265: Nate Boyer Podcast
Nate Boyer: Nate Boyer is an incredible American. He served in the Green Berets for 8 years, then decided to go to college at the University of Texas, and then walked on the football team where he was the starting long snapper. Although he got a quick workout with the Seahawks, he has gone onto greater things.
He spent two years on a passion project creating MVP, the Movie. It reflects what he has done for athletes and ex-military vets who are looking for true meaning and purpose after they are done either playing or serving. It’s a great film.
Listen to “Nate Boyer: From GREEN BERET to Hollywood.” on Spreaker.
Hey everybody, it’s Mark Pattison. I’m back again with another great episode of Finding Your Summit, all about people overcoming adversity and finding their way. Before I get to today’s rock star guest, I’ve had them on before. I just want to draw attention to my website www dot Mark Pattison NFL dot com. We’ve got 270 plus episodes of really inspirational people doing amazing things. I really urge people to go over there, check it out, or check it out wherever you get your podcasts. I will also people to go into Apple and give some love. Their ratings and review helps elevate the popularity of the show. There’s so many pods out there, and people need to hear the people like I have on today and their story because we all need to be inspired and including myself. Also you can you can find the one a full NFL film, Searching for the Summit, which won a Best Picture Emmy Award. Uh last year of my epic journey going up and down Mount Everest in and all the other drama that took place with that, But there was a button that magically takes you straight to the NFL three sixty film, which is thirty minutes long. It’s pretty cool. And then finally we continue to raise money for Emilia’s Everest, which goes directly to Higher Ground, which is a charity here in Sun Valley, New York and LA about compowerment of other people. We’re going to get into that today with my guest. He knows a thing or two about that, um and uh. But anyways, if you want to make a donation, please go through there. Of all proceeds go directly to to that organization, and most of it, ironically goes to military people who have had some pretty serious traumatic injuries, not only trauma to the head UH and PTSD, but also limbs being blown off and trying to recover from that. So it’s very important.
Um, ironically, I want to jump into my guest now. His name is Nate Boyer. Nate, how are you doing? I’m good? Mark. How are you doing? Brother? I’m doing good. Last time I saw you was at the Super Bowl. But the reason why I said ironically is because of course you were a grand beer bray for a number of years, eight years I think it was um in Iraq and Afghanistan. And and you know, we’re we’re going to lead up to this movie that you just got done. It might have been your first one you’ve I know, you’ve appeared in other other films, but the first one that you wrote, you directed, and you’re really had a lot of control over all this. But but let’s just go back to kind of for where you sit today, and that the really foundation of what you’ve become, starting with probably trying to find yourself in some way and then ending up with some structure by being in the military. What did that do for you? I mean, if you were to sum it up in a paragraph, what would that look like? Oh? Man, I mean, you know, the military. It’s funny, like I think a lot of people, a lot of people assume, especially parents, you know, I think I think that that maybe their child needs this kind of structure direction. A lot of people that served before would maybe kind of recommend it to a lot of people because of what it did for them. Um, I didn’t really have any of that. Like, not that my parents were anti military or whatever, but they were very much like they weren’t in the service themselves. Both my grandfathers were in World War Two, but they weren’t necessarily ever pushing me in a certain direction or thought that I needed anything. I think they were worried about me because in my late teens really twenties, I didn’t go to college. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I didn’t really have since the direction. I was kind of just bouncing around odd job to odd job, having a good time doing it, you know, worked on a fishing boat, went to fire ter school for a few months, and then realized that wasn’t for me yet to to kind of, you know, grow up. I wasn’t quite ready. I was eighteen nineteen when these things are happening, and then nine eleven happened when I was twenty. Um. And even then, while a lot of people were joining the military at that time, a lot of people my age, we’re you know, signing up leaving college, leading jobs they had um you know and listing before their second semester of high school or whatever it was UM, so that as soon as they graduated, they’d be off. For me, it was like, I just I don’t know yet. I see the I see why, and I had that interest, but it didn’t it didn’t lead me to that place quite yet, not until um, I was twenty three years old and I ended up doing some relief work over in uh In in Africa, in the Darfur region between Chad and Sudan, and that really changed my life. That trip, That that that opport tunity to go volunteer, even though it was only for you know, a couple of months. Um, the perspective I gained and also the appreciation for what we had here and the realization that most people don’t and we’ll probably never have that, um, it made me want to fight for them, fight for those that couldn’t, that can’t fight for themselves, and sort of find a sense of purpose and be meaningful and and feel like what I did on a daily basis made a difference because I didn’t feel that way before. And then once I went into the army and in the basic training, it’s like structure is from day one. It’s all about that, you know, it’s all about like attention to detail all the little things, um matter. And if you if you don’t, if you don’t fold your if you don’t, if you can’t learn to fold your socks