Twenty-two years ago, former University of Louisville football player Matt Battaglia made the switch from athletics to acting, moving nearly 3,000 miles to transition his career. Three and a half years ago, Battaglia decided to shift from being the man in front of the camera, to being the one behind it. And last Saturday night, Battagliaâ€™s decision paid off when he won his first Emmy for the television show, â€œLast Shot with Judge Gun,â€ as executive producer. The Voice-Tribune had a chance to catch up with the award-winning actor-gone-producer to find out what the career change was like and how he enjoyed the Emmys.
The Voice-Tribune: What made you go into producing?
Matt Battaglia: Producing is something I decided to do about three and a half years ago. I wanted to get involved because I felt like there was a whole side of my brain that wasnâ€™t being used. I majored at Louisville with a business degree and a minor in finance. As an actor, youâ€™re just using the creative side of your brain. Also, as a producer, I can be selective. â€œLast Shot with Judge Gunâ€ is a program (in which) the judge oversees the most successful drug re-treatment program in the country. These peoplesâ€™ lives are at stake. Itâ€™s really a show that makes a difference and tries to have a positive impact. Saturday night was a validation of that.
V-T: Out of all the work you have produced, what are you most proud of?
M.B.: â€œLast Shot with Judge Gunâ€ is probably the most proud to date in the entertainment world, because itâ€™s a field that really has a positive impact on thousands of lives. Not just the participants and those who are rehabilitated, but their families and friends as well. Iâ€™m proud that I was successful in producing a show, but knowing that weâ€™re helping save lives and reconnecting families. And then to boot, the industry itself favored us to give us the Emmy; itâ€™s a win-win all around, creatively and (as a) humanitarian (venture).
V-T: What was the most enjoyable or unexpected part of the Emmys?
M.B.: The most enjoyable and unexpected part was definitely winning the Emmy. When they call your name, youâ€™re like, â€˜Did they just say that?â€™ It feels like youâ€™re in a time warp. Walking from your seat to the stage, saying what youâ€™re going to say, and walking off behind the curtains, where they start the interviews; all of that probably took 10 minutes but it felt like it was over in 30 seconds. Though I will say that as great as a lot of people think (winning) is, a fellow former UofL football player who was a friend of mine, Brian Bray, died this morning. You just think, â€˜You know, Emmys, Oscars, whatever.â€™ Itâ€™s great for the moment, but itâ€™s definitely fleeting. It puts everything in true perspective.