Moving to Austin? You should know a bit about the Friday Night Lights. Any self-respecting Texan knows that, in the fall, Friday nights are for high school football. It doesn’t matter if you are in a city or out in a small town, high school football is a big deal here. In referring to high school football, ‘Friday Night Lights’ became a popularized reference after the 1990 book of the same name was published. It chronicled the story of the 1998 Permian High School Panthers football team’s run for the state championship. It was made into a movie in 2004.
In 2006, Friday Night Lights became a TV show and was loosely based on the book. Filmed in and around the Austin area, the show is based primarily in the fictional, tight-knit community of Dillion, TX, in which high school football is the way of life. Though critically acclaimed, the show suffered in ratings and was in danger of being cancelled after just two season. A deal with DirectTV enabled the show to continue through its fifth season. The football games were filmed at Pflugerville High School’s stadium with the school’s cheerleaders and fans utilized as fans of the fictional Panthers. Producers of the show took an interesting approach to filming, allowing the cast freedom to decide what to say and do on the show as long as they followed the vital plot points. They also filmed without rehearsal and without blocking, giving the show a documentary feel. The camera operators were trained to follow the actors as opposed to the actor standing in place with a camera fixed on them, waiting for cues.