or your you know, make your bed a certain way, you’re certainly not gonna um, you’re certainly going to struggle with with when their bullets are flying around you maintaining that that sort of military bearing, um, the the awareness, doing the little things to make sure that you’re keeping each other safe. Like it’s all about those little things, which I think relates in a lot of ways to preparation for anything that’s that’s a great challenge, whether it be playing in the NFL, summoning everest, um, performing brain surgery, you know, whatever it is. So like, I found the value of that, of that structure and much you know, kind of later in life. And I didn’t. I didn’t. Of course, you sort of hear those things before you join, but you don’t really understand at what level, at least for me, until I was sort of thrust into it. So not only basic training training to be you know, in the Special Forces of Green Beret all that stuff. Um. It certainly was not something I was really prepared for, but I had a bit of an idea of what I was going to be encountering and UM and and it and it helped me and helped me throughout the rest of my life, I mean, and there a lot of life left to live. But because of that time, I prioritization and responsibility and UM preparation, all those things that I didn’t put a lot of stock in there, like the lifeblood of how I operate now you know, yeah, I do know, and I know it because my my athletic past plan at the University Washington in a very structural coach and in the NFL, which has led me into the business things that I’ve been involved in, and certainly with mountain climbing around the world, that takes a certain discipline to be able to take on those things and with with actually daily discipline to have that commitment to the detail that, like you said, it is very applicable to other things you you have done. And again I don’t want to spend too much time on this because we did this on a hundred episodes ago, I think after we came off Kilman tare out together. But you know that the lad to the and maybe this is more a commentary and my side has led to this, this really interesting football career you ended up having late in your twininges at the University of Texas, he became the starting long snapper. You played a lot, a lot, which then led to this NFL experience that you’ve had, and it’s just amazing to me to see how much you know that how much just you stepping into the fear and you stepping into the things you really didn’t know and learning how to do things that you hadn’t even done in high school that that has had this long tail effect for you and all these things that you have done. Um So, so then you and I will will just touch on this for a second. Um So, you know, again circling back into kind of this whole community activation and and understanding there’s a there’s a higher cause why we’re here on this earth. And then you come together with Chris Long, um, my former teammate. How we long who I know is in your movie. We’ll talk about that in a minute, but how we on Chris? You had a nice, great phenomenal career really in the NFL. I want a couple of Super Bowls, happened to pick the right teams. Um. But you two came together to create this this this organization called water Boys, which is really kind of brain this well, uh, this whole idea of military people together with former NFL people and at the end of the day, we’re both kind of looking for like what’s next and how do you evolve out of your career when you’ve been doing something that you love and you kind of drive off the end of the cliff. And so that experience for me down to kill Magaro. We happen to be in the first class. This was back in like two thousand, sixteen, seventeen something like that. Here we are, yeah, and here we are now and you guys are still going out at full steam? What is your involvement now with with that? Are you still going down there and climbing every year? You know what? I haven’t since since eighteen, So it’s been a while. It’s been it’ll be five years this year since I’ve done it. But I think I’m gonna depends on this edual. I’m gonna try to do it again because I miss it. I want to try. I want to get back up there. I’ve got a couple every year, it seems, I’ve got a couple of buddies that make it on the roster, you know, and they’re like, are you coming? You gotta go? Like, uh, you know, I need to, though, I definitely need to. I miss it. Um. I got into trail running a bit this last year, ran my first fifty k UM and so kind of got back out there. It’s different than obviously, um, you know, climbing and you’re not in quite the elevation. But I was actually signed up to do the lead Bill one hundred this year and I got I booked a job on this host in this show that took about a month to shoot and we were down in Panama and I just couldn’t swing it, unfortunately, so I missed out. But I’m because of all that. It’s like it’s got me back on the back on the trails, you know, and Kilimanjaro was just a lot longer trail, a lot steeper at times. Um, but it’s still you know, the same kind of ballpark. But yeah, like like you said, um, you know, finding continued purpose was a big part of that after the military, Like we talked about what led into it, you know, and feeling like I wanted to and we all want to be a part of something making a difference in other people’s lives and all that. But when you actually get the opportunity to do it and you feel purposeful, and you can also do it while pursuing passions and things that you’re you love to do and challenging yourself, um, it’s just a great marriage and so getting that opportunity to meet Chris first of all. Uh, literally the day after I got cut is when we got connected. I got a call from him. Um, you know, I was. I was in training camp in the preseason with the Seahawks after playing at Texas, and um, just played in one preseason game and then the next round of cuts came along. My number got called and that was it and um and it was and it was all good. I was grateful to get that shot. But immediately I’m like, all right, now