Students become finalists in NESN’s ‘Next Producer Contest’

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Matt Grahn

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Two teams of Quinnipiac students are currently in the running to win $20,000 and possibly land a job at New England Sports Network (NESN).

This is a part of the reality competition show “NESN Next Producer.” Airing on Saturdays, the program shows sports-themed short films and documentaries made by college students. Quinnipiac was one of nine schools chosen by NESN to compete in the contest, according to a NESN press release.

Both Quinnipiac teams made films that take a look at the role of sports in a father’s relationship with their child. One team, consisting of juniors Matt Kravitsky and Ross Cohen, made the film “Catching Up” in which a daughter wants to play catch, but her dad doesn’t let her because he was traumatized by his baseball experiences.

The other team, consisting of senior film, television and media arts majors Nicholas Manson, Miles Adler and Andrew Croteau made the short film “Grand Slam,” which is about a father who reminisces about raising his son.

The group chose their theme based on relatability, according to Croteau.

“It’s an authentic story… because we took stories from our past, what we did growing up,” Croteau said.

Adler said during the writing process, even Croteau’s roommates would pitch ideas.

“They would kinda swing by in the house, and be like ‘Oh, what are you guys doing,’ ‘Oh, we have this script,’ ‘Oh sweet, I kinda had this one time,’ and so that kinda found its way into the script, too,” Adler said.

The film was written, shot and edited over the course of a month, according to Adler. However, their film may have never made it to air, as they ran into issues with acquiring rights to use Red Sox clips as part of the story.

After struggling for awhile for a solution, Croteau then decided they should replace the Red Sox clips with home videos of him playing sports. As a result, he says that there are two different cuts of the film, with the Red Sox one for the TV and the home videos for the online version.

Manson said their film, being a story rather than a documentary, allowed them to  have an advantage over some of the other films in the contest.

“It makes us unique,” Manson said. “We feel like since we’re thinking outside of the box of what’s expected for something like this they’re gonna remember it, rather than how many so documentaries they saw.”

The contest films are judged by Hollywood producers, and they pick the three teams that will compete against each other in a final contest, making a short for the Red Sox, according to the NESN press release. Even though the trio thinks it would be nice to win, they still feel there is value in just having their film shown on TV.

“At the end of the day, NESN has no interest in putting something that’s not televison worthy on television. So they had to think highly of it in some respect, even if it isn’t first place material,” Adler said.

Croteau, a Massachusetts native, said that because it’s on NESN, he’s suddenly reconnecting with people from his past.

“There are people from my high school that I haven’t talked to who are Facebook messaging me, saying ‘You’re on TV,’” he said.

For Manson, even though NESN isn’t available in most of New York, where he lives, he still feels that the film is an accomplishment.

“It is just something that I was on TV because of something I made, and that’s just a point of pride for me, going forward,” he said.

Adler feels that the film showed his own achievement at Quinnipiac.

“It’s an independent project that’s a culmination of what we learned [at Quinnipiac],” Adler said. “The fact that we made the semifinals, it shows that at least someone is entertaining the idea of Quinnipiac students and their work.”