Ryan Freidin, artist and networker
Sports media is ubiquitous. It is in every cable package, every newspaper and many Twitter feeds. In order for all that content to exist, organizations need videographers and curators, people who can exercise creativity and technical expertise at once; they need people like Ryan Freidin.
Freidin said his interest in videography began in his hometown of Los Angeles, encouraged by his movie-industry parents and by the film classes offered at his high school. His love for the art of film would soon concentrate into passion for the more specialized world of editing and cinematography.
“When I was going into high school, it felt really natural for me to get into movie making,” Freidin, a Duncan College senior, said. “All my life I’d been listening to my parents’ phone calls and meetings.”
Freidin took advantage of his high school’s film program, in which the class would choose a senior’s script to turn into a short film.
“Mine was chosen, which was super exciting,” Freidin said. “Then COVID hit … so I was passionate and had all this downtime, with the choice of doing either nothing or something, and I taught myself about [Adobe] Premiere with hours and hours of YouTube tutorials. I caught the editing bug.”
Freidin brought this zeal for acquiring technical experience into his work in Rice’s sport management program by taking a video operations internship with the football team, a role which led to further and further opportunities.
“[At first] all the footage we were shooting was film for practice, so there weren’t many creative aspects of the work until my boss gave me a few opportunities to go down and shoot some creative stuff with the camera,” Freidin said. “From those experiences shooting on the field, I was like, ‘This is what I want to do.’ That progressed to being able to work with Rice Baseball and Rice Athletics as a whole, with the [Baltimore] Orioles, with NCAA, with USA Baseball and now with NFL Films.”
A defining feature of Freidin’s time at Rice has been his ability to use his specialist skills and networking virtuosity to carve out a creative niche. Rice offers coursework in neither videography nor sports media production, so Freidin has had to take advantage of the professors and resources Rice does have to set himself up for success.
“What’s been really nice about sport management and that community is that they know what I love and they know where I want to go, so they’ve worked to help put me in a place where I can succeed,” Freidin said. “I’ve basically taken a lot of the elements that we’ve been taught, from resume building to networking to how to build a LinkedIn profile, and then just applied them to my field, which has been great.”
Following his internship with Rice Football, Freidin was given free rein of the baseball program’s social media presence with the goal of boosting the team’s digital following and engagement. During his tenure, he brought on other students and expanded their outreach to the extent that he was engaged to work with Rice Athletics in general. Freidin began doing social media content for several teams throughout his sophomore and junior years. During this time, he worked a fall editing internship for the Baltimore Orioles where, according to Freidin, he realized his passion for long-form, non-fiction content.
“My final project with the Orioles was part of a series they had going interviewing important figures in the team’s history about the big moments they’d been a part of,” Freidin said. “It was on me to then create a seven-minute piece on Delmon Young hitting a go-ahead double in the 2014 [American League Division Series]. It was the first piece that I’d ever made that was longer than a minute and a half. It was my introduction into long-form storytelling and I was completely sold on it.”
Freidin’s career has continued its upward slope. He was hired by the NCAA to manage the Final Four’s social media activity this spring, and this summer he worked as an intern in the creative producing department at NFL Films.
“[Working at] NFL Films was a dream come true,” Freidin said. “I had a real creative impact working on one of their biggest shows, NFL Top 100 … but the biggest takeaway for me was just to be in those rooms and have conversations with producers who have been in the industry for decades. The goal for me is to be able to go back and work as a seasonal producer for them post-grad.”
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