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Disney's The Game Plan, starring Dwayne Johnson and Madison Pettis

Photo Credit: Ron Phillips

© Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



"He is completely willing to make fun of himself," said Kathryn Price. "You might think you have this person who is enormous and he might take himself pretty seriously, and from the beginning hasn't taken himself at all seriously and is willing to try anything for a joke...I think he is a really nice guy."


"It has been a really special experience," noted Nichole Millard. "We [she and Kathryn] have both been exposed to other films enough to know that this was unique and it may never be the same again."


"Both of us are from the Midwest. We grew up with certain inspirations, so I think we would like to focus on writing more wholesome stuff and inspirational stuff, yet hopefully fun," said Millard.



Got Game?

By Laura J. Bagby Sr. Producer - After several years of chomping at the bit, waiting to be the journalist who got appointed to attend a Hollywood movie junket as a representative of, my day finally came.

I had given up on the whole idea, resigning myself to the “truth” that this dream of mine would never come to fruition because I deemed myself least likely to go.

So imagine my surprise when my boss poked his head into my office one morning only a few short weeks before the event and asked if I would be willing to fly to the West Coast.

What, like I was going to say no? I barely had to think twice. You betcha!

Here I was in my hotel right on the beach of beautiful Santa Monica, California, killing time before the movie screening. From my seventh-floor window, I could see the fifth-floor pool and veranda below me and the Pacific Ocean broadly shining just beyond. I could hardly believe it. I felt like I had finally gotten my “big break”.

The Write Stuff

That feeling of elation and accomplishment I felt that weekend is probably only a smidgen of what writers Nichole Millard and Kathryn Price must have experienced when they sold their first movie script that made it to the big screen, Disney’s newly released comedy The Game Plan. The film effectively marks the beginning of a viable scriptwriting career for the duo.

After writing 10 or so scripts, give or take, and having only sold one before, it was quite an accomplishment for Millard and Price to finally get their names listed on the credits of a feature film.

As I read up on the production notes for the Disney film and then listened to the two former college sorority sisters talk about their lives and their work during the press conference in Santa Monica, what struck me and several other journalists at that round table the most wasn’t necessarily the process these writers went through to get a film script from conception to completion or even what wonderful things they experienced while working with Dwayne Johnson, the film’s main star who plays quarterback Joe Kingman. What really interested me was the fact that both women had completely deviated from the traditionally prescribed pathway to follow their passion. And that takes guts.

Both women attended college at the University of Kansas and became best friends in their freshman year. Both graduated and went on to attend law school – that’s right, law school. Millard went to the University of Indiana, and Price attended Stanford University.

That’s when both women discovered a desire for writing. “While we were in law school, we realized we really didn’t want to be lawyers. So we tried our hand at writing,” Kathryn Price told the press during the film junket. “We had always been interested in writing, and we wrote a novel together. It was terrible!”

But it wasn’t so much their lack of writing success that kept them from following their dream early on. Rather, it was more the fact that they had both sunk sufficient funds into a law degree, and they felt the need for follow through.

Thus, as Millard explained, “We didn’t drop out of law school. We took the bar. We got the jobs just in case.”

But as with any good intentions that remain unfulfilling, Millard and Price soon recognized that the legal profession was not the dream job of a lifetime. A move to Hollywood was forthcoming.

So how did these two lawyers bite the bullet and make that switch from legal eagles to movie mavens?

“I think part of it was that both of us felt that way,” noted Millard. “It feels a little less risky when you are not going it on your own, and that certainly, at least speaking for myself, made it easier to give it a shot.”

Price added, “Neither one of us would describe ourselves as that big of a risk taker or that spontaneous. The rest of our lives we had done exactly what was expected. We went to college, went to law school, got the good job. So, this was a huge departure.”

In Los Angeles, Price found her place as The Mole in the ABC series of the same name. She later worked on other reality shows including The Bachelor, High School Reunion, and The Starlet in various production capacities.

