Rakontur Debuts “Broke” on ESPN
Alfred Spellman & Billy Corben at Cocaine Cowboys Premier at The Colony Theater Presented by Gen Art on October 18, 2006
Miami Beach, FL – October 2, 2012 – When you see a big time athlete with an entourage that’s 30 deep roll up to a club in a motorcade of Bentleys, and then proceed to buy bottle after bottle for said entourage, do you ever look around and think: one of these guys is going to totally screw this athlete out of millions of dollars? Well, you should, because according to Sports Illustrated, 60 percent of NBA players are broke within five years of retirement.
This riches to rags phenomenon is the focus of “Broke,” the latest ESPN 30 For 30 installment by Billy Corben, Alfred Spellman and David Cypkin of Miami-based media studio Rakontur, which aired October 2 on ESPN at 8 PM ET.
Most of you know Billy, Alfred and David from “Cocaine Cowboys,” their documentary on Miami’s greatest vice, or from their ESPN 30 for 30 film, “The U” on Uncle Luke’s favorite football team. Or maybe you know them because you’ve read their popular Twitter rants or you’ve eaten a Corben sandwich at Blue Collar.
Let me tell you how I know them.
It was the first day of 8th grade at Highland Oaks Middle School, and I was pumped to start a TV production class. The teacher, Ms. Spicer, gave us a tour of the studio, showed us the editing equipment, and then sat us down and told us WE’D NEVER BE AS GOOD AS BILLY AND ALFIE. Maybe she didn’t say it just like that, but every day we were told in some form or another about how great they were. She knew it. We knew it. And maybe they knew it too, because they’ve been together ever since.
“We met when we were 14, started making short films together and have never looked back,” Spellman said. “The fact that we’ve been working together for so long is a testament to our ability to know our strengths. The sum is better than the parts. We got lucky to have met so young, and we didn’t have to leave. We didn’t have to go to New York or LA to find success. We don’t forget how lucky we are for that.”
“Broke,” the team’s eighth film, shows how guys like Bernie Kosar, Jamal Mashburn and Cliff Floyd (who all passed through Miami in their careers at one point or another) found themselves in dire financial straits after poor investments, medical issues and a lifetime supply of freeloading friends and family.
“It’s interesting to see the commonalities between these athletes with financial problems,” said Spellman. “The bad businesses that they are apart of – whether it’s car washes or restaurants – a lot of them have similar stories. And it’s one after another.”
It was a labor of love for the Rakontur team, who worked tirelessly until the last minute making sure the film was up to date. “We literally finished this 72 hours before it was set to go on the air,” said Spellman who noted that after all their hard work, the team is uncharacteristically too pooped to party.
“We’ve been living it for the past two or three months and now I think we are all ready to take some time off.”
They won’t, of course, as the group (who have recently added editor Sam Rega to the team) has two more films set for 2013. And while they are branching out a bit from Miami-based projects, there is always a hint of South Florida in nearly everything that they do. “We’re from here and we decided to stay here,” said Spellman.
“We’re trying to diversify a little bit, but Florida stories are our bread and butter and luckily there are enough of them to go around.”
Alfred Spellman, Mickey Munday, & Billy Corben at Cocaine Cowboys After Party at Mokai on October 18, 2006
Keith Paciello, Kirsten Dunst, & Alfred Spellman at Bella Rose on December 4, 2008
Alfred Spellman & Chad Hugo of The Neptunes at Bella Rose on November 3, 2008
Pharrell Williams & Alfred Spellman at Mokai Friends & Family Opening September 27, 2006
Stephen Bauer, Keith Paciello, & Alfred Spellman at Mokai on January 27, 2009
Wesley Jonathon & Alfred Spellman at Cameo on April 21, 2007
Alfred Spellman & Khloe Kardashian at Grand Opening of Dash Miami After Party at LIV on May 20, 2009
Billy Corben & Alfred Spellman at Cocaine Cowboys Cast Reunion at O Cinema on March 29, 2012
Billy Corben, Alfred Spellman, & David Cypkin at Cocaine Cowboys Cast Reunion at O Cinema on March 29, 2012
Tara Solomon, Billy Corben, Sam Burstyn, & Alfred Spellman at Cocaine Cowboys Cast Reunion at O Cinema on March 29, 2012
Sam Burstyn, Billy Corben, Al Sunshine, & Raul Diaz at Cocaine Cowboys Cast Reunion at O Cinema on March 29, 2012
Mickey Munday & Billy Corben at Cocaine Cowboys Cast Reunion at O Cinema on March 29, 2012