Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Something Different: A Special NFL Documentary

From Emory MBA to Film Production
Now and then MBA graduates depart from business school with aspirations to succeed in a conventional career: Consulting, banking, investing, marketing, or start-ups.  Somewhere along the way, they  re-discover themselves or  re-kindle other passions and head into other directions.  They find new interests and opportunities. And off they go.  Sometimes they transition into another conventional pursuit. Or sometimes pursue something off the beaten paths.

Theresa Moore, a Harvard athlete and graduate, earned an MBA from Emory (now a Consortium school) and started out conventionally in marketing at Coca-Cola.  However, along the way, she switched courses, while  taking advantage of her business education and experiences.  Today she runs her own film-production company and directs and produces her own documentary projects.

Her most recent project aired on CBS-TV in December and the NFL Network in February. She directed and produced "Third and Long," a history of African-Americans in pro football. (See  Third and Long for excerpts.)

 It was critical, she says, to go back and go beyond mere black-and-white footage of the stalwarts from the 1960s or 1970s. She wanted to capture the essence of those experiences by interviewing many of the stars first hand, grabbing their impressions, their stories, their feelings, and other anecdotes of blacks in pro football during the days before it peaked in popularity. She wanted them to tell their own stories of how they contributed to pro football's rapid rise in popularity.

In the documentary, Moore, who is president of T-Time Productions, interviews such former stars as Deacon Jones, Jim Brown and Rosey Grier. They share locker-room stories, analyze their own performances vs. today's players, and recall days when blacks comprised only a handful of players on a team. They discuss how they hurdled barriers to earn a team spot or win general acceptance. Moore worked with the NFL to use stock footage of game film, but her project comes to life with engaging, colorful interviews. The players open up and share their stories, their reflections of the game back then, and the parts the play in the NFL's evolution.

With this project wrapped up, Moore is involved in other activities and wants to do similar projects.  She says in other sports, there are black or female athletes who were courageous pioneers in their pursuits and who, too, have stories and reflections. She wants to capture their impressions, anecdotes and memories--perhaps before it's too late or before the elapse of time dismisses their contributions or roles.

Her project "License to Kill: Title IX at 35," a history of Title IX that includes interviews with college women athletes over the past decades, will be distributed for education purposes.

Her projects have themes, purpose, storylines and ties to history. However,  Moore says they have yet another important objective:  She wants to document thoroughly the commentary and accounts of black and female athletes from previous decades to have an accurate account for archival purposes.  A vast pursuit, but essential for sports historians, as they track the evolution and impact of sports and study the contributions of major participants--including black and female athletes.

The long-term project is ambitious, so she is using her business experiences and contacts to plan a way to accomplish it.  For more about her production company and its agenda or for those interested in learning more about her pathway from Harvard to Emory to the NFL, see T-Time.

Tracy Williams

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