Topics: College of Fine Arts, Alumni

January 25, 2007

Ball State graduate Ryan Woodle hopes his appearance in an upcoming commercial with NBA star Kevin Garnett during the Super Bowl will be the springboard to the next phase of his acting career.

Woodle, who graduated from Ball State in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in theater, is scheduled to appear Feb. 4 during the broadcast of Super Bowl XLI. Garnett, an NBA all-star with the Minnesota Timberwolves, will be hawking a new shoe sold by the Footlocker sporting goods retail chain.

"I think it's a great opportunity from a professional standpoint because I have six or seven lines, and it runs during the Super Bowl when millions of people tune in just for the television commercials," said Woodle, who now lives in New York, but hails from Wakarusa near South Bend.

"We shot the commercial just a few weeks ago, and it was a great experience," he said. "Garnett has been in several popular commercials over the years and is very well known by the public. It is a great opportunity to be seen with him."

In the commercial, Woodle plays a person hanging out at the mall with a friend who has just purchased Garnett's brand of shoes from adidas at the Foot Locker. Garnett walks by, notices the pair, and autographs the shoes as well as Woodle's face.

"We play two guys who are totally in awe of meeting Garnett," Woodle said. "The other character just can't say anything, but gets his shoes autographed and then Garnett signs my face.

"It was a great experience to be in the commercial, but to be selected from hundreds of actors during auditions on both coasts is very special," he said. "Since I moved to New York I've managed a restaurant, but I hope that this opportunity leads to a fulltime job acting in television. Many actors have used a television commercial to make the jump."

Woodle believes Ball State has played a major role in his young acting career.

"Ball State was a perfectly wonderful experience because I was able to do so many projects," he said. "The undergraduate program is fantastic because it gives students so many opportunities very early as freshmen. No one wants to sit on the bench for a few years waiting for a chance to show what they can do.

"Everyone from faculty to my fellow students were a huge helping hand in getting me this far. (Theater professors) Bill Jenkins and Michael O'Hara were very helpful. I can't say enough about their support over the years."

Woodle's agent, Michael Guy of the New York-based Atlas Talent, Inc., believes the actor has the ability to become a regular in television. Woodle previously had been featured on television commercials by Dominos Pizza, Comedy Central, Carraba's Italian Grill and Combo's. He also had acted in four independently produced films with a leading role in a comedy set to start later this year.

"Realistically, actors do commercials to pay the bills," Guy said. "But someone could see this commercial and realize Ryan is perfect for a production they are doing. It can open up doors."