Ep.016 Athlete Story Podcast
Sports Documentary AFTER THE GAME – interview with filmmaker April Abeyta about her upcoming movie
Do you love a good sports documentary? AFTER THE GAME is an upcoming sports documentary following a coach and two athletes on a basketball team from the late 1990’s and then catching up today to see how sports has influenced their mindset and who they are today. In this episode you’ll meet the filmmaker herself, April Abeyta. I’d also like to use this opportunity to send you to the AFTER THE GAME crowdfunding campaign here
After The Game is a basketball documentary where we follow a few real-life female athletes who played basketball on the same team in college back when the WNBA had only just launched.
April Abeyta actually played on that team herself, so she had access to capture not only the game action but also the all the emotions, and the atmosphere and life around the game.
The theme of the movie is very core to the Athlete Story community because it revolves around the AFTER The Game part of sports and how the lessons from sports can be used and repurposed in life after sports. IN the movie, we catch up with the women today in situations where they each discover how their background in sports actually helps them tackle life’s new challenges.
I’m so excited for you to meet a real filmmaker of this upcoming sports documentary ! So let’s welcome April Abeyta for a chat about her movie : AFTER THE GAME
READ the transcript of full interview by clicking here.
Anja: If you love sports documentaries stay tuned because today on Athlete Story we’ll take a closer look at one of the upcoming sports movies. It’s called After The Game and we’ll have a chat with the filmmaker herself, April Abeyta. This is Athlete Story your show if you want to keep a connection to your athletic identity and other athletes while pursuing your new mission in life.
I’m your host Anja Bolbjerg, former world top 10 skier in mobile skiing and free ride skiing. Now, pretty far into life after sports. Join me and other former athletes here and Athlete Story for resources to help you put your former sports career to work for you today. Here at Athlete Story we know that some people have an MBA to lean on you, you have your sports career. Subscribe now and get notified for every new episode.
All right, then let’s get started. After The Game is a basketball documentary, where we follow a few real life female athletes who played basketball on the same team in college, back when the WNBA had only just launched. Now, the filmmaker, April Abeyta actually played on that team herself. She had access to capture not only the game action, but also all the behind the scenes, the atmosphere, the emotions, and the whole life around the game.
Women’s basketball was not really media type back then. For sure, nobody walked around with cameras like we do today, so we can look forward to some pretty exceptional footage in the movie, I think. I guess she must have carried around big camera and caught it on tapes. Anyways, the theme of the movie is very core to the Athlete Story community because it revolves around that after the game part of sports and how the lessons from sports can be used and repurposed in life after sports.
In the movie, we will actually catch up with the women today, in situations where they each discover how their background in sports is actually helping them tackle life’s new challenges. Let’s move on to the interview. I’ll make sure to ask April to give some personal examples as well about how playing sports has influenced her own personality and lifestyle and career and why it was important to make a movie about female student athletes from the ‘90s and then follow up today.
All right, I’m so excited for you to meet this real filmmaker in the sports industry. Let’s welcome April Abeyta for chat about her movie After The Game.
Hi April. Welcome to the show, Athlete Story.
April: How’s it going?
Anja: Good. Thanks for coming on. I really appreciate it.
April: No, my pleasure. I’m happy to be chatting with you, so thank you for having me.
Anja: I’m curious about this project that you’ve been working on for quite a while I can say I think the movie called After The Game. Can you tell us a little about what that’s all about?
April: Yes, of course. After The Game is a new documentary that is really about the long-term impact of competitive athletics specifically on young women. We follow three women, [inaudible 00:03:13] the span of 20 years. We see them as student athletes for a small college in Southern California back in 1999 and their challenges, their successes, and then we correlate that flash class forward to certainly in 2017 and the third 2019, how they really translate things they learned as athletes into their professional challenges today off the court.
Anja: More specifically, they’re basketball players, right?
April: Yes. They’re on the same team, so our three characters, we follow. We actually follow the head coach of that program at the time who was also a former athlete. She played for UCLA. Actually, Mary [unintelligible 00:03:53] and she is– Has has been honored as one of the 15 greatest women basketball players in UCLA of all time. She was quite successful student athlete herself.
