I had the pleasure of being hired on contract by S-Media to film this documentary which aired on TSN.
When the news of Chris Neil’s departure from the Ottawa Senators hit the hockey world last week, I, like many others, took notice. For me, this story had a personal impact. Up until quite recently, I knew very little about NHL hockey, let alone Chris Neil. But that all changed when I was contracted by S-Media to film a special documentary about Neil’s career, specifically the major milestone of 1000 NHL games played in a Senator’s jersey.
Doing my Research
In an effort to not look completely clueless about the man I was about to film, I spent an evening researching Neil’s life. I was interested to find that Neil had grown up in the small village of Flesherton, Ontario, not unlike the village where I was raised. Neil had also been involved in local events and groups like VBS as a kid, as had I. My nerves began to dissipate.
If any anxiety remained about interviewing a hockey star, it was completely wiped away upon meeting Chris. He was just a regular guy with a lovely family, who happened to make his living playing hockey. While filming, we followed Chris to his cottage, to a practice and finally a game.
Scoring the Interviews
Part of the doc’s creation included interviewing pivotal people in Neil’s life, including his wife, and former team mate, Mike Fisher. Fisher, like Neil, was incredibly down-to-earth and humble. His friendship with Neil, and the professional and personal experiences they had shared, such as the sudden passing of Neil’s mother, had clearly created a strong bond between the two players. These personal connections brought greater depth to the story we were able to tell about Neil’s career.
When the documentary was complete, I was really thrilled with the final result. Neil’s career and life were shared in a clean but colourful visual story. The completed documentary was aired several times nationally on TSN and the satisfaction seeing our work play on the big screens at our local restaurant and pub is one I won’t soon forget.
Producer // MARK KRISTOFIC
Location Sound Recordist // SCOTTY TAYLOR
Colour Treatment & Mix // ERIC YU
Content director and contributor: Jennie Hoekstra