Flip the Switch Episode 69: An Interview with Quinn Early

John Saunders
By John Saunders

PAT: Today on Flip The Switch, we interview Quinn Early, who played in the NFL for 12 years and is now a stunt man for actors like Will Smith and for TV shows like SWAT. A man of many talents, he recently published a book called Bryant Acres, a love story about the antebellum South. Quinn’s mom, Ann Early wrote the book and all of the proceeds from the sales go to the Alzheimer’s Association in her memory. We’re excited to bring you one of the most unique interviews we’ve ever had. Let’s get into it.

00:54 AUSTIN: Welcome to Flip the Switch, presented by Power Digital Marketing. This is episode number 69.

00:59 PAT: We have missed you guys. This is the first one back in a little while. We’re excited about it.

AUSTIN: 01:04 Yeah. First one back since Ryan Berman, I believe.

PAT: 01:06 That’s right. Yeah. We’re real high energy about this interview and we interview a real high energy guy.

AUSTIN: 01:10 Absolutely. This is one of our favorite interviews we’ve ever done. If you listen to the intro, you just heard a little story about Quinn Early who used to be in the NFL… Is now a stunt man for individuals like Will Smith. He had this crazy bungee jumping story out of a helicopter over the Grand Canyon. That’s coming in this interview.

PAT: 01:28 Yeah. So without further ado, let’s get right into it.

PAT: 01:34 All right, so with us today, we have Quinn Early. Quinn, thank you so much for coming on the show today.

QUINN: 01:40 Absolutely. Thanks for having me.

PAT: 01:41 Of course. Um, so I think for us and for our listeners, it’d be awesome… And you have such an extensive background… It’d be great for you to give us a quick background on kind of who you are, where you come from and what you’re all about.

QUINN: 01:52 Okay. Yeah, absolutely. So my name is Quinn Early and, uh, originally from Long Island in New York. Grew up there, just, you know, regular kid and you know, I played all the sports, you know, played some football and basketball, ran track, you know, I was like a little karate guy and all that stuff.

PAT: 02:10 Karate guy too.

QUINN: 02:11 Yeah. My mom used to drop me off at the movie theater on Saturday morning and I would watch like the Bruce Lee Marathon.

PAT: 02:19 Oh no way. Just stay there all day.

QUINN: 02:21 Then I’d go to the hardware store afterwards and buy like some dowel rods. I’d cut them and get some chain and nail them in. And now I had some nunchucks and you know, almost killed myself. But then, you know, I had the opportunity to be a two sport athlete at the University of Iowa, Iowa Hawkeyes so, played football there and I also ran track, a great experience. And then in 1988 I was drafted by the San Diego Chargers and I got to play for 12 years in the NFL.

PAT: 02:51 That is incredible.

AUSTIN: 02:54 Home town man, then. We got ourselves right here in San Diego. We got, well I guess you can’t say the Chargers are San Diego’s team anymore, but kind of. We still have Philip Rivers. He lives in Carlsbad.

QUINN: 03:02 Yeah, no, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. And, you know, I guess now I can say that I’m, I’m from San Diego Cause I’ve been here over 30 years.

PAT: 03:10 Yeah. It’s always tough. I had to do the same. I moved down here for college and now people are like, you know, where are you from? I was like, I guess technically San Diego, like seven or eight years or something like that.

AUSTIN: 03:20 Yeah, you’re not alone. The whole city is people from other places. That’s what makes it so great. Well, you’re a, you’re a multifaceted man. You have many talents, acting, football of course. And then some nonprofit that we want to talk about. What, why don’t we start with the NFL? Uh, let, let’s chat about one, the drafting, how you got successful and then really what it took to be an NFL player.

