Alum of the Month

December 2022

December 2022
William Blakely

(BA, Video/Television, ’09)

Q & A:

  1. What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
    Looking back at my time at Hofstra, I thought all my professors did a good job. One professor that went above and beyond for me was Dr. Nancy Kaplan, who was the dean of communications when I attended Hofstra. The reason that Dr. Kaplan was memorable to me was due to her efforts in helping me get my actual degree. In 2007, I was able to walk during graduation but was a few credits short for my degree. I was working full-time, and going back to Long Island, NY, to complete my remaining classes would’ve been a struggle due to my demanding work schedule. The remaining classes that I needed were senior-level production classes that involved a good amount of time on campus to complete. I reached out to Dr. Kaplan to ask her for help, and she was able to work with me. She came up with a plan where I could complete all the work to get the remaining credits and complete my degree with as little interference with my job as possible. It was no easy feat to complete the coursework and work full time, but I was focused, and I did it successfully. I will always be grateful to Dr. Kaplan for coming up with a plan that helped me launch my professional career and complete my degree at the same time.
  2. What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing learned in that position?
    My first job after graduation was continuing the utility role that I was hired for during my senior year. The specific show was titled Fast Money, and it aired on the Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC). The role of a utility employee is almost exactly what it sounds like. The job was an entry-level position where I was asked to help with moving set pieces around, laying cables, framing up camera shots, and shading colors on the cameras. This experience enabled me to learn a lot of real-world skills that I expanded on during my years at Hofstra. The most valuable thing that I learned from this position was not one specific set of skills but the overall experience of working on a professional broadcast.
  3. What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
    My degree is in communications, with a concentration in television/video. This is a fairly general term and provides only an overview of the field. Within television, my specialty is in the “videotape” department. The department’s responsibilities include editing, element playback, archiving clips, and replaying of video action when working live sporting events. During my sophomore year, I was an engineering major and kind of struggling with the courses. One day after class, I noticed my roommate, who was a TV/video major, working on a storyboard for a project, and it caught my eye. After striking up a quick conversation and prodding him for some information, I felt compelled to switch majors. In high school, I had taken an intro to editing class, which I really enjoyed. I never pursued it because I didn’t know that there was a profession in broadcast. After switching majors, my interest in my classes increased. I took more classes than were required, and my grades improved with my deep level of interest in the field.
  4. What advice would you give Hofstra students?
    My advice to Hofstra students is to explore and take advantage of opportunities that are presented to you. Sometimes, I feel that people have an idea in their head of what they want to pursue without knowing all of the opportunities that are out there. I’d also suggest joining groups on campus, applying for internships, and getting involved as much as you can with student-level productions. By doing so, you’ll be able to get hands-on experience in several departments to help highlight what you like to do. Ultimately, if you enjoy what you do for work, you never work a day in your life.
  5. In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
  6. What is a typical day like for an EVS operator?
    I can say that there are no “typical” days for an EVS operator. Television production is a very dynamic industry where no two shows are the same. For example, when I’m in the fall season and working on the National Football League (NFL) games on the weekends, I will receive a production memo for the game that I’m assigned to the coming week. The production memo will contain information about travel, the crew that’s assigned, which television truck we will be working on, and equipment specifications. My job is to read through the pertinent information for my department and create the relevant paperwork for the other departments when we get to the site. When Friday comes around, depending on what the game is or where it is, I will travel to the city. Saturdays are all-day setup days. The crew makes sure that all the required equipment is working properly and ready for air. Sunday we will cover the game, and upon the completion of the event, we strike the TV truck and prepare for travel back home.
  7. What unique experience or qualifications separate you from other candidates?
    I think what distinguishes me from other EVS operators at my level is the wide variety of shows that I’ve been able to work on in my career, ranging from news to sports to entertainment. On top of working in several areas of television, I’ve had the opportunity to work remotely as well as in the studio environment. Coming up in the NYC market, being one of if not the biggest markets in the U.S./world, the opportunities are endless. Each type of production requires different skills within your professional trade that challenge you to think outside the box and rely on knowledge acquired from other shows to come up with the best plan moving forward.
  8. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Where do you see your career progressing in the future?
    In 10 years, I see myself continuing to work on some of the biggest and most watched sporting events throughout the country every year. Progressing in the future for me would be moving up to higher-level crews with added responsibilities. My ideal gig would be as the lead EVS operator for a Super Bowl someday.
  9. What is the single most rewarding/exciting experience in your career thus far?
    I have had many rewarding and exciting experiences in my career thus far. I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to travel the world for productions and have worked on golf majors, Super Bowls, and Olympics. The most rewarding experience has been being nominated for and being the recipient of eight national sports Emmy Awards. Though each one is for a specific event/show, each of the statues reminds me that I have been part of an elite and very hardworking crew. Hard work pays off, and I can’t describe how rewarding it has been for me to have had the chance to pursue unbelievable opportunities in TV production. I am very proud of the eight Emmy Awards I received – from the first one in 2009 with the launch of the Major League Baseball (MLB) network to the recent one in 2021 with CBS’s coverage of Super Bowl LIII . I look forward to more exciting opportunities in sports TV in the future.
William Blakely

William Blakely graduated from Hofstra University in 2009, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Video & Television with a Minor in Speech Rhetoric.  Currently, William is a live sports video editor, based out of the New York City television production market.

William’s career started during the spring semester of his senior year, when an older fraternity brother helped him secure an entry-level job with CNBC.  Though financial television wasn’t William’s passion, the position provided great exposure to the industry and gave him the ability to explore the field. Once his foot was in the door, opportunities began to present themselves to William. In 2010, he took a position on Good Morning America, where he learned to operate the EVS machine – a globally recognized leader in live video technology for broadcast and new media productions. It was this opportunity that proved to be the catalyst in William’s career. As his skills sharpened and his career continued to flourish, William was approached to work a track and field event in Boston – his first-ever remote job. While he had never worked on the sports field of television, having been involved in sports in high school and still being an avid fan made the chance to cover live sports a natural fit for William.

After freelancing in the local New York sports market for a bit and making a name for himself as an EVS operator, William began to receive job requests for network sports television events. And in 2013, William jumped on the opportunity to fill in on SEC Football for CBS Sports. This gig was the big break William needed to be recognized for his live editing skills, and in turn, created numerous opportunities within the sports production world for him.

Since the start of his career, William has worked on some of the biggest sporting events in the industry. From Super Bowls to the Olympics, to golf majors and horse racing’s Triple Crown, William travels extensively, working to provide the highest level of television coverage, with the highest level of production crews.

And the hard work has definitely paid off, for William has been fortunate enough to be honored with eight National Sports Emmy Awards – the highest level of acknowledgment in the industry: Outstanding Technical Team Studio, “MLB Tonight” (2009, 2011, 2013, 2016); The George Wensel Technical Achievement Award, “U.S. Open Tennis Championships” (2010); Outstanding Technical Team Remote, “Games of the XXXI Olympiad” (2016); Outstanding Technical Team Remote, “The Masters” (2019); and  Outstanding Technical Team Event, “Super Bowl LV” (2020).

When William is not at work, he enjoys traveling with his wife, Jasmine, spending time with his dogs, running, and golfing. In 2018, William ran the NYC Marathon with Fred’s Team of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, to raise money for cancer treatment. William is determined to run another marathon to help with the charity.