Oct. 14, 2004
By Emily Mullins
Every Thursday evening, Bradley Theiss and his five-member crew pile into their 35-foot RV. They spend the weekend traveling from city to city filming footage for their second full-length film production until they return to Athens early Monday morning. This is when the six Ohio University students begin another full week of classes.
"We all have full class schedules so we're extremely busy. But it's worth it," says Theiss, producer and namesake of Bradley D. Productions.
This dedication Theiss and his crew; Matthew McManus, Jennifer Schalk, Chris Pavlica, Kevin Mahoney and Mallory Gilkey, have to their production company has certainly paid off.
Theiss began his college career as a double major in theater and video production. But after filming a few music videos which "kinda' wasted time," he decided to become serious about film production and was inspired to make a documentary about Athens' historical mental institution. The film was completed his junior year and Bradley D. Productions was established.
"The 'Athens Asylum' took off more than I had expected," Theiss says of his first production. Created on a $7,000 budget of money from benefit concerts, local donations and Theiss' own pocket, the film received numerous positive reviews and has sold more than 700 copies locally. This success inspired Theiss and his crew to begin their newest endeavor.
"My assistant producer, Matt McManus, and I sat down and thought it would be interesting to see the other side of football – the fans," Theiss says.
This idea led to the creation of "FANatical," a documentary about America's most fanatical football fans.
After researching the Football Hall of Fame's "Hall of Fans," eight die-hard football fans from all over the country were chosen for the film. Designed to appeal to a large viewing audience, Theiss and his crew believe "FANatical" will be a program "everyone will want to watch."
A more elaborate project than the "Athens Asylum," "FANatical" is using an estimated $300,000 budget coming mainly from Thiess and donations from investors.
"I've maxed out my school loans and put everything on the line so I hope it works out. If we get it done, it will work," Theiss says.
The production is scheduled to be completed by March or April and is up for possible air-time on the NFL Network.
Although Theiss is mainly interested in documentaries, his plan to move to Los Angeles in June has him keeping his options open.
"I don't know where I'll go next," he says, mentioning his interest in television.
Whatever genre Theiss chooses, his experiences at Ohio University and the guidance he has received from his professor and adviser Frederick Lewis has gotten him off to an impressive start.
"You can get an incredible education from the film production program here if you strive to get it and have great professors to guide you and push you," Theiss says.
America's ultimate football fans get to show their loyal support in "FANatical." But if this initial success continues, Theiss and his crew could soon have a fanatical fan-base all their own.
Emily Mullins is a student writer with University Communications and Marketing.