At Griz football games I am sheltered high up in the press box inside the snug confines of the control room. At least 99% of the 26,000+ people who cram Washington-Grizzly Stadium have no idea that I am up there, let alone even know that I exist. I like it that way. I enjoy the anonymity and I enjoy the behind-the-scenes work that I do. However, last Saturday the cover on my anonymity was blown completely off.
On Saturday in front of the largest crowd to ever watch a sporting event in Montana, my ugly mug appeared up on Griz Vision (our video board) for two minutes. By resurrecting an element that was done about a decade ago, I starred in the first modern version of Monte Movies. If you don’t know a darn thing about mascots or if you didn’t read my blog post last night, Monte is the mascot at the University of Montana. And yes, we do make videos of him and feature them at our football games.
The premise of this first Monte Movie was to show what it is like to be Monte’s roommate. Monte played himself and I played the roommate. We filmed the whole thing in my apartment. Yes, that shower curtain really is mine and yes, Monte actually sat on my toilet. We filmed the movie in one night about three weeks ago. Let me tell you, filming is long and tough work. For the two minute long movie it took us about four hours to film. People don’t realize all the takes, all the angles, and all the details that go into making something like this. I was definitely one of those people before my acting debut. If not for my great co-star and if not for our talented director/cameraman/editor/winner at life Nate Michael, I would have looked even worse than what I did in the movie.
I first saw the mostly completed film in Nate’s office a week before the game. I could barely watch myself. The next time I saw it was two days before the game when we went through our walk-through for Saturday night. With a few other people watching I could tolerate it a little bit more just because they were laughing and it gave me a little bit of encouragement. On Saturday night with our team dominating Appalachian State and with everything going right game production wise I watched the whole thing from the control room and kind of just enjoyed seeing myself act stupid in front of 26,293 fans.
Although I stomached watching myself the best the third time around, there was something a little unsettling that I noticed. I kept listening (more like hoping) to hear the stadium erupt in laughter but I never really heard that chorus of maniacal giggling that I would have hoped to hear. When “THE END” flashed on the screen I wondered if the crowd even liked it, wondered if I had killed Monte’s thunder and Nate’s hard work with my terrible acting skills. But right when “THE END” flashed away, I had my answer. My phone started blowing up. I got texts from good friends, people who I hadn’t talked to in forever, and from numbers I didn’t recognize. I got tweets sent my way and someone even attempted to call me. The reaction was all positive and they said they loved it.
That was only the beginning.
After the game I went down on the field to meet my dad and brother who came to watch the Grizzlies and by default my performance. As I visited with them people came up and commented on the video. When I went back up the tunnel and to my office, people passed by saying how cute they thought the movie was. The recognition came the rest of the weekend with acquaintances and randos pointing out that I was “The Roommate.” Today with the start of the work week I had several co-workers mention the video. When I went to the gym I had no less than four people point me out.
Even though I talked non-stop for three weeks about how embarrassed I was to have my shabby acting skills on display and even though I tried to tell the people who knew the video was coming not to expect much I have to admit, I liked the well-wishes and recognition that came after it was played on Griz Vision during primetime.
All the kudos in the world to Nate and Monte for using their talents to make me look decent in the video. It was cool to see the process of how everything works and like I said the recognition was pretty nice too but I think I am going to go out on top and retire from acting. I am the ultimate one-hit wonder. Don’t Blink.