Moving Pictures
Dec 31, 2008, 10:07AM

From the gridiron to widescreen

A defensive end for the Baltimore Ravens is finding a knack for treatments and scripts.

Not too shabby:

"I didn't even know what a treatment was," the soft-spoken, 6-foot-5, 290-pound Pryce said recently, crouching low on a wooden stool in front of his locker. "I Googled 'How to write a treatment' and it didn't seem too hard. It didn't seem like rocket science. I thought, 'I can do this.'"

Plenty of athletes would have stopped there, promising themselves they would tiptoe into the murky waters of the Writing Life upon retirement. It would be difficult, one could easily assume, to be passionate about both writing and football without robbing something from one to give to the other. But Pryce finds that kind of sweeping generalization about the life of NFL players to be somewhat false.

"Everyone has a passion outside of football," Pryce said, pointing around the locker room in the direction of several teammates. "Just not all of them are interesting. For Jarret Johnson, he loves to hunt. Bart Scott loves fashion and clothing and things like that. [Justin] Bannan likes to eat. Haloti [Ngata] likes to sleep. For me, it just happens to be movies."

Pryce - a four-time Pro Bowl player whom Rex Ryan called "the best defensive player in football" in 2006 - wasn't satisfied with just writing treatments. (A treatment is essentially a three-page outline of a film.) He wanted to tackle the true craft of screenwriting and labor over his words as any artist would. And so he lugged his laptop around, pecking away at the keys while the kids were off at school or whenever football wasn't calling.

"The more I did it, the more I started to enjoy it," Pryce said. "Once you get one idea, that bug kind of bites you. You start seeing ideas everywhere. They start coming out of you real fast. Inspiration comes from a lot of different places, but it also comes from the question: What do I want to see?"

Pryce sold a second screenplay - which he would love to talk about but says that, contractually, he's not supposed to discuss - and finished a third that is still being shopped around.


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