SEC Network’s new and returning weekly college football programming kicks off this week and continues until the whistle blows in December at the SEC Championship. That programming is highlighted with the SEC Network debut of the newest SEC Storied, “Wuerffel’s Way,” (tonight, 9 p.m. ET) and the network’s newest show, SEC Inside [Wednesdays, 7 p.m.]. Both are produced by the 16-time Emmy Award-winning cinematographer Jim Jorden.
Front Row sat down with Jorden to discuss both the film – which chronicles Heisman Trophy winner and former Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel’s work to help rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina – and what to expect in his season-long SEC Inside series:
What drew you to the “Wuerffel’s Way” story?
Rarely do you meet a person who seems too good to be true. But that is Danny Wuerffel. The worst thing we found out about him is that he chews his fingernails. He grew up the son of a pastor and developed a servant’s heart at an early age. And the many blessings he’s had in his life, he’s always shared. In a team sport like football, Danny is team all the way. So when we heard about his involvement in the aftermath of Katrina, First Row Films Executive Producer Rory Karpf (who helped launch SEC Storied knew it was a story that had to be part of the series.
– Jim Jorden
You have an impressive resume of insider-type shows. What drew you to this project – developing SEC Inside – and how will it be different from the other shows you’ve worked on?
No college conference is more competitive than the SEC. Producing a weekly quick turnaround episodic series is something I’ve wanted to do for quite a long time. The fans are so passionate. I think in showcasing all 14 schools, it will be obvious why there’s nothing quite like game day in the Southeastern Conference.
Describe what you hope to do show viewers with SEC Inside each week.
This series is not a sprint, but a marathon. It’s about competition presented in a heroic and dramatic fashion.
SEC Inside will have a highly cinematic feel. Do you employ different equipment to get that look?
We try to make game day look and feel like a Hollywood movie. We shoot film style cameras. The TV broadcasts utilize video cameras. So the difference is like watching a movie in the theater versus a sitcom on TV.
We call our main cameras the tree, the mole and the weasel. The tree shoots up top and can never miss a play. The mole films from the sidelines and makes you feel like you’re in the huddle. The weasel shoots everything but the game, providing the fan experience.
To launch the series SEC Network will debut two shows in Week 1, the first featuring the Western Kentucky at Vanderbilt game at the show’s regularly scheduled time (7 p.m. ET) and an additional episode at 8 p.m. featuring New Mexico State at Florida. What are you looking for in the debut shows?
Both teams featured in SEC Inside Week 1 are establishing new cultures. It will be Jim McElwain’s first game as head coach of Florida, so that will have a historic feel to it. It’s Year 2 for Vanderbilt’s head coach Derek Mason, and he’s in the process of reinvigorating his program. What was really interesting to hear at camp was how detailed-oriented each coach was in teaching technique to his players. It’s often the little things that make a big difference and they both showed meticulous attention to detail.