Millard started as a talent manager at Industry Entertainment and then joined Mayhem Productions as Director of Development.

“I work for Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray, who are producers of this movie, and they made Miracle, The Rookie, Invincible,” said Millard, explaining how she and Price pitched the story that would eventually become The Game Plan. “The Rock came to them wanting to do a sports movie. Kathryn and I were writing together on the side and we started talking. We write comedy, not sports inspirational drama, but we thought he used to be a football player and we could see him as a football player, but what would be funny is to pair him with the exact opposite, a very girly small girl.”

Neither of the women were experts on the game of football–In fact, Millard told us laughing, “We read Football for Dummies”–but Price did say, “I grew up in a family that loves football. My brother was a great resource and my husband is a huge football fan and our producers are obviously really knowledgeable.”

The writing duo is currently busy working on another Disney film that just happens to be another sports movie. It is called Pool Rats, and the gals will once again team up with director Andy Fickman who is also co-writing on this project. The sport of choice this time? Why, swimming, of course!

When asked if there is ever a time when either Millard or Price would consider going back to the legal profession, both adamantly agree: no way. “Entertainment is our dream job,” stated Price. “It is the first job that I think both of us have had where we didn’t dream of having another job.”

Casting the Vision

Now, riding on the coat tails of what Price said, I pose this question to you: Are you where you want to be in life? Have you considered taking that leap of faith, or are you holding yourself back due to fears or laziness?

While we might not all get the chance to break into Hollywood, let's pause for a moment and consider that God might want to do a new thing in our lives. Are we ready for it? Do we have the faith to expect the unexpected? Do we have the right mindset to change courses mid-stream when the opportunity presents itself?

Now, don't throw in the towel if you shrugged or said a flat-out "no". I know several very honorable folks who felt the same way initially–before they took the plunge into their own promise land. These names aren't new to you, either, if you pick up your Bible. Gideon, Moses, Abraham, Sarah, and more didn't think they could fulfill their future job descriptions when God presented that impossible vision before them. They balked. They argued. They laughed out right. Yet in all cases, they eventually got on board and experienced a great adventure tailored just for them. The same will be true of us if we would stretch our faith and believe.

The Bible says, "Though it may tarry, wait for it" (Habakkuk 2:3). We can all take a lesson on this one. Sure, instant success would be great, but more often than not, we will be asked to have persistence and patience as God unfolds the dream He had for us all along. I really liked what Millard said when asked about following her passion. "It was a long time in coming. We sold our first project and kept our day jobs. Who knew if that was a fluke? Even so, we took our time with it." And that time eventually paid off. Sometimes we give up too soon. Remember, it won't always be easy along the way, but good things, especially God things, are always worth the wait.

It's tempting to go it alone. But, as in the case of our writing duo, sometimes it might take a partner to get us moving in the right direction. We need the abilities and encouragement from a like-minded friend and vision caster. Nichole Millard had Kathryn Price. Moses had Aaron. Paul had Silas. Jesus knew that two are stronger than one when facing giant obstacles out there in the real world. That is why we read in Mark 6:7 and Luke 10:1 that Jesus would send out His appointed "two by two." A pair could overcome defeat faster than a sole individual trying to fend for him or herself. With this in mind, if you sense you are embarking on a journey that's bigger than you, prayerfully consider that God would bring someone to come alongside you to birth and complete the vision.

As I sat watching the sun burnish the sky with brilliant golds and reds from my windowed view at dinner later that night, I reflected on the events of that day. What I wasn't sure I could accomplish, God did through me despite my fears. He is the God of the impossible after all. As I soaked in the serene scene of palm trees and sand of Santa Monica's beach, a satisfied sigh escaped my lips. Thank You, God, for all Your blessings. Thank You for taking me to places I never thought I would go to.

Here's to new things. Here's to discovering or rediscovering your passions. Here's to going for it with gusto!

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13b -14).

For more about The Game Plan, visit the official Movie Site.

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