MISSOULA — There are two places Colton Keintz feels most like himself.
On the football field and on the stage.
The 6-foot-8 redshirt sophomore and Missoula Big Sky graduate carries a unique passion for the arts and entertainment not always seen on a college football roster. When he’s not shoving defensive linemen around to protect quarterback Dalton Sneed or UM’s running backs, Keintz is pursuing a degree in media arts and digital filmmaking.
In fact, Keintz began as a theater major, but time commitments between that and football made it difficult, so he opted for the switch.
“I can’t think of any that are theater majors that’s for sure,” Keintz said when asked if other players pursue the same interests. “I always balanced the two in high school the best I could. And then in terms of filmmaking majors I think I’m the only one.
“It’s just something I’m passionate about and something I want to make a career out of.”
At a young age Keintz found his passion for theater. He explained that his mother enrolled him in the Missoula Community Theatre summer camps as a kid and from there, away he went.
“I guess I was just thriving on stage,” he said. “It was just a natural fit for me. It felt like a second home. I just rolled with it.”
Even at a young age, Keintz said diving right into life in the theater was a seamless move. A charismatic and high-energy individual, Keintz said even as a kid he was always dancing around and jumping, so much so that he would even be signed up for baseball, and he could be seen dancing in the outfield.
In short, the move to the stage was a natural fit.
“I just had that want to perform and make people happy,” Keintz said. “I want to make people laugh.”
At Big Sky, Keintz was a member of the drama department for all four years of high school. There, he thrived, and Keintz gushed over how much fun it made high school for him.
As far as roles he’s performed in – remember, he’s listed at 6-8 and 304 pounds – there are two that rank among his favorites. When he was with the community theater, he was Augustus Gloop in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
“They made me wear a fat suit for it, and that was hot,” he remarked.
Then, his sophomore year at Big Sky, Keintz performed as Lennie from Of Mice and Men.
“That was a very challenging role to play but I did my best to bring it to life,” he said.
So he enjoys drama and comedy, and those experiences are what he credits to making the change to filmmaking easier.
As far as his filmmaking interests, Keintz said a friend who was also passionate about that subject exposed him to the different sides of the industry and how things are made. Once again, he fell in love with it.
“The whole process behind making a film doesn’t feel like work to me,” Keintz said. “I’m getting something done but it doesn’t really feel taxing.”
But once it became apparent that doing theater and football in college would not line up, he made the switch in order to keep his commitment to the Griz football team.
“I made a promise to this team that I was going to give them everything and I intend to make good on that promise,” Keintz said.
In a sport driven by physicality and domination, the intricacies and finesse on the stage makes for an interesting dynamic that makes up Keintz. He said communicating loudly is one trait that translates between his two passions.
As far as what his teammates think of his path with arts, entertainment and performance, Keintz said they believed he couldn’t find a better fit for his personality.
“They think it’s pretty funny, but you could ask any of the guys on the team, and they wouldn’t be surprised at all,” Keintz said. “I’m an interesting guy to put it mildly. I try to be fun and goofy and keep the mood light. And a lot of them know.
“They just think it’s very me.”
Some of that is shown on his YouTube page – Dazmo Films – where Keintz and some of his friends put together short films and skits. There, his personality comes out.
Once college is over, Keintz said he’s hoping to get on the production side of things. He wants to pursue a master’s in media arts as well.
But for now, Keintz, who played in all 11 games for Montana as a redshirt freshman at right tackle last year including some starts, has rotated in at the position with Dylan Cook this season, starting periodically as well. Young a year ago, Montana’s offensive line has been one of its strengths this season as the Griz are 5-1 and ranked No. 5 in the FCS.
Even more remarkable is that Keintz didn’t begin playing football until his sophomore year at Big Sky, and has developed rapidly in becoming a major contributor on one of the top teams in the country.
“I think that what struck with me was the big team aspect,” Keintz said. “We get that time after a win and there’s those few minutes in the locker room where we celebrate and just get to be with the team, and I live for that stuff.
“My sophomore year of high school, I didn’t even know the rules, but when I saw something that looked like it was going well, you could just see me bouncing up and down the sidelines. I was just the happiest I could be for these seniors. To me, there were superhumans out there, when I was a sophomore.”
Montana’s star players have that same effect on Keintz. So on the field, the thespian and filmmaker said he tries his best to stay true to himself, even with his joking and lighter mood, while helping his teammates around him thrive.
“I know that myself is not necessarily the same as everybody else and there’s nothing wrong with that,” Keintz said. “I am who I am and I think that this team and this coaching staff likes me for who I am. On the field, I try to be the best teammate I can be. I try to be high-energy and congratulate guys when things are going and cheer them up when things aren’t going well.
“Whether I’m playing or not, I want the energy to be high and I want people to celebrate the good stuff. I love seeing those guys excel and I want to do everything I can to help my team and teammates excel.”