Q&A: Eastern Athletics Electronic Media Coordinator Davin Perry
Although he fell just short in his quest to make an interviewee cry, Davin Perry’s “extraordinary” 65-minute documentary on EWU’s national football championship triumph goes public this week on DVD and Blu-ray disk
To purchase the “Road to the Championship” DVD/Blu-ray Disk, go to: http://www.goeags.com/store/ewas-Road-to-Championship.html
To purchase a copy of the NCAA Division I Championship Game between EWU and Delaware, go to: http://www.ncaaondemand.com/clips/30638411_xxx
Only tears and no crying? What kind of documentary is that?
Well, an extraordinary one based on responses from pre-screenings.
Davin Perry, the Electronic Media Coordinator for the Eastern Washington University Athletic Department, has created a 65-minute documentary called “Road to the Championship” chronicling the 2010 EWU football season that ended with the Eagles winning the NCAA Division I Championship.
The DVD and Blu-ray disk copies of the video will be shipped early next week to fans who pre-ordered copies, and they will also be available this Monday (March 14) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Pence Union Building on the EWU campus in Cheney, Wash. Orders are still be taken via the web at www.goeags.com, and they will also be sold at the EWU Coaches Golf Tournament on April 29 and the Killin Dinner/Dance/Auction the following day. Cost is $40 for the DVD and $60 for the Blu-ray version.
“It’s finally time to ship them out and wash my hands of this enormous project I’m happy to have completed,” said Perry, a 2002 graduate of nearby Medical Lake (Wash.) High School and 2007 grad of EWU. He estimates he spent 150 hours just editing the project once the season was completed.
Self-taught in video production, but with lots of inspiration along the way, Perry produced, directed and edited the video himself. It includes interviews with players, coaches and members of the media, with interviews conducted by himself and EWU’s radio play-by-play announcer, Larry Weir.
Perry admitted his goal was to evoke emotion from the interviewees, and there’s plenty of that on the video, along with some funny moments from radio color commentator Paul Sorensen. And Perry laughs when discussing how he failed in his quest to make one of them cry on camera -- but there were some welled-up tears from long-time assistant coach Chris Hansen.
The story begins with the inaugural year of the new red turf surface at the ‘Inferno’ at Roos Field, continues with the colossal defeat of perennial league champion Montana, chronicles EWU’s three spectacular home playoff wins and then climaxes with EWU winning the title in Frisco, Texas.
Besides the documentary, the video includes a 15-minute season highlight video, red turf trailer, a red turf promo by ESPN personality and former Eastern student Colin Cowherd and a national championship promo.
“Speechless,” was what one staff member said after watching a pre-screening recently. “The work that went into that is incredible. Davin is unbelievable.”
“Extraordinary,” is what another said following a pre-screening in which the new red turf turned, of all colors, green, because of a faulty projection system.
But, rest assured, there is no green field at Roos Field on the video. There is, however, a tear or two.
Q: An 82-minute video is a huge undertaking. When did you come up with the idea to do the documentary and to do it at this level?
A: “Once we got into the playoffs, I knew the highlight video would be more extravagant and little better. Once we started our playoff run, the documentary came to mind, and then we kept on winning. The national championship just put the cherry on top and it became a complete project. Once we won, we knew we had to make it the best we could.”
Q: You are a very creative person, so was it a dream come true to win the national title and have a team like this to work with?
A: “I’ve been waiting for a few years to do this, and to have a season worthy of a project like this was definitely a dream come true. It was a lot of hours and late nights. But as (EWU associate athletic director) Marc Hughes calls me, I’m a ‘junkie’ for this video stuff so it was quite satisfying to get it finished.”
Q: You watch the 30-for-30 documentary series on ESPN. Did you watch those productions and then decide that’s the scope you wanted with this project?
A: “I got a lot of motivation from the 30-for-30 series, other sports documentaries and documentaries in general -- I enjoy seeing the scope of those. To really evoke emotion is my goal. I try to piece it together in a way to dramatize the ebbs and flows of the games and to let players, coaches and fans re-live those memories.”
Q: Down the road, will you be producing a 40-for-40 documentary for ESPN, or a 50-for-50?
A: (laughing) “Yeah, yeah -- in a few years if they do it again and they want to hire me one, I’ll be ready for any subject. They can give me a call.”
Q: You say you try to evoke emotion. The rumor out there is when you had all your guests in for interviews, the goal was to get somebody to cry.
