Not Good Fans… The Greatest.
Lately I’ve been so involved in post production and the “filmmaker” side of this project that today I took a few minutes to remind myself a few things. I began thinking about how far we’ve come and more importantly how we got here. This is a project that started out as en exploration of Nebraska fandom over 2 years ago. It was just an idea, a Craigslist ad, a couple hundred bucks, and some camera equipment that I borrowed from a friend. Honestly, I just missed Nebraska and was looking for any excuse to be there in the fall. I wish it was a more altruistic or “Hollywood” story than that but I just really wanted to see a couple of football games and hopefully meet Eric Crouch. He was our first and only interview we lined up. Since him we’ve interviewed about 20 “Husker celebrities” and more fans than I can count.
We say it’s not about football. That its bigger than that. That’s what we tell ourselves – I hear it almost every day, I’ve believed it my whole life. I was afraid that as I immersed myself in it that I would find out that we weren’t that great, let alone the greatest fans in college football. Like the time I accidentally bumped into Sean Penn and he gave me a dirty look. Not that it makes him a bad person but it took him out of the running for my favorite. And Husker fans don’t claim to be “not bad” fans or even “good” fans. We wrote above every entrance that we are the “greatest” fans. That’s Bold.
I could make a movie about making this movie and it would be just as interesting as the movie itself. I got email after email from people sharing stories and offering help because they just wanted to “be involved”. Many of them just loved Nebraska. Many just knew a Nebraskan that they loved. I’ve had camera men help me for free because we didn’t have a budget at first, sound guys, people who just wanted to hold a mic. Farmers that would let me use their land as long as I promised the pictures would only “be used for good”. Strangers sent me pictures and videos, invited me into their house, made me honorary members of their clubs. I was invited into old coaches house and offices and stadiums. I was given rides in helicopters to film Lincoln in ways hopefully it hasn’t been seen before. I’ve been given pictures from NASA. I’ve had some of the busiest men on the planet change their schedule to work in a time to talk to me about being a Husker. We would spend the first half of our time talking about football then we would talk about how we grew up. I also met many talented artists and musicians but the ones that came through the most where the ones I’ve known my whole life. I was looking to find music for the film. A good song that made sense. I couldn’t afford them, they were very expensive and I’m not a wealthy man. Never have been. My friends got together and made a song for my film that is incredible. 2 of my best friends from childhood, one of their dads and some dude I’d never met wrote and sang the main theme song of the film. I would call us a grass-roots project but I like the term home-grown even more. When people from other places see the help I receive their minds are blown away by the kindness , the loyalty, and the support I’ve received. Some don’t believe it and they search for the agenda.
Sometimes it’s important that we stop and remind ourselves how lucky we are to grow up in such a great place. So I wanted to take a second to thank everyone who’s helped me.
I wish I could do or say more. The film will be ready this fall and I hope I did Nebraska justice. While “Through These Gates” is about being a Husker it’s not just about football. It’s bigger than that.