.
          a. Non-refundable charges for research and duplication apply. The DIMOC staff can explain the fee schedule to you.
           b. The DIMOC has transferred most pre-Vietnam footage to the National Archives in Washington, D.C. You may contact them directly.

 13. What are my financial responsibilities to the government?

The production company will be billed only for those expenses considered to be additional expenses to the government. All support must be at no cost to the government. The following are generally considered to be reimbursable costs:

  • Travel and per diem.
  • Civilian overtime.
  • Damaged equipment. 
  • Commercial power or other utilities for facilities kept open beyond normal duty hours, or in such cases where the production company's consumption of utilities is significant.
  • Costs incurred in diverting or moving equipment to a specific location to support production requirements.
  • All flying hours and fuel costs associated with production company requirements, except when missions coincide with and can be considered legitimate operational and training missions.
  • Military manpower costs for Marine Corps Reserve personnel assigned to production support (such as drivers and pilots).
  • The production company is responsible for insuring that all Marine Corps equipment and facilities used are restored to their original condition.
  • The production company will pay for all transportation and billeting needs of the project officer. To ensure rapid communications with decision-makers, the project officer should travel with and be billeted with the film's producers. Per diem for Marine Corps personnel is non-taxable. The production company will also make the same arrangements for any technical advisor requested by either the Department of Defense or the production company.
 14. How will screen credits be handled?

Upon receipt of your notification of completion of principal photography, the project officer will suggest appropriate names and wording to be used in the credits. The credit title will be confirmed for final use only after the film has been officially reviewed and approved.

 15. Will I need to provide a copy of the project, still photographs and promotional material to the Marine Corps?

Yes, when the Marine Corps has assisted on a production, you will be required to furnish prints, duplication material, and at least five video copies of the final release version of the production.

This material will only be used for historical purposes or for internal information/training. This material will not be used by The Marine Corps to compete with commercial exhibition.

 16. Can the Marine Corps help with advertising or promoting my film?

No. Department of Defense regulations prohibit us from engaging in activities that can be perceived as an explicit or implicit endorsement of any commercial product regardless of the level of support provided.

 17. May I re-use footage shot or purchased for this production on sub sequential projects?

No. Motion picture footage shot with Department of Defense assistance and official Department of Defense footage released for a specific production are not to be used for other productions without approval.

It is your responsibility to ensure that stock footage obtained is not used for any other production without first obtaining written permission from the Department of Defense.

Edited motion picture footage from completed productions and from animation will not be released except by special authorization from the Department of Defense. Requestors will be required to furnish letters of identification on categories of material when the original source cannot be determined.

 18. What does your Production Assistance Agreement cover?

The main points of a government production agreement are:

  • The Department of Defense (DoD) will appoint a project officer to the production who will coordinate military support for the production company and will verify that depictions conform to the approved script.
  • The production company agrees to consult with the project officer if there are changes to the agreed-upon script.
  • The operational capacity and readiness of the military may not be impaired by the support provided.
  • There will be no deviation from DoD safety standards.
  • The production company will not damage or impair the appearance of DoD property and will restore property used for the production to the same condition, or better, in which it was made available.
  • The production company agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Department of Defense, its agencies, and personnel for any injury or damage to its personnel, equipment, or agencies, that occur on or with DoD property, unless it is determined to be caused by the negligence of DoD personnel and/or property.
  • The production company agrees not to reuse or sell any footage shot or provided through the cooperation of the Department of Defense without the DoD's approval.
  • The production company agrees to provide an advanced screening of the production to the Department of Defense in Washington D.C. and/or other suitable location(s).
  • The production company agrees to provide appropriate military credits at the end of the film.
  • The production company agrees to provide videotapes/DVD, posters, photos and media material to the Department of Defense for historical/internal use only.
Communication Directorate