Then the athletes on the team in 1999 are a woman named Michelle [unintelligible 00:04:08] who was a senior going into that season and then another woman named Holly Neves, she was a junior transfer student. She was coming from a new school and trying to make her mark, find her place on a brand new team at that time. It’s like her figuring that out. You’ll see the correlation in the film how that challenge actually comes up for her in a very similar way almost 20 years later.
Anja: Is that the main theme of the movie, the lessons you learn from sports, how you can use them in life after sports?
April: Yes, exactly. Definitely. There’s a I think tied with that about what you commit and what sports can give to you, it doesn’t necessarily always pay off in the way that you think it will. There’s a great line by one of the characters in the movie where she talks about, “If you put in the work, you will be rewarded.” That reward may not translate into playing time, so you’re not necessarily going to– There’s no guarantee that you’re going to get more minutes, right?
There’s no guarantee that you’re going to get that championship, but you will be rewarded and how that pays off and I think that’s just a great theme for the movie because you see, for some of these women, not that they haven’t had successes in that 20 year span, but they continue to have different successes, that they put it in the work back in 1999, and they’re continuing to see those rewards pay off in different ways in their lives, that they didn’t expect necessarily back when they were 21, 22 years old.
Anja: I love that theme because success is such a relative term, right?
Anja: It develops over the span of your life like, what you think is success when you’re 20 years old is not the same maybe as later in life.
Anja: What was the most important reason for you to make this movie?
April: Well, I think there were a couple of things. When I actually started shooting these women back in 1999, it really started with just my love of sports and my respect for just women in sports and athletes. At that time, there really was no attention was paid. I wouldn’t say that we’ve made– We’ve made some strides since then, we have made huge strides in terms of just recognition and attention and quality and air time in sports broadcasting and everything like that to women in sports.
It was even worse back then, and so I really wanted to do something about it. I wanted to showcase these women, I played with these women myself, as a student athlete myself, and I knew how hard these women had worked, and how hard it was, and how talented they were. I wanted to showcase that and it just morphed over time [unintelligible 00:06:45] relationship with these women and seeing what they’ve gone through in their lives, like, well into adulthood and how they translate what they learned as student athletes either directly or indirectly because sometimes it’s a little– You don’t even realize it. It’s the little subconscious, those learnings that you have, that you only get really from sports.
That narrative, [unintelligible 00:07:06]. I felt that was really compelling and the more I started talking to other folks about it, it convinced me that this was a good time to tell that story now. As well with what was going on with these characters, in their personal lives, at this point. Sort of all of those [unintelligible 00:07:21] I guess it came together at the right time of them facing these unique challenges.
I feel there really was, I don’t know, there something special about timing right now even with the success of the USA women’s world cup and [inaudible 00:07:32] also being such a big deal and now more attention and it’s just a really good time I think to continue this message of women’s athletics and the importance of it long term and just capitalize on this movement that’s been happening over the summer.
Anja: Yes, that’s really nice. You’ve been really ahead of your time, because nowadays everybody will be filming and having footage of practice and everything but you did this back in the ’90s, right? [chuckles]
April: I got permission from the team, from the school at the time, and it may have helped because I was a student athlete myself and I was a film student. I wrapped it up into this like my studies and I– At the time when cameras weren’t so ubiquitous with everything, it took some getting used to, I think with the players and the coaches of just sticking a camera in their face constantly. [laughs]
They really got used to it and so just hours and hours of locker room talk and the training room and road trips. I think one particularly special thing about smaller universities, like Chapman University, which is where all these women were members of the Chapman University Women’s Basketball program, was that because it’s so small, you just spend even more– Think of all the traveling. You go to all the other games where maybe bigger programs can get on airplanes. No, when you’re small, you drive everywhere.
You sit in a van or a bus with your teammates for hours and hours, and hours and just you really get to know them and so capturing all those little moments of what it’s really like to be on a team, and share those moments, and learn from each other, I think was just something that also I’d made special and yes, I just knew that I wanted to see– I think when you grow up as an athlete, as you know, as a woman you just don’t get the respect sometimes.
You talk to people about what you do, or your sport, and then they would– They’re still not sure. Today for young women, but it gets downplayed. It’s like, “It’s not that hard. You’re a woman.” Or, “You guys aren’t as good.” Or, “You aren’t as tough.” That always really bothered me and so I thought the best way to combat that misconception was to film the team, and put it together so, “Well, no. Look, how hard they’re working.”
