Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008

Production company focuses on future athletes and film editors

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Brian Lewis⁄The Gazette
Intern Marcus Plaisimond (left), of Northwood High School, and Solomon Taylor edit footage from youth football games at Prominent Productions in Bethesda. The company, founded by Taylor, covers youth sports around the county and broadcasts the highlights on cable television.
For Solomon Taylor, owner of Prominent Productions, his career is based on giving back to his community.

The lifelong Montgomery County resident uses his Bethesda video production company to highlight the achievements of young athletes across the county and also to give high school students experience behind the camera.

The company creates highlight videos of athletes and teams for them to save as memories, or for college coaches and scouts to use when evaluating high school athletes for scholarships and places on college teams.

Taylor, 24, a 2001 Winston Churchill High School alumnus, used his own experience as a high school football player whose family couldn’t be at his games for inspiration in creating his business.

‘‘I got sick of telling my brothers and my mother about my games. I would have six sacks and a couple of tackles and they’d say, ‘Yeah, prove it,’” he said. ‘‘I was sick of telling my mom about the games because she couldn’t be there because she was working.”

After graduating high school, he began making highlight tapes for friends still in high school and coached the Potomac Thunder in the Rockville Football League, a youth league, for a season.

Taylor had played in the league as a child and said that experience helped give him confidence to succeed.

While Taylor enjoys making videos that help athletes get into college, his passion is in the county’s youth football leagues.

‘‘In high school you’ve got the cheerleaders, coaches and scouts bending your ear,” he said. ‘‘But this is football at its purest level. It’s just little kids playing so hard just to have fun.”

To capture that football purity, Taylor’s company offers highlight video featuring top plays, interviews and pictures of a team or player.

Sue Ellen Kelly, of Rockville, has a son Joe who plays with the Rockville Football League. She said she and her husband bought a season-highlight video of her son as a Christmas gift.

‘‘We were watching it just the other night with friends of parents of other kids in the league. ...As parents, what wonderful things for these kids to have forever,” she said. ‘‘I was amazed all of the things they caught that he did, and he just loves it, it’s like an ESPN highlight reel.”

Individual games of youth sports cost $10, and the recruiting videos of high school athletes can cost around $75.

He said the costs are nominal for a reason.

‘‘Maybe it’s not good business sense, but I just have such a passion for getting kids to continue their athletic careers at the next level,” he said. ‘‘You’ve got to give the kids exposure, then if they get the exposure, they get the opportunities. Then they get the confidence to succeed. That confidence pushes you to become better.”

Athletes aren’t the only ones benefiting from the exposure to video production.

Three years ago, Taylor took on an intern in Marcus Plaisimond, 16, a senior at Northwood High School. Plaisimond started filming football games with Taylor as a sophomore. Now he films and edits highlight videos of high school athletes and the Rockville Football, Capital Beltway and Pop Warner youth leagues.

‘‘I saw one of [Taylor’s] videos, and I was just inspired, that’s how I started,” he said. ‘‘Finally after a while, I started editing. I love it.”

Plaisimond now edits highlight videos for Comcast’s On Demand feature. His highlights of youth football games are featured on channel 866, under the Spotlight feature.

Marcus said he hopes to continue editing in college, starting at Montgomery College and pursuing a degree in film and video at either the University of Maryland or Towson University.

‘‘There’s no chance anything like this is at my school,” he said. ‘‘At my school, I am the program. I love it because this is me doing it. It’s my work.”

Taylor’s goal is to expand his internship program to students at all county high schools.

‘‘I have a passion because I played, and this service, this opportunity wasn’t available when I played,” he said. ‘‘These kids get to be on the sidelines, covering sports and editing with hip-hop music and edit.”