what do I do? Like military’s over, Football’s over, I’ve lost my uniforms. What’s next? And Chris called me and told me about water Boys and what they were doing to bring clean water to to East Africa through uh, you know some of these NFL players that were uh you know, official water boys for these teams. And he was like, originally that goal was thirty two wells to represent the thirty two teams. They’ve past that long ago, and now I don’t know what the new goal is, but it’s with Chris, they’ll just keep on setting them, which is great. But he said, what can we do to bring in the veteran community to what I’m doing here if there’s something of interest to you. And I said, man, well, I know we love a good challenge, and you know, we want to be a part of continued service to What if we get together some NFL players, current and former and some veterans you know, and we’ll go climb Mount Killum and draw together raise awareness for what’s going on, you know, nineteen thousand below where we’ll be um where there’s you know, a lack of clean water and resources and uh, and he thought that was really cool. And um, that first year, I went up just with one other veteran who was an amputee, and we went we went out there, um and you know, that was the first time I’ve been there and you know, got to climb and all that. And then so that next year you were in that first that that first big class. No, I know you you’ve already done killing jar before, right, right, so you had that experience as well under your belt. And uh, and you know I’ve done it once and Chris had done it once, but most of the other group, I think the rest of the group was all their first time. But that was a really that was a really special trip and we’re you know, we raised um, a lot of money. You know, I know we were in the six figures because we we dedicated at least a couple of wells, if not three wells from that trip. Uh. And then they’ve done it every year since then, and it’s been, uh, it’s been quite a you know, a really cool journey with that. UM. But yeah, you touched on something about um, you know, uh, you briefly touched on it about the you know, my time in the military and then football and um challenges, but also like when I think of what I’m doing now, you touched on it when you mentioned how we and you said the movie movie up, like that’s something that I’m you know, working on now and passionate about now. Storytelling and UM, you know, I’ll tell you being around a movie set, a film set, you know, even in the narrative space where it’s scripted and it’s a lot more you have a lot more somewhat control over the story and when you’re shooting and what you’re shooting. It’s a little different than documentary. UM, it’s still in some ways like a military training operation, not a combat operation. Of course, nobody’s shooting at you. But like things change, whether affects what you’re doing. You have to be flexible. Um, there’s all these different departments and people in charge and every different areas and you have to be communicating effectively with them. And as a director, you have to communicate your vision appropriately and efficiently to the rest of the crew and then let them be creative, don’t micromanage, like, let them take their piece of the pie and make the best thing they can make. And then you’ve got to deal with um, you know, a budget and sudden change, you know, and being flexible but also being authoritative. It’s it’s really interesting, but it’s something that I’ve found helps me feel like I’m climbing a mountain, so to speak, you know, where you get that rush. I mean, not that being at the summit isn’t an unbelievable feeling, um, but for me, it’s it really is the course of finding that summit that I remember. It’s the discovering what that thing is, um, the new creative endeavor, and then pursuing it and learning it and failing at it and like that whole journey. That’s that’s what makes me feel alive, you know. I mean, I would imagine coming up Everest, I don’t know, but some of those moments where that voice in your head is telling you to quit, or your body feels like I don’t know if I can continue, yet something in your spirit persevers and just keeps going and somehow you take that next step, and then you take that next step like that’s that feeling of I am not letting this defeat me like that that Those are the Those are the moments in life I’m trying to continually relive because they make me feel alive. You know. Yeah, Well this picture right here’s me on top of ever first and that is probably at my worst moment right here, when this should be my best moment because of all those things. You know, I was hours into it and I still had a you know another nine ten hours ago, and I knew I had some very very very difficult things I still have to navigate and good go through. But I think one of the things that that makes you you know who you are and why you’ve achieved, Like the way you’ve achieved is because you have the thing called the power of curiosity. To me, yeah, I’ve been around you, have spent time with you, so super Bowl last year, but you know, really on that Kilman Gerald trip. I’ve also been up to your your gym with with Glacier, which we’ll talk about in a minute. Um. But again, it’s just like you’re you’re you’re taking a step back and you’re you’re you’re trying to see a path, and you’re asking yourself why does this work? And how do you do that? And going through all those different things. And I think when you really dig into that and start and start going down and peeling the layers, then these answers start to bubble up. And you know, I prepared for two years Foreverest, and all that preparation still didn’t didn’t a line me for every single thing that happened up there. But you know, when I was up there, it was like, okay, I figure it out, Okay, zero agrees that. For two months, like how do you deal with that? And how do you get through that? And how do you stay mentally focused? And all these different things. I think you know, through this different training that you’ve