NFL Films night took place during Pizza With the Pros on Monday, as three Rowan graduates spoke to students about their jobs at one of the most acclaimed media production companies in the nation.
Class of 2005 graduate, Cara Rodgers joined the class of 1997 graduates, Kelly Viseltear and Jason Weber, to dive into their unique positions at NFL Films and answered questions students had about their paths to the sports media world.
“Jason is the ‘C’ of creative, Kelly is the production of creative and I am the operations of creative,” Rodgers said, discussing her overarching role as production manager compared to that of specificity for her counterparts.
Weber, a senior producer, handles the planning, storyboarding and production of a given project idea. Whereas Viseltear, VP of Budgeting & Management, works in the finance of production, often analyzing the most cost-effective strategies for NFL Films to employ.
At the onset of their discussion, the trio played a six-minute-long video for students in attendance to aid them in understanding the size of production needed for a specific project. The video, known as “Season in Six,” has become an annual staple for NFL Films, and students were treated to a semi-exclusive showing of the previous season’s recap.
For just six minutes of content, a whole team of “key producers and workers,” are required, Weber said – 232 staff members to be exact. He explained that every single person on the staff was vital for the final production, whether it be an on-field cameraman or a music composer.
Rodgers, on the other hand, is tasked with, “hiring the people that work on it,” which she explained can be a whole different animal.
Amongst hiring hundreds of qualified workers to fill their full-time staff, Rodgers sifts through thousands of college student resumes during the year-round internship programs NFL Films possesses.
“I wanna weed out the candidates who are there on a whim,” Rodgers said, rhetorically calling out past Rowan students who applied without exploring the multitude of media opportunities the university provides.
Continuing off of Rodgers, Viseltear discussed her personal desire for extracurriculars on a resume. Not only does it display getting involved, she detailed, but it also shows that the candidate has a “genuine interest” in the company.
Speaking directly to the students in attendance, Rodgers assured an NFL Films position if, “you fit what we have available to teach you.” Fit and genuine interest are the most important factors during the intern hiring process.
Weber discussed his original desire to be an on-air personality, until after a couple of negative job-application outcomes. It was only then Weber realized his passion for storytelling and editing, which is now a major part of his role at NFL Films.
“If you’re really determined, you can’t let it deter you from your ultimate goal,” He said, inspiring attendees to continue reaching for the highest heights, even after setbacks.
Working on large collaboration projects like “Hard Knocks” or “A Football Life” not only requires virtually perfect communication between NFL Films staff but cooperation with other major media companies and television networks.
Rodgers explained how, contrary to popular belief, “it’s good to have an ego,” as a producer in collaboration settings. Understanding one’s strengths and knowing when to utilize them are necessary for a career behind the scenes of sports. She noted how most of the time, due to an esteemed reputation, the larger media companies will trust NFL Films with production, and take a back seat.
Weber and NFL Films Presents are currently shooting a feature on Rowan student, Ojay Harris, and “documenting his progress,” as he looks to fulfill his dream in the football world, one he has had since being listed on the spectrum in third grade.
Pizza With the Pros returns next week when former Philadelphia Eagles lineman Jon Runyan discusses his journey from the field to the NFL Offices.
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