Lauren Meyer, Emmy Award-nominated director of The Other Boys of Summer, was the featured speaker at the second annual SABR/IWBC Women in Baseball Conference on Friday, September 11, 2020.
Meyer is the director of The Other Boys of Summer, a film that explores civil rights and equality in America through the lives of Negro League baseball players. These are the men (and a few women) who played professional baseball in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s alongside Jackie Robinson. The Negro Leagues was professional baseball, on par with MLB, that existed before African Americans were allowed in Major League Baseball.
Meyer grew up in New Jersey and attended Rutgers University. She is an Emmy Award-nominated director and her work has been seen on dozens of TV networks and digital platforms, including ABC, NBC, Nickelodeon, ESPN, HGTV, A&E, TLC, Discovery, Netflix, and Amazon. Her specialty is storytelling and being a champion for the underdog.
- Video: Watch a replay of Lauren Meyer’s session at the 2020 SABR/IWBC Women in Baseball Conference (YouTube)
Here are some highlights:
On her passion for baseball
- “As long as I can remember, baseball has always been part of my life. … Baseball for me is really that feeling that you get. it’s not about the statistics for me, but it’s those memories.”
On why she was inspired to create this film
- “Because racism and segregation didn’t make sense to me. I wasn’t denying its existence … of course it was real. But I couldn’t begin to walk in their shoes, or to think that I could walk in their shoes. And so, I wanted to find out what was it like to go down that path and to live that reality of pursuing your dreams in spite of people telling you you can’t, in spite of people denying you access. And that’s where the Negro League players and the women from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League really shared so much in common because they all pursued their passion because they were denied access to what they loved.”
On what convinced her to finish her film
- “People often confuse patience with perseverance. Patience is waiting for something; perseverance is pursuing. … You have to pursue your dreams. You can’t wait for somebody else to enable you to have that opportunity. … I made a promise to myself that I was going to spend the next year and I was going to finish The Other Boys of Summer. … And that would be my opportunity to help preserve the legacy of the Negro League baseball players”
On why her film is relevant right now
- “That really speaks to the patience versus perseverance. Because the women and the men both didn’t allow others to stop them from going after their dreams. And that’s why I’m so proud to be able to share The Other Boys of Summer because not only does it offer an alternative to all the divisiveness that is out there right now, but it shows this generation who persevered and they inspire people and they offer hope.”
On what she will do with her extra footage
- “I probably have 15 to 20 hours’ worth of interview footage. Often if you listen to the full interview you can listen to the whole story, but the challenging part is to find pieces that can edit together. … What I’d like to be able to do is revisit all the footage that didn’t necessarily make it in and create smaller content … to create little pods of some sort or museums.”
On why her film is bigger than baseball
- “I enjoy the fact of using baseball as a way to engage in the conversation. And before I finished the film 100%, I met with someone at MLB about it … and he turned to me at the end of the film and said, ‘This isn’t a baseball movie, this is a people movie, this is a human story, this is big.’ … It’s not my story, but my film enables the players themselves to share their stories first-person. And that’s what, to me, made it different from other things out there … it’s people sharing their personal stories”
For more coverage of the 2020 SABR/IWBC Women in Baseball Conference, visit SABR.org/women-in-baseball-conference.
Transcription assistance by Ella Summer.
Originally published: September 24, 2020. Last Updated: September 25, 2020.