done, plus just who you are the combination of those two things, it’s no surprise to me that you continue to achieve. Now, after we came back from Kilman, Gerald, I was I was living in l a at the time and now in some valley, Idaho, and you’d come together with Ja Glazier and he Glaciers got this workout studio. UM. And you’d seen this again, this need of or this void where there’s all these military vets that are coming out of the out of the military with no purpose, no direction, no structure, and and many of them suicidal and things like that. And so you guys created this, this place, the safe place where they could go up, they could work out in this gym in Hollywood. UM. And also you invited former UH athletes. I know a lot of them were NFL players because of glaciers relationship with being on on the NFL on Fox and with your experience. UM. I was fortunate to be up there a couple of times and go through kind of this cross training one hour thing and then afterwards us all sitting down together in a big circle, and I’m not sure what you call the circle of true or whatever, but people just freely. You know, you could go around the circle and share a story or not share a story. But it blew my mind away to listen to some of these stories like they were just happy to be there because three days ago they were ready to end it and it and I can only imagine the amount of stories and probably the inspiration for this new movie m VP that we’re going to talk about. Yeah, none of that. You’re exactly right. I mean, we we ended up back when you came that that initial time, we were still pretty early on. We hadn’t named the circle, we didn’t know what it was, but organically it became the huddle, which makes a ton of sense. So you know, that’s what we call it. And and as you said, yeah, we we you know, we train for thirty five minutes, nothing too hard, just get a sweat going, something that everybody can do, but we gotta do it together and enough to kind of build a bit of a bond and make people feel comfortable in the room. Hey, we all nobody quit here, so we’re all you know, we all we all got through this this workout today and now we’re huddling up and it’s an open forum, you know, peer to peer coaching session if you want to call it um kind of like some of the conversations I’m sure you had in the locker room at times. You know, you you you get, you get done with the day of practice and you may have never talked to this person before, um, but they’re lockers a few away from yours, and all of a sudden, you’re just shooting the breeze about something and realize you’ve got a lot in common and maybe somebody struggling with something or whatever, and you kind of talk through it. I mean, it’s it’s probably it’s different. Every locker rooms different. It’s different at every level too. I mean college is very different than the NFL and all that stuff. But um, I noticed in my short time playing football that a lot of those conversations were very similar to the ones I had around a fire pit on a rooftop in Iraq. It’s like, we’re not talking about the battle we just encountered. We’re talking about life back home and dreams and you know, what I want to do in the future, and what what I’m frustrated with, you know, and what I can’t get past or whatever it is, um, Because sometimes a lot of the things that shared in that circle and that huddle has nothing to do with post traumatic stress or you know, has nothing to do with you know, feeling like you were a bust as a as an athlete and it didn’t work out or whatever that is so UM, it’s really it’s been. It’s really eye opening to kind of hear those stories and see that. But there’s just such a mutual respect between athletes and uh and veterans. Both of them have to sacrifice quite a bit to be elite. Of course, you know, going to war and playing professional sports are very different things, would never compare that, but losing that uniform and identity UM and trying to find yourself and and you know, honestly find your next summit uh IS can be really hard. You know for a lot of people feeling like I’ve peeked and will never be great again. It’s a very common thing. And those are words that were literally spoken by Tony Gonzalez and one of our huddles, probably the great tight end of all time, if not one of them. UM seventeen year Hall of Fame career, and you know he retired and had a broadcasting career in front of him. He’s a good looking dude. You know, he wants to work and he wants to be an actor as well. Kind of the world is his oyster situation. He’s only thirty seven, but what he felt inside was, yeah, maybe I’ve got all these things outside, but I still I don’t believe that about myself and I feel like I’ve I’ve peaked and um, and that’s that’s like a scary feeling, you know. And for him to share that in the huddle, and to have these veterans who many of them, like you said, have it, you know, attempted suicide in the past or just really struggle with letting go of the past and kind of moving on. To hear someone like that that, you’re just you think, well, he’s got it all. I mean, you know, a beautiful family, um, plenty of money in the bank account. I mean, this was you know, he’s the he’s the one per center, one percenter of the NFL. UM as far as the one he’s the one percent of exactly exactly exactly, I mean add everything except the Super Bowl. You know, there’s always something with all these guys, every every single one of them. It’s like Randy Coturs. Thing is he didn’t make the Olympic wrestling team, but he’s the six time heavyweight champion in the world, you know. But to him, he’s like, I’m failure. You know, that was my dream And it’s like wow, So everybody feels that, you know, and we’re all connected in that way. They were always We’re always going to have that thing no matter how accomplished you are, that you feel like you didn’t you could have done more, you could have gave more, you could have done better. And I’ll tell you a ton of veterans feel that way. I mean, they’ll never remember, um, how many people they potentially saved, it’s