By Wendell Barnhouse | firstname.lastname@example.org
From one small Midwestern town to another and then … Hollywood. That's the grand plan for Micah Brown, a 25-year-old Kansas graduate who was a walk on special teamer for the Jayhawks from 2005-08.
"From the time I was six years old, I've wanted to make movies," said Brown, who is from Kearney, Neb. "That's why I came to Kansas; they've got a great film school here and I wanted to stay close to home. My goal is to direct a feature film."
Brown is in his first year as KU's Integrated Communications Media Manager - a fancy job title that encompasses work weeks twice as long as typical and the creative freedom that makes the extra time well worth it.
"Basically I create content for the web site," he said. "Right now I'm focusing on football."
And that focus is on The Gridiron, a weekly video feature on www.KUathletics.com. Brown films, produces and edits each edition and each edition chronicles the week in Jayhawks football. Each week has a different theme - usually based on the word of the week espoused by first-year coach Turner Gill.
Brown's father Todd played football at Nebraska with Gill and is one of the coach's best friends. Plus, Micah Brown's experience as a Kansas player helps with the comfort level. Brown has full access to practices, the locker room, coaches' meetings. He is able to gather any video that helps him tell the story of each week's preparation and game.
"I don't think I could do my job as well if I had not been around the game," said Brown, who sounds awed to have an office next to Gale Sayers, the Kansas Comet. "I know what it's like to prepare for a game. When I shoot video for The Gridiron, I'm shooting it the way I remember it.
"I've been given great freedom. Nobody's knocking on my door telling me, 'Do this, do that.' Coach Gill watches each week's show to make sure it's what we want to represent KU football and we're pretty much on the same page."
The videos usually run about 15 minutes and are retrospective. Brown says he's not aware of another school that is approaching web site video like Kansas is with The Gridiron.
"We're taking a cinematic approach," he said. "Most of the schools that are doing behind-the-scenes or inside type of stuff and it's usually more news-oriented."
While it's a cinematic approach, Brown is working without a script; he doesn't know how each show is going to end until he knows the final score of that week's game. The twists and turns of college football means that Brown has to compile hours of video to be ready to put together the 15 minutes that make up each week's show.
"You're constantly having to adjust depending on how the game goes," he said. "If we have a great special teams play during a game, I might go back to that week's practice and focus on what was worked on regarding special teams.
It adds up to about 90 hours a week. Even for a healthy 25-year-old, that's a sleep-deprived schedule.
"It'll make you old pretty quick," he joked.
Brown originally went to Kansas on a track and field scholarship but after his freshman year switched to football after his first year in Lawrence. He was a walk on who eventually earned a scholarship. Brown's claim to fame is catching a pass on a fake punt during the Jayhawks' Orange Bowl victory in 2007.
And about that directing career … Brown likes to watch thrillers but he's not sure which genre will catch his eye when it comes to making a film.
"I'm looking at scripts for films I might want to direct," said Brown, who was involved with putting together movie trailers before coming back to Kansas for his current gig. "In the next three to four years, I'll start the push to make my first feature."