New Dodgers pitcher John Axford has a longstanding passion for film

August 26, 2020

first_img Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Once, Axford said, he convinced the campus security guard to let him film a ride-along in an actual police cruiser. He considered the effort decent for a Beta tape.“We filmed it on hand-held,” Axford said, “like you would on ‘COPS’.”As a film and television major at Notre Dame, Axford was more successful in the classroom than on the mound. His 2004 college season was wiped out by Tommy John surgery. During his 2005 season, he earned his bachelor’s degree. But when the draft came calling, he slipped to the 42nd round – a far cry from the seventh-round selection Axford passed up out of high school.By the time he signed his first professional baseball contract, in 2007, Axford had made one short film and fulfilled one summer internship at a local television station in South Bend, Ind.“After I had Tommy John and I didn’t have obligations to the baseball team I had some time away to do what I wanted,” Axford said. “A lot of that happened to be stuff for film. I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I didn’t have surgery.”At Notre Dame, Axford’s curriculum ran the gamut of esotery. One class was titled “Hong Kong Action Cinema,” another “Canadian Contemporary Cinema.” The one film he co-wrote, shot, and directed for a class project does not appear on Axford’s IMBD page (though he does have one).“It ended up being darker than expected,” he said. “I think it was called Mrs. Smith. … It was about essentially, relationship abuse. Not in the physical sense, but the emotional – that side, what you can see and not see within a relationship, certain interactions.“Most of the movies I like are, I would say, darker in context, more open-ended. Something that doesn’t make you feel good, that’s something I prefer. I prefer an ending in which I’m confused or uncertain. I want to be able to chew on it, and actually wonder what happened. Maybe watch it again, see if I missed something. That’s how ours ended, fairly abruptly, with a suicide.”After college, health proved to be a blessing for Axford’s career as a pitcher and a damper on his career in film. His time for non-baseball projects was blissfully limited.According to Baseball Reference, Axford’s career earnings exceed $24 million. At first, that merely allowed him to pay off his student debt. Then it allowed him to dabble.Related Articles Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start center_img Since 2011 Axford has sponsored a local film festival in Milwaukee, where his major league career began. With the exception of one year – 2013, when he went to the postseason with the St. Louis Cardinals – Axford said he’s been able to attend the festival in person and see the fruits of his labor.“All I could think was, if there was some other way to help students or local filmmakers who are trying to get through, to get something that they’re passionate about made … to actually have a backing,” he said. “There are some great people in the Milwaukee community who do that and have kind of ensured, so have the people with Milwaukee Film have ensured that my help ends up going to Milwaukee filmmakers.”Axford also sponsored the production of a 2015 documentary about The Reason – a Hamilton, Ontario-based rock band – titled “If It’s Not Something, It’s Something Else.” He was credited as the film’s executive producer and premiered it in person at the 2015 Hamilton Film Festival. It was his first hands-on involvement in a film since college.Axford said he’s friends with the members of The Reason, so his involvement in the project was a natural one. At 36 years old, he is likely closer to the end of his baseball career than the beginning, but he has no concrete plans for his next film project in mind.“I’ve definitely tried to keep myself as open as possible, try to meet as many people as possible,” Axford said. “Being at certain film festivals, meeting certain people that way has helped. … I think maybe when I’m done playing I’ll be paying attention to it as well.” “I would love to do something like that, have that feeling again. Especially when it’s as extended as something like a feature.”Sign up for our Inside the Dodgers newsletter. Be the best Dodger fan you can be by getting daily intel on your favorite team. Subscribe here.Axford’s talent for Oscar picks is canon. He predicts a winner in every category each year; when he correctly picked all 18 winners in 2014, the talent was no longer hidden. This year, Axford correctly picked 18 of the 24 winners.Lesser known is how Axford came into his famous non-baseball passion.As a student at the Assumption College School in Brantford, Ontario, he took a class in communications. When the school put a television monitor in every classroom, the student-produced morning announcements became a visual medium. The communications class featured “almost an actual newsroom studio,” and Axford was part of the production team.“A buddy and I thought it would be a good idea to start making some videos, kind of like commercials, so we made some promotional videos for events coming up,” he said. “We talked about the sports team. Different dance events or something coming up.” LOS ANGELES — Here’s the basic outline: Boy meets crude video equipment. Boy falls in love with filming things using his crude equipment. Boy studies film and television at a prestigious university and his lifelong passion persists into adulthood.But wait, there’s a twist. The boy grows up to be a 6-foot-5 man with an electric right arm. After some fits and starts, his career as a major league pitcher is born. Since his 2009 debut, only 13 major leaguers have appeared in more games. His career in film is on hold, at least temporarily.This screenplay probably isn’t Oscar-worthy, but John Axford should know. Baseball’s resident cinephile has lived it.“I still like to write,” said Axford, whom the Dodgers acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays at last Tuesday’s trade deadline. “When I do, I have my own vision. I’m sure if I handed it to somebody else, they would have a completely different one – which is frustrating, but also I think wonderful, that someone can have such a different opinion and a different thought, the way something’s written. Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season last_img

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