QUINN: 03:40 Oh yeah, no, absolutely. So I was drafted by the Chargers, I think I was the first player in the third round taken. The first round…. They didn’t have a second round pick. And the first round pick was Anthony Miller from the University of Tennessee. So we were the post air-corielle days. So, you know, suffice it to say we were pretty crappy. You know, it was just a transition. You know, it was a building period. And I’ll tell you during those years, you could pretty much rip the team picture in half and throw it in the trash every year. It was just like a carousel, you know. So I played for three years here. Obviously I loved it here cause I still live here, raise my family here. But, going into my third year is when Dan Henning was the head coach. Bobby Bethert came in, you know, he had those successful years with the Washington Redskins and for whatever reason, you know, he didn’t care for me that much. But you know, now when I look back on everything, that’s a business. Sure, you come in and you want to bring your own people in. So anyway, they didn’t want me, you know, going into my fourth year and so I signed with the New Orleans Saints and I’ll tell you, it was a blessing in disguise because it really put that chip on my shoulder. To make me work hard and show that I belonged in this league and that I could play and be successful and had some great years in New Orleans. My last year in New Orleans, I wanted to stay, this was in 95 but the other receiver, it was Michael Hanes, not the DB from the Raiders, but the receiver from the Atlanta Falcons at the time. Real speed guy. Great guy by the way. But anyway, he had a really big contract that he had signed. And I think that year in 95 I caught 82 passes, 81 or 82 and then the other four receivers on the team combined, I think caught like, you know, 85 passes or something. And I just, you know, I just want what he’s making, you know, basically, you know, I don’t have to break the bank. I just want what he’s making and I’ll stay. And you know, they didn’t, didn’t really want to pay that. So I ended up signing with the Buffalo Bills and had some great years there. I got to play Jim Kelly’s last year… I got to play with, you know, these great players, you know, I got to play with Andre Reed and Thurman Thomas and Bruce Smith. And so that was just a really great experience. And then after that, I pretty much thought that I was going to be done, you know, the fire was starting to go out a little bit. I wasn’t enjoying it as much anymore. And I was home and, this was after my 11th year and the teams were in training camp, didn’t get any calls and you know, I was having my coffee, I’m just hanging out and I was fine with it. And all of a sudden the phone rang and it was Bill Parcells. This is in 99. And that was the year they thought… They picked the Jets to go to the Superbowl, in the AFC. So he’s like, come on when we need one. So I looked over at my wife and she was like, get on that plane and you know, I was like, ah, so next…

AUSTIN: 06:52 It was Bill Parcells! If Bill calls, you go.

QUINN: 06:55 Yeah, exactly. So the next thing I know, you know, I’m standing on the sideline at the… I went from having coffee and cereal with the kids to standing on the sideline, you know…

AUSTIN: 07:04 Bill Bellachek and Bill Parcells.

QUINN: 07:05 Yeah. Yeah. Bill Bellachek was the defense coordinator then and

PAT: 07:08 That’s incredible. That’s crazy to me.

QUINN: 07:10 Yeah. So that was my last year playing, and I actually lived in my hometown, being from New York, I lived in my hometown, got to hang out with the homies.

AUSTIN: 07:19 Full Circle!

PAT: 07:19 What a cool way to wrap up too.

QUINN: 07:20 Yeah. So it was a pretty good experience and man. And what a blessing it was for me to, you know, when I was doing it, it was no big deal. I’m like, this is what I do, you know. But now when I look back on it, man, I’m super blessed and appreciative to have been able to play as long as I did.

AUSTIN: 07:36 Absolutely. 12 years is a long career. Honestly, I think the average is four years, right around there.

QUINN: 07:42 Yeah. It’s like three and a half, four years, something like that.

PAT: 07:44 And going down, I’m pretty sure too.

QUINN: 07:46 Yeah. So you know, again, very, very fortunate.

PAT: 07:49 Absolutely. And something that you actually just spoke about really kind of sparked something for me because we see all of these other areas of life that you’ve gotten fulfillment out of too. Again, like we’ll touch on like the acting and things like that, but you’re talking about having that chip on your shoulder. How formative do you think that was to your overall kind of success level as an individual?

QUINN: 08:07 I think it was huge. You know, especially in a business like the NFL, you know, it’s such a dog eat dog, you know, got it, you know, what have you done for me lately? You have to play well all the time. I mean, you have to play well every day in practice, every week in the game, week after week, season after season, you know. Yeah. And if, you know, if we play that, if you and I play the same position and I’m making $1 million and you’re making $100,000, but you can do what I can do, why keep me around? That’s just economics, right?

PAT: 08:40 Right.

QUINN: 08:41 So to bring something extra to the table every single day, every single year, year after year, you know, it’s a hard thing to do. So whatever you can do to, you know, make yourself last. I mean, I worked extremely hard. I was the first one in the locker room, last one to leave. I took care of myself. I didn’t get caught up in the glamor of it. I just really concentrate on my job and, and you know, and there’s some luck involved, right? You have to stay healthy and not get injured and you have to be in the right situation to be successful. And you know, so it all just worked out for me. And again, just super appreciate it. Appreciate it for it all.

AUSTIN: 09:14 Do you have a favorite moment or some iconic memory in your mind of, of your NFL career or anything that comes to mind?

