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Not Your Average Boot Camp

April 04, 2012  | by Devon Jeffreys

Steven Jackson's film aspirations have taken him to Hollywood.

SJ39 was in Los Angeles this week to take part in the inaugural NFL Pro Hollywood Boot Camp, a four-day program set up by the league for 20 current and former NFL players.

Steven discusses a shoot during NFL Pro Hollywood Boot Camp.

The players spent their days on the back lots of Universal Studios in Los Angeles learning from some of the best business about everything from directing to screenwriting to cinematography. It is an experience that Steven knew he wanted to be a part of from the moment he learned about the opportunity.

After an aggressive enrollment process featuring an overwhelming amount of qualified applicants, SJ39 was one of the elite 20 who were selected. He headed to Hollywood with an open mind and plenty of questions.

"I want to be able to understand how to write a script and, from there, how one makes that script come alive," Jackson said. "I'm interested in the business side as a producer. One, how do I identify a good script? Two, how do I seek out investors for a story I feel is commercial?"

SJ met Hollywood power players, including Eva LongoriaOf course, Steven already has some pretty solid producing chops, with the web-documentary series "In the Life" and the Webby nominated web series "A Week in the Life" to his credit.

"[The documentaries] gave me a good sense about visual storytelling," he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

But Steven was anxious to learn more and planned to draw from his experience on the gridiron as he went through the process.

"There are parallels with show business and pro football on several levels," he said. "One is mental tenacity, some intestinal fortitude. You're always going for your goal despite rejections. We're used to having to work very hard and not knowing if it is going to pay off. Going for an audition/tryout, trying to make the team/cast. Same thing if we want to be a writer and/or a producer. You've got to believe you'll find someone that shares your vision that can help bring it to fruition."

SJ39, who had to produce a three-to-five minute film at the end of the boot camp, already has a pretty strong vision.

"If I create a film with a football backdrop, I'd like to look at an individual's post-playing life," he told the Post-Dispatch. "I'd like to produce a story about the transition of leaving the game. No one has told that story. When the cheers fade, but in different ways. Sometimes you can leave on your own will, more often than not, you don't. Things can come to a screeching halt really fast in the NFL."

To read more about Steven and the NFL Pro Hollywood Boot Camp, check out Randy O. Williams' St. Louis Post-Dispatch article here.

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