By Jake Geller
A few weeks back I came across a story that really stood out. The story is a profile that was featured on ESPN’s newsmagazine “E:60” about a high school football player who is blind.
I was impressed with both the production values and the storytelling. The majority of the 10-minute story is told by the subject of the profile, Charlie Wilks, who also conducts most of the interviews for the piece. By the end of the story, I felt that I knew and understood who Charlie really was. On the field, his nickname is the beast because he shows no mercy and expects the same from his opponents.
The producers of the story do more “showing” than “telling” about the challenges Wilks faces and how he adapts. For example, they show Wilks using assistive technology, a BrailleNote, for the interviews he conducts. Wilks briefly explains how the technology works, but the storytelling isn’t bogged down with all the particulars. Instead, viewers can see him using it during interviews.
Significantly, it is Wilks – not his mother or grandfather or even a doctor — who explains how a brain tumor led to his blindness. This shows us more about Wilks as a person than about Wilks as a medical condition.
I was inspired by this story, not because I was told to be inspired, but because I was shown.
Decide for yourself. The story is at http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/e60/columns/story?id=4637537.