A: “That was the goal. If we had a big-time production where it wasn’t just myself and Larry Weir asking the questions, we might have got that done. If we had footage they could watch and describe, it might have helped get somebody to cry. The closest person we had to crying -- he only teared up -- was Chris Hansen. He’s been here a long time and that was the closest we got, but no crying from anybody. But I have to give Larry a lot of credit for the responses we have on the video. -- and thank him because he had to come in and sit around a lot. I had some snacks, but he had to wait a lot because the interviews were spread out so much.”
Q: Larry’s sidekick, Paul Sorensen, had to be the comic relief for you.
A: “Definitely. He had a lot of one-liners in the documentary -- he calls Renard Williams the dancing bear. Why Paul liked the red turf idea so much also provided some great comic relief.”
Q: You are from nearby Medical Lake and got your start at Washington State University, then came to Eastern and completed your degree. At what point did you get the itch for video and really get involved with that as a profession?
A: “I started doing my own videos in high school and my own stuff on the side. It has always been a passion of mine -- I love movies -- and it’s grown since then. I just tried to get better and better, learn as much as I can and keep improving.”
Q: You are involved in the community with different endeavors in Medical Lake and still have your D.J. business. All of that is great for young people to see what you can accomplish through your high school and college years, and then what you have accomplished after you graduated. Do you agree?
A: “It just takes a drive. Most of the things I know are self-taught. I watched a lot of tutorials online. You just have to get a camera, some software and experiment. The same thing with my other hobbies -- it’s just a drive and a desire to create art.”
Q: June 1 is date for the third-annual “Eee-Woos,” which is an awards show for Eastern Athletics that was your brainchild a few years ago. Is that the next project you have to get re-energized and excited for?
A: “Hopefully we’ll get some more athlete participation and they will create some great sketches. We try to make it a variety show. The main goal is to bring all the athletes together, laugh at themselves and give awards to the best teams and players. It just so happens that football is pretty good this year, but it should be a good time.”
Q: You certainly have the video from the football season to use, right?
A: (laughing) “Yes, we do. Play the documentary and give out the awards -- what else do you do?”
Q: What is your next documentary -- the life and times of athletic director Bill Chaves? I don’t know if you that would keep people on their edge of their seats like a national championship, but what might be your next documentary project?
A: “There’s nothing on the docket yet, but hopefully we can repeat next year produce ‘The Road to the Championship . . . The Sequel.’ And we would jump all over it if we can ever get a NCAA Tournament team in basketball again. We’re always looking for achievements like that or any other sport that does well.”
Q: You must be excited to produce documentaries because the normal answer would be “never again.”
A: (laughing) “I thought about that during the late nights in February. I thought, ‘what have I gotten myself into? Is anybody going to like this? Are all the pieces I’m trying to structure together going to work?’ But once I was done, the stress was relieved and the junkie in me came out again. When you are doing it you hate it, but once you’re finished you want it back. It’s a cycle.”
Q: Did you figure out how many hours you personally spent on this project? I suppose obtaining the video itself created a lot more hours between you and your student workers.
A: “Just post-production alone, once the season ended, I’d say was at least 150 hours. Beyond that, you have every game each season to import and categorize in order to have those highlights ready for the project. And then you have to put all the pieces together once the season was over.”
Q: Was there one particular moment, good or bad, during the process that you’ll remember most?
A: “The good moments are from the screenings to see people like it and enjoy it. It’s satisfying to hear their reactions and thanks. There wasn’t a specific bad moment, but there were times where there were technical issues or I couldn’t find footage I was looking for. There were times where I was kind of pulling my hair out. I would hit a roadblock, kind of like writer’s block. It’s a whole season and it’s hard to figure out what to leave out. Some stuff has to hit the cutting room floor and you have to live with the consequences.”
Q: No computer crashes?
A: “No computer crashes. I had a certain workflow and saved a multiple times along the way. There were no big computer glitches so that was nice.”
Q: No glitches, except for the pre-screening for the players and the athletic department. Not that it’s your fault, but you still got kudos despite having those technical difficulties. You must have learned that in the future you should rent a theatre than try to do it on campus.
A: (laughing) “They didn’t see it in full living color -- it was like a black and white sepia version where red was green. We tried two projectors on campus -- one had double vision and the colors were off on the other one. Now we think it was the DVD player. But regardless, people can watch the DVD and Blu-ray in true, living color in the comfort of their own homes.”