Creator Stories: Featuring @thunderprod_, Mike Hunter

Oct 28, 2022

Mike Hunter is a Senior at the University at Buffalo and has already worked with the NFL, MLB, ESPN and other well-known brands.

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My name is Mike Hunter, I grew up in Westchester County, New York and I am a senior at the University at Buffalo. I currently work with the NFL as a Live Content Correspondent and with Atlantic Records as Social Media Manager for A Boogie wit da Hoodie and OhGeesy.

My journey began at White Plains High School, where I was a track and field athlete. I’ve always had a love for sports growing up and really started to gain an interest in becoming a content creator in my sophomore year.

I started a YouTube channel called Thunder Prod, which mainly featured sports highlights of fan-favorite players in both football and basketball. Thanks to YouTube videos, I taught myself how to edit and my video quality gradually got better over time. From my sophomore to junior year of high school, my YouTube channel gained over 3 million views and over 30 thousand subscribers. Since I saw the growth in my channel over a small period of time, I expanded it to Instagram, where I started posting similar videos to what I had posted on YouTube. My Instagram page associated with my YouTube channel got a great following pretty quickly too.

This is the move that changed my career.

About two to three months after I started my Thunder Prod Instagram page, JuJu Smith-Schuster’s manager reached out to me the year he was entering the draft. He gave me the chance to edit videos that JuJu would release on his social media handles and JuJu would give me full credit on each post. So, through most of high school, I was editing videos for JuJu and helped him build his brand to where it is today. From working with JuJu I gained a good following on social media and other professional athletes saw my work. This led to me editing videos for other athletes like Jamal Adams, Le’Veon Bell, and DK Metcalf at the time. I mainly took on the role of a freelance video editor from my sophomore year of high school to my senior year. My last year of high school was when I really wanted to challenge myself as a content creator. I caught myself always editing footage that other people shot. This is what I’ve done ever since I started my YouTube channel. Rather than just remain a video editor, I thought about shooting my own footage. I presented my video editing resume to my high school’s Athletic Director Matt Cameron, and thankfully enough the school purchased my first-ever camera for me. This was another game-changer in my career. I began shooting videos of the sports teams for my high school and posting them on social media. These videos helped promote the athletic department and even more students to attend the sports games at the school. By the time I graduated high school I felt pretty comfortable with video editing and was learning videography.

My next chapter started at the University at Buffalo. Before I even stepped foot on campus my freshman year, some athletes on the football team knew about my work, and later the Video Coordinator of the football program did too. Towards the end of my freshman year, Jimmy Le, the Video Coordinator of UB Football at the time, offered me a position as a video intern for the football team. I took this position and improved my craft over the summer working with them. Jimmy is one of the main people that helped me get to where I am today. Working with the UB Football department was an amazing experience, but was short-lived once the Buffalo Bills were looking for a videographer.

In my sophomore year, I was hired by the NFL to cover the Buffalo Bills as a live content correspondent. In this position, I shoot engaging content on the field and send the content I capture out in real-time. Most of the content I shoot from gamedays is posted on the NFL social media handles or the two teams playing in Buffalo at the time. This was an unforgettable experience during my sophomore year and kickstarted me working with various other big companies while being a college student.

Last year, I had the chance of working with the MLB and ESPN. For ESPN, I edited numerous projects for College Gameday. These videos were posted on their social media handles to announce where the College Gameday set would be going every Saturday. My role with ESPN was similar to what I did with the MLB. I was a Video Content Editor for the MLB. I started this role last postseason when the Braves won the World Series. In this role I edited videos in real-time for the MLB players to post on their accounts after the game. Some videos I edited would even go on the official MLB page. This position was a great experience, and I continued it this year during the MLB regular season.

Most of my experiences in the content creation space have been either videography or video editing. It was not until last spring that I stepped into a totally different role with Atlantic Records. Last April, I began running the TikTok page of artist A Boogie wit da Hoodie. I had full control over the page and would come up with ideas to engage his followers. Most of the content on his page I would edit myself, and on some occasions, I shoot some footage. I’m still in this role, and this month I started running the TikTok page of artist OhGeesy as well. It was truly challenging entering a whole new space of just social media by running the pages of these artists. Both of them are very well known and I listen to their music so it worked out in the long run. Additionally, I shot Summer Jam for Roddy Ricch when he performed a few months ago. It was a surreal feeling for me to use all of my skills prior to these roles to contribute to a completely new one.

Never in a million years, could I have pictured myself working with the people I watch on television weekly or even artists that I listen to while I’m driving in my car. Media is a growing field with positions opening up everywhere. It really hits home when I’m on the field at Bills games and some people in the crowd even tell me that they love my content.

The reach that social media has is something special, and there are many other talented creators out there who produce content like I do. My journey is pretty unique starting back when I was around 15 years old and it all was based around a growing YouTube channel.

I’m thankful for everything that’s happened so far in my career and I’m living proof that hard work can take you places in life. No matter how old you are, it’s never too early to start with what you love to do.

Check Out Mike’s Social Profiles:

Gondola: https://gondola.cc/thunderprod

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thunder.prod/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thunderprod_

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@thunderprod?lang=en