When four Emerson students began producing a documentary on the 100-year history of Fenway Park, they were thrown a serious curveball—in a good way.
“We were like, ‘Is this a spam email?’” said Jacob Ouellette ’14, co-executive producer of Brick by Brick: Stories of Fenway Park.
“I read about the documentary that you are creating about Fenway,” Pizzuti Henry wrote, “and I love your idea.”
It wasn’t long before NESN, a regional cable sports network, started calling.
The students’ documentary is premiering on NESN tonight, Tuesday, February 19, at 8:00 pm. It will rerun Wednesday, February 20, at 8:00 pm; Thursday, February 21, at 4:00 pm; and Friday, March 1, at 6:00 pm.
Pizzuti Henry told emerson.edu she was “impressed that these students were doing this on their own initiative and with a unique angle.”
“I stayed out of their way,” she said. “This was completely their initiative and their collection of stories. I pitched the finished product to NESN and they loved it.”
“It was the approach we were taking that she liked,” Ouellette said. “We had the fans tell their stories and memories, instead of us telling the chronological history. Instead of the hard facts, we got the people who fuel the park day in and day out.”
Fraser, an Audio Post-Production major and Ouellette, a Broadcast Journalism major, worked on the documentary with Kyle Brasseur ’14, a Broadcast Journalism major; and Kelsey Doherty ’14, a Marketing Communication major.
“The first time the four of us hung out together was at a Red Sox game,” Ouellette said. “I hadn’t even thought about that until a couple of months after we started production.”
As the historic ballpark celebrated its 100th anniversary last year, the student filmmakers—who made the 25-minute film on their own time, and not as part of a class or internship, with borrowed equipment from Emerson—interviewed fans and local sports media figures both inside and outside Fenway.
“Everyone has different stories,” Brasseur said. “Someone’s talking about their first game in the ’70s, and someone else talks about their first game in the ’90s. But there’s that underlying factor that is the point of each story, which allows us to create one big story now in 2012.”
Ouellette said the group’s main goal was to produce a short film that was “something of quality.”
“From there, let’s see if it’s something we can put on air,” he said.
Brasseur said the experience made him more confident in conducting on-camera interviews, while Ouellette said he understood how much work goes into production.
Seeing other media-savvy students at Emerson gave them the boost needed for the project, they say.
“You see your fellow students doing these things, and it’s like, ‘Why can’t I do that? I have no excuse not to,’” Brasseur said.
“You see it everywhere on bulletin boards: Casting calls, crew calls, film shoots,” Ouellette said. “Everyone wants to jump in; everyone wants to see someone be successful.”