Video editor says making it in the media requires trying new things
By David Cluchey
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
After tearing ligaments his senior year in high school, Scott Changnon was no longer able to play football but still wanted to be involved with sports.
So, he turned to the world of video production.
Now, Changnon is a multimedia producer and editor at Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
Changnon went to Southern Illinois University where he majored in radio and television, and he was the videographer for the school’s football team.
Although students tend to get bogged down with projects and jobs in school, Changnon suggested extra involvement could be a key to success.
“Do stuff outside of what’s required for school and work,” Changnon said in a phone interview.
This is a good way for students to practice their trade and keep their love for the business alive. If people keep working on skills while in school, they will have a better chance of making it in the real world.
After graduation, Changnon took an internship with an independent minor league baseball team before getting offered a position directing and technical directing the video boards for a few Southern Illinois sporting events. At the same time, he was working on a master’s degree.
“The more experience you get really proves you’re willing to work,” Changnon said.
Students will often get offered positions they never imagined doing, he said. Taking those kinds of chances may open up new career paths by providing good experience.
Even though Changnon became an editor, directing gave him the experience he needed to be hired by a big name organization.
His career took off when he became a production intern at NFL films. This was Changnon’s first job with a widely known company. In his about.me profile Changnon wrote, “The three months at NFL Films is definitely something I will look back on and say this really gave me the boost into my first job outside of college at Comcast SportsNet Chicago.”
Landing an internship with an organization like NFL Films provides tremendous experience that can lead to a full-time job. That’s exactly what it did for Changnon.
As a multimedia producer, Changnon edits one- to two-minute videos for company sponsors. Every now and then he gets an opportunity to cover major events like the 2016 World Series and has even made a documentary that was recently nominated for a Chicago/Midwest Emmy award.
“It is one of those things I will look back on and say I will probably never be able to do that again,” Changnon said about his documentary, “Play Like a Champion: Miles Boykin’s Journey to Notre Dame.”
The documentary, produced, shot and edited by Changnon, along with a coworker, was all done with one camera and no crew.
“It’s a humbling experience,” he said, “If I win, it will be the biggest night of my career.”
As a former athlete-turned-video editor, Changnon offered this advice for others who want a career like his:
- Watch what other people do in terms of editing videos and mixing audio.
- Take any chance to learn from a fellow student or coworker.
- Do personal projects that are fun and will help develop your skills.
- Network and make connections with as many people as you can.
For Changnon, those turn ligaments and a lot of hard work led him to a career path that’s still evolving. He’s learned what it takes to make it in the media.