the ones they lost and what they couldn’t have, what they failed in their mind, failed to do enough of or correctly. And you know, I zigged when I should have zagged, And they’ll just hang on to that forever, and it’s unfair to themselves. Um. And it’s uh, and it’s it’s it’s challenging, and it’s just something we have to learn to sort of live with and recognize and not let us not let it get the best of us, because it’s always I feel like some of those things are just gonna always be there at some level, and that’s okay. But if we’re aware of it, you know, and we’re aware that this is it’s not the reality of who I am, it’s just something I feel sometimes, then we can move past it, you know, and and probably help it prop propel us into greater things, because you know, when we at least with me, when I feel like I didn’t when you know, or I didn’t succeed at the level I wanted to, it just motivates me to push that much harder into the next thing and and find another way to um to succeed or when you know, yeah, I know, I love that. And you know, going back to Tony Kanzals, you know this this for you people looking at watching this on on YouTube right now, this is my you can’t really see it, but this is a picture of me on stage UM accepting the Emmy UM for this Best Picture of Searching for the Summit. And it really has nothing to do with me climbing the mountains. Yes, I was on Mount Everson. There’s a lot of scenes and footage, but it’s really about me being in the rut and finding my way out, you know, kind of kind of to your whole point, right, what that was all about. So so you know, so I’m researching this movie. I knew it was coming out. You know, you’re a buddy or a friend. We’ve climbed together, and I was so happy to see how you kind of emerge in these two worlds to create this film, which is so important. And then I think, correct me if I’m if I’m not right or wrong here, but I think Sylvester Stallone is the executive producer, which I don’t even know exactly what that means, but somehow or another, he’s involved in this whole film that you were able to write and direct and everything else and get all these other actors involved. But how in the heck did you ever? How does that work? I mean, how do you pollish you know, slam of this stunt? Yeah, well, he sot alone. I’ve been to an m v P session. So m v P, you know, as you said, stands for Merging Vets and Players. I co founded it with Jay Glazer back in and now we’ve got eight chapters around the country. So we’re about to have our seventh anniversary. We’re in l A Vegas, Chicago, Atlanta, and New York, Seattle, Dallas, and Phoenix. UM Vets and Players dot Org as the website if anybody wants to check that out further. But Sly had come to Jay’s Jim Unbreakable, which you’ve been to, and he trained there for six months or something. Like that. He was preparing for for something. And before this is before he moved He moved out to Miami now, but he used to live out here and Jay was always telling him about m v P. I check out m v P. You know, it’s his charity. And sly I was like, oh, you know, of course, I’m sure he gets hit up a lot from a lot of organizations, you know. And he was like finally, he was like, one of these nights, I’ll come in. I’ll come in to night. You know. Don’t don’t go telling a bunch of people because I don’t want to, you know, I don’t want to maunch of people showing up just because I’m there. Um, well, of course word got out and there’s like, you know, normal session, We’ve got thirty, forty sometimes fifty people. There’s like a hundred people there. Um it’s a small it’s a small space. It’s a small gym. Yeah, yeah, it’s suits about I mean from a training aspect, you’ve got thirty people in there, You’re you’re plentiful. And so he’s in there, everyone’s working out and he’s not working out with us, but he’s hanging out, you know, kind of watching everybody and um. And then afterwards we moved to the huddle and you know, to kick things off, Jay you know, asks if so I wanted to say anything, and he’s like, no, I’ll just you know, I want to hear you guys. And so he sit there and listened to a lot of these stories and these people talking and being as vulnerable as they were, just as open as it were. He was kind of blown away, like, wow, this is this is crazy, you know. So he went into this thing with the with the UM I guess the misunderstanding that he was gonna go there and kind of give a speech, you know, and instead he’s like hearing this stuff and he’s like, oh, I’m not I don’t need to give a speech at all. And eventually one of the vests just said, you know, slide, I just want to say, like, thank you for coming. I mean, you know, when I was a kid, that’s one of the reasons I wanted to be in the military was Rambo. I know this maybe sounds cheesy, but like that was you. It was. That character is one of my heroes, you know, and Salone says, let me tell you a quick story about Rambo. You know, in the book, first blood. Rambo dies. He’s actually sort of put down almost like a uh, you know, like a dog at the end of this Um and it’s a you know, he’s a Vietnam veteran that struggles with poth maatic stress and coming home and disrespected and just feels like he can never you know, he’s not going to fit in anymore and kind of goes goes off the deep end. And and he was pitched this. This is after the success of Rocky. He’s pitched this character in this movie. And he’s like, well, look, I think it’s an important story to tell, but there’s no hope in it, you know. He just he’s just killed at the end. And he’s like, if you guys change it, you’re willing to change it and let let the man live. Um, at least have a glimmer of hope there. I’ll consider it. And so they did. They change the script so that Rambo lives at the end, and of course that makes four more Rambo, so for the studio is a good business decision as well. Um. But he was like, I wanted to play a Green Beret so bad, and I wanted to play this character in this Vietnam veteran story. I thought it was so important, but I also I just thought it was important that this