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A Producer's Perspective on the Final 3

Big Break Greenbrier
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Imagine writing a really important email… one that is going out to the entire company… your whole world revolves around this ONE email.   Imagine as if you’ve poured everything into this once piece of literature and devoted countless hours ensuring that every word is spelled correctly, all the punctuation is properly place… and now, once you’ve finished, you now have your mouse waiting, hovering over the SEND button… that sense of panic that washes over you as you press the button and see your masterpiece go off into the world.  Now it becomes a waiting game.

The casting process for Big Break has a similar feeling. As producers there is so much deliberation as to who gets the nod and who gets the ax… on top of all the meetings and screenings of audition video there is the never-ending internal dialogue we have with ourselves. It’s as if we are Santa… we’ve made our list and now we are checking it twice hoping we can find out whose naughty and nice.

But once we make those final cast decisions, once we hit send, we are locked, we are finished and now we have to hope we made the correct choices.

When Isaac eliminated Rick, completing our final three alongside Mark and James, I remember a wave of relief washing over me.  I knew that the three best golfers were representing the Big Break series. I knew that we had three interesting and dynamic characters that were set to do battle for the right to compete for a life-altering prize package.  I know that not only were we poised to have a great finale but we were also in place for a phenomenal final three show… both of which we got. 

Last Break Champion – Chan Song

I have to give Chan Song some love because he played so well during the Last Break online competition.  Chan has a swing and a golfing demeanor that wouldn’t lead you to believe he’s got world class game but this man can play.  Having spent some quality time with Chan you realize just how driven he really is – how badly he wants to become a star playing golf.  He wants to step out of the shadows his sisters cast and anoint himself as the King Song… question is, will he? His brief return to Big Break in this show proved he was slightly outgunned and deserved his elimination when he got it.  With that said, let me give you a little back story on Chan so that you can make your own informed opinion.  After graduating from Georgia Tech in 2005, Chan tried to play professional golf in Asia and in the US… but was sidelined for nearly two and a half years following wrist surgery.  Up until the fall of 2011, Chan was NOT playing golf at all.  He was recovering from an invasive wrist procedure to help alleviate a lot of pain he had been dealing with and now that he’s healthy, he’s ready to give golf its proper try. Best of luck to Chan.

A producer’s perspective on the Final 3

Tin Cup is by far one of the great golfing movies of all time. Why lead with this? You’ll see…keep reading.
The elimination match between Rick and Isaac proved to be a turning point for Isaac, not playing wise, but reality TV-wise… This was the show that he realized he’s in LOVE with the spotlight and that he didn’t want to give it up anytime soon.  Isaac struck me as a guy who can be somewhat introverted when you first meet him but once he opens up, he’s all yours.  In show 9 and show 10, I felt like Isaac had finally arrived.  All series long Isaac was his true self… he was Isaac Sanchez but I felt he was his truest self once he came back to the house after his great play and subsequent elimination of Rick.

In the 1st challenge (Drive/Approach challenge where we saw Chan comeback) Mark made the following comment about Isaac, “Isaac, as we’ve learned every show, he’s going to hit the aggressive shot.”

After 13 seasons of producing Big Break, and a big fan of the remaining 5 series, I can say without the slightest bit of doubt, Isaac is/was the MOST aggressive player to ever compete on Big Break. He was such a stark contrast from the entire cast of ladies from Big Break Atlantis.  That was a series that saw three or four people go to elimination each episode and for being the ‘best’ of the worst that day, the lady with the highest Championship Point total, you could buy your way out of elimination.  Now those Championship Points were important because you could gain a spot in the FINALE if you reached 100 points… and for the ladies to just hand over their points EVERYTIME to survive one more day was NOT the strategy we would have seen had Isaac been competing under those same rules.  He was a man who stared elimination in the face and said “bring it.” Isaac was a man who went head on in the face of adversity… he was our Roy McAvoy… our very large and intimidating Tin Cup

And for me, as a guy who always roots for the underdog, a guy who can quote the entire movie of Tin Cup… I can honestly say I am officially a member of the Isaac Sanchez fan club. I wish him the best of luck in his life’s pursuits. 

Mark Silvers vs. James Lepp Final Match

There is not much to say other than tune in next week. These two guys are the most deserving to be in the finale… at least Mark.

Mark never needed to compete in an elimination challenge and only reached the 2nd immunity challenge twice (show 1 and show 8).  James struggled for a bit in the middle of the series but certainly proved his merit by eliminating Brian in episode 8 and then dominating the early challenges in the next two shows, winning stroke advantages, $10,000 and a place in the final match of Big Break Greenbrier.

Please and thank you’s

This is my last blog of the series and with that I always thank those who helped me these last 7 months with the show, with life and with my withdrawals from lack of golf.

Gaston Santiso – lead editor and friend.  What a series and what a team we made.  I don’t know if there is an edit he can’t make nor a show he doesn’t make better by simply being involved.  Many thanks to all your hard work and for sitting by me for 5+ months wondering where the next edit should be.  Your talent and dedication are truly inspiring.

To my co-producers Scott Lee and Chris Graham – a thousand and one thanks for all your assistance in making this show as great as we envisioned it 9 months ago! 

To the editors and sound team – Max Miller (great 1st season – here’s to many more!), Derek Locke (another wonderful performance for a tremendous editor), Pat Devlin, Andy Ebert, Tom Heckbert and Derek Kuchman – many thanks for your fill-in edit assistance – you truly helped us cross the finish line with class.  Scott Perry and his team – applause to each of you for a great sounding show.

Anthony Valle and David Cybulski – the impact you have on our show should never be overlooked nor forgotten – great job!

Jon Painter, Ryan Griffiths and Bobby Lataille – what a great bonus it was to have at our disposal a talented pool of producers when it came to putting together a great production team – thanks gentlemen.  And to the production management team of Darlene Figueroa, Sharona Hughes, Kristan Kosh and Rizza Baker – you ladies know how much you kill it on a daily basis and now the internet knows too – you all rock!

To Jay Kossoff and Paul Schlegel – the creativity and guidance you provide cease to amaze me.  Thank you for your trust and loyalty.  Here’s to another wonderful series and to many more!

Last but certainly never least; I need to thank my beautiful wife, Lauren, who deals with me clicking away on my computer late into the night as she’s trying to sleep. No more long edits – the honey-do list can resume! You are my everything! I love you.