10 years is a long time. Well, maybe not in the grand scheme of the cosmos and the creation of everything around us; but in the lifetime of the average human being, 10 years is a pretty significant chunk o’ time. If you really think about it, we measure our phases of life in 10 year increments. Whether it be physical age or periods of music, a decade is how we create order in a frequently orderless existence. Even the word “decade” holds a certain type of weight. I mean…it sounds like if a decade fell on you, ya might be sore for a few days. And you know what, when you look back at the past decade of your own life, it almost does feel like something large and cumbersome has glanced off the side of your head.
Welcome, friends, to the 1st installation of my incoherent thoughts and ramblings as it concerns the TV series you know and love, Big Break. For all the newbies of the Producer Blog section of the website, my name is Brendan Havens and I’m the Senior Producer for Big Break Mexico and have been working with Big Break in some form or fashion since the very 1st season…10 years ago.
Believe it or not, Big Break has now been on the air for 10 years. I know! I couldn’t believe it either. The 1st season premiered on October 6, 2003 and was one of the 1st of its kind. Granted, the series followed the worldwide successes of “The Real World”, “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race”, but Big Break was really the 1st reality competition program that centered itself around a single sport. Upon hearing of this show concept while working as a freelance production assistant for Golf Central, I had to find a way to work on it. So, I left Golf Central to log the tapes that came back from the very 1st Big Break series shoot. Yup. Just some single, 24-year-old kid sitting with a tape machine and a computer, typing into a document what’s happening on the screen in front of me. Who woulda thunk it. 10 years later, I’m now just some married, 34-year-old dude leading the charge in all facets of the Big Break series production. A whole lot can change in 10 years. Just take a look at the 1st season of Big Break on golfchannel.com and compare what that looks like to how it looks now. I mean…yikes. It’s like looking back at your high school yearbook. You ever do that? I can guarantee you said to yourself, “how did I EVER think that looked good?” Well, let me tell ya. I ask the same question when looking back at those early season episodes.
So, as we inch closer and closer to the premiere of the 19th season of Big Break, how is it that each successive season has proven to be as entertaining as that 1st season was when it was so fresh and new? Well, it’s because each season we keep finding a way to make the same ol’ series feel fresh and new. Sure, it’s still the same basic foundation that the 1st season was built upon: Aspiring professional golfers trying to find a way to live together while competing in extremely unique/high pressure golf challenges. However, we make a concerted effort every season to have every season feel like a totally new series. From new and improved challenges, to new cast member dynamics, to big time format changes…which is what leads me to Big Break Mexico.
In my decade long experience with the Big Break, I can safely say that this season is vastly different from any other than I’ve been personally involved with. Now, I realize this won’t be the first time we’ve done teams, but with these teams of 4 (2 men, 2 women), this will be the first time we’ve structured the team format this way. On top of this, there’s also some pretty significant twists and turns to come that I’m not at liberty to divulge at this very moment, but trust me…they’re pretty twist-a-rific.
Outside of the twists and turns you’ve all come to expect with the Big Break, what I really love about this season is the dynamics that teams inherently bring. You see it with the Ryder Cup every two years. Competitive people are always that much more competitive when they’re in a team environment. The ecstasy of winning and the agony of defeat are that much more amplified and the reactions are that much louder because when you have to rely on others to determine your level of success, things can get really tense, really quick. As the great Alvin Lee of the band 10 Years After once wrote, “You got to help me, now. I can't do it all by myself. You know if you don't help me, darling, I'll have to find myself somebody else.” Seems to be quite fitting as we enter this team format for the 10th year of Big Break.