person had a chance. You know, we believed in this person moving forward to them, there was going to be a future afterwards. And now I’m sitting here listening to you guys, and it’s like this, this is this is the A lot of this is the story, the feelings that that that the character John Rambo had, you know, and I had become friends with his producing partner, a guy named Brandon after good I used to work at Peter Berg’s production company where I interned Peter Friday Night Lights and Lone Survivor of Love those shows. Yeah, he’s great. Yeah, And so I’d gotten no Braden, and as luck would have it, Brandon and Stallone came together to create Balboa Productions and I was in contact with Brandon. I said, hey, look, Slide has been to m v P before, and um, just so you know, I’m working on a script. I want to tell the story of how we started. And he said, we’ll send it to me. So he sent it to me. Um, he sent back a ton of notes and said it needs a lot of work, but I think there’s some promise here and uh. And so I worked through it, and eventually Stallone just said, hey, like, you know, put my name on it. Like, I got a lot going on. I won’t have it done a band with here, but if if my name is gonna help this thing get made, um, then take then use it. And he hasn’t asked for anything. You know, it’s been amazing just to see that. But but he did. I mean, and and that’s a lot of the reason that a lot of these people read it, some of the other actors involved and and all that was because it had stolen his name on it. And once they read it, they were like, oh, wow, this is actually, um, something I am passionate about and can get behind. And I think it’s really important you guys were telling your own stories because we’ve got I mean, every veteran portrayed on screen is played by a VET. Most of them are m VY teams, all the athletes, many of the athletes, as you mentioned, Tony Gonzalez, Randy Coutur straight hand and how he long have a cameo. Jared bunch Um, first round draft picked by the Giants, played fullback for about four years for an injury ended his career. He’s in the film. Um, Rich Eisen and Jay Glazer are in the film, you know, playing themselves. So all that sort of came together and with that authenticity and we just we made this thing. We shot it in the middle of COVID figured it out with very limited resources budget wise, but a lot of passion and support from the league and UH and from just countless others around the Los Angeles area. We filmed on location in the gym and the Veterans Homeless shelter where a lot of these vets were living. It’s just it’s a very like real product and something that it took me a long time to appreciate. I was so afraid throughout the whole process that I was screwing this thing up, doing our story justice. But the first time I watched it in the theater was at the Super Bowl this year. Um, that week, we we had a screening and UM to see the vets and the athletes, you know, Kenny Maine and Sean o’harack walked out of the theater in tears, and I was like, all right, like this is it resonates with the people that it matters to me, you know, the mainly it’s the it’s the members of m v P and the people that understand our story and kind of where we come from. That’s who I really wanted it to hit with. And unfortunately that you know, we’re out now and anybody can watch it. It’s on Amazon, Prime, Apple TV, um other streaming video on demand services and um yeah, I encourage anybody to watch it, share about it, learn more about m v P through that some players dot org. But um really sharing this movie and getting it out there, um is important. You know. It’s it’s it tells our story, It’s how it all started. It’s about a homeless marine and an NFL player for sure out of the league, who meet and realized they’re going through the same things and kind of bring this m v P idea into existence. UM so yeah, now, so again, let’s go back to this film because I want to relate it to what you you just went through. I’m not a writer, I’m not a director, I’m not a producer, I’m not an actor like all the things you are. I’m not right. I just happened to meet the fascination of NFL films that they wanted to do this the story on on me. They came over here, really not knowing other than just there’s Mark’s gonna try to take on Mount Everson tried to become the first NFL player to do this, right. That was really the only notion, and so many other things came out of it. And the thing that blew me away after seeing the final product was that I had no clue about. You know, we’d go up and we shoot for hours on this ridge line and I was climbing, I was doing this, and Jim more I was also involved in some of it, and you know, being interviewed, and it what it ultimately got down to is that the way that they were able to um two have a vision in mind and what the story was going to be about, and then edit it in a way that made sense and it was compelling. And then the music, there were so many elements. I had no clue that when they were here in January of two thousand and twenty one. The film didn’t come out until September, and in between that time they put this whole masterpiece together, like what they were filming at the time could have any and result of what ultimately came out, which was the best picture. You know, it just I had it just did not connect. And so it just what what I’m trying to say is that so much of the film happened once that the actual footage was in the can, and then the people, as you know, because you’ve been through it, you know, on the you know, the cutting room and the music and the sound, and and having aches for every single scene that is in there means so much. And trying to come up with this finite time. In my case, you know, it was twenty nine minutes or something, you know, just under the thirty minute’ clock. In your case, you go on it for a couple of hours. Think our fifty two or something is your film? So making it I’m sure you like, if you could have had you away, it could have been four hours, because there’s so many amazing stories to tell, right, The