Nick Klesmith is our videographer at TrendSetr who is constantly pushing the boundaries of what one college kid with one hell of a camera can do on a day to day basis. This is a repost of an article written by Halle Brazda for the Belo Times, a student run publication at UT Austin.
AUSTIN — Student-athletes are not the only ones who wake up at 5 a.m. for morning football practice in the fall. Behind the scenes, creative teams produce content for fans and allot an equal amount — if not more — time to their job than the athletes themselves.
As a Football Creative Services Assistant, Nicholas Klesmith, a junior Radio-Television-Film major, is tasked to capture video of practices, pre-game team warmups, fans tailgating and game footage that is then edited and sent to the Creative Director for Texas Football’s social media. Those edits are posted on Texas Football’s Instagram and Twitter pages for viewing.
“Usually, I go to DKR three hours before kickoff, get candid shots of fans tailgating and focus on getting shots that encompass the whole spirit of Texas Football,” Klesmith said. “I edit all of those shots into 20–30 second clips that we can post on the social media pages.”
During football season, Klesmith attends morning practice and films for several hours before going to class and returning to shoot afternoon practice the same day.
In addition to shooting film of the team as a whole, Klesmith shot a player profile with sophomore Wide Receiver Collin Johnson who reached out to him via Instagram and worked on creating various shorts aimed at enticing high school recruits to sign with the program.
The most memorable shoot for him was one he created with the senior walk-on athletes.
“The senior walk-ons made this Twitter account and it got some great feedback after their sideline weight-lifting celebration at the Cotton Bowl went viral,” Klesmith said. “They wanted to make a parody music video to the Nickelback song “Photograph” as an ending to their journey with the team since the song is bittersweet.”
Klesmith showed up to DKR around 6 p.m. to see the that walk-ons laid out instruments on the 50-yard line to pretend that they were actually playing the song themselves. Next, the team made their way into the locker room and weight room for additional shots to finish the video.
“Nick immediately understood what I was wanting [with the video] and how to attack it,” walk-on athlete, Garret Graf said. “Not only did he make sure that we included all the things I wanted, but he also brought in ideas that I could have never imagined. Nick’s creativity and attention to detail is truly unmatched.”
The video was posted by the walk-on’s Twitter account around the time of the Texas Bowl and received much attention. Outlets like The Players Tribune, USA Today and Sports Illustrated picked up the video, and three-time Olympic Gold Medal Winner and ex-Longhorn swimmer Ricky Berens shared the video. The video now has nearly ten thousand likes and four thousand retweets.
“My Twitter exploded when it got picked up, and I kept getting updates from the walk-ons about different outlets that would post it,” Klesmith said. “I was on Twitter for two hours straight just soaking it all in.”
Born and raised in Lake Geneva, Wisc., Klesmith has been interested in film from a young age. For his thirteenth birthday, his parents purchased him a Flip camera since he enjoyed playing with the family camcorder so much already. He started creating miniature scene reenactments of his favorite movies at the time like Casino Royale and Harry Potter.
“Nicholas was always a very visual and creative kid,” Maria Klesmith, Nick’s mother, said. “Regular toys never satisfied him. He was always making phones and swords out of common household objects like tin foil, tape and cardboard tubes. Looking back, I think those were his first props.”
In middle school, Klesmith remembers running around shooting his Airsoft and Nerf guns to recreate his favorite scenes from James Bond. Once in high school, he started to consider his future in film and explore a potential business major as well. After applying to various schools that have strong film and business programs, he decided on Texas because it had the best of both of Klesmith’s worlds.
“All the RTF work here is pretty easy for me because I have been doing this since I was thirteen and it’s so easy for me to go out and shoot a video,” Klesmith said. “Sometimes I have to cram the night before a test, but to me it’s worth it because this is what I want to do with my life.”
Balancing schoolwork with his football job and freelance work has not been a challenge for Klesmith. In addition to shooting football, Klesmith is the lead video content creator for a startup application created by college students called Trendsetr. The app allows users to follow influencers and buy their clothing. He got the job after Slater Heil, the creator of Trendsetr, saw a video Klesmith made for the Up and Up Festival, a student-lead music show featuring electronic DJ Alan Walker. Heil knew instantly he wanted Klesmith on board with his start up.
“In particular, I noticed his ability to capture emotion and the essence of whoever the subject of a scene is,” Heil said. “Plus, he’s just a genuinely good person. You can feel how genuine he is when you talk to him.”
This summer, Klesmith has attended the UT-Los Angeles program through Moody and is still looking for an internship. While there, he hopes to be working at a place that specializes in making music videos.
“The end goal is to be in Hollywood where I can be a director of photography or direct my own films,” Klesmith said.
To see some of Klesmith’s work, visit KleyFilms on YouTube.