Twenty-two veterans commit suicide daily, and the military community is focused on bringing that number to zero. One veteran has created an animated series that she hopes can help others, and she is counting on the military community to pitch in and support the project.
Jas Boothe created “Discharged,” an animated series that follows four characters and showcases relatable stories using comedy as a tool. The voices are done by veterans and military only, Boothe recently told American Military News.
There are generally four types of people you meet in the military, Boothe said, and they come from very diverse backgrounds and journeys. On “Discharged,” the characters have created a family and are now taking care of each other, she explained.
“Veterans, we get each other,” she said. “We have the same sense of humor. The reactions [to ‘Discharged’] are genuine. Anyone who has worn a uniform will get it.”
Boothe, who served in the U.S. Army and deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, is married to a Marine; she has two sons, 7 and 21 years old, respectively, and her eldest son is in the U.S. Air Force.
“As a disabled veteran [who] struggles daily with major depressive disorder, I have found laughter more therapeutic than any medication the VA has prescribed me,” Boothe said, on the funding site for the series. “Discharged is my Buddy Check that allows me to create ‘Homedy’ (holistic comedy) for my brothers and sisters who may also be in need of more laughs and less Xanax.”
Boothe has a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from Mississippi Valley State University, and dual Master’s degrees in Human Resource Management, and Management and Leadership, from Webster University.
She recently opened up about her struggle with depression because she wanted to lead by example, Boothe explained.
“Within the last few years, I’ve started to be vocal about my major depression disorder,” she said. “For one, to show soldiers who may be junior to me that we at all levels have issues with PTSD and depression. And also to show them that in those situations, it’s OK to ask for help.”
“You suffer in silence because you want people to see that you have your [stuff] together,” she continued. “We hide those things, and it continues to eat us from the inside out.”
What works for her is laughter, Boothe said.
“In those moments of laughter, I’m not sad. I’m not depressed. And I’m not thinking about how bad things are,” she said. “That’s what we need as veterans – we need laughter during the in-between time.”
That was when she decided to use animation to help others.
“There are so many war movies because war is sexy,” Boothe pointed out. “We don’t need more war movies or documentaries. We’ve already lived through that. For civilians, it’s sexy. You see the heroes. But you don’t see what the hero goes through.”
“They don’t see the other side of war,” she added.
That’s where “Discharged” comes in.
Right now, there are 12 draft episodes of the animated series. Boothe has completed greyscale, non-animated versions of the episodes so far, which has cost about $35,000 of her and her team’s own money.
What most people don’t realize is that animation costs between $3,000 and $10,000 a minute, she pointed out.
In order to move forward, Boothe and her team want to animate the pilot, to start, which would cost $80,000 – that’s what the money she is trying to raise would go toward.
In order to create an animated series, it must first be drawn, then colored in, and then animated. So far, the team has paid for studio time for the voiceovers, the development of the characters to be drawn up, and the black-and-white motionless version, Boothe said.
Once the animated pilot is made, it could be sent to a cartoon network such as Adult Swim, FX or Spike.
“A streaming service like Netflix or a major television network could pick it up,” she said. “Then it would not only help veterans, but it would also be profitable for the networks.”
Then, Boothe said, some of those proceeds could go toward helping veterans’ families.
Boothe has big plans for her “edu-tainment” – a mash-up of education and entertainment, she said, and “Discharged” even extends beyond its initial purpose.
“It’s really for anyone who is struggling and who can identify with one of the characters,” she added.
If you would like to check out and support the “Discharged” funding campaign, click here.