NEW ORLEANS — It’s NCAA Women’s Final Four time and that means Creative Content Unit Associate Producer Tara Baker is making magic in the edit room producing a variety of “teases,” “bump(er)s” and “opens” for the 2013 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship game telecasts.
Last season, she showcased the personalities of the teams in photo-booth inspired teases that aired throughout the tournament. This year, the team’s personalities are framed within the energy of a music video. continue reading…
Sometimes, they’re appearing in them: ESPN NFL analyst and ESPN Radio co-host Mark Schlereth (Red Dawn) and SportsCenter anchor Stan Verrett (Playing For Keeps) made 2012 cameos in major films.
Tonight, even the sports world turns to Hollywood for winners and losers, watching the 85th Oscars on ABC (7 p.m. ET). To celebrate the annual night of gowns and tuxedos, Front Row strolled the halls of ESPN and asked employees to share their Oscar insights. . . and sample their acceptance speeches.
The results are rivetting performances from SportsCenter co-anchors Hannah Storm and Kevin Negandhi, among others. Cameos include ESPN makeup artist Tiffany Hall-Scarmana (on the cosmetic magic of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey); E:60 feature producer John Minton III (on storytelling in Zero Dark 30); and E:60′sAndy Tennant (on Argo).
Schlereth, an actor of some repute, portrayed a high school football coach in Red Dawn, a remake of the 1984 cult classic.
Somehow, neither Verrett nor Schlereth were among the Best Supporting Actor nominees and Schlereth calmly shared his views on the obvious “snub” below.
Top video produced by Ariel Bond Bottom video produced by Dave Williams
Fans of ESPN’s NBA programming, including Coast to Coast and NBA Tonight, might have noticed some unique twists on the standard theme music throughout the season. Those versions were developed for ESPN by popular recording artists across a variety of different music genres.
Among them are three Grammy-winning artists: Ozomatli, a Latin rock band that fuses many different music genres; Humble Monsta/Mr. Bink, a Jay-Z producer; and the blues-inspired Robert Cray Band. Other participants include the California indie rock band The Mowgli’s, jazz artist John Pizzarelli and The Sweet Tea Project, a group led by Ed Roland of Collective Soul. Two British artists — electro-pop sensation Jacob Plant and rock band The Heavy — also joined the diverse lineup.
Beginning today and continuing through Friday, Feb. 8, fans can vote for their favorite version on the SportsNation section of ESPN.com. The winning version will be featured on ESPN’s telecast of the Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game on Friday, Feb. 15.
Front Row caught up with ESPN music director Kevin Wilson to learn a little more about the contest.
How did you select the artists?
Basically, we decided the types of genres that we wanted to feature and then we just started identifying artists that fit into those genres. We came up with a list of really talented, unique artists and started to make our requests.
When ESPN’s Bryan Rourke watched The Chevin, a Yorkshire, England, rock band, perform their hit song “Champion” on the Late Show with David Letterman in late August, the associate producer knew he was hearing the music that would eventually anchor the opening sequence for ESPN’s presentation of the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs.
At the time, Rourke, a member of ESPN Event Productions’ creative content unit led by coordinating producer Julie McGlone, was mulling ideas on par with ESPN’s past critically acclaimed “opens” for 2010 FIFA World Cup, the NBA Finals on ABC and the UEFA EURO 2012.
“The song had a strong presence and intrigued me to learn more about the band and their music,” said Rourke.
A brief online and YouTube search informed Rourke that “an overwhelming amount of soccer fans were commenting on chat boards about the song’s use on ‘FIFA 13.’”
Armed with that knowledge, Rourke turned to ESPN music director Kevin Wilson who negotiated the music rights and the band’s appearance in the shoot. continue reading…
When creative director Paul Brown, art director Lucas Nickerson and editor Jeremy Anderson met to discuss the best music that would accompany video for the new ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown “open” they were creating, they knew what they were looking for.
“We wanted something hip, funky, energetic, contemporary, that appeals to a young audience,” said Brown. “But it still had to maintain a classic rock feel that wouldn’t turn off an older NFL audience.”
As the creative team travelled to shoot the specialty video storyboards with the Countdown personalities — historian Chris Berman in a library, Cris Carter working out, a dapper Keyshawn Johnson being measured for a hand-tailored suit, et al, — Brown pored through catalogs of music.
Brown and his team eventually settled on Funk #48, the popular and durable music by guitar legend and songwriter Joe Walsh. continue reading…
Editor’s note: How did you join ESPN? Front Row provides interesting answers with “How I Got Here” profiles. Music Director Kevin Wilson is our first subject.
Do you enjoy hearing — and seeing — some of your favorite bands perform their interpretations of ESPN’s Baseball Tonight theme?
Every Thursday through the first half of the baseball season, a different artist’s version of the song will be revealed and highlighted throughout related programming. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals’ version has been featured the past week (see video after the jump).
Da Zoo’s version will be unveiled later this Thursday, another of the 11 major acts who want to merge sports and music with the network in this way.
Working with those artists is just part of ESPN Music Director Kevin Wilson’s job.
It’s a great gig the Bristol, Conn. native might never have landed if he had not been delivering pizzas for Vita’s Deli to Building 1 in 1993. continue reading…