Netflix’s new docu-series, “Cheer,” has sparked national attention, and four TCU alumni had the chance to assist in its production.
Weston McFarlin, Jacque Murdoch, Jack Feltgen and Nathan Dalton worked as production assistants for the documentary that highlighted the Navarro College cheer team’s road to the 2019 National Championship.
In order to work as a production assistant on “Cheer,” McFarlin said you need to be “a jack of all trades.”
“On a show like this, you assist all departments as needed,” McFarlin said. “This position allows you to jump in head first and learn the ins and out of production.”
Working in multiple areas of production allowed the students to meet many TV industry professionals and network in their field.
Feltgen, a former TCU cheerleader, said networking was one of the most influential aspects of working on the show.
“The TV industry is very competitive and you don’t always get to choose what you are working on depending on the market you are in,” McFarlin said.
Navarro College is known for its cheer team’s success. Located in Corsicana, Texas and led by Monica Aldama, the team has 14 National Championships and five Grand National Championships.
The documentary shows the team’s practices and interviews athletes about the challenges they faced throughout the season and what brought them to Navarro.
This documentary, as well as the athletes featured, is earning attention at the national level, including appearances on well-known talk shows like “Ellen.”
“The reception has been incredibly validating for all of the hard work and long hours every single crew member put into this project,” McFarlin said.
Hunter Cress, a junior flyer on the TCU co-ed cheerleading squad, competed in high school with several of the athletes featured in the show at Cheer Athletics.
“I think people were so drawn to the documentary, because it completely broke the stereotype of cheerleaders that so many people have,” Cress said. “It showed the world what cheerleading is actually like and opened the eyes of many people.”
Feltgen said the intended message of the documentary was to “bring transparency and credibility to the competitive cheerleading world.”
“Seeing all of my former teammates on Netflix and The Ellen Show made me so happy for them,” Cress said. “Knowing them personally made me feel like I was a part of their journey. They were able to represent not only the Navarro cheer team, but cheer teams across the world as well.”
McFarlin said the documentary was “a defining project of the beginning of my career that will always have a special place within me.”