BY ALEX KARTMAN | Director | Ball State Sports Link
One of Sports Link’s most impressive alums virtually visited campus Jan. 24 as Zac Miklusak Skyped in with students.
Miklusak, who graduated in May of 2016, has traveled across the country already finding employment with two professional sports teams.
During his four-year career in Sports Link, Miklusak was one of the program’s most decorated and award-winning producers and directors. His post-graduate career began with an internship opportunity with the Seattle Seahawks immediately after his time in Sports Link.
One of Mikusak’s first videos, a hype video to promote opening day, drew acclaim from his boss and fans alike.
“My job was to create video content around the team, including ticket sales and community engagement,” Miklusak said. “Every year the Seahawks have an intern create a season opening hype video. I had a week to do it and spent the first night in my apartment brainstorming ideas and scripting about football. We had every angle of every touchdown from last season I had access to, and I had a lot of footage I personally shot at training camp.
“My biggest struggle was to discover team traditions without ever being at a home game. I didn’t just make it highlights, I tried to make it a story. I think it turned out great and my boss says it was the best intern video he had ever seen. Now I have something new to put on my resumé to impress potential employers.”
Miklusak also oversaw editing on the most secretive video he’s ever produced. For the NFL’s Color Rush uniform reveal, Miklusak worked as one of the producers and shooters on the video crew, then completed the editing for the project.
“One of my first interactions with players was the Color Rush promo,” Miklusak said. “It was a super secretive shoot with black tarps over windows and the practice facility locked down. It was like working for the FBI. They had a player’s only meeting that cut into our filming, but we got what we needed.
“You’re also working on a player’s schedule, not yours. They have practices, meeting, and review sessions, but at the end of the day you have to get the job done. After editing, I showed it to my boss without lens flares and he said it was missing something. We wanted it to be action style to get people excited to buy the jersey, so I added those effects and style.
Just weeks into his opportunity in Seattle, more doors opened for Miklusak.
“Have an open mind to not be tied to something specific when you search for a job,” Miklusak said. “Two weeks into my internship in Seattle, the Carolina Hurricanes posted a job for video producer and I applied.”
Through his strong portfolio and a Ball State alum running operations at the Hurricanes, Miklusak moved across the country to start a full-time job with the NHL team in Raleigh.
Two years earlier, as a sophomore in Sports Link in 2014, ESPN’s award-winning duo of Tom Rinaldi and Ben Houser visited campus for a workshop with students. It was in that meeting where Rinaldi asked students to write down their dream job.
Miklusak’s note card? Work for the NHL or any affiliated team as a member of the video production crew.
In his new role Miklusak serves as producer for the Hurricanes, creating content which covers everything from team branding to locker room access to video board packages. He finds the new atmosphere refreshing too, despite his lifelong love of the Chicago Blackhawks.
“It’s fun to be part of a fan base that’s so young,” Miklusak said. “We’re about to celebrate our 20th season in Raleigh. Even against the Blackhawks, I found I started rooting for my new team, once I got to know them as players.”
Offering the digital sports production students one more piece of advice, Miklusak discussed the importance of research, because in the job search he found how unprepared he was during an interview.
“Do research about the team before interviewing,” Miklusak said. “In my first interview with the New Orleans Saints, I was asked who the head coach was and I had no idea. That might be why I never got called back.
“I interviewed at Bleacher Report and was asked about their work. I was able to discuss a video I had watched before the interview and impressed them. Be prepared for an interview by seeking out what your potential boss does and look at their work.”
Miklusak continues to be versatile, learning different software and positions while working. He added additional After Effects experience to his portfolio with the Seahawks.
Now in the NHL, he continues to push his creative bounds to build interesting content to inspire and engage fans.