QUINN: 09:22 There’s been a couple, excuse me. In 91, I think my first year for the Saints, we won the NFC west, which was hard to do back then, you know, with the forty-niners were in our division and you know, we won that, that was pretty huge. And then my first year with the Buffalo Bills, I think it was my second game there and we’re playing the Patriots who, Bill Parcells was the head coach there at that time. And we were losing, there was like a minute or so left. I caught a quick slant and I went like 70 yards. It was pretty much the game winning touchdown. It was like welcome to Buffalo and that was, that was pretty huge. That was a pretty big moment.

AUSTIN: 10:06 That is incredible.

QUINN: 10:06 And you know, I have a bunch of them. But those, those are two that stick out in my mind.

AUSTIN: 10:10 Did you play in the snow at all up in Buffalo.

QUINN: 10:12 Oh, did I?

AUSTIN: 10:14 Dumb question.

QUINN: 10:15 So yeah, so one game, you know, we would stay in the hotel the night before the game and woke up, it’s about seven in the morning and you know, nice and toasty and walked over to the window and I opened the curtains and the snow was blowing sideways. And I’m looking at, there’s a guy in the parking lot and he’s trying to get to his car and he’s covering his eyes and he’s trying to make his way to his car. And I was just like, how am I going to get out of this today? I don’t want to do this, you know, maybe I’m sick or something, you know? And then, you know, I snapped out of it and then, you know, I ended up playing and I’ll tell you, those were some of the funnest games, you know, you’d get out there and the snow and the fans would be going crazy. And you know, it’s kind of blizzard conditions and you know, those were some of the funnest games I’ve played in.

AUSTIN: 11:06 I imagine you just have to reach another level. And internally you’re just like, this is, this is the elements in it, purest form. It’s going to be tough, it’s going to hurt, but gotta rise into it. And I don’t know, it just seems like a really crazy experience.

QUINN: 11:16 Yeah, no, absolutely. And I’ll tell you, there’s no excuse for not catching the ball and not making a play. You have to play just as well in those conditions as if it was a 70 degrees sunny day out, you know? So that was definitely a challenge. But like I said, it was a lot of fun and I just appreciate all the experiences.

AUSTIN: 11:37 Yeah. Pretty incredible. So let’s transition into the other side of your life that seemed to parallel your NFL career and maybe took you in your next chapter, which is acting. Curious about kind of when you first thought acting might be something you’d want to do the rest of your life, or how did that work with your NFL career?

QUINN: 11:54 Well, I’ll tell you, I do some acting, but I’m primarily a stunt man.

AUSTIN: 11:57 Gotcha.

QUINN: 11:58 So… but growing up I was in a lot of plays and stuff like that. My mom actually had a playgroup and she would put on these performances. So I can act and I have done some acting roles. But again, primarily a stunt man. I was at home and I got a phone call from one of my best friends from college, did really well in business. He worked on Wall Street for a number of years. He’s now a hedge fund manager. His passion was movies. So he became a movie producer. He calls me and goes, hey, why don’t you come be in my movie this weekend? I’m like, okay, I guess so. So I fly out to New Orleans, that’s where the movie was being filmed. And next thing I know, I was hanging out the back of a truck shooting a machine gun. And then they paid me for it and I was like, are you serious? You know, I became friends with a stunt coordinator and I asked him, I said, well, how do I do this as a profession, as a career? And you know, he gave me the blueprint and told me what to do and I kind of followed it. And 10 years later, you know, I work all the time. So very fortunate. I’ve had the opportunity to double, you know, people like Will Smith, Laurence Fishburne.

AUSTIN: 13:05 Nice.

QUINN: 13:06 And currently I regularly double Shamar Moore on the TV show Swat.

AUSTIN: 13:11 Nice.

PAT: 13:11 No, no way.

QUINN: 13:12 So yeah, I’m actually working on there next week. So a lot of fun. Like I said to you when we were off the air, I get to work with my son quite a bit who also is a stunt man, Cameron.

PAT: 13:23 Such a cool experience.

QUINN: 13:24 Man, we just, we laugh, we have a great time together.

AUSTIN: 13:26 Did you sit him down when he was young and say, Hey, I don’t care what you want to do, you’re being a stuntman.

PAT: 13:31 Here’s your pad.

QUINN: 13:31 I’ll tell you, I didn’t have to, you know, he… When he was little, him and his buddy, they had all their movie equipment and they would make these films and then we would have like premiere night and we’d make popcorn and we’d all sit around and watch his, you know, his little movies. And so he was made for this. I mean, he absolutely loves it and it’s a pleasure watching him go do his thing. And I’ll tell you what’s pretty cool is sometimes when I go on set and you know, I haven’t worked with somebody before, I’ll shake their hand, I’ll introduce myself to them and they’ll go, Oh, you’re Cameron’s dad. Yeah. So now I’m Cameron’s dad, you know what I mean? So it is pretty cool. You know, he’s having a lot of success, you know, at this young stage in his career. And, you know, I couldn’t be more proud.

