Following the recent launch of its brand-new streaming service ESPN+, in collaboration with Disney, ESPN unveils season three of Draft Academy. The docuseries charts the behind the scenes journeys of six NFL prospect players. The eight 30-minute episodes show their lead-up to the NFL Draft 2018 and is exclusively available on ESPN+.
ESPN partnered with Evolve Studio and, having worked together on previous projects since 2010, including short films and documentaries, the Nashville-based studio executed the full production and post-production for the latest series. Spanning across 100 shoot days, Evolve Studio facilitated the entire post production for the series - including editorial, color correction, sound design, motion GFX and visual effects.
Directed by Evolve Founders The Edwards Brothers, Draft Academy follows six NFL players including Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Shaquem Griffin. Each cinematic episode allows fans behind-the-scenes insight into the players’ journeys which are captured in the intense lead-up to the upcoming 2018 Draft selection. The docuseries brings fans closer to the players and their stories, including exclusive footage of their training practice, NFL Scouting Combine, Pro Days and home visits with families. The season culminates in a climactic finale as each contender anticipates their dream of being called up for the sporting event.
Coinciding with the NFL Draft which takes place over 26th, 27th and 28th April, the series releases a new episode each week with the final two episodes airing on 3rd May.
Given that the series follows the players in real-time, each episode had to be shot, produced, edited and delivered within a strict timeframe. Director and Co-Founder at Evolve, Jesse Edwards explains: “Because this series is created simultaneously with each players’ training and preparation for the NFL Draft, we have had to work on an intense production turnaround. Over the 100-day process leading up to the final event each half hour episode had been turned around very quickly, with the first 6 episodes each finalized within 2-3 weeks.”
Jesse adds: “In addition, the production process has been complex and challenging with players living and training in different locations across the US. And, with the final episode airing 4 days after the Draft, we’ve had a very intense turnaround of 96 hours to ingest, edit, and deliver a full hour of premium content. To ensure excellence for each episode we recruited overnight crews, so finishing and delivery can happen on multiple episodes at once.”
Although it was all worth it for the end result says Jesse: “Creating beautiful docu-sports films and telling stories well is our passion, so we’re not afraid of the challenges. As a result, we have crafted a series that both ESPN and ourselves are really happy with.”
Draft Academy is now available only in the US on the ESPN app on iOS and tvOS, Fire TV devices, Fire Tablets, Android phones and tv’s, and Chromecast.