American Underdog—Review

We love underdog stories.

There is nothing better than a redemptive story to catch our attention and emotionally drive us to the super bowl of hope. This is when dreams become realities. This is also the true story of Kurt Warner.

The movie “American Underdog” stars Shazam’s Zachary Levi as football MVP Kurt Warner. The quarterback hopeful went from a stock boy at a small-town grocery store to a two-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl champion, and Hall of Fame quarterback.

The film covers warner’s many setbacks that seemed to derail his life all too often. But when things were at their worst, he swallowed his pride to take care of his wife and family by agreeing to play in the Arena Football League.

The struggles did not stop and their marriage hit the rocks. But Warner dug deep with the support of his wife. He continued working diligently toward each small success in front of him.

Then his break came. Warner and his wife Brenda grew closer in time for his NFL debut. That year Warner took the St. Louis Rams to Super Bowl XXXIV. They won the championship and Warner was the first undrafted player named NFL and Super Bowl MVP.

And this Cinderella story was real. The undrafted Warner miraculously took the Rams to the championship in his first year. The now Hall of Fame quarterback demonstrated that anything is possible when you have faith, family, and determination.

But wait, this film is NOT a football story.

The story focuses on Warner’s relationship with his wife Brenda. We learn how they met and his drive to be a part of her life. We see many of the obstacles they had to overcome including some of their foolish mistakes.

The story is heartfelt and better than most Hallmark Christmas movies. We watch real people struggle with real-life situations. We see how they fought to overcome each battle.

Had ten minutes been trimmed from the film, I’d want to watch it over and over again.

Okay, but Levi, in a dramatic role? Really?

Oh, my word, YES!

Levi stepped up big time in this role. His acting chops were at the top of his game. He drew me into this story so well, I never gave one thought to his goofy Shazam character.

Now, keep in mind I’ve appreciated Levi’s skills for some time. I adored his stylistic Benjamin character in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” I even thoroughly enjoyed his stint as the beloved character in his “Chuck” TV series. And, of course, I even watched his Fandral character in the MCU.

But his Kurt Warner character was by far his most realistic dramatic role. Congratulations, Levi!

There is enough football in the story to keep fans happy. There is also some incredible heartfelt drama to keep romantics happy. But most importantly, the story focuses on family. We see the results of a family that stays together because of their deep love and commitment.

This film is a true inspiration for those who believe faith, family, and determination are the key ingredients to real success.

American Underdog releases on Christmas Day. It’s rated PG so the entire family can get a glimpse at the importance of love and family.

Congratulations to the Erwin brothers who brought us “I can only Imagine” and “Woodlawn.” You have done the industry and your fans proud.

To learn more about American Underdog you can go to their site here. For those who want tickets, they are available here.

#AmericanUnderdogMIN #AmericanUnderdog #MomentumInfluencerNetwork

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hopes that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

My Live Streaming Journey Entry #3

The most amazing thing about live streaming is how the tools empower me. I’m able to broadcast a studio-type show with little effort.

Back when I worked for ABC, I worked with millions of dollars of equipment and large production staff. No one speculated that we’d one day have the power of a broadcast station available to us for a few thousand dollars.

I’ve even broadcasted online using my iPhone. The power and quality in my phone exceed that of WLSU-TV’s studio, where I cut my teeth years ago at university. The equipment we have is marvelous.

But having great equipment at my disposal doesn’t alter the one thing that can’t be bought. An audience’s interest.

Finding Your Audience

We can all create content. But if no one is on the other side of the broadcast, why produce?

There is a big warning on the opposite side of the spectrum too. Altering your content to draw in an audience will dissolve your passion for the project. Too often creators shift what they are doing for the sake of numbers.

They soon realize their work lacks the innate message that energized their beginnings. Creators lose sight of what got them out of bed in the morning. They forget the importance of why they launched their show.

If you have an audience of 500,000 fans, you can create most of the moderate projects that pop into your head. Half that number of viewers have launched many careers. But how do you find the people that support your dreams?

Dreaming in a Bubble

I’ve written 14 books and published five. My first book sold two copies. Two people I didn’t know bought my book. It was my most heartfelt work and none of my family or friends bought it.

The book failed. It took many hours to write from the depths of my soul and I couldn’t find more than two people interested in the topic. The book came from my heart, not from the needs of an audience.

I realized that there was a fine line between writing what you know and finding the right audience.

With live streaming, you put your heart into your show and then wonder how to get it to the right audience. Where do they exist? It makes me wonder if I dream dreams inside of a bubble.

Social Media Marketing

Some suggest I step up my social media push. The experts tell me that I need to publish promotions 40 times per week. That effort would take me 3-times more effort than the creation of the content.

There are shortcuts to trim back the amount of time required. But I struggle with spending twice the production time on promoting a show. Especially since I’m a creator and not someone who wants to spend more time selling.

A few folks get a satisfying break. One of their social media clips goes viral. Overnight several million people know their content exists.

Somehow the audience found them. Life changes and they can hire a staff to handle social media marketing. Their proverbial train soon heads down the track at faster and faster speeds.

They have to consider creating what’s in their heart or derivative content for the audience.

Fun vs. Life-Changing Content

I’ve talked with dozens of streamers who make 6, 7, and 8-figure salaries. Few of them held tight to their passion and content. Most changed directions for bigger paychecks.

