(ABCNews)-- Army Staff Sergeant Ryan Curtis is the oldest in a family of seven siblings. Growing up, a career in Hollywood seemed out of reach.
“When I was young, being a film director was not a legit career. People didn’t understand that being a director was a viable career option and my family was like, ‘You’re going to be a doctor, or you’re going to be in the medical field,’” Curtis said.
His father was in the Army National Guard and it was during one of his father’s weekend drills that Curtis visited him and he ended up enlisting in the Army after taking the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test.
“I took it on a whim. I was like, this sounds like fun and I can use some adventure in my life,” Curtis said.
“I didn’t realize what directing was at that point but I knew that I wanted to do something creatively in the other end,” he said, noting he broke into the entertainment industry as a production assistant.
The campaign selected five U.S. veterans with aspirations to work in the entertainment industry. They created digital short films that are thematically centered on veterans coming home this holiday season. Four of the films are scripted and one is a documentary.
The films also pay tribute to the brave men and women with whom the filmmakers served. Support for the “Home for the Holidays” initiative was provided by the veterans organization, Veterans in Film and Television.
The pre-production was intense and the film was shot in one day.
For more information about ABC’s “Home for the Holidays” campaign and to see “The Dance” by Ryan Curtis, visit http://abc.go.com/holidays
Curtis has some advice for vets seeking a career in film and television.
“One, you need to educate yourself in the business,” he said. “And you need to find people in the business and find organizations like the Veterans in Film and Television to network, learn and get on set so you can start working towards what you’re trying to do.”
Second Tour is an ABC News digital series profiling the lives of military veterans who are doing unique things in the civilian world. For more stories visit http://abcnews.go.com/US/Second_Tour/.