CONCORD, N.C. -- Hendrick Motorsports’ race experience goes beyond the laps the drivers put in. It extends to the social content, video production and race day hype that helps the fans enjoy the experience.
In this week’s edition of Fueling Futures, meet Shadow Davis, a video production manager who leads a team of content creators. Together, they produce content for the social media channels and curate videos of the behind-the-scenes work at Hendrick Motorsports.
Here we explore the ins and outs of what it takes to work in motor sports as we dive into our new series, “Fueling Futures.” An initiative started by Hendrick Motorsports’ partner Ally Financial, “Fueling Futures” was created in 2019 to help middle and high school aged students learn about careers they might not realize are available.
Hendrick Motorsports: What do you do as a video production manager?
Shadow Davis: This one is a hard question just because we do a lot on the video production side. If I were to describe my job, I’d probably say I manage a small team of video producers. We create a lot of the content for our social media channels, content for internal pieces, and we create content for sponsorships. We have a lot of contracted videos with them, so we help them create content that not only represents them but also represents Hendrick Motorsports. When I am managing my team, we have all of our own projects and I help disperse them and help them where I can.
Other things that I do in my job, and what I like about my job, is that I get to be the videographer, the editor, the graphic designer, or anything where I can create content. That’s my job: to help Hendrick Motorsports promote whatever we are trying to convey. Whether that’s a social media post - if that’s a video showing what we do on campus - there are so many avenues we can take and I just help tell that story.
HM: How did your experience lead you to Hendrick Motorsports?
SD: This is where I think I can relate to a lot of people, especially just graduating from high school. Sometimes, you don’t really know what you want to do, and honestly took me until my sophomore year of college to actually figure out what I wanted to do. I always knew I was creative and that’s kind of the avenue I wanted to do but, if anyone is like me, especially in high school, you’re looking at your parents, or other kids, your friend’s parents’ jobs, or older siblings and you’re limited on what there is in the world.
When I was in college, I did a lot of my general education type things, but once I started talking to people and exploring the programs, I noticed that there was something called digital media and I liked that. It was so broad because there are so many things that I like to do, and I don’t like to do the same thing every day. I dabbled in digital media and there was just this whole avenue of different paths that I could take. I started taking classes in 3D modeling, in graphic design, video editing, videography and audio. I kind of created my own degree, it’s technically digital media, but the things that I liked to focus on were the videography side and editing post-production. I think that’s probably where I have most of my education - in post-production. Basically, once the videographer gives you all the footage, you can take it from there and make it however you want, and I really like that aspect. But I also love graphic design, so I took a bunch of classes in graphic design and ended up making that my minor.
It took me a while to get where I wanted to be, but once I got there, everything started to make sense. After I graduated, I am still dabbling in different things. I like the idea of freelancing because I got to do all those different types of things that I was super interested in. That helped me find the job at Hendrick Motorsports because I was able to not just sit behind a computer and edit, I could actually be out in the field, being a videographer, taking my own footage and creating whatever I wanted to create, which I think with social media and where things are going with that, really allowed me to do make these short, fast clips that I got to do in college. I wasn’t really interested in the broadcasting side of things and I wasn’t really interested in the long form documentary-style things or TV, so this job allowed me to do everything I wanted to do. That’s how I got from not knowing what I wanted to do at all to being in a position where I get to do everything that I’m interested in.
I just wanted to make that a big point that when you know when you get out of high school, you don’t know what you want to do. There are so many jobs out there and so many things that you feel like you just need to settle for something because that was what was in textbook or that was a job that you knew someone else did. There are so many different jobs out there that let you do what you want to do - it’s just finding them and what you are excited about and something that you want to do and finding that job for it and never settling.
HM: What are the skills someone would need to excel in your role?
SD: To excel in a role similar to mine I would say that someone must have the drive to constantly be creative and to never be stale and do the same thing over and over. Everything is changing - social media is changing. You have to keep up with the trends. I would probably say you have to keep up with your creativity and never stop learning.
HM: What is your favorite part of your job?
SD: My favorite part about my job is that I don’t have to just sit behind a desk and edit all day. Right now, I am because I am in quarantine, and I think that makes me realize how much I miss being out in the field. I get to take projects from the very beginning, which is as simple as all these shots, and in my mind I am constantly thinking of ‘How do I want to lay this out,’ and ‘how do I want to edit this’ because there is nothing worse than getting to the editing stage and you’re missing footage. That’s key to making the video complete.
I think my favorite part about this job is I get to be a part of that. I get to help come up with and brainstorm what the idea is and then I get to go out and I get to shoot it all, and then I get to edit it however I want to. Of course, there are going to be people who have opinions and you always have to be able to make yourself happy and please yourself with that the work you create, but also this is a collaboration of work, not only with people in the marketing department, but with our sponsors. You can’t look at things as ‘It’s just my way or the highway.’ You have to be able to work with people and that might go back to the advice thing. Being able to work with people is my favorite thing about working here.