“Gameday,” local film focuses on BC football
The making of a winning football team is not lost on one local man. For the past nine months Kyle Ezell has spent his time, talent, money and passion, bringing to life a video of what it takes to put together a single high school game day in Bridge City. The two disc DVD set is intended for the shelves of the Athletic Boosters and their supporters as a fundraising tool. The cinematography, directing and music builds excitement and brings back memories of not just this past Bridge City football season, but game days of one’s own past; regardless of the number of years gone by.
A small production crew slipped into Bridge City and hovered on the sidelines for the 2011 football season. The two man (and sometimes only one) team put together a film encompassing all the elements that come together to give fans the Friday Night Lights experience. The film is so well done it easily rivals anything one could purchase off the shelves or go see in theaters, though obviously much shorter. Ezell conceived the idea while he watched a pro baseball game.
It occurred to Ezell that people do not know all that goes into giving crowds their experience when they come to the field to watch their favorite boys clash helmets. As it turned out, there were areas he too had never considered. “As I spoke with Coach (Chris) Stump …it made me realize just how special this game is and all that are involved,” he said recently about his reason for making “Game Day.”
After formulating a storyboard, deciding on music and contemplating shots he wanted to incorporate into the film, Ezell spent the three months of football season filming every possible angle, group and crowd he could find time and ways to film. His access included the sidelines, locker room and even the press box.
Because this is, in theory, just one game, there were a myriad of complications with having only two cameras and their operators trying to film and consider variances within a given group, week to week.
“The strutters wore their hair different or wore different outfits,” he explained. As it got into the games themselves, he began to see areas he, as a former football player for Nederland, had never thought about. Managers and trainers prepare for the team’s needs hours in advance. A player who works as hard as any on the field, may never see field play time. There is the band, cheerleaders and concessions–all elements of the game experience. It brings back memories and nostalgia for all who ever enjoyed a Friday night high school game.
“This was really something I wanted to do for the kids that would help them remember the excitement on Friday nights during their football careers,” Ezell says. A passion has been stirred by the making of the film. Not only did he want to show film footage of all the students experiencing a game in the 2011 season and those who make it happen, but he wanted more for this DVD. He wanted it to have the look and feel of Hollywood professionalism.
Ezell, a draftsman by trade, wanted the look of a cinema film and not a home video. He researched and purchased proper equipment and used professional applications and techniques. The DVD, a two disc set, will be available for a limited time starting Dec. 15. It was shot in wide screen with sharpness and clarity. Shots of game action resembles that of the NFL. Slow motion allows you to see everything.
All the elements were carefully thought out and selected meticulously. “There probably wasn’t a day went by that I didn’t think about something in the film. The last month has practically become an obsession,” Ezell stated regarding finishing touches in editing.
With only five home games at Larry Ward Stadium and only one game to film with the same opponent, the challenge was tricky. As is the case with reality; no one has control over a game’s outcome. Still, it is raw and real. Locker room footage shows a concerned group of players during a not so great half time. They are intense and listening to coach’s words of strategy.
Still, Ezell cannot emphasize enough, that this film is not just about football or its players, but the whole experience. He has a unique perspective– not only as a former player but; father to a Strutter, his daughter, Kaitlyn; and his son Ben, a member of the drum line. He has been a part of the various aspects of the event as a whole. The Friday night football game isn’t just a team running onto the field, but hours of coaching, high kicks, music practice, loading and unloading of equipment and clean-up, hours after the last fan has tossed away their nacho container.
The game day is an encounter. It is every element from the cardinal painted on the field to a coach laying his job on the line.
To get your copy of this fine and unique experience, three hours of footage and entertainment with faces of all those involved captured forever, contact any athletic booster or Cil Dixon at 409-735-1641. Ezell can also be contacted by e-mail: Kezell@cloeren.com. The DVD set is a $30 donation and worth the memories. It is something not seen in Bridge City’s history.
In Ezell’s opinion, “If 20 years from now, these students can watch this film and feel these feelings all over again, we will consider it a success.”