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Why are Will Smith, ‘People’ magazine and Kelly Clarkson calling an ACC Network producer? Because 2020!

On a recent visit to see her grandparents, Maddie Presser – daughter of ACC Network studio producer Dan Presser and his wife, Beth – asked her hosts, “Do you guys want me to sign this? I can write my name now.”

Maddie is four-years-old. She counts Will Smith, Kelly Clarkson and People magazine as recent Zoom pals. You see, the Pressers – including son, Barton (and a VERY proud and supportive ESPN family, see below) – had an idea after watching the Disney Family Singalong in May when Maddie commented that she wanted “all kids to be able to have macaroni and cheese,” Dan said. “So we decided to do these videos and raise money for Feeding America.”

Now, “these videos” have helped the Pressers raise over $50,000, to date, for Feeding America, which includes a $15,000 donation arranged by one of Maddie’s “co-stars,” Will Smith. The clips, shared socially, have grown to over 40 mini-masterpieces where the Pressers re-create iconic movie scenes from Dan and Beth’s favorite movies, including such classics as Pretty Woman, Forrest Gump and even a stab at the cinematic stunner, Braveheart.

“It started as a way to keep the kids busy during the beginning days of lockdown when it felt like every day was 72 hours long,” said Dan, a Syracuse University graduate, who has been with ESPN since the launch of ACC Network in summer, 2019. “I think people just really needed a break from depressing news about COVID-19, election coverage, food bank lines, the economy struggling and they were happy to get 60 seconds of cute kids delivering famous movie lines from our childhood.”

Just one more reason ESPN families like the Pressers are in “A League of Their Own” (yep, they did that one too!).

Four-year-old Maddie Presser holds a celebratory Emmy Award. (Dan Presser/ESPN)
Maddie is just at that age where she’s a parrot – she repeats whatever we say. We would show her [the G-rated scenes on YouTube] and she would ‘get into character’ and develop the lines. We didn’t even realize until a few months in that she was really good. I just thought she was great because she could talk, unlike Barton. It turns out she’s pretty good! The occasional fruit snack doesn’t hurt.Dan Presser, Proud Dad & Producer
Maddie Presser channels her inner William Wallace. (Dan Presser/ESPN)
My favorite was Braveheart because at the time no one in our [Soutington, Conn.] neighborhood knew we were doing these movies and we hadn’t seen anyone in months. Then they see our daughter hanging through the sunroof with my sister holding her and her face painted like William Wallace yelling ‘They can take our lives but they’ll never take our freedom!’ A toddler in a cul-de-sac is about as far away from the Scottish battlefields as you could get, which is what was so funny to me. She loved doing Home Alone because she got to jump on the bed and eat popcorn.Dan Presser, Proud Dad & Producer
Have you checked out Maddie Presser’s homage to Julia Roberts’ character in ‘Pretty Woman’ yet? No! ‘Big mistake. Big. Huge.’ (Dan Presser/ESPN)
I’m just glad I can help kids get mac and cheese. I like being in movies with my friends even if we can’t play together because of the bug. For all future inquiries and requests, please contact my agent and ‘Dadager’, Dan Presser.Maddie Presser, Co-Star of Will Smith
ACC Network studio producer Dan Presser with his daughter Maddie, son Barton and wife Beth. (Dan Presser/ESPN)
My wife Beth and I brainstormed a lot of scenes from movies we loved as kids so we could share stories with our kids. We were somewhat limited because Barton was so young, he could basically only ‘listen’ or “cry” [nailed it]. In his roles, there wasn’t a ton of dialogue.Dan Presser, Proud Dad & Producer

ESPN Colleagues “Review” Quarantine 2020 Productions Offerings

Kelsey Riggs – ACCN Host & Reporter

“The videos Dan and his family did were a breath of fresh air for me and my family and a much-needed lighthearted break from so many heavy things we were all inundated with in the first few months of quarantine. Dan is an incredibly creative and talented person, and to see that creativity take on a whole new life of its own while helping so many other families through Feeding America was definitely a bright spot in 2020.”

Jessica Shobar – Senior Coverage Producer

“I’ve known Presser for almost 15 years now and he has always been someone that could make me laugh and has never taken life too seriously. It’s clear that he is fun and easy going as a dad as well. His kids are the star of the show, but you can tell that his spirit and humor is behind the scene choices and execution. During this pandemic I think everyone is looking for a way to connect with people and help out where they can. The Pressers made donating so easy by attaching the link to every scene. When you watch their videos they bring a smile to your face and you want to pay it forward, what better way to do that then by donating to Feeding America.”

Ande Wall – Senior Managing Producer

“Dan was hospitalized with an undiagnosed brain disease late last year that left him hospitalized and his wife, Beth, caring for their two young kids solo. Despite all they had on their plate, they threw themselves into caring for others. And did so in a way that brought a lot of smiles and joy to so many. Dan is one of the funniest, most creative people I know. So, it didn’t surprise me to see these amazing videos he was producing with his kids. In a year full of what felt like never ending bad news, the Presser family was a constant light for us.”

Krista Meyers – Social Media Specialist

“In a year like 2020, where there’s so much negativity on social media, it was really refreshing to see Dan and his family do something positive and heartwarming. It’s amazing to see people use their creativity for a great cause.”

Justin Kilker – Senior Manager, ESPN CreativeWorks

“The Pressers are putting smiles on people’s faces all over the world and during a time when we all need it most. Not only have these kids inspired me, but they’re true heroes during a difficult time for us all.”

John Minton – Features Producer, E60

“Dan and Beth are such tremendous people and parents, it hardly surprised me that they would come up with such an entertaining and impactful way to make it through all that the past year has become. It’s no secret that we are living in trying times. And with that, it was so easy to gravitate towards something as wholesome as Quarantine 2020 Productions, while also being able to fundraise for those in need across the country. Like the Pressers have done for so long, they once again provided a smile and made the world a better place when we all needed it the most.”

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