They’re doing sprints up and down the court until they puke. They’re pushing themselves to their max potential, to try to be successful at their sport and that’s admirable.
Anja: There’s nothing like video to to tell that story. I know personally, maybe I’ve told this before, and sorry podcast listeners [laughs] if I’ve told this before, but I didn’t really feel that people understood what sport I was doing until very, very late in my career when I did have videos and could post on YouTube and stuff because yes, people just don’t relate just from words and when they see me as a person, maybe they don’t think that I will go do something like that.
I totally understand what you’re talking about and then from the respect point of view, I think that’s a very good point because we don’t see all that many women, especially in team sports. Well, in Europe maybe it’s different but in the US, where do you have for team sports where you show women only lately is the basketball coming on and soccer with the success of the team, right?
Anja: Yes, so I think that it’d be cool to watch too. It would be cool to get that atmosphere of the camps and the team and the traveling and all that.
April: Yes, it definitely will feel aged just because of technology in terms of video production has changed so much so it’s all four by three, so a smaller frame and, and the quality is not quite as good as this opportunity today but I actually really embraced that, because I want the viewers to have the sense of nostalgia also when they’re looking at this older stuff and if anything it’s like yes, these women weren’t playing because they thought they were going to go play professional basketball.
I mean especially at that time I remember the WNBA was like two years old. It just wasn’t– I mean, it’s very rare today obviously for any athlete, male or woman to go play at the professional level or play like even as high level as you did in your sport but even more so back then it was really for a love of the game that they were playing and then just wanting to compete and try to be the best that they could be and yes. It’s just like that nostalgic like hopefully, that feel really comes across in the footage as well from 1999.
Anja: Right now, you’re in post-production, the end of it, right?
April: Yes, we’re getting there. We still have a lot of work but we are making really good progress and yes, we are making excellent progress on our edit, working with a music composer, currently for some original score and original music in it so yes, early 2020, we should be premiering it.
Anja: Okay. This is obviously a passion project for you since it’s been in the back of your mind having all that footage and stuff. How do you finance this project?
April: How do I finance this project? It’s a great question because financing is different for every film, whether a short film, picture film what have you. This is a combination of just personal investments, as well, as we’ve made [unintelligible 00:13:03] on our personal investment piece and then we will be running a crowdfunding campaign in about another month for the remaining finishing funds, but we’re just like, full steam ahead until we totally run out of the cash that we have on hand.
Anja: Okay. Well, if you have a link to the crowdfunding we will share it here.
April: Thank you. Yes, when we set that up we’d love to get the word out on that.
Anja: If someone else thinks, “This is really cool. I would love to make a movie about something from their sport or whatever.” What has been the hardest part or the biggest hurdle in doing all this.
Anja: That’s a great question. I mean, in any film making or video production endeavor, financing seems to be one of those things that people are always stressed about and there’s a lot of questions around but it’s not really talked about a lot in terms of how they go about financing. I find that’s always a hurdle like where will you get the money from and things like that, and how you talk to people about getting money. That’s always a challenge.
I think another thing is depending on if you’re making a documentary, the other challenge is just having the patience to see where the story leads you, right? Working with characters again, I’ve mentioned it sort of just like it was this great timing that all three of them were– This convergence of these different professional challenges for them, and seeing where that goes and like they don’t necessarily unfold the way that you expect them to and you can’t control that.
You can’t really influence that. It’s not like you can be like, “It’d be great if you did this.” There’s no directing them like you might a fiction movie or writing a script in advance so to speak. There’s none of that and so that’s I think, at least for me personally, is definitely I think a challenge given my own background has mostly been in scripted up-front work and just trying to let that unfold and see where that goes.
Again, picking up the filming again in 2017 and then just wrapping filming in 2019, that’s a span of two years just to catch up with where we’re at in their current lives today and that’s patience. That’s actually pretty short for a documentary. I’ve heard that the average time for a documentary is five years. That’s a lot of patience to let that story [inaudible 00:15:23].
Anja: A lot of courage too because you’re putting yourself out there, right? You’re putting yourself out there for judgement and–
April: Yes, especially for– I mean, my characters and I’m so grateful to all three women to really opening themselves up and sharing not only just where they’re at in the mundane day-to-day stuff but just emotionally how they’re feeling about things and they’re very open. I think it’s really helpful that as a filmmaker, if you go and really have relationships with them ahead of time and sometimes you don’t really have that luxury.
