“Rush” Toward Opportunity

Many of you within the Colgate community may have noticed that our campus recently hosted Slater Brothers Entertainment and their multi-million dollar production of “Odd Man Rush.” Todd and Grant Slater, along with Jonathan Black, produced the film right here in Hamilton, NY, spending countless hours bringing the movie to life. I had the unique opportunity to serve as an intern on set, and I wanted to share an insider’s perspective on the film, my experience and why it sometimes makes sense to just go for it and stretch outside of your comfort zone.

The Slater Brothers decided to film in Hamilton partly because the beauty of the village strongly resembles Sweden, but also in large part because their father was beloved former Colgate hockey coach Terry Slater. The film itself is about a young man’s hockey odyssey, from playing college hockey at Harvard to professionally in Sweden. The film is comical, touching and even features the children of hockey stars Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.

Behind the scenes, I was able to witness firsthand that the film production demands intense commitment, time and devotion. There are so many behind the scenes elements, including brainstorming sessions on how to draw in locals to serve as extras. These brain-storming sessions resulted in getting fans in the stands at the arena, and local hockey teams and clubs to come out and play in some of the scenes. Not all of the behind-the-scenes work involved the production process, though. I also got to partake in marketing and publicity efforts, with a focus on the film-to-audience relationship and strategies to maximize planned promotions. The film’s unit publicist, Elizabeth Petit, has worked on iconic films such as “Avatar,” “Night at the Museum” and “The Devil Wears Prada.” Her responsibilities included developing the “Electronic Press Kits,” which entailed conducting exclusive interviews with the cast and working with the team to develop a press release.

What was most interesting while on-site at the film was trying to imagine how this would all come together: the filming of scenes on set, the interactions of the cast and crew, the bustling people focused on getting their work done without getting in the way of others. This dynamic atmosphere, filled with cameras and professional equipment, was amazing to take in. Moreover, while the work was intense and the hours were long, I found everyone to be extremely friendly, including the actors, producers and director Doug Dearth, as well as numerous other crew members. I saw the drive in everyone, and the passion that radiated throughout the room. Witnessing this first-hand with my fellow interns was both an unforgettable college adventure and an invaluable professional experience.

From the get-go, I stressed over taking this internship position on top of my already busy academic workload. I entered uncharted waters, balancing paper deadlines, cramming for exams and starting out on a movie set for the first time. Was I about to find myself on thin ice with my professors and the Slater Brothers? Looking back now, and experiencing all that I did, I’ve come to recognize that it’s easy to find the time and motivation to rise to the occasion when you are pursuing your passion. For me, a busy schedule and a heavy workload is worth getting to participate in the film and entertainment industry, especially when the opportunity presents itself in the secluded bubble of Hamilton, NY. So if a unique opportunity comes your way, as in my case, take my advice and don’t pass it up—rush toward it!

Contact Amanda Capra at [email protected].