AUSTIN: 14:19 That’s really, really awesome. And I kind of want to unpack this stunt man thing cause I know for us three, it was something that jumped out to us when John brought to the table that we wanted to interview you.

PAT: 14:29 Which is crazy because you think the NFL thing would jump out to us first.

AUSTIN: 14:33 I mean like NFL was incredible, but I feel like there’s just another level of courage I guess you have to have to do stunt man activities. Kind of just explain your mindset into choosing that. And I mean, aren’t you scared? Cause I would be.

QUINN: 14:48 Level of courage, or level of crazy?

PAT: 14:52 What do we say?

QUINN: 14:53 I’ll tell ya. I’ll tell ya. When I think about it, back when I was a kid, my brother and I would choreograph these fight scenes and we would, you know, we would recreate these Star trek episodes and you know, wild, wild west, some of these old TV shows from the 70s and all that. And my brother’s older than me and he’d be like, Oh, I’m going to be a stunt man. And I was like, me too. And I forgot all of that as I went on to it, you know, my football career and sports career and stuff. But, you know, it all kind of came back to me. And when I had the opportunity, you know, I was like, man, I’m going to, I want to do this now. I will say that every stunt that I do, no matter how hard or how simple, you just have to respect what you’re doing. And I, you know, I play it over a hundred times in my head so that when I actually, on the day when I get to the stunt, I’ve already done it. Does that make sense?

AUSTIN: 15:50 Yeah.

QUINN: 15:51 Mentally, I’ve already done it. So, you know, there’s a lot of preparation and I’ll tell you, you know, it’s a, even though when you watch these movies and these TV shows, it looks super dangerous, but there’s a lot of preparation that’s involved. And you know, the stunt coordinators, they’re former stunt, you know, they still do stunts, but they were former stuntman too. And it’s really important these days to keep everyone safe. Now there’s, you know, you’re going to get hurt, there’s going to be some things, but you know, we do what we can to make sure that the stunts are safe. Now I’ll tell you, I don’t know if you guys know about when Will Smith, he did that Bungee jump?

AUSTIN: 16:23 I just looked it up right before you came in. Explain it please.

QUINN: 16:27 Yeah. So I got a call from a gentleman named TJ Wide, he’s a stunt coordinator in Hollywood. And he asked me, he said, listen, I know that you’ve doubled Will before on some stuff. You know, we’re the same size and everything. And he said he got dared by a YouTube group called group theory to do a hella bungee out of the helicopter over the Grand Canyon for his 50th birthday. And I was like, oh yeah, cool. And he goes, we wanted to know if you would test the jump for him to make sure that everything would work out.

PAT: 16:59 What an offer.

QUINN: 17:01 Yeah. So basically I was the test dummy to make sure he wouldn’t get killed.

PAT: 17:04 Guinea pig.

QUINN: 17:05 So I go, yeah, sure, I’ll do it. And then, so anyway, we finished our conversation, I hung up the phone and I just, I sat there and stared at the wall for like five minutes. Like, what did I just agree to? And I’ll tell you, you know, I’m scared of heights too.

PAT: 17:20 What do you mean?

QUINN: 17:24 That was an opportunity for me to overcome one of my biggest fears. So before we went to the Grand Canyon, we went to Simi Valley and there’s a rock quarry out there and you know, I got out there and you know, they had an expert bungee team. They explained to me how it goes, you know, they really made me feel good about the mechanism and how safe it was. And then they had a dummy that they tied to the bungees and they, you know, they went up and I’m watching, I’m looking from the ground and how high up in the air this helicopter was. I’m like, oh my God. And then they threw the dummy out and I see the thing fall and I’m just like, oh my God. And then…

PAT: 18:04 That’s going to be me.

QUINN: 18:05 Yeah. And they, when they brought the dummy in, you know, part of the challenge was how to land safely. So the first one or two times they brought the dummy and this thing is slamming off the ground and everything. And I’m going, wow, that’s no good.

PAT: 18:16 Yeah. Right.

QUINN: 18:17 That’s no good.

PAT: 18:17 Cause that’s me. Yeah. So I’m the dummy.