In this case, I did. I’ve known them for 20 years plus but I think that really helped just have with them being feeling comfortable and they know that I’m not here to trick them into something, I’m not here to get this gotcha moment. I’m here to really hear their story and communicate it in the best way possible. I feel honored that they trust me with their lives on camera and I’m excited for them. They haven’t seen any of edits yet so I’m excited to be able to screen it for them when we’re ready.
Anja: Yes, that would be exciting. We talked about success before. I’d like to know to you what would be a success for this movie?
April: We get people showing up to screenings. I guess because the goal with this film is I really want to get it obviously in front of as many people as possible, but I know there’s a very specific audience for this film and that is athletes, former athletes, also I think parents of young athletes. I would love for people to see this film and really think about rewards of participation in whatever sports, not just basketball, it could be skiing, it could be soccer, it could be whatever.
Maybe if we could start to think about what those other long-term methods are and encourage if they have a young daughter who’s playing sports and thinking about quitting or if they know somebody else who’s [unintelligible 00:17:25] and thinking about quitting just thinking about changing that mindset about why they participate, because there’s a good chance they’re so hung up on, “I have to go pro, I have to go get a scholarship.” Or, “I have to try to make the Olympics.” Or whatever.
These really which are awesome really lofty goals, but I think what this film shows is that it’s just not about that, it’s about the relationship you form, it’s about those things that you learn in terms of how to work with people that you may not be best friends with, but you got to find how to reach that common goal. It’s all the other things that you get forced into when you’re playing sports and I really want to get the film in front of those people so they can help encourage their daughters or their friends, or whatever. Just to keep it up and it’s okay if you’re not the division one athlete.
You can go play at a junior– [unintelligible 00:18:15] junior colleges but it’s like two year college to go and they have program and some of them are really, really competitive, and also get a lot out of that, and that’s great. Success to me is we are able to set up the community strings that we want to set up across the United States and we get people attending, and we get people just loving the film.
It will not be any scientific I guess. [chuckles] There’s no hard data that we’ll collect on it but it’ll be talking with people and hearing their thoughts on it and just seeing how their thinking about it, and if they’re thinking about the anticipation in different ways. It’s really fuzzy, sorry, it’s not like a concrete like, “We will make a gazillion dollars.” That’s not going to happen, it’s a documentary.
Financially, I would like to recoup our investment in it for our investors in film. It’s really about I get to change people’s mindset about what women’s athletics can do. Long winded answer, sorry. [chuckles].
Anja: All right. I’d love to hear just a little bit about your own story in sports because I’m sure that has a great influence on how you decided to do this movie, so can you just tell us briefly how is your own athlete story?
April: I love sports. I love playing basketball specifically from a young age. Growing up, we did a lot of little random things but probably the most competitive early on was basketball but even now it sounds like I started playing in 8th grade. Nowadays that sounds so late, they’re starting with five-year olds, it’s crazy. Did pretty well and got a chance to play at the college level.
I was playing at Chapman University with these women and I loved it. Again, I mentioned playing pro at that age I would love to have played in WNBA that was like, “Oh my God.” I knew that I wasn’t level. I’m six feet but I play center so that’s small for pro level but I try my darndest. I still had a pretty good career in college and I think that was one of the earliest lessons that I learned just thinking about. As I moved on and really focusing on my career in video production and film making and media.
I put in all the work, it didn’t exactly pay off the way I wanted to in terms of being able to take it to the next level but I still had a great career, I had these amazing relationships with really incredible fun and wonderful people connected to the sport. I started to realize, “Okay maybe it’s not this is the way it’s going to pay off.” And build like random things like going into professional.
I started my career with Fox Sports which is a sports broadcast company in the US, and like little things that would pay off I guess in terms of playing the sport would just be like connecting with the men in the office and be able to talk sports with maybe other women at that time anyways. Sounds like a stereotype and it was sort or real back then where a lot of women weren’t really– I was around in a work environment but I would be able connect with them on a different level and develop a different relationship because we could talk about sports.
