Chandler Ryd cur­rently serves as video pro­ducer for the Hillsdale College mar­keting department. Sarah Borger | Courtesy

If you tuned in to the Super Bowl, you may have noticed Hillsdale College’s com­mercial standing out amid a circus of Doritos, Bud Light, and Dodge com­mer­cials. Hillsdale offered the public a glimpse of the school’s refusal of federal funding and mission-focused edu­cation through its com­mercial. Behind it all was the Hillsdale College Mar­keting Department.

Although he was not pri­marily in charge of the Super Bowl adver­tise­ments, Video Pro­ducer Chandler Ryd ’18 oversees all writing, pro­duction, and filming of pro­mo­tional videos for Hillsdale College mar­keting.

“In the mar­keting department, we’re telling stories,” Sarah Borger, digital content coor­di­nator for the mar­keting department, said. “You can write those stories through a variety of ways. One of the strongest ways to tell nar­ra­tives from around campus is through video. Chandler cap­ti­vates the audience by telling stories that are com­pelling and draw in the viewer.”  

While he took on the respon­si­bil­ities of leading the department less than a year ago, Ryd is already leaving his mark. A quick look at his cal­endar reveals a slew of projects, such as filming online lec­tures, han­dling media pro­mo­tions for both the college and Hillsdale Academy, com­pleting a project cov­ering the senior class gift, another major tele­vision spot for early 2020, and shooting footage from the Hillsdale Academy for three sep­arate projects.

“For me, the life cycle of a project is about three months from shooting the video until it’s done. Some­times it can be faster, but it can be tricky when there are five projects to work on,” Ryd admitted, chuckling.

But Ryd did not antic­ipate becoming a film­maker when he first attended Hillsdale College.

“I did it because in high school I intended to be an English teacher after I grad­uated,” Ryd said. “I always loved cre­ative writing. However, that turned into a love of film-making right before college. Right about sophomore year, I began to realize this was some­thing I wanted to do.”

Ryd began working for Hillsdale’s mar­keting department as a blog writer during his freshman year. However, as a sophomore, he quickly tran­si­tioned into the role of video pro­duction assistant to Sam Brown, the former head of video pro­duction. From man­aging files, to logging metadata, to editing videos, Ryd worked three years until his grad­u­ation from Hillsdale in 2018. Shortly there­after, Brown accepted a job in the White House and offered his old job to Ryd.

Deciding to stay at Hillsdale College to work as the head of video pro­duction was not an easy choice as many oppor­tu­nities had emerged in Los Angeles for Ryd.  

“It was a choice between ‘Do I want to be here in Hillsdale with more cre­ative control, or do I want to go to a place like LA and poten­tially work on bigger projects, meet more people, but have a very small role?’ And probably not a cre­ative role until several years into it.”

Ryd ended up accepting the position of video pro­ducer for the college, ini­tially on an interim basis, and even­tually, due to his stellar work, his role became per­manent.

The cre­ative process varies with each of his videos.

“The general process is to come up with an idea, plan it out, create a script or mood­board,” Ryd said. “You plan it, you shoot it, and you edit with con­tinuous rewriting.”  

Depending on the budget and demands of the par­ticular project, video pro­duction gen­erally takes three to six months, with the first month ded­i­cated to coming up with the concept and writing the script, and the last month focused on putting together a cast, preparing the studio, and sched­uling the shoots. Filming usually takes three to five days, fol­lowed by weeks to months of post-pro­duction editing.  

Nate Neveau, senior and member of the Hillsdale College bas­ketball team, spoke to his expe­rience in front of the camera for the mar­keting department.

“I had never been a part of a video pro­duction prior to working with the video pro­duction team,” Neveau said. “Sensing my slight dis­comfort, they eased my nerves and made the expe­rience enjoyable and pro­ductive. During my time with the team, their blend of pro­fes­sion­alism and per­son­ality impressed me.”

Given an ever-diver­si­fying medi­a­s­phere with new outlets for content popping up daily, Ryd and the mar­keting department must adapt their cre­ative styles to the habits of the American con­sumer, including social media plat­forms.

“You have to make the video work on plat­forms like Facebook where they will see the first portion of a video without the sound but still want to share the video after hearing it,” Ryd said.

Despite the com­plex­ities of the infor­mation age and new media outlets, Ryd says he’s excited for the pos­si­bil­ities in the future of video adver­tising for Hillsdale.

“It’s a per­sonal, cre­ative journey,” Ryd said. “I’ve become a lot better at brain­storming ideas and coming at a project dif­fer­ently than I have before.”

Despite dif­fer­ences in each pro­duction process, Ryd explains that the central message does not change from video to video.

“A big part of mar­keting is rec­og­nizing that all the same reasons I love the college, the mission and the classes, are why people outside the college love the college.”