QUINN: 18:20 So finally they figured it out. And then once they got that ironed out, I went up. And what they did was they had a bunch of giant pads that they tied together and it was this big area. And then they had the team of stunt people who… so I came out of the helicopter. So basically I was standing on the skid of the helicopter and I was facing in, so I couldn’t see what was behind me, which was the fall. So I basically just focused on the spot on the floor of the helicopter. They do the countdown. Five, four, three, two, one. I did like the Nestea plunge. I basically just fell out of the helicopter. And the first time I did it, I swear to you, I felt like I was falling to my death. I was like, Oh, oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. And then finally I slowed down and the thing was over and I was like, yeah! And then, you know, they brought me down and they landed me. So that was a really great experience. And then we went to the Grand Canyon and then they added, they put kind of a fanny pack on me and it had a weighted rope on it. So, you know, once we did the jump again and I did it over the grand… Going over the Grand Canyon was awesome. So basically we were 200 feet over the surface and then a thousand feet over the floor of the Grand Canyon.

PAT: 19:32 Sorry, I have like a height thing, I can’t be here in this room right now. My hands are very clammy, right now.

AUSTIN: 19:39 Yeah, so it was a pretty crazy experience. And then, you know, they landed me, I dropped the rope, they grabbed the rope, they pulled me in and everything went great. And then I went and I talked to Will about it. I explained to him, this is what you need to do, this is how you want to do it. Just concentrate on this, do that. And he did it. And then afterwards he said, man, that was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. He said, but it was the most amazing. And I couldn’t, I couldn’t, you know, echoed that sentiment, I mean, any better. I mean, it was, that’s exactly…

AUSTIN: 20:09 I watched the video of will Smith going up in the helicopter and he is so terrified. He’s one of the most charismatic individuals. Confident. And he’s just gripping. And then he jumps and then afterwards it’s just elation. Just pure joy.

QUINN: 20:23 Yeah, no, absolutely. And the thing that he had that I didn’t, they had headphones in his ear. They’re interviewing him while he’s going up. If that would have been me, it would have been air silence. Just cause I was, you know, I was like, oh my God. You know, he just did a great job. He’s professional, like he always is. You know, he’s got a great sense of humor about it and, you know, everything that he does.

AUSTIN: 20:44 He seems like a really great guy, just individually.

QUINN: 20:45 He is. I enjoy working for him.

PAT: 20:48 That’s cool too, because you think about just like the mental preparation, like the mental exercise that you go through to A. Conquer a fear like that and B. Just have the right steps in place to do a stunt like that. I think that that speaks to the level of mental toughness that you probably have and that, you know, you, it was probably ingrained as a result of some of the experiences with sports as I, if I would imagine correctly.

QUINN: 21:07 Yeah, no, absolutely. Absolutely. And I’ll tell you, you know, it’s a short life, right? So, you know, I’ve been very fortunate to be able to do all of the things that I enjoy in life and, you know, again, I’m very appreciative and it’s just been an awesome ride so far.

PAT: 21:23 That’s a really cool mindset.

AUSTIN: 21:24 So I think we want to transition into the final piece of this and talk about your mom and your book, Bryant Acres. Can you just tell us a little bit about that story and then how that all came to fruition for you?

QUINN: 21:35 Absolutely. So just a little history of my mom. My Mom, her name was Ann Early and my father left us when I was about 12 and she went back to college. She was a housewife. She went back to college and she got her bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD and she became a doctor, opened her own practice. She was just this amazing woman. So she was my role model. She showed me that if you want to go, you know, get something accomplished in life, you have to roll up your sleeves and go get it. So that’s, you know, a big reason why I’ve been able to do all of the things that I’ve done. So when she was a little girl, her grandmother, big Momma, would tell her these stories about her great grandfather, like six generations back. And he was a man named Sharat Bryant and he was a free man of color during the time of slavery in the antebellum south. So pre civil war. He sold himself into indentured servitude and then he went on to become one of the wealthiest land owners in the south and he built this multiracial community. So this is this amazing story. So my mother, when she had the time, she wrote this book and I remember, you know, it was like in the late nineties, she tried to share this with me, but at the time I was in my NFL career, I was married, I was raising two sons. And I was like, what are you doing? Whatever mom, you know, you know how we tend to do right? What are you doing? Whatever, you know. So, fast forward in 2008, my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. And during that time I got to spend the last… The next five years we spent a lot of time together. I was her primary caregiver and we just had a lot of laughs. We cried together. We just spent a lot of quality time together. And even though, you know, this disease eventually took her life, man, what, it was just such a great experience just to, it was almost like we had a new relationship and we got to spend a lot of time together. So I’m very appreciative of those years. And, before she passed away, she asked me if I would have her book published. So I told her, absolutely, I will. After she passed away, it was too emotional for me. I put the book on the bookshelf, didn’t read it. About two years ago, I picked up the book and I read it and I couldn’t put the thing down. I’m like, oh my God. Oh my God. You know? And then when I got to the end of the book, I just wept like a baby. It’s that kind of story. It’s that amazing of a story. And so I had her book published and the money that I raised from the book I give to Alzheimer’s and Alzheimer’s research. And, I started a foundation in her name and you know, for anybody who would like to purchase the book, you can go to Bryantacres.com and again, the proceeds go to Alzheimer’s research. And again, it’s just a great read. It’s a great story. So, and I’ll tell you, you know, what I’ve realized is everything that I’ve accomplished in my life were, was just a vehicle to be able to do this. I never knew I could be so passionate about something and I’m really passionate about it. I’m actually getting the book into schools, been visiting with quite a few schools around San Diego and then eventually I’d like to transition. I met with a school in Los Angeles, transitioning to other states and things like that, and just be able to tell what I think is a great American story.

