UNIVERSAL CITY, CA March 15, 2013 – The stars came out in Hollywood this week -- NFL stars that is who trekked to Tinseltown to learn the business of making movies.
Staged at the iconic Universal Studios by NFL Player Engagement (NFLPE) and Film Life, Inc., this second edition featured 22 players who thirst for a career in cinema when their playing days are over.
Not surprisingly, that singular desire and dedication to go Hollywood, combined with a star-studded faculty to teach them, has given this particular NFLPE program blockbuster popularity among the 10 diverse courses offered to current and former players.
“We are thrilled with the immediate and overwhelming success of our Pro-Hollywood Boot Camp, which in only its second year has attracted so many players serious about making this their second calling,” said an effusive Troy Vincent, Senior Vice President of NFL Player Engagement (NFLPE). “Given the high-profile position they already have earned in the NFL, transitioning into another glamorous entertainment field is a perfect progression.”
Vincent’s sentiments were echoed by Miami Dolphin participant Jared Odrick, who said, “Being an NFL player is one thing, but there is also a creative side to many of us that we don’t really let escape because it’s not a part of our everyday life and job. This program helps bring these feelings out that are set aside throughout the season.”
These creative skills are not the only synergies between football and film, as articulated by Jeff Friday, Film Life founder and CEO.
“I tell the players what they already know -- that attention to detail, driven by the same focus and dedication they exhibit in the NFL, is the key. When they combine these transferable skills with the commitment they show in sports, then they can be successful in Hollywood,” stated Friday.
These secrets to success also were evident to faculty member and Boot Camp “Coach” Roger Bobb, Director & Producer from Light’s Out Productions (LOP),
“The thing that surprises me most about these NFL players is their dedication to their craft, which is evident in the questions they ask,” remarked Bobb, adding, “Sports is a form of entertainment and this program shows that players recognize that they are both athletes and entertainers, and this Boot Camp translated that skill set.”
This inherent connection clearly clicks with the players.
“The content was very rich and resonated with everyone.” said New England Patriots Punter Zoltan Mesko. “Additionally, it has been inspiring just to be out here at Universal Studios watching the magic that is created with the camera, in production, editing, and working as a team.”
Mesko’s mastery of these topics would have made Friday proud as he described the program by saying, “we teach the five basic disciplines of film, which are acting, writing, directing, camera (cinematography), and producing.”
To teach these foundational skills, professors are brought in from noted Southern California film schools like USC, UCLA and Loyola. They too understood the football-film correlation.
“Like football, the producer is essentially the coach, but it is the director who is the quarterback and has to ‘carry the ball’ and execute that vision,” observed Myrl Schreibman from the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television. “Directors are visionaries with great passion, and that has to come from inside, just like when you're playing on the field. You have to direct a film with that same passion when you're working on a film project.”
The director, producer and author taught the ‘Art of Directing’ Master Class, which was just one of the classroom lectures that comprised the first component of the overall program.
The second component was a hands-on application at Universal Studios, where just like football, players split into two teams of 11 under the direction of coaches, one being Bobb and the other being film veteran Robert Townsend.
“In one day they shoot and edit a movie, where the guys will act, direct, hold a camera, and work in an editing bay, all set up by us pairing the players based on their interest with professionals on individual crews,” explained Friday.
For three-year NFL veteran Brandon Miree, it was “action-packed, exhilarating, and breathtaking,” prompting him to add, “I’m going to have to step back and process everything.”
That processing will also include conversations featuring Q & A with the likes of Peter Berg, director and producer from Friday Night Lights, Craig Mazin, the writer of Identity Thief and Hangovers I, II, and III, and Anthony Anderson, an actor who was in Transformers and The Departed.
And before departing, the players were presented the third component – mentorship – where they are paired with LA film professionals to build desired long-term relationships.
This particular benefit hit home for Shelley Barrow, spouse of former NFL player and coach Michael Barrow, who observed, “The opportunity given these men is once in a lifetime, especially with mentors in the industry and internships after the event. The NFL is truly setting up our families for success.”
A success that can come in many forms on the silver screen. Just ask Mazin,who laid it out simply to the players, “There are two jobs in Hollywood – the job that everyone can do and the job only you can do – because the ideas are in your head. I’ve found success in the latter.”
For more information about the NFL Pro Hollywood Boot Camp please click here.