Our latest edition of Industry Insider sees us head up to Scotland as we sit down with Richard Early to find out more about his role as videographer and content creator with Aberdeen Football Club!

Tell us about yourself, what do you do in your current role and what roles have you done previously?

My name is Richard Early, a videographer and content creator for Aberdeen Football Club, currently in my second season here. Previously, I worked part-time in the media team at Cardiff City Football Club for five seasons while at university, gaining invaluable experience in the EFL Championship and Premier League.

Moreover, I spent a year working full-time as a content creator for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, before four months doing the same at SERE Motors whilst looking for a full-time job in football.

Richard Early
With Aberdeen on pre-season in Portugal

 

What three words would you use to describe your role?

There are many positive words that could be used to describe my role as a videographer and content creator, though the three key ones would be: creative, fast-paced, and enjoyable.

“Normal” isn’t a thing in sport so what does an “average” week look like for you? 

Every week is different in football and you have to be ready for anything, plus with Aberdeen being in the UEFA Europa Conference League this season, we’ve had two games a week throughout the majority of the campaign which has brought some terrific experiences.

In an average week with a home match at the weekend, we would normally have a team planning meeting to decide our duties for the week and discuss content ideas.

Ahead of the game, we would usually put a promo video together to be used on the international RedTV stream and sometimes on our social channels to help boost ticket sales.

It’s always nice to hear from a player outside the pre-match press conference, so sometimes we would do a ‘walk and talk’ at the training ground or a longer feature outside the footballing environment to hear more about their personal footballing story.

Supporters tend to enjoy some inside access and a feature I enjoyed creating was a longer, inside training style video for the RedTV subscribers, with shorter clips pushed on social media.

When it comes to matchday, home or away, I would create a team arrival video for social media and the RedTV international stream, then if we’re looking to do a ‘story of the match’ piece, I would capture the warm-ups, fan atmosphere and any other events happening prior to kick-off before shooting the actual match, plus post-match player/fan clips and reaction.

If the game result is a win, we would aim to get to the training ground for the next session, showing the players engaging with the camera, working hard towards the next match and perhaps shooting an interview.

At Fir Park, Motherwell with Aberdeen

 

How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?

I’ve always wanted to work in sport in some capacity; my parents both participated in playing it so my love began to develop from no age. I competed in a range of sports when I was younger and my first work experience was at a gym before I realised that working in sport media was an option in my second last year at St Joseph’s College, Belfast.

From there, I bought a newspaper before school and practiced writing articles, trying to improve in creating strong stories and I did that by seeking feedback on each one. It was highly beneficial when it came to my interview with University of South Wales for their BA (Hons) Sports Journalism course, as I got an unconditional offer onto the very first year of it. The university course covered sports journalism, but also broadcasting which interested me greatly and from there I learnt about videography.

Around the beginning of the course, we had a tour of Cardiff City Stadium and I asked if there were any opportunities to gain media experience with Cardiff City Football Club: they had one available which I ended up getting after an interview. I was part-time there for five seasons, one of which was in the Premier League, taking in vital media experience in a range of areas. I also studied on the MSc Sport Broadcast course at Cardiff Metropolitan University and that helped bring my videography skills to the next level, while covering all bases of sport media for the optimum experience.

Throughout my time at university, I also gained a few weeks of obligatory work experience with Dragons Rugby and Sport Wales. This all helped when it came to applying for the position at Aberdeen FC and the combination of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, plus experience all helped in getting me to where I am now.

Shortly after joining Cardiff City as an 18-year-old

 

What is your number one focus when it comes to your work?

I always approach my work with the want to do the best job I possibly can because I don’t just want to get the job done, I want to improve. On X/Twitter and LinkedIn, I’m connected with people working in the sport media industry throughout the world and it allows me to see how others approach content. Some posts can be interesting or highly engaged with and if I can, I try to see how certain ideas can be integrated into my own work.

My ambition is to always develop, nobody ever stops learning and in an industry with many talented creatives, I think it’s important to see what others are doing best.

Filming Bojan Miovski at training ahead of the League Cup Semi-Final

 

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career so far?

To make sure that I’m 100% prepared for anything because a day could very easily turn from being quieter to extremely busy depending on what’s happening at the club. An example would be during the transfer window, a player could sign that day and we would have to potentially do an announcement video, cover their first training session and put together an introductory interview.

Whether I’m preparing for a match, interview or feature, I triple check to make sure I’ve got all the equipment I need, and when it comes to editing work or posting anything online, I do the same.

At Pride Park with Cardiff City

 

 

What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?

I feel there’s a lot of freedom around creativity in the football industry at the moment, with lots of clubs producing unique, engaging content to the highest level ever.

It’s exciting to take my ideas and share them with the team at Aberdeen to discuss because ultimately, our aim is to make content that will be enjoyed and interacted well with by the fans.

I look to sports clubs in the US because I believe in terms of digitally marketing themselves, they lead the way and we can definitely learn from them. At Aberdeen, we get superb access and I know that’s not the same for all clubs in the UK, but that level of freedom to create plays a great part in successful content.

Also, strong relationships between club media staff and the actual team is crucial in this because without player/coach interaction and participation, nothing can be created.

Away to PAOK in the UEFA Europa Conference League Group Stage

 

If you could change one thing about your Industry, what would you change?

Sport media is an extremely competitive industry to break into and I’ve seen that being taken advantage of with some clubs offering very low salaries for media roles, hoping people will take them for the love of the game. These are people that go to university or college, dedicating a lot of time and money with the aim of working in the industry, and for skilled roles.

On the other hand, there are clubs that reflect the level of skill it takes to work in sport media with proper salaries and I feel they are the best to work for.

Sport is a hectic industry, what do you do to switch off?

I have quite a good work-life balance and do different activities to refresh. At Aberdeen, I normally play football with other staff once a week which is brilliant for socialising outside work. I also enjoy running and walking because it’s great to get the air around my head, especially at the beach. My partner and I like spontaneous trips out for walks, food or other things like the cinema, where I instinctively think about how certain scenes are shot.

Richard Early
Aberdeen away to Hearts at Tynecastle
If you were to give a piece of advice to someone wanting to do your role, what would you say?

My advice would be to gain as much experience as possible because it’s vital when it comes to getting a job in the industry. When it comes to applying for sport media jobs, it’s highly competitive and I always believed that if I could gain the right experience, I would be in with a chance of getting an interview and then the opportunity to sell myself.

I also made a creative CV because that’s the type of job I was going for, demonstrating thinking outside the box and illustrating my graphic design capabilities too.

How to follow Richard Early…

You can find me on LinkedIn or X/Twitter with @RichFEarly.

 

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