( ENSPIRE Entertainment ) The Awe-inspiring Story of Freddie Stevenson and his Journey From NFL Player to Motivational Speaker
ENSPIRE Contributor: Daniel Garritson
Trials to Triumph is the story of Freddie Stevenson and his meteoric football career, the crash that followed, and his reinvention. Stevenson served as a fullback for the Chicago Bears for several years before resigning because of the NFL’s decreased use of fullbacks. He has since created his clothing line and worked as a motivational speaker. The documentary features stories of struggle & redemption from Maurice Benard, Delvin Breaux, Tony Gaskins, and more. See them overcome the odds in these powerful, real conversations.
Trials to Triumph was written by Dan Ratner and directed by Greg Romano. This inspirational documentary is based on Stevenson’s Best-Selling memoir and features interviews with Freddie Stevenson, Maurice Benard, Dasia Torres, Neno Torres, Tyrell Lyons, Tony Gaskins, Dr. Dan Ratner, Delvin Breaux, Terris Stevenson, Sylvia Stevenson, and Ryan Green. It was produced by Dan Ratner, Greg Romano, and Freddie Stevenson.
At ENSPIRE, we interviewed the production and directing team for the film and asked questions about the creative process. The first three questions were directed at and answered by Freddie Stevenson.
What was the process like for contacting those you wanted to feature in the film for interviews, like Tony Gaskins?
I just texted everyone and asked them if they would be interested in sharing their story. Everyone was excited about being a part of the project.
Would you say that there were any great challenges in directing this documentary? If so, what were they?
We faced so many different challenges while creating this film. It seemed as if every week it was something new trying to get in the way of us finishing this project. I am just glad we overcame all of those obstacles because this film has a powerful message that needs to be heard.
Do you have any personal connection to sports and Football specifically?
Yes, I have played football since I was about 5 years old, and I’ve always loved watching sports.
What do you think are the most important elements of filmmaking?
Writer Dan Ratner answered this question.
I think the most important element of filmmaking is understanding how your audience might experience the story you are telling and how you are telling it. If you aren’t connecting with your audience, it doesn’t matter what you are saying. In this film, we wanted to tell Freddie’s story the way he wanted it told and are thrilled we were able to do that.
But we also feel that we were able to tell it in a way that could keep our target audience interested in what came next so the film stayed captivating. The visuals, the music, the personalities, and the stories all need to come together to tell one story that moves and inspires the viewer.
Our next two questions were answered by director Greg Romano.
How do you approach sound and music in your films?
The music we choose is mostly based on the emotion of the scene. The emotional tone of each scene drives the story, and the music is one of the most critical aspects of helping the audience feel the story we’re telling.
What did a typical day look like when you were directing this film?
On a typical shoot day, we get the scene set up, then talk a little to the talent to brief them on the process of the day and help them get in the right headspace. Then we shoot the scene with our overall direction in mind to make sure we get the footage we need.
This final question was answered by Freddie.
What values or lessons do you anticipate the audience will take from this documentary?
Never give up. No matter what circumstances you are facing in life, you can still win. After hearing these amazing comeback stories from the cast, I truly believe that the audience will leave inspired.
This documentary adaptation of Stevenson’s memoir captures the emotional impact of the roller coaster ride that his journey through life has been. From battling poverty to becoming one of the top football players in the country, his life has been turbulent. Dan Ratner and Greg Romano have successfully captured this journey on film and created a fantastic adaptation of the memoir, filled with inspiration for all who watch it. The documentary can be rented or bought here.