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By Chris Weaver, Feature Producer
When I asked several colleagues, “What’s going on in Coffin Corner?” virtually everyone answered my question with another question, “Where’d they come from?”
My answer, “Nobody knows.”
As Senior Producer Chris Barlow put it, “Somebody knows.”
See, at NFL Films we have several conference rooms that are all named using football phrases: The Frozen Tundra, Coaches Conference Room, The Red Zone. Then there’s Coffin Corner. Coffin Corner is unique because it’s not really a room. It’s got no door, so it’s a free flowing space; an informal meeting area wedged into a corner of the second floor at NFL Films. It has only three chairs, and two plants (one being a cactus). It houses a water cooler and copy machine, so it’s a relatively high traffic area. But the best feature of Coffin Corner is a large south facing window. The openness and abundance of natural light make it a good place to chat with coworkers, read some notes, take a phone call, or simply have a seat and sip water. “It’s my Zen space. I love to sit with my back to the window in Coffin Corner to feel the sun.” said Coordinating Producer Rob Gehring.
Coffin Corner is near my office, so I frequent the area. And that’s where, a couple months ago, the mystery began. I was filling up my water bottle at the cooler, like I do every morning. But this time I was greeted by a 3-inch tall solar powered dancing toy on the window sill. A smiling pig, with wings rhythmically flapping.
The “Pigs with Wings” Solar Dancer
“Ha! A little entertainment while I fill up my bottle,” I thought. A couple mornings later, I noticed a second solar dancing toy swaying in the sun. A couple days later, another dancer appeared. Suddenly I became a lot more intrigued. Is the same person adding these, or are different people contributing? Will we continue to see a new one every other day? How many can possibly appear? These guys aren’t hurting anyone, could someone possibly take them down for some reason, or are they now a permanent part of Coffin Corner? A couple days later, a fourth dancer! A couple days later, I raced to the water cooler, hoping to find a fifth dancer. Alas, just the original four. I was a little bummed we didn’t have any newcomers, but we still had the original four bringing life to Coffin Corner. After about 10 days without a new dancer, suddenly, a fifth and sixth one showed up! New ones have continued to periodically arrive (at the time of print, we are up to nine solar dancers).
A total of nine Solar Dancers have surfaced Coffin Corner
By now everyone I asked has taken notice and almost everyone digs the Keepers of Coffin Corner. “It’s the best part of working at NFL Films right now.” said Producer Rob Gill. Melissa Collins in Footage Acquisition said, “I love those guys! I take pictures of them every time a new one shows up.” Not everyone sees the fun in the dancers. “Stupid,” said Producer Paul Monusky. Senior Executive Ross Ketover is skeptical, “I think [currently out of office Production Assistant] Kevin Lutz is somewhere messing with us.” The pragmatic Producer Jay Jackson said, “If we can harness their energy, we could heat the building.” Senior Producer Steve Trout simply said, “No comment.”
I love the dancers. Not unlike that that lucky old sun itself that’s got nothin’ to do, but roll around heaven all day, these solar dancers just keep groovin’ away their days on that window sill, basked in sunlight. At night, they stop, take a break, and wait for the sun to get high enough the next day so they can start swaying again.
But how do they show up? How are they procreating? Thankfully, no one I asked knows the answer. And now, I don’t want to know. The minute I find out, the beauty will diminish, and the mystery will be gone. So let the origin story go untold, and let the dancers play on.