Even after work go play a pick up game of basketball and because I could play, I got more respect. Weirdly I probably wouldn’t have gotten in the work environment without that because I was some young woman and just totally green in a [unintelligible 00:21:41] who she didn’t care about because I could play pick up ball with a bunch of the bosses it worked in my favor.
That was small and I started to pick up these little small things that I found just helping me in my career and I take that coupled with the work ethic that I learned through playing basketball. I just put in the work, put in the extra time, try do your best at everything that you can do because when you don’t and you start to skate by and think you can be able lazy in a moment and you see that didn’t actually really help you in the long term.
Somebody noticed that you were lazy and they’re going to remember that and then you’re like, “They’re not going to think of me to do this project, they’re not going to think of me for this promotion.” It’s always like those type of things [unintelligible 00:22:26]. Sometimes is not being conscious about that for years even just you just go about your life and then move to a different company and different relationships but then everyone always comeback like what– The things that I loved about being competitive and things I loved about even like conditioning which now at that time was like, “Oh my God I hate [unintelligible 00:22:48].” Sprint workouts or with the crazy things that our coach used to do but as you get older I guess you’re starting to appreciate that conditioning aspect of it and again the path and you put in the work– The more you practice in anything in life the better you’re going to get. I just really like realizing that and appreciating that and then being more proactive about doing that and all the non-sports things in our life you can like creative work.
Anja: And patience like you mentioned that pay off doesn’t come the following day necessarily.
April: Like creative work, sometimes people think that if you’re an artist you just have it or you’re a great writer you just have it. I’m sure that’s true for some people just like there are some athletes who are just amazing athletes they are just born that way and they buffer a lot of creative endeavors. If you keep practicing, if you want to become a good writer, write every day. That’s practice.
If you want to be a great director of photography, you go out and you shoot stuff you film things and you’ll get better. You may never get to the level that you think that you should be or want to be but you’ll definitely get better and so just applying that– They are not after all they just trying things and just and practicing and putting it in and also stretching your limits a little bit.
I’ve taken on projects or taken on roles where at the time I was like, “I don’t know if I can do it. I think I can. Sure I’ll give it a try.” And then you do it and you do a great job. The reason if not everything goes the way you wanted to you learned a lot, you still did really good work but you push yourself for the things that you can control and do the best that you can do.
Anja: I think that’s maybe one of the differences between men and women if we are talking general, that we seem to have this default I don’t know if I can do it attitude and I think that’s where sports really helps us to just well, I’ll give it a try. I remember organizing the Danish national championships for many years in skiing because I was the only skier in my country doing this.
Just to try to get the girls to compete was really, really hard. Unless there was enough of them feeling that they weren’t so competitive, then it was okay. I think that’s the thing we have. Instead of just going out and trying to give it our best, we have this default, “I’m not really going to go there because I don’t think I can do it.” Instead of just– Sports has a great power and lesson like that.
April: I totally agree. Spot on, it absolutely does. Like you said, sports I think helps you overcome that. You second guess that lack of confidence that you have initially, because you remember, like, “I didn’t know if I could do those things on the basketball court. I didn’t know if I could win that game or I didn’t know if I could hit that shot, and I did. Let’s try this.”
Or sometimes you didn’t but you try, you felt good about trying. It’s that crazy thing, you’re going to miss 100% of the shots you never take. Having that approach and I feel like I’ve seen it. Most of my professional career in video production has been in my life on the corporate side, but always done also film making and also presenting or other video production, but I regularly work with corporations and either building or managing in-house creative teams.
Now I’ve had an opportunity to work with a lot of different folks, and a lot of young women. I think that where that really sets in back when you’re talking about the lack of confidence and in it, “I’m not sure.” Really comes to when they’re talking about if they want a raise or a promotion. Where I had my own experience, I’ve had a lot of young men come to me and they have no reservation about asking about asking for promotion or a raise whether deserved or not, that’s a different strategy, that idea of asking.
I probably only have one or two women who had that same attitude and most will not ever really ask, and wait until the designated time of the annual performance review or they would ask, and you could just tell they were so scared. I would congratulate. In those instances, I would stop them and do like, “I know what you’re going to ask, I can tell. I think it’s great that you’re asking. I may not give you what you want because there’s a lot of actors involved.” But I really wanted to encourage them to conquer that fear, and have that confidence of like, “It’s okay to ask, and it may fail, you may not get what you’re asking for, but that’s okay.”
