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by Joseph DeBenedictis / Buffalo Sabres

I knew how I wanted the episode to end before anything else.

I didn't go into this thinking about that, but more times than not I have the idea for the ending before I do the rest – especially if you have complete control over production. In this case, I was not involved in the production, so I went into it with an open mind, getting briefings from our producer and camera operators who were there.

This was a big episode that had several different focuses and after looking through all the footage, I saw how the ending was going to come together. I didn't know exactly how I was going to get there, but I let the footage dictate what stories needed to be told throughout.

I had heard a great quote from one of my favorite magicians, Derren Brown, (who arguably has created the best magic television ever done – look him up) and he was speaking about how he comes up with the ideas for his television specials. He said, "We sort of come up with a big ending moment and then write the show backwards."


This works because then everything you do will fulfill the ending. It helps focus the piece, especially when sifting through hours of footage. When I can get excited about how it will end, it helps drive the passion for the work and focus the decision-making process when deciding what to cut and what to keep.

So I got to it and started compiling the episode. Putting together the first few minutes is always tough. But there's a great moment that occurs after struggling for a bit, where everything becomes clear. You know exactly how the story will go, what moments go where, and how to get to an ending.

I remember when it happened for this episode because I turned to my co-worker and said, "Hey do you know that moment when you figure out exactly how you are going to do the edit? That's me now." Good times.

Once this happens, it becomes stress free and more enjoyable. Now it's about execution.

Skip a couple days ahead and I was starting to edit the beginning of the end. Now remember I knew how I was going to end it in theory, but now that I'm here, it's the real deal.

I knew I really wanted to use a music track with lyrics in some way and have those lyrics be meaningful to the story, of course. So I spent a good chunk of time looking through our music library for that perfect track. Well, I didn't find it...

I had the idea that it needed to be some kind of sentimental indie rock song or something along those lines, but nothing I heard was working the way I had envisioned.

Now I don't remember how I stumbled upon the track I ended up using, but it was so far away from what I had envisioned. However, as soon as I heard it I thought, "This could actually really work."

The lyrics were meaningful, it applied to the moment and the situation and it was different than anything a BBG episode had ever done. We had never used a song with lyrics, let alone one with such prominence.

There was much debate about the song when I first screened it to the group at PSE. Some said it was too over the top, too preachy. And they very well may be right. I thought about what to do after getting all the feedback. I even experimented with other songs. Nothing else worked.

Then in the middle of all this, I got some bad news personally. I found out that we had to put my dog down. It was heartbreaking. He had a large tumor on his leg that was becoming incapacitating. It was time. He was a Labradoodle named Rex we got when I was going into high school. He was part of the family. Sort of a goofy brother. He gave us so much joy, and brought our family and friends together. He was the closest thing I have ever lost.

During those very tough hours for my family and me, the music track I had used at the end of the episode started playing in my head every so often. I started to see the meaning more so than before. It really began to apply to my life in that moment. The words had many meanings… for me, for my dog, for my family, for everything.

In whatever situation you're in, someone loves you and is there to help you through the tough times.

For the guys on the team, their whole life is hockey so a win or loss means more to them than any of us. And their parents were there to help them through it.

So whatever we have in our own lives that means so much to us, this song should play for it, to remind you that someone is always there to help.

In the end, the end ended up being the ending I had first hoped for. Something more than hockey. So I stuck with the song. I hope you like it.

The end.

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