first first cut was about two hours and forty eight minutes, and it was yeah, so there there’s the point, right. So so that so the discipline of continuing to whittle and whittle and whittle and whittle, and so making sure that every scene just again has those high stakes which ultimately come together and bring something which Kenny Man can walk out of a theater crying because it’s so compelled at what you’ve created. Yeah, no, I appreciate that, man, And I mean you get it. You definitely get it. And it’s like it’s hard to make those to make those cuts because you’ve you know, when it’s your story or you feel so connect did to it, You’re like, well, that’s an important piece of it too, and it is. It’s not to say it’s not, UM, but it’s a it’s a matter of like what is the most important you know, and does does this part of the story served the greater story in the best way because making sure that um, just like the mission in the military, the mission always has to come first. Making sure that the movie always comes first, no matter what you know, and and that that comes with tough decisions and it comes with sometimes it comes with cutting your niece and nephew out of the movie, which I had to do, you know what I mean, and some other great actors, and it wasn’t anything to do with their performance at all. It just wasn’t you know, it wasn’t serving the ultimate h story final cut that we ended up with. UM. But yeah, what’s important, most important is they have the movie and the audience and making sure that you captivate them and keep them and they’re interested in they’re they’re connected to it, and they don’t wanna you know, they don’t want to check out and look at their phone, you know or whatever that is. Like how do you keep them fully engaged? It’s really hard and um, I mean the editing of this, a lot of it was we just because we just didn’t have the resources and the money. But it took months and months and months because when people were available, because they weren’t working on a bigger project that was paying them a lot better. I had to take those two weeks here, three weeks there, get in the room with them and like, let’s just hammer this out for as much time as we can because I know you’ve got to jump on this other project next. And um. But it was you know, throughout that whole thing, from the sound you know, the final sound mix and everything, the people, the level of people that were working on it because of the story and that we’re you know, doing it at such a cut rate for what they normally get. It was awesome. I mean, it was we were very lucky to have all that. It’s the only way we could have got it done. I definitely don’t want to make another one at that level, not that I need, not that I need tens of millions of dollars, but like you, when you’re dealing with just hundreds of thousands of dollars and not many of them, it’s tough. I’ll just leave it at that. It makes it infinitely harder to you know, just stretch that, to stretch what you got every day. So from the beginning of filming it to its final release was a two year to year process. You know, Um, that’s a long time. So how how do you finance that? Like, you know, again, there’s a lot of people out there. I think one of the things you’ve done really smartly is you want to be an actor, and so what what do you It seems to me at least like especially with how many levels of access you know, from the Amazon Prime to Netflix to all these other streaming services, that if you want to be an actor, the best way to do is try to can do everything you can to control that, right, which is what you did, which is basically be the actor, the director of the executive. You know, you you’ve you were were in fifteen different hats, but then you control the project, right, So like in this case, does a studio back you on this, or do a group of investors back you on this? Or how does that whole thing work? I mean, yeah, it depends on the project. I mean, this is an independent project. You know, if it’s a studio film, it’s no longer really independent. UM. That’s sort of the defining characteristic, I think independently financed UM to individuals specifically and myself, UM kind of put up the put up the funds, and like I said, it wasn’t a ton so for them it was lower risk. It was you know, hey, both of these people that jumped in with me just we’re passionate about m v P the organization. They’re like, tell a good storytell it right, do the best that you can. If I see a return, great, but I’m not stressed on that, and that pakes a lot of pressure off me and everybody. But then also like to wear all those hats. Part of it was yeah, like we definitely wanted to be able to dictate the narrative. But also I don’t have to pay myself to produce, to correct, to direct, to act, so we’re saving so much and it just goes back into the film, you know, and being able to use that in other places. Um, because all these other people as well, like that, all those names we listed before, they all worked for scale, which is very low, you know, in the hundreds of dollars um to work on this thing. Like they didn’t they didn’t ask for more, they didn’t need more. They just were like, I’m I’m in because of what it is. And thankfully you’re only asking for two or three days of my time, so it’s not too crazy and there’s not a ton going on right now in October with COVID and whatnot, So I’m in. Let’s go and uh. And that’s how that sort of came to fruition. But every movie is different. I mean it’s tough. I get pitched a lot of bigger ideas. Um, you know at a lot of action based stuff that’s you know, military stories, which I think are super important to tell accurately. But for me, like that’s a little that’s a little tougher to get done because then you’re looking at it’s an eight digit movie, you know, not a not a six digit movie, and those are just completely different worlds, and UM, to do that right, you need those resources. And UM, it’s just it’s it is a greater risk. I think one day I’d like to to get to that place, to be able to tell films