One woman was passionate about her dream content. She believed the ideas were a gift from God. She made $120,000 a year promoting what she called her “life-changing” content.

Then, one of her off-the-wall videos went viral and life changed.

She now produces off-the-wall videos and makes over $3 million a year. When I asked about her early passionate content, she clarifies that no one supported it. She now focuses on what people support.
I understand.

You can bet that I will never write a deeply passionate book again since only two people bought my first book. It doesn’t make sense to put in hundreds of hours for two people.

Find A Supportive Audience

This is where life gets tough. Lamont Boyd and I have been “helping” fathers for three years. We’ve been sharing on our live streaming show, “Just 2 Dads Talking.”

I’ve also worked with Christine Crow and Marty Jalove. We’ve been creating a show to help develop good communicators and leaders. The show is “Brown Bag’n It.”

Neither show has broken even. Both shows will get canceled by noon on Christmas Eve. Well, unless we get enough funds to extend the shows.

But, finding donors or sponsors within the next two weeks seems unrealistic.

We weren’t able to build a sizable audience with our mere start-up funds. Nothing we did went viral to catch the attention of supportive fans. Nor have the fans spread word about the shows.

Surviving in this media-rich society is all about building an audience. You either find your audience and they support you, or you don’t. We did not.

This is my last entry on my live streaming journey—unless a miracle happens before noon on Christmas Eve.

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Sammy Shark: Unlikely Friends

Sammy Shark darts in and around the rock formations with excitement. Today he gets to leave the family’s grotto for the first time. His smile grows wide. The sides of his mouth hurt. He struggles to wait a minute longer. It’s time to make new friends.

Mama shark swims up to Sammy and says, “Be careful, sweetheart. Not everyone will want to play with you.

“But why not,” questions Sammy. “You say I have a precious smile.”

“Sweetie, some sea creatures have had experiences that make them see things differently,” says Mama. “Making friends is hard. We share a little about ourselves, then learn a little about them. Some fish don’t have the patience to learn.”

“I understand, Mama.” With that comment, Sammy swims off.

Sammy spots a school of clownfish and swims to them. They become motionless and stare at him. To be polite, Sammy smiles. The fish scatter in all directions. “I guess they don’t have the patience to learn about me,” says Sammy.

Sammy swoops in and around rock formations and comes upon rainbow fish. The fish shiver and shake when they see him.

“How do you do,” says Sammy with a big smile. The fish swim off in different directions.

One of the cute little fish swims upward. Sammy notices a wide net headed toward the little guy. Sammy swims upward to warn him.

A nearby crab trembles as he watches Sammy chase after the little fish. “Poor fishy is about to become someone’s lunch,” says Charlie crab.

The little fish glances back and sees Sammy Shark headed straight for him. He turns up his speed, oblivious to the net moving his way. Suddenly the little guy is caught in the crowded net with hundreds of fish. The netting presses hard against his little body as it continues dragging in more fish. His pain is intense.

Sammy swims away disappointed. After all, the little fishy chose to ride in a net instead of getting to know him.

Weaving back and forth, Sammy swims deeper into the water. He spots Charlie but doesn’t bother to smile. He glides past him.

“That’s it?” asks Charlie Crab. “You’re just going to give up?”

Sammy swims around and faces the crab.

“Hi Mr. Crab, I’m Sammy. I was trying to make a friend and even smiled. But no one has the patience to learn how I can be a good friend.”

“Oh, it’s not patience they need,” says Charlie. “They don’t understand how your pearly whites can help them.”

“I don’t understand, Mr….”

“Call me Charlie. They don’t know if you are a friend or foe. Your teeth are big and sharp enough to hurt them.”

“My Mama told me their experiences might stop them from getting to know me,” says Sammy with a tear forming in his eye. “I don’t know what to do. The little guy seemed more interested in taking a ride with other fish.”

“That’s no ride,” says Charlie. Those fish were trapped to become someone’s dinner.”

Sammy perks up. “I’ve got to save them.” Sammy puts his strong tail fin to work and speeds toward the net.

The net cuts into the little guy’s belly as it hoists upward—the little rainbow fish shivers as he watches Sammy move toward the net super-fast.

Sammy smiles big and chomps down on the rope. The strands snap, and the little rainbow fish flops out into open waters. He’s free.

“Hi, I’m Sammy.”

“Did you save me to be your lunch?” asks the shaking rainbow fish.

“I saved you because I’m a good friend,” says Sammy.

“Well, don’t you think everyone else could be your friend too?”

Sammy smiles big, spins around, and chomps at more of the netting. Dozens and dozens of fish are freed and swim away. Sammy smiles and turns back to see all of his new friends, but he is alone. Sad, Sammy slowly swims back to the family grotto.

On his way, Charlie calls out to him. “So, Sammy, did you save that little rainbow fish?”

“I saved lots of fish, but no one wants to be my friend.”

“It’s hard to make friends. They need time to learn that your teeth, strength of your tail fin, and the color of your skin don’t make you bad.”

“Mama told me making friends takes patience.”

Sammy shows a slight grin and swims slowly away. But he sees something out of the corner of his eye and turns.

The little rainbow fish swims right up to him. “Hi, I’m Robbie,” says the little guy. “I want to thank you for saving us. My friends are still talking about how you helped us. Do you want to meet my friends?”

Sammy smiles without showing his teeth and nods. The two new friends swim off together.

Copyright ©2021 by CJ Powers