By: Emily Franzenburg
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Academic All-Big 12 First Team, Offensive Scout Player of the Year and...Best Picture award? That might seem like a strange mix of accolades to some people, but for senior Micah Brown it’s all in a day’s work.
That’s because Brown, who played in all 12 games last season for the Jayhawks, is also a film major with an emphasis on directing and screenwriting.
From the tender age of six, Brown knew what he wanted to do. He had his moment of inspiration when his uncle took him to see the movie “Dick Tracy.” After that experience, he and his uncle made regular trips to the movies. Brown’s most memorable performer: MC Hammer.
Since that time, Brown has become slightly more serious about this craft. Last spring, the Kearney, Neb., native made a thriller/crime drama that was nominated for five awards within the film school. It won three - Best Director, Best Picture and Best Image Capture. The short film also featured two of Brown’s teammates, Mike Rivera and Joe Mortensen.
According to Brown, each 15-minute mini-movie can take anywhere from three weeks to a month to film. Editing can take up to another month. Needless to say, the football season doesn’t leave Brown much time to work on his art. Mostly, Brown works on his projects during spring football and the off-season.
Although football seems to squeeze his filmmaking schedule, it opens doors for him as well. In addition to his short films, Brown also worked with Rock Chalk Video to create a promotional piece for prospective student-athletes.
“A great thing I have gotten from football is the opportunity to work with Rock Chalk Video,” said Brown, who considered Boston College and other East Coast film schools before choosing Kansas. “I had access to clips that I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise, and now I have highlight videos for my reel. Athletics has opened a huge door for me.”
The video will be featured on the KU athletics web site and will also be used in recruiting efforts for the athletic department.
“It basically explains to student-athletes how you can get a more complete experience at KU,” said Brown, who originally came to Kansas on a track and field scholarship. “You can really be involved in community service and multiple other things.”
Brown really believes in the message, too. He is active in the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program and has spoken at various elementary schools. He also volunteers as a teacher at Vintage Church in Lawrence.
In his spare time he is also a part-time rock star. Easy Eddy and the Ladykillers, Brown’s band with former teammates Jeff Foster and Dane Brody, has performed at open-mic nights and other events around Lawrence. Brown, who plays the guitar, has written some of the bands' songs with Foster.
Don’t expect him to make a career change anytime soon, though.
“I’d like to do movie trailers and kind of take the advertising route for a little bit, mainly so I can have a steady income,” said Brown. “But eventually I’d like to make a film. That’s my ultimate goal.”
For right now though, the focus is solely on football. Brown describes the Jayhawks as having a “team mental edge,” and cites their competitive off-season workouts as a large part of their success. Not to mention, he knows all about competition. After walking onto the football team after his freshman year, Brown has finally earned a scholarship.
Those who remember his unexpected catch out of a fake punt play in the Orange Bowl know the scholarship is well deserved. For Brown, it was more than just the biggest play of his career, it was a personal tribute to his grandparents. His grandmother had passed away just before the team took the trip down to Miami.
“We had never designed that play to go to me,” said Brown, who sees action on the punt, punt return and kickoff teams. “We had never even practiced it. I just prayed that I would have the chance to make my grandfather proud, and I did.”
This season, Brown hopes to make the KU faithful proud as well. He feels that the Jayhawks are going to be as successful as ever.
“Hard work never goes unnoticed,” said Brown, who plans to graduate in May. “We have done everything we can physically and mentally to prepare for this season and I’m confident that it will pay off in a big way.”