stories like that. I mean, one of my favorite directors is a veteran himself. His name is David Ayer. He made Fury. Um. I don’t know if you ever saw Fury, but it’s a to me, it’s a it’s a it’s a really good it’s a really good movie. It’s heavy. It’s a World War two film. You know, yeah, Brad Pitt, John Burnthal and others, and it’s great. Um, but you know that takes that’s a huge process to get to that point and to feel like you’re ready to take on and endeavor such as that. Completely different than this movie where I felt I think the independent world for me makes sense right now. Um, where it’s a little the stories are more contained. There’s something I can absolutely relate to. And I’m kind of living in some ways right now. And I’ll tell you next time I direct something, I definitely don’t want to play one of the leads. That was a great challenge to be on the sides of that. There’s just you’re juggling chainsaws every day and it just feels a bit overwhelming at times, but I think it was necessary for this project at the level we were at. UM. But yeah, I’m just I mean, I mean, this is my new for me, this is my new mission. Like the storytelling piece is really important and I’m passionate about it. Yeah. Well, I mean, look, it’s like you don’t go from from literally to the NFL in one jump, right, you do that iterations And that’s what you’re what you’re talking about right now, Becau that’s been on the podcast, UM is Tom Arnold. Tom was in your film? What rule did he have? Uh? In your piece that you did? I haven’t seen it. I actually know what your your movie tonight now that because I know because I know it was in the theaters and I live in a small town, so we don’t we didn’t have it here. But now that you just you know, letting us know that you can see it on m VP on Prime Amazon. UM, I will download that tonight watch it. But what what world did Tom have with the film? So Tom, I’ve met Tom a few years prior, UM, and you know he Tom’s Tom’s got a very interesting story. First of all, you know, he’s He’s from Iowa, a small town guy himself. But also he you know, he lost a nephew of his um to suicide, and he was a veteran, and so when that happened in his life, he’s always kind of had a great respect for the military and veterans, and a lot of people do. But it was a difference, was much closer connection for him, and he was just like kind of struck by that and then understanding how common and often that happens. Unfortunately. Um, it’s roughly two veterans a day across the country lose that battle back home and uh. And he became very connected that and in our story in the m v P film, UM, that’s a big part of it because this unit that this marine who was living in the shelter, um, the unit that he was in, his second Battalion, seventh Marines, on back to back deployments in two they lost twenty nine guys to combat and since then, since coming home and oh nine, they’ve lost fifty six now to suicide. And that battalion is maybe a thousand guys at the most. It’s not that big. So to put it in that perspective, you know, to think that, gosh, you know, over five of our unit has has gone one out of twenty or more than that. Those people have taken their own life back home. Is staggering, you know what I mean, staggering. UM. And so he just he was so connected that because of that story and losing his nephew and understanding what that was, you know, was like for the family, how it affected him and his family. UM, he just wanted to be a part of it. And he’s he was great. Was like he literally was like, whatever role you want me to play, I’ll help. I got you. He’s like, you know you can, and so we ended up. Um, as you’ll see, you know he Uh. He’s kind of a perfect role for him because he’s very funny and it’s sort of a bit of a comedic levity in the in the middle of the movie. UM, and he’s like a fantasy football analysted you know, at NFL Network. And the lead the lead actor Moe McCrae, who plays Will Phillips, who he’s first year out of the league and he’s trying to find his footing and they’re all of a sudden there’s this opportunity to uh, to get into broadcasting potentially, and he’s excited about that opportunity, only to find out it’s in the fantasy football world, which he has no interest in. You know, He’s like, well, I know, I know real football. I want to talk real football. I don’t want to do this. And so these guys, you know, collide and it’s just another another one of these getting your hopes up situations and it just not panning out how you expect it. And that’s that’s the story of a lot of us, you know, as we’re transitioning and trying to find our footing. Yeah, I love that. Alright, buddy, listen, let’s just make sure everybody’s clear. Where can people find you? Number one, I’m on on I have a website Nate Boyer dot com, but also at Nate Boyer thirty seven on Twitter and Instagram. UM and m v P uh Murdering Vets and Players. You can find us at Vets and Players dot org. If you have veterans or athletes in your world that you think could utilize our program or have any ideas on how you want to help us continue to grow, that would be great. And then the movie UM at m v P. The movie is our social media UM, but you can also see the film and you should see the film on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, pretty much anywhere else that streaming video on demand. You you’re able to watch that now. I love that, love that. Proud of you too, man. You you’ve come a long way and it’s been fun to see your journey. So it’s really cool and that I can do to help you at any time, you just let me know. But that note, thanks for coming on and sharing your story and continued success. And next time you have a film, if you do something crazy, I will have you back on the show. So I totally appreciate you, of course, brother, appreciate you to I love you, man, and I can’t wait to see again. I’m sure I’ll see you down in Phoenix this year, right on right, okay, all right, everybody there he is, the one, the only Nate Boyer. Thank you.
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