Welcome to Industry Insider by Behind Sport. Our latest guest is the Senior Manager, Content Production at MKTG, Derek Kornhiser!
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
Hello I’m Derek Kornhiser and I am currently Senior Manager, Content Production at MKTG, overseeing our content capture and post-production capabilities alongside Jonah Ballow. I actually started at MKTG right out of college as the first video trainee at the company and over the last 5 years helped to grow from myself being a one man content production team to a full squad of 6, where last year we essentially had 1 member of our team traveling every week from January to December on shoots, creating over 2,000 pieces of social, training, recap, and sizzle content.
What do you do in your current role?
I still wear many hats, but primarily I focus on content strategy, client relations, team management, and am our primary director when it comes to talent shoots. And when duty calls, before COVID I would still travel to the occasional shoot with a camera and still help with a lot of editing projects if need be.
What does a normal week look like for you?
Because of the hybrid role I still have, half of my week is taking internal and external calls to manage our dozen or so active projects, and the other half is spent being creative, either concepting, writing, or editing. And before COVID, I was pretty much doing much of the same while also traveling every other week and sometimes every week to shoots, events, or client meetings.
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
I wanted to be the GM of the Boston Red Sox from the time I was 10 years old, so the love of sport beyond just playing came from a very young age. And this led me to pursue a degree in Sport Management from UMass Amherst while spending my summers interning for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks of the CCBL and the New Bedford Bay Sox of the NECBL. And it was also during my time in college where I fell in love with video, as my friends and I spent our winters making ski movies. So once I was hooked on video, I found that NESN was launching their Next Producer show, and I shot and edited a piece that compared/contrasted the CCBL and NECBL, both in terms of talent and socio-economic status, and ended up being a finalist. So that got me in the door when I first interviewed at MKTG, then known as Team Epic. What got me the job, however, is when I started describing the lightsabre battle my friend and I filmed on skis, both wearing ridiculous costumes, to which my current SVP replied, “I’m a huge Star Wars fan”, and from there I got the job and basically was given the keys to start my own department from scratch (even though I was severely underqualified, but #fakeittillyoumake it).
What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?
I’m excited by how athletes are starting to own their content more. One thing we’ve always believed in is that athletes are not assets, they’re collaborators and storytellers in their own rights, and it kills me when I see a brand basically use an athlete they partner with as a malleable piece of putty, only there to convey their brand message, and they lose out on tapping into the actual personality of the athlete. And I’m seeing more athletes start to build their own content teams and pitch content to brands vs the old model, and that gives me a lot of hope and excitement for the future.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
It’s going to sound incredibly cliché but do whatever feels right for you and trust in that process. I am where I am today because I followed my instinct, and rather than trying to network my way up or follow a traditional route, I exposed myself to a lot of unknowns and gained a lot of communication and problem solving skills from doing that, more so than if I had taken a traditional path. Technical skills can be learned on the job but focusing on communication and problem solving is what really has gotten me to where I am today.
How to follow Derek Kornhiser on social media…
Here are my personal links but would be remiss if I didn’t also try to plug my night job as a musician. My debut album is coming out this Friday the 26th, so trying to promote as much as I can! No pressure to share, but if you like the music, I would appreciate it!
Thanks for reading our Industry Insider feature with MKTG’s Senior Manager of Content Production, Derek Kornhiser!