From the Herbert School to the Super Bowl

From the Herbert School to the Super Bowl

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Brian MacDonald ’14 scores a starting spot at the Big Game as a remote operations engineer

Looking to get close to the action on Super Bowl Sunday? Good luck — nosebleed seats start around $3,000 (as of Feb. 1) and are projected to rise before gametime this Feb. 4. If you don’t have an extra 3K laying around, you could always do what Brian MacDonald ’14 did: find a job working the Big Game from one of the best views in U.S. Bank Stadium.

“On Super Bowl Sunday, I will be part of a team putting our virtual graphics on 11 cameras during the game for NBC,” said MacDonald, who earned his bachelor’s degree in video/television from Hofstra University’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication.

U.S. Bank Stadium

U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota plays host to Super Bowl LII

An employee of SMT — a Durham, North Carolina data-based graphics vendor — MacDonald received a job offer to work as a remote operations engineer after graduating from the Herbert School in 2014. Now, he travels the country working various sporting events, including one of the most-watched sporting events in the world.

“Most of my time will be spent configuring with Skycam and making sure all of our virtual elements are ready for air,” MacDonald said. “We also provide support for the scoreboard bug, stat touchscreens and telestrators for the talent and production. By Sunday, I’ll be helping operate those lines making sure they are in the correct place.”

For MacDonald — originally from Chelmsford, Massachusetts — the opportunity to see the Patriots play for their sixth title is an added bonus.

“I’ve been a Pats fan my whole life, and I finally get to see them in a Super Bowl.”

Getting His Reps In

Similar to the years of rigorous training that NFL players undergo before reaching the big stage, MacDonald honed his skills in the state-of-the-art facilities of Hofstra’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication.

“I chose Hofstra because I felt it was the best place for me to grow in the television field,” MacDonald said. “The Herbert School had the facilities and equipment to expand what I could do in this field, especially in studio production.”

Ice Sculpture for Super Bowl LII

An ice sculpture stands preserved in the frigid Minnesota temperatures

MacDonald credits the encouragement of his professors and classmates who not only helped him hone his technical skills, but provided valuable exposure both in a field and studio television environment. This included remote sports production classes, as well as being heavily involved in WRHU for Hofstra sports and New York Islanders broadcasts.

“Those reps of constantly communicating with different parties and handling the pressure in that environment really had an impact on what I do now,” MacDonald said.

So after finding success in his chosen field after graduation, does MacDonald have any advice to those who’ll be watching the game on TV instead of in the stands this Sunday?

“Be a sponge; absorb and develop your skills. Don’t let distractions or too much criticism discourage you in the process. Even if you think you may not be qualified for something, or if a position doesn’t look appealing on paper, don’t count it out. Learn more about it if you get an interview! And of course, build relationships along your journey. Networking opportunities are key for any job field.”

Photos courtesy of Brian MacDonald