The Best Damn Crew in the Biz

It’s been an emotional weekend to say the least. 

For those catching up, a huge group of us got laid off last Friday. I’ve been a freelancer for most of my 11 years in television, and I know the ropes and, so I wasn’t really surprised that something happened, but the scope of it took my breath away. 

I’ve got no sour grapes, no issues with the people who let us go. They handled it in the best way that they could. Golf Channel is amazing, and the professionals that work there are fantastic at what they do. I wish nothing but the best for my colleagues there. This is just the way the business works, and as the old movie joke goes, “This is the business we’ve chosen!”

I do have a couple of things to say. And I have 2 requests to make.

It’s been an absolute privilege to work with everyone on Big Break, Destination Golf, and Altered Course for the last 10 years. It’s a unique experience to work on a show that runs as long as Big Break, it’s not common to the tv experience. I’m incredibly proud of the work that we did. The people I’ve worked with along the way are without reservation the best in the business. Looking through the photos, it’s striking how much life and the world around us changed between 2003 and 2015, and how many of the people who made the show such a success are the same people through 12 years of photos. Somewhere along the way we became more than coworkers, and more than friends. Somewhere along the way it turned into a huge extended family. I’m so lucky to have been a part of it.

The response this weekend has been overwhelming. When I first posted on social media that I was available for freelance work, I wasn’t aware of the true scope of what was happening, I was just trying to reconnect quickly with people that I’ve worked with over the years. I didn’t know how many people were going to be affected. I didn’t think I needed to hear people say they were sorry that it had happened, or get positive words from people. I was wrong. I did. 

People have reached out to me from college at the University of Arizona, people that I worked with years ago with opportunities and leads, or to put me in contact with people. People that I’ve worked with once or twice along the way have reached out to let me know that they're out there. People that have no connection with the TV business have reached out to ask me to do photos or videos for them. 

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. 

As the word spread, and the news became public, contestants that had appeared on Big Break have reached out to let us know what our work meant to them. Some of them have texted, or written us on social media. Some of them have just told the world at large. Between what I’ve experienced and what I’ve seen online, I’m guessing my experience isn't unique. It’s truly humbling to have someone reach out and say, “hey, what you did really changed things for me and for a lot of other people.” I think I speak for a lot of us when I say, I’m honored. There is nothing that you can say that means more to me than to tell me that my work helped you. I’m so glad that the effect of our work meant something to you personally. I’m so glad it meant that you could chase the dream longer, or live the dream on the PGA or LPGA tours. You should know that every week in the office, we paid attention to the scoring on the PGA Tour, the LPGA Tour, the Web.Com tour, and the Symetra Tour and emailed each other when people on the show did well. It wasn’t because it was good for the show, it was that we were happy for you. Because someone we know and respect had just taken advantage of an opportunity presented to them. We are all so proud of you.

So I have 2 requests. The first is the most easy thing I’ve ever asked anyone to do, and the second will take at most 5-10 minutes of your time. 

1)Watch Altered Course on Golf Channel beginning on June 15th at 9 pm ET on Golf Channel. I ask you to make some space on your DVR and time in your schedule for 2 reasons. The first, is that everyone appearing on the show deserves your attention just as much as anyone that ever appeared on Big Break. I had the opportunity to produce 2 home visits for Altered Course. 2 of those gentlemen that I worked with are chasing the dream on the mini-tours, and the other 2 have spent the last few years of their lives serving our country in the US Army. 

Help us change a few more lives.

The second reason I ask you to tune in is that this is our swan song. The same people that made Big Break set out to do something different, and I firmly believe that we succeed beyond our wildest imagination. I’ve seen the first 3 episodes, and I can honestly say, if you love golf (I’ve played for 25 years) or if you’ve never swung a club in your life, you will find this to be the most riveting television we’ve ever made. If you're concerned with golf courses in your area closing, this show will convince your buddies that they should pick up clubs and try the game. I promise you that you’ll be on the edge of your seat for an hour every week. 

2) This is much bigger than just those of us that work on Big Break. Other extremely talented folks lost their jobs last Friday because the effects of letting us go trickled down to other departments. They may never have worked on the show, and you may never have seen them on a shoot, but I promise you they are just as talented and just as amazing as those of us that where on set season after season. I’ve been in touch with freelancers in the industry here in Florida, and the word from a year ago to this morning hasn’t been good. I have a lot of friends out there are hurting because the Florida State Legislature can’t figure out that we need to be competitive with Georgia and Louisiana. If you’ve ever watched Big Break, you should know that beyond the people that lost their jobs this week, this affects 80-plus freelancers that count on our shows as a significant portion of their income. They hail from all over the country, but an overwhelming majority are based in Florida. If you live in Florida, please please please write your state representative and ask them to help us out by passing the Film Incentive. 

http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/myrepresentative.aspx
 
If you’ve appeared on Big Break, or have ever been a fan of Big Break, please write and tell them how much the Big Break as part of the Florida Production Industry meant to you. If you don’t live in Florida, you can write my Representative and Senator, they represent Orlando, so they're right in the heart of the state.

Rep. Mike Miller
1101 The Capitol
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee , FL 32399-1300
Phone: (850) 717-5047

Sen. Andy Gardiner
420 Senate Office Building
404 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100 
Phone: (850) 487-5013

The last thing you should know, is that the people we've worked with as advertisers and at resorts around the world have been absolutely amazing. From Hawaii to Ireland, as far south as Mexico, and as far north as Canada, with gnomes and rental car credits and whatever else we've given away, we’ve had just tremendous experiences and we’ve been so lucky, and so fortunate to be a part of it all. 

Thanks again for all the kind words.
My best,

Jon Painter

Producer 
Big Break Michigan
Big Break Sandals Resorts
Big Break Indian Wells
Big Break Atlantis
Big Break Mexico
Big Break Florida
Big Break Palm Beaches, Florida