AUSTIN: 24:53 I’m blown away just by that story. It was, it was really incredible. And I really can’t imagine what it would take to go through such a really difficult thing with your mom and then be able to champion her dying wish truly. And then also just that the pathway of your family and your lineage is, it’s a really incredible thing. And I just, I’m very proud of you. I put it that way.

QUINN: 25:17 And I’ll tell you, you know, so as far as the stunts and doing stunts go, you know, I’m not getting any younger, so getting thrown through a plate glass window isn’t quite feeling…

PAT: 25:30 It’s not as pliable as it was.

QUINN: 25:32 It’s not as awesome as it was. But, so I actually wrote a screenplay based on the story and I’m actually starting to get a little bit of interest in the screenplay. So you know what, I’m cultivating it and it’s this, that’s been amazing too because I’m learning. You know, when I first wrote the screenplay, you know, it was about 200 long, 200 pages long, I sent it to a coverage person and they read it and they said, well congratulations, you have a beginning, a middle and an end. And then they told me how crappy, you know, the script was. So, what I did was I had, I had to go back and learn how to write a screenplay. So I read some books, I read a bunch of screenplays, I bought screenplay writing software and you know, a year later I have something that’s pretty decent and you know, and it’s still a work in progress. You know, it’s like a piece of clay. I’m still molding it, but it’s… I’m pretty happy with it and it’s just been a great experience. And now I’m just, I’m totally into screenwriting.

AUSTIN: 26:28 What are some characteristics of the screenplay now, and then maybe that you were missing before? Is it just the context?

QUINN: 26:34 Yeah. I think, you know, when you read a book, you know, A. It talks about what the people in the story are thinking, you can’t write a script like that because the audience doesn’t know what your character is thinking and you have to, it’s just a very cut and dry. You know, Joe walks in, Joe takes a cup of his coffee, Joe sees Tom. Tom has a knife, Joe throws his coffee at Tom, you know, and then disarms the knife, you know, it’s very, you know, and then it’s up to the actor to bring it to life and then it’s up to the director to say, okay, this is how we’re going to do it. This is how this scene is going to be played. So I had to learn those things. Also, what you have to learn is when you have a main character, you have to create what’s called a character arc. You know, when the story starts, this is an amazing character. What’s his flaw? He’s an alcoholic. How does he overcome his demons to champion the cause by the end of the movie? These types of things.

PAT: 27:35 Yeah, the hero arc.

QUINN: 27:35 The hero arc and things like that. Right? So pretty much these days, everything is, it’s star wars, right? It’s Luke Skywalker comes from humble… Yeah. Hero’s journey. He doesn’t know that the villain is actually really his father. How do they all come to terms with that? How’s it come together at the end? So it’s these types of things, you know, the stakes have to be high. You know, it’s the, you know, the dark fall of the night, you know, God, why have you forsaken me? These types of things. So these are things that you have to add in to make a screenplay exciting so that when you read it, you go, wow, this story is amazing. So these are the things that I had to learn and these are the things that I’m cultivating and learning about with, you know, when it comes to screen write, screenplay writing.

PAT: 28:18 It’s so cool too because you like, you’ve been in the industry kind of indirectly, right? Because of all of the stunt work that you’ve done and you have those connections too, have you leveraged any additional resources within the industry to get you like kind of on that right path so that the screenplay could get to where it is now?

