Inspiration Behind CW’s Hit Drama, All American
A Super Bowl-champion linebacker turned Hollywood writer/producer, Spencer Paysinger brought his own poignant story of living in South Central LA and playing football at Beverly Hills High to the hit CW and Netflix series, All American. “It’s a story about being an outsider in two worlds,” says Paysinger, who developed the award-winning show and is integrally involved as a producer. “All American shows that it doesn’t matter where you’re from. We all go through the same sadness, loss and sorrow. It’s a real-life story about making connections and starting conversations between people that may not have had conversations before.” Read More >
Spencer Paysinger isn’t just another successful athlete whose story is portrayed on film. He’s the creative force that developed the concept for All American, pitched it to network decision-makers and still sits in the writer’s room to brainstorm and ensure that the show stays true to its original vision. In this behind-the-scenes look, he tells the story of retiring from the NFL to pursue his dream of becoming a Hollywood writer/producer. From pitching the show from a locker room (worried about being on time to practice) to examining the characters, plot lines and their connection to his real-life story, Spencer walks you through the personal, professional and creative journey behind All American. Sharing clips from the show and insider stories, he answers audience questions and previews what’s ahead in the upcoming season.
The widening divide between rich and poor. The opportunity gap. Racial bias. Blacks and the police. Intersectionality. Substance abuse. The transformative power of education. These are just a few of the complex issues experienced by the characters of All American. In this put-your-phones-down presentation, highlighted by clips from the award-winning hit show, Spencer Paysinger takes on tough topics (chosen with the event organizer) from the perspectives of both his real-life experience and their portrayal on the show. Audiences are treated to a Q&A that’s focused on opening up dialog and fostering connection.
Even before he went to the Super Bowl, Spencer Paysinger had led both his high school and college football teams to victory as captain. In the case of his high school team, he was a kid from the streets of South Central LA thrust into the overwhelming culture shock of elite Beverly Hills High. In both situations, Paysinger found commonality in diversity and difference, inspiring others to success through his own leadership and example. In this motivational talk, Paysinger shares his own approach to leadership and building teams—on and off the gridiron. He also highlights the important role that diversity plays in creating winning teams.
The journey from an underserved community to college isn’t an easy one. For Spencer Paysinger, it involved making a hard choice between basketball and football at age 13 because football offered more scholarships to college. Then, the culture shock and distance challenges of going from South Central LA to Beverly Hills for high school, which, among other things, included waking up at 5:00 a.m. to arrive to school on time. In this talk aimed at educators, Paysinger—who considers himself extremely fortunate to have the athletic abilities to earn a college scholarship—examines the many obstacles that today’s young people face, and what educators can do to help.
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