Crowd of people waving blue lights in celebration of a Tuesday Night Pickleball events.
Tuesday Night Pickleball  Arizona Pickleball League

Behind the scenes of the "Breaking Pickleball" documentary 

DALLAS, TX – Following the short-term release of the Breaking Pickleball documentary, I spoke with executive producer Patrick Sullivan, who also serves as CEO and co-founder of Jigsaw Health. 

Sullivan was joined by his wife, Ashley Leroux, and the pair provided insight on the creation of the series that made headlines in the picklesphere.

Long before filming began, though, Sullivan and the team at Jigsaw Health envisioned starting The Arizona Pickleball League and capturing content to share with the world.

“We were launching this new league with a different scoring format. I thought that if we were going to create this league, we might as well get it on tape because if we crash and burn, that will still be an interesting story,” said Sullivan.

And while Jigsaw Health evolved from a nutrition company into a creative agency that sells nutrition products and hosts pickleball events, they still needed a filmmaker and documentarian. And by a stroke of good luck, there was one right under their nose. 

Cole Uphaus who later became the creator, director of photography, and co-editor of Breaking Pickleball, began as a gimbal operator for Tuesday Night pickleball.  

"That’s how we met him. When we found out he was a documentarian, that’s when the light bulb went on,” explained Sullivan. “We knew we were going to spend a lot of money for this project and there’s no guarantee of success, but I knew that if we didn’t film season one now, we would never get a chance to go back and do it again.” 

Early on, the creative team prioritized high-quality content that could potentially be pitched to major streaming services. They even upgraded their cameras to be Netflix compliant. 

If they were going to create it, they were going all-out.

“We’ve been slowly but surely honing our craft, style, and adding to the team,” said Sullivan.

Conveniently enough, Sullivan’s cousin graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts and then became the director of video production. With a crew of about eight people, all in-house, the documentary work began.

“All of the editing, audio, all the graphics, and the animation was all done by ourselves internally with our creative team,” said Sullivan. 

However, making a documentary isn't a simple undertaking. And with over 300 hours of footage expected to be cut down to only a few hours, it was a daunting task. 

“How are we going to turn this into something that someone cares about? There were a lot of pieces to this puzzle,” mentioned Sullivan. 

Fortunately, as the inaugural Arizona Pickleball League campaign drew to a close with a  classic underdog story featuring a Scottsdale Scorchers come-from-behind victory, Sullivan and company realized they had something good. 

“The natural story arc of what unfolded in the Orchard Championship Cup was better than anything we could have written,” he insisted.


After a lot of editing, animating, and creating, it was time to show off the final product.

“We had a premiere party and rented out a local theater. We invited about 100 people that saw the documentary for the first time, start to finish. It was nerve-wracking, exciting, and amazing because people really loved it. It was a cool moment for us,” shared Leroux.

“It was a good sign when they laughed in the places we wanted them to, and they also laughed in places we didn’t expect. It was interesting to see the crowd reaction. We’ve gotten a lot of great reception so far. I’ve been joking that if we were on Rotten Tomatoes, we would be 100% right now,” said Sullivan. 

“The thing that made me most happy was when I realized this is going to be something that people are legitimately going to like. We’ve found that people’s expectations were low, and hearing people saying that they loved it was amazing. That’s a result of the team for making it look so darn good,” added Sullivan. 

Now, the team is in the midst of a pitching process with hopes to land on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video.

I think it’s only a matter of time before they achieve their goal.