QUINN: 28:33 Yeah, no, absolutely. Absolutely. I have, I actually have the actually the stunt coordinator, I was telling you when I did my first movie, he’s since become a pretty reputable director in Hollywood, and you know, so I went to him and I said, listen, I have this screenplay, what are your thoughts? He has a guy who is a coverage person and really well known coverage person that he sends his scripts to. The guy fixes them and sends them back. Okay, now it’s ready. So, he introduced us, I sent him my screenplay. He gave me like a 49 page synopsis on why it works, why it doesn’t work. This is what you need to do. You’ve got to develop this character here. So I followed that thing to the letter. Fixed it, send it back to him. So I’ve worked with him and then since I got that, I’ve sent it to about eight people in the industry that I know to get their notes and then I take all those notes and then I, you know, just improve on it even more and things like that. So it’s a process. But yeah, to answer your question, there are some people that I know that can help me get to other places. And so it’s going well.

AUSTIN: 29:47 Is there ever any moments in your life, you’ve done so many different things where maybe the frustrations are or the difficulties that you are going through seemed like it could, you couldn’t overcome them? And what was that moment like and then how have you really, how did you cultivate the ability to overcome that and just keep driving?

QUINN: 30:04 You mean those God, why have you forsaken me moments?

AUSTIN: 30:08 Exactly. Just the way you’re acting, in real life.

QUINN: 30:08 So one of the big things was again, when I was playing for the Chargers, I was 24 years old. I had a brand new wife and a brand new baby. And now I have the general manager saying, this kid can’t play, we’re not going to invite you back. Right? So what do you do with that when you’re that age and you’re just starting out? You know? So again, you know, to have the opportunity to go to another team and I’ll show, I’ll show them and I got to tell you, you know, I can’t… In my life, I can’t tell you how many people told me that I couldn’t do it. You’re not big enough. You’re not fast enough. You? You can’t make it. Those types of things. And what I taught myself how to do was use all of that negative energy and take all of those naysayers and people that said I couldn’t do it. And I’d always use that as fuel to fuel my rocket, to propel me to success. And so I do a lot of motivational speaking, and that’s what I always talk about. And I’ve had a few moments like that. I played college football for a guy named Hayden Fry, right. He’s like, you know, college football, Hall of fame coach and he’s just the lineage to Stoops Brothers, Bill Snyder. I mean, I could go on… Bill Snyder from Kansas state, I could go on and on. These are all students of his, he was a psychology major and one thing that he would stress is right, you have a midline right in your life and then life is about peaks and valleys, right? He would always say, don’t let the valleys get too low, keep it in perspective and then don’t let the peaks get too high. Always keep it as close to the midline as possible and then just always work as hard as you can and don’t let anybody deter you from where you’re trying to go. So I’ve tried to live my life that way and you know, life has ups and downs, right? We all go through them and you know, I’ve had some bad things happen business wise, but you know, I just keep going, keep moving forward and keep working hard and, you know, things usually turn out in the end.

AUSTIN: 32:14 And at the end of the day we live in San Diego, right?

PAT: 32:17 Yeah, exactly.

QUINN: 32:17 That’s exactly right.

PAT: 32:18 Having a bad day just walk right out to the water, that’ll set you right.

QUINN: 32:20 Exactly.

PAT: 32:22 So I guess, and you might’ve just kind of hit on it a little bit, but if you could impart our listeners with like, you know, one kind of piece of advice or one thing to take away from everything that we discussed today, what would that be? Like what would that message be?

QUINN: 32:34 The big thing would be, you know, if you want to be successful in life, just follow your path, right? It’s like a yellow brick road, right? So you’re on your path of life and they’re always going to be side roads, right? Hey, come down here, let’s try this and whatever, whatever that is, right? So it’s okay to maybe go check out what’s down there a little bit. As long as you come back to your path and follow that path and no matter, and you know, some of those side roads could be people telling you you’re not going to be successful. Why are you doing that? You can’t do that. Whatever you have passion for, go do it. And no matter what happens, go do that and go follow your path and you can be successful, you know? That’s just how I’ve always approached it. And I think that if you do that, then you know, things can turn out for you. It’s whatever energy you put out into the world, right? It’s easier to believe the bad stuff then the good stuff, right. It’s all what we say to ourselves. Right. I can’t do it. I look funny. My hair is bad. You know what I mean? I wish I was, you know, thinner I wish I was tall… Whatever it is, you know, it’s easy to believe that bad stuff when somebody tells you, man, what a great job. I’m so proud of you. This is awesome. You know, you’ve done a great job. You know, what do we do? We go, oh yeah, thanks. And then we let that go. But it’s the bad stuff that people tell us and it’s the bad stuff that we tell ourselves that always stay with us. So it’s that internal dialogue. If you put the… You know, I don’t care what anybody says, I’m making this happen. If you, if you put that kind of energy out into the world, that comes back to you, you know, and if you put that negative energy out into the world, I can’t do it. That’s, that’s true too.

