Shoot Free Throws, Reach The Moon

Court Crandall of WongDoody/LA likes to make movies. He has a story credit on Old School (2003) and was the screenwriter on A Lobster Tale (2006). His latest project, Free Throw, takes Crandall and crew into Compton where high school kids with good grades will compete to win college scholarship money.

I discussed the project with Crandall this afternoon. He said, “people say the name ‘Compton’ and there’s a visceral reaction. People have an image in their head of guys with Uzis. I want to help redefine that image.”

To that end, Crandall has placed a free throw contest between 10 randomly selected Compton High School students at the center of the action. Crandall, who will direct, said he likes the structure because it’s “inherently dramatic.” He referenced the film Hands On A Hard Body, which has a similar structure.

I asked Crandall about being a rich white guy who comes to the ‘hood to help. He said, “It’s a delicate area, but I’d rather inspire people and provide opportunities, than to motivate with fear.”

Crandall is hoping the idea behind the film will spread to other cities and that many more scholarships will be funded. He has already raised the $40,000 for the winner’s scholarship from private investors and he is working to acquire additional funds for the runners up, who are currently slated to receive $1000 scholarships, although the amount could go higher. Crandall is also using KickStarter to raise money for the production of the film.

WongDoody is supporting the film and will provide PR, social media, production and advertising support. Crandall noted, “the educators in Compton are inspiring people and we always leave there energized.”

The fact is the communications industry can do more to help people and WongDoody understands that. Crandall’s latest undertaking is a pro-bono effort, a cause-related contest and a huge content project all at once. Crandall’s excited about it, and the excitement is about to build. This Friday the 10 high school students will be selected to compete and Crandall has arranged for world record holder, Bob Fisher, to travel to LA and help prepare the students for the shootout on March 25th.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.