I don’t disrespect somebody because they’re asking. I saw that time and time again, that difference, first-hand, of business and corporate environment between men and women. I think the ones actually that actually didn’t have the hesitation, they might have been a former athletes, now that I think about it, actually. I’m not 100% sure if they were but they could have. I could see if they were [inaudible 00:28:03].
Anja: That might be the link between– What’s that stat? About 90% of women who are in the, in the C suite have a background in sports, maybe it’s because they asked for the promotion or asked for it.
April: Yes. I think that’s a good point. It wouldn’t surprise me at all. If you want it, you got to ask for it. That’s been my approach in my own professional career too. I’m the person who will go– It took a while to get there but I’d be the person to go in and talk to my boss or somebody, figure out who’s the decision-maker, that’s the key thing. I would just figure out who the key decision-makers are.
Same with film making too, if you’re trying to find some money, you want to talk to people who are the decision makers, and that may be the person with money and it may be somebody else that they pass that decision off to. Find out who it is and to just go ask. Don’t be a jerk about it, be nice and be ready to present why it’s whatever you’re asking for is either earned or deserved, because you do this or the other or you bring this value because at the end the day, when it comes to money specifically, it’s not about the money per se necessarily, it’s about the value and [unintelligible 00:29:14] that value to whatever that dollar amount is and what they see added.
Same with financing I think, it’s like, “What’s that value they think they’re going to get out of it for the amount that they might be investing in it.” For part of it anyways.
Anja: It seems like you knew pretty much already when you were still playing that you wanted to be in the film industry. How was that transition? Did you find it easy and natural that now it was time to do something different or did you have any–
April: No. It was [unintelligible 00:29:47] at all. It was terrible, actually. I will say today, I think is a really incredible time for film making because it’s just so much accessible now and that’s why I keep doing my own projects because it’s like, “Wait, I can’t control. I can’t make more of it.” Whereas especially when I finished film school in 2000, the tools weren’t as available. It wasn’t financially accessible. It was pretty much controlled by a small group of people.
The big studios control a lot when it comes to theatrical releases and things like that. There are so many other avenues and so many other [inaudible 00:30:29] points today that didn’t exist back then. Trying at that time was really about trying to get into the big places that already existed. I think this attitude still persists a little bit today from my own experience but certainly back then it was very closed up.
You just had a relationship with some extra to get you in the door, so to speak, to do work. The reason why I got to get into Fox Sports at that time was because I got some sort of internship and then I worked my butt off on this internship which was a free internship [inaudible 00:31:00] paid for it at all but that was okay with me because I just really wanted– I thought I really wanted to work there and I was super excited so I was going to do the best that I could do at that time.
I met some cool people there too so to the value of what I could bring which I was fortunate of that. It was very closed off but same time like this, I’m sure it is still just today but there was just a ton of ego. I’ve never been a person who just wants to, I guess kiss other people’s butts and play those games and especially the fact that I didn’t have the confidence to really put up with the ego. It was tough.
It was dealing with some nice people but a lot of jerks too and a lot of people who maybe got their sense of identity from what they were doing and were very defensive about anybody new coming and working at their business or their studio.
Anja: They weren’t necessarily there to make you be the best you could be. [laughs]
April: No, there was no that. I would share stories about just work cultures and attitudes and it’s changed a lot which I think it’s great. There’s much more of a tendency to actually want to enrich and develop employees not then. It was like you show up, you don’t ask questions, you do your job and I don’t care if you want to grow and learn and do more work [chuckles]. It wasn’t their attitude.
I’m sure that was not the case for everywhere at that time but it was just my experience coming in. Then other people having tried to break into different studios in terms of picking a job and stuff. They just really had a hard time. I ended up detouring and taking a very different route. I was working in media and film production and video but working in– After that experience, I started to be on the outskirts of that which has now become their own huge industry but working in like I mentioned them. Working in in-flight entertainment.
Working with studios but a different way of sourcing material began. Airplanes, I worked in retail media. The content that might go into a store like you see in a checkout line [inaudible 00:33:04] working in that. Also working in digital media most recently in my last role with a full-time corporate entity was digital channels that are distributing on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram so on and so forth.