AUSTIN: 34:13 Pat and I are talking about this recently with, we’ve a lot of clients here to tie this back into our world and business and digital marketing. And we’re an agency. So we have maybe eight to 10 clients that we manage. All three of us really, and there’s a lot of times when you’ve got three or four going poorly, right, where maybe performance is down, the clients are really tough on the team. Ah, you’re just having a difficult time connecting, and it can be something that you bring home with you where you’re really feeling like that’s you. Right. Where these, these four to five people that I’m not connecting with is now who I am. And it’s, and it’s really difficult. And I think that we’ve gotten better at this of being like, look, think about all the things that you’ve done successful and the wins and you’re a good marketer and you’re a good leader. Use that. And then go and prove these other people wrong or forget about that cause you know it’s not true. And that can be so difficult to use because you really do want to believe that, right? The negative energy can be, uh, something that weighs you down very heavily.

QUINN: 35:08 No, absolutely. Absolutely. And I’ll tell you, you know what you’re saying is that’s life. No matter what industry you’re in, no matter what business, no matter what you do. And I always tell people, you know, when I played football, it’s such a microcosm for life. You know, when you go into that locker room, there’s all kinds of different personalities. It’s like you guys working in this company, right? You know, you have jokey guy, you have extra religious guy, you have the guy that parties too much, you’re the quiet guy, you have the kind… You know what I mean? It’s like, you know, you just have all these different people and how do you coexist and work with these people and make it successful? So you’re a winner as a team, right? And then, just the ups and downs of it. It’s just such a microcosm, but I think that if you like the things that I’ve been talking about and the things that we’ve been talking about as far as how do you be successful, I think if you generally follow that in life, and that’s outside of work too, right? Cause you take your personality outside into your personal life. If you just approach things that, you know, a certain way, then put that positive energy out into the world. You know, it just comes back. Yeah.

AUSTIN: 36:18 Couldn’t have said it better myself. I’m also really fired up now.

PAT: 36:21 Yeah, I’m super fired up now! Let’s do this thing.

QUINN: 36:23 Yeah, let’s get out there and make it happen.

PAT: 36:25 I’m about ready to run through a brick wall right now. Feeling great. Well Quinn, thank you so much again for taking a few minutes to speak with us today. All of this again was super awesome for us. It is a little bit different than our normal interviews, but I think that this was just as valuable if not more so than some of the other ones. And again, just thank you so much for coming on.

QUINN: 36:43 Yeah, no, absolutely. And thank you guys for having me and it was great talking with you.

JOHN: 36:47 And we can buy the book at bryantacres.com?

QUINN: 36:50 Yes, again, bryantacres.com and the proceeds go to Alzheimer’s research. So go on there, and thank you.

PAT: 36:57 Incredible cause. We will include that link in the description. Everybody that’s listening right now, go get this book. This is obviously a huge effort that’s been put into this by Quinn. So again, thank you so much for coming on today. Just appreciate you taking the time.

QUINN: 37:10 Absolutely. Thank you.

PAT: 37:15 What an awesome interview. Quinn Early. Thank you so much for coming in. That was so great. And so interesting.

AUSTIN: 37:21 I stand by our statement at the beginning that this was one of our favorite interviews we’ve ever had. Also a huge shout up to John Saunders’ mom who actually lined this up for us. He’s laughing right now, but seriously, we can’t thank her enough because Quinn was one of the most extraordinary individuals we’ve ever met.

JOHN: 37:35 Yeah. Shout out to Chris Saunders out there for the introduction.

AUSTIN: 37:40 She’s probably listening right now. So Chris, thank you so, so much. Yeah, I think we all speak for when we say please check out this book that Quinn has put out in memory of his mom Bryant Acres. We’re going to add the link in the bio. You can check it out. I believe it’s on Amazon.

PAT: 37:53 Yes sir.

AUSTIN: 37:54 All the proceeds go to Alzheimer’s Association.

PAT: 37:56 Unbelievable cause.

AUSTIN: 37:57 It’s really huge. It’s really important. If you’ve got any great stories you’d like to share with us or enjoy the book, please reach out to us. I know Quinn would really appreciate it.

PAT: 38:06 All right, everybody, thank you so much for joining us today for episode 69 of Flip the Switch presented by Power Digital Marketing. Did you hear that? I almost screwed that up. We’ll be back again next week with more great content. Until that time, this has been Pat Kriedler, Austin Mahaffy, John Saunders and Joe Hollerup signing off.

 

John is the Director of Web Development at Power Digital and thrives on the balance between creative and strategy. Using his experience in CRO, John approaches website builds with the user in mind, combining psychological and technical aspects of design.