Wednesday, October 19, 2011

ESPN Films: The Dotted Line

Running on the treadmill, I watched The Dotted Line. In the documentary, director Morgan Spurlock spends a year following agents in the NFL and MLB to explore client recruiting, marketing, and contract negotiation. The film is airing as part of a series of seven documentaries that ESPN Films is running this fall.

The film opens and closes with Eugene Lee. The opening segments trail Lee as he recruits several new clients. Both of these potential clients are third tier college players that few people are likely to know. The film closes with Lee preparing two clients, Jacquian Williams and Robert Hughes, for the NFL draft and then follows the course of the draft. The draft footage is compelling, has real tension and is the high point of the film.

In between, the film looks at Peter Greenberg. Most of Greenberg's 65 clients come from Latin countries, particularly Venezuela. The film also briefly explores recent NCAA agent scandals and the complex issues that can arise when college athletes turn pro.

While the closing segments of the film caught and held my interest, the middle of the film was fairly pedestrian. Compared to the other ESPN and 30 for 30 films that I have seen in the last two years, I would rank in the bottom third. I don't recommend that you go out of your way to look for it.

The Dotted Line is available on iTunes.

Additionally, there is an essay by the director on

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