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The Real-Life Spencer From Netflix’s All American, Entrepreneur & Super Bowl Champion
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 >
Like the “Spencer” character based on his life, Paysinger grew up amid the drugs, gangs, violence and poverty of South Central LA with education-focused parents and a dream of going to college. A promising athlete who played four sports but excelled in football, he was offered the opportunity to attend elite Beverly Hills High, going on to lead the football team as captain to an undefeated season. A scholarship to the University of Oregon followed, where Paysinger also became team captain and was part of the team’s very first undefeated season. Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in economics, he began his NFL career with the New York Giants, winning Super Bowl XLVI in his rookie season. Paysinger played seven seasons with the Giants, Dolphins and Panthers. In 2017, a few months after pitching All American, he retired from football to pursue his dream of developing television and film concepts focused on the Black experience in America. Within four months of retiring, he was shooting the pilot for All American. Now a sought-after writer/producer, Paysinger has written and developed various concepts under his Moore Street Productions banner with Uninterrupted and Deviants Media. He is currently writing a film for Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment.
Committed to leveraging his success to create opportunities for young people, Paysinger serves on the board of KIPP Public Schools’ Black and Latino Leadership committee, with the goal of creating program’s for KIPP’s South Central youth. He also serves on the board of Lyft’s City Works Council, which dedicates $50 million a year to support locally-driven community initiatives. Paysinger is also a co-owner of Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen, a fast-casual eatery with allegiance to underserved communities.
An inspiring speaker whose personal journey has already touched millions of viewers, Paysinger is a creative powerhouse telling the stories of the Black experience with refreshing insight and perspective. Often using clips from All American to discuss topics ranging from educational opportunity to intersectionality, he frames complex issues within a familiar and highly personal context. Fans of All American are treated to a firsthand account of where the real-life athlete that inspired the beloved character, "Spencer," headed after Beverly Hills High—and where all of us can go if given the individual and community support to follow our dreams and potential. Read Less ^
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 Los Angeles thrust into the overwhelming culture shock of elite Beverly Hills High. In both situations, Paysinger found commonality in diversity and difference, inspiring others to succeed through his own leadership and example. And he has continued his leadership throughout his career. Today, he is not only successful in Hollywood as a writer and producer but also an entrepreneur investing in new businesses, as well as sitting on several boards for inner-city schools in LA. 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.
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.
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 a.m. to arrive at 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.
After retiring from the NFL, Spencer Paysinger thought he was ready for his next venture. After all, he had been told for years that athletes—especially the most successful ones—have certain skills that translate well into other industries. He soon learned it wasn’t true. The “skills” most of us think athletes possess, like intense focus, incredible work ethic and never giving up, are actually traits. And although they are amazing characteristics for someone to have, they don’t guarantee success. In this talk, Spencer shares his story of transition from sportsman to successful Hollywood writer, producer and entrepreneur, and how he—as well as you—can use these traits to learn new skills and succeed.
"Thank you for all your help in making this quick change to have Spencer speak at both ceremonies. He did a phenomenal job. We would 100 percent have him back!"
“The lecture was amazing! We had a great turnout of student and community members. Everyone really enjoyed listening to and speaking with Spencer about his life.”
"Spencer was so good with the students and taking pictures and interacting with them. He gave them his time in between sessions and I think he enjoyed it also. I have heard nothing but positive feedback from the students and school."
"The event went extremely well. Spencer really connected with our students, and I am sure they will remember this event for a long time. The event yesterday has been the talk of the university. Please give him my best he was simply amazing. Thank you so much once again for another great speaker."
"It went great. Everyone loved Spencer. He did a wonderful job."
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