I’ve learned something from all of them. I feel like I’ve applied my experiences as an athlete to all of them in different ways. It’s been a varied career for me. I’m excited to be focused on this film full-time right now.
Anja: You decided to do this movie about taking lessons from sports into life after sports? Do you have an example of how you’ve done this yourself?
April: Certainly. I feel like there’s a ton of ways. I feel like a really common aspect, I think I– I don’t know if I mentioned this but is specifically for team sports. You are thrown together with a group of people. You have a common goal. You’re put through a lot together in terms of physically just pushing yourselves and so you really have a shared experience around that but outside of that, you may not have ever been friends with these people [laughs].
You just have a common love for that sport and working hard and wanting to be competitive and the best, but that idea of trying to figure out how you work together, I mean, I was really lucky I think in some of my teams, like most people, we really I think became come close, we became friends and we maintained relationships but there are also, throughout my own athletic career, some times there are people that you just didn’t click. Not that you were enemies or anything that traumatic but you just didn’t click but again have to find a way to work together.
I think when you move off of sports and into your whatever your non-athletic related career is, you’re going to find the same thing, you can’t control everybody that you work with even if you become the CEO, you have a board of directors. [chukles] You don’t necessarily pick who you work with, but you have a common goal and you’re trying to work towards that.
You have to figure out, how you work with that person. Even if you just don’t get along, you don’t see eye to eye on things, you don’t even maybe even– You know what the goal is, the how to reach that goal, you have two different ideas about how to do that, and how to compromise and work together, and just make it happen because if you can’t do that, everybody suffers.
It’s the same thing on a sports team. If you couldn’t figure out, how to run a play together, you’re going to– For basketball anyway, you’re going to cause a turnover. If you’re not on the same page, somebody is trying to pass me the ball and I think that they’re going to shoot and pass it over here, and I’m over here, you’re never going to score. If you can’t figure out– I can think of a specific example with particular team members. This one guy, in particular, I think of working with an engineer.
He was super smart, really great. It’s like he had a chip on his shoulder and I think at that time, for myself– I probably wasn’t as empathetic to whatever was causing that chip on the shoulder for him. We just sometimes didn’t see eye to eye. We never were compatible or anything, but it started to like starting to figure out like, “I think I need to be more empathetic with this guy. I think that’s how I’m going to connect with him so we work together and solve this problem that we’re faced with trying to get this video to the technology side of the delivering some video to some clients.”
Using that, I was like, that’s a direct example of I think a specific individual where definitely, I had to stop and try to think like, “How am I even going to work with this guy?” You have to figure it out, even if I don’t want to, but I have to figure it out, I can’t not deliver the video to the client.
Anja: Okay, well, cool. I think we’ve got it all covered. If people have any questions they can just write in and we’ll get it all done.
April: I’d love to encourage anybody who’s interested in following the film, to not only follow us on Instagram but also they can check out our website at afterthegamethemovie.com and they can sign up for our newsletter. We send regular updates up to you just to see. They’ll learn about when it’s premiering in their area. Their screening the area, all those good things.
Anja: That’s afterthegamethemovie.com?
Anja: Well, I’m going to wish you all the best of luck for this and I’ll make sure to post the links for your crowdfunding because I’m sure some people here who want to support a movie like that. I will for sure.
April: Thank you. Yes. I think people will love it. I think that they’ll be really– Yes, I hope they do. It’s a movie for the audiences, at the end of the day.
Anja: You’ve been great. You shared a lot of cool stuff and good wisdom from the sports world. It’s been fun. Thank you for doing this and all the best of luck to you.
April: Yes, thank you.
Anja: Take care, bye-bye.
April: All right, bye.
[00:38:32] [END OF AUDIO]
About sport and confidence :
“Sports, I think helps you overcome that to sort of second guess that lack of confidence that you have initially.”
About asking for a raise :
« It may fail. Like, you may not get what you’re asking for. But that’s okay. I don’t disrespect someone just because they’re asking »April Abeyta
About our guest
April Abeyta is a filmmaker with a background in sports. After having had a great corporate career working for TV such as FOX Sports and producing movies and video content for corporations, she has dedicated the last couple of years to her passion project AFTER THE GAME.
She is an advocate for women in sports and the message of helping more young girls stay involved in sports.