The Escape by Kyle Prater

In this piece,  Kyle Prater writes about how he escaped into his next career after his time in the NFL.  He opens up about his journey picking up a camera and the uncertainty that came from it. Prater is now the CEO of his own company Chasing Greatness Productions where he has worked with top brands around the world and produced his own feature documentary Shifting Gears

THE ESCAPE : Kyle Prater

“Experiencing doubt propelled me into a space I never thought I belonged."

photo via Phil Davila

photo via Phil Davila

November 2016, I bought my first camera and started shooting. At the time football was up in the air. I was not really where I thought I would be in my career but I was still very much in the game. I used photography to distract myself from the harsh reality I was not ready to face. Was football over for me? Not quite but that uncertainty made me vulnerable and I tapped into a mental space that triggered everything. Through the lens I saw an unforeseen future I wasn't ready for.

January 2017, Chasing Greatness Productions was born.  

The voice in my head kept reminding me I had an unborn talent that was not yet developed but I argued that talent was football and my subconscious argued film. It’s not like I had proper experience for this. All I knew was football but I used my camera to escape to a place that did not put pressure on my last name. No cinematic training could have prepared me for this transition. The eye for greatness and the passion for people became my new formula for motivation.

My soul thrives and my heart beats for football. I am truly a product of the game and I am very grateful for every opportunity it has given me.  But I can’t even lie….I still miss the environment, the brotherhood, the locker room. But now I create. More than film I create drive, mentality and an environment that is my new family; like I once had within football. 

I was an artist on the field and I took that same artistry and put that straight into my films. I always felt and knew I was different. I think, see and move differently but I don’t know how to justify why I am the way I am. That difference set me apart. 

photo via Phil Davila

photo via Phil Davila

My soul harbored so much stress to live up to my name. My community, my family and the institutions I represented were woven into every stitch that attached my name to my jersey at every level. That stress used to weigh on me.

My soul is free now. I get to create, tell stories, connect with people and learn about their struggles, passions and motivations. Most people think athletes are superheroes and we are always expected to perform without excuse. I mean it is true. My job was once to entertain and now I am the lens people use to be entertained. Funny how life works right? 

“Spiritually, mentally and physically I've adjusted my life's lens by trusting my faith in God; I'm in focus."