HELENA — Brad Ouldhouse, the president of Helena-based social media video and marketing company SocialFlixx, took home silver in the online documentary series category in the 43rd annual Telly Awards on Wednesday for his Bighorns docuseries ‘Beyond the Bench'.
“Initial feeling was shock. You know, I was having trouble sleeping at about 4:45 in the morning, I heard my phone go. And I just kind of reached over and grabbed the phone and kind of looked at it with one eye. And I, I saw I was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, wait a minute, wait a minute,' and a shot straight out of bed. Like just like, you know, looking, like, you had a dream. And I was like, 'Is this real?' So for whatever reason, I didn't trust what I saw on my phone. So I had to get up and go to my computer and check the actual email. And I'm like, ‘Is this really a thing?’ And I read it. And I saw the list of winners in my category. And I'm like, ‘You gotta be kidding me.' Like, these are people that are getting picked up by Netflix, like, you're telling me, I'm up there? Like, wow. And I'm still not entirely convinced it's real,” Ouldhouse said.
Prior to the Bighorns’ impressive posts-season run, Ouldhouse had sent in three episodes to the Telly’s after someone sent him a nomination.
“I really had no expectations at all, at that point,” he said.
Around six years ago, Ouldhouse wrapped up season two of Beyond the Bench. At the time he was working for the Bighorns as their marketing director.
“The first two seasons I shot of Beyond the Bench were on a Sony Handycam. So at that point, I was just kind of getting into video. So they're kind of cringe worthy to watch right now. I'm not gonna lie. Like, I didn't understand framing, I really didn't understand lighting, I had yet to learn about even editing at that point,” he remembered.
It’s safe to say a lot has changed since then.
“So what changed really was, you know, six years of being out there professionally, shooting video for my own business, and being able to learn how to tell a story more effectively and visually. And, of course, upgrades and equipment that, you know, absurd production value. So I think when fans compared episode one and season three this year, versus what season one and two were six years ago to what they got in episode three was like, ‘Whoa, this is legit like this’. And fans tell me all the time, it looks like it's been on HBO, it's like 24/7, but it's for us,” he said.
The fans were a big motivator for Ouldhouse during the series.
“I think my favorite part of creating the series this year is seeing how well received it was among the fan base. You know, they shared it 10s of 1000s of times across all of our social media, across there’s, and across mine. The feedback that I get from them is super rewarding,” he said.
Another favorite part for him, bonding with the Bighorns players.
“I got to know the players very well. I mean, I'm with him every game and on every road trip, and we get to know the guys and it kind of starts to feel like I've made 25 friends,” he said.
With emotions still running high the day after he got the big news, Ouldhouse has plenty of people to thank for his success.
“Obviously, I want to thank the Helena bighorns, for hiring social flicks to take beyond the bench and revamp it and re ID what it could be. And for giving me full creative control, and allowing me to just tell the story, the way that I see it. I want to thank c, he's our voice over Narrator talent. I knew from the second I heard his voice that that was our narrator and he really elevated the production value of the project. Fans can't say enough about how good of a job he did. Obviously, I want to thank the players for allowing me to be in the locker rooms and in some of their most intimate and intense moments. You know, thank the fans for sharing it and for believing in a project,” Ouldhouse said.
If you’re a fan of the series, have no fear, it’s not going anywhere.
“Season four is coming and it's going to be bigger and better than ever. We've already started ideating on episodes and started making plans for shooting this summer and everything. So Beyond the bench is coming back in a big, big way. And I'm really excited about that.”