Landen Brocato has been creating videos for as long as he could remember — he filmed videos for his high school’s sports teams, and even in 6th grade, he would source clips on YouTube to find content to edit. It wasn’t until college that he wondered if his talent could be more than just a hobby.
As a Multimedia Intern with North Dakota State University (NDSU) Athletics, Landen realized he could create a career out of videography. In addition to shooting and editing videos at NDSU, he produced live events, ran official replays, and was a live camera operator, but his heart was with producing and editing content.
After a couple years with NDSU, Landen took a huge risk and dropped out of college to take a Seasonal Trainee position with the Kansas City Royals. His leap of faith was soon rewarded when he captured a stunning shot of Bobby Witt Jr. taking a practice swing underneath a setting sky, and Landen knew he had made it. Witt Jr. himself reached out because he wanted to post the clip on his accounts, and Landen got his first taste of social media attention because of the shot. Creatives in the industry who he looks up, such as Sam Lutz, told Landen that it was one of the best sunset shots he had seen in a long time. We couldn’t agree more.
Tonight was a beautiful night for some baseball #baseballsky #togetherroyal pic.twitter.com/P3Jl4YvW4E
After 6 months with the Royals, Landen took a full-time position with the Cincinnati Reds as a Video Producer, which led to his current title as the Director of Creative Video for Xavier Basketball. As he enters his fourth year in the sports creative industry, Landen credits his success to Sam Lutz and the rest of the video team at the Royals, as well as his NDSU boss Scott Anderson, who helped Landen find his passion for storytelling and video production.
Landen draws most of his inspiration for his own work from documentaries. While watching documentaries (and not necessarily sports ones), he finds himself more focused on cinematography than anything else. He loves telling stories with his content, which is exactly what documentaries do, and thus why he models his own work on them.
This influence can clearly be seen in his various reels, from his experimental Royals Reel to his 2022 Reel which pays homage to his own personal style. Landen is constantly trying new techniques to improve his storytelling — he is currently testing out new color grading methods — but he loves making slower, cinematic videos more than any other content. At Xavier, he utilizes his favored storytelling style to create Game Recaps following a win, even if it means pulling an all-nighter to get videos out in time. One of his favorite Game Recaps is of Xavier’s win against Creighton that secured the university’s spot in the Big East Championship Game.
At the end of the day, Landen’s passion is storytelling. He enjoys each element that goes into planning a video and the story that goes along with it, from ideation, conception, shooting, editing, and everything else that goes into producing. Landen strives to be a voice for people’s stories and puts the same amount of effort into a video of a high school track sprinter or an NFL quarterback. He knows that his content will have an impact on athletes and fans no matter their status, and doesn’t believe that one should be treated as more important than the other.
As with any successful creative, Landen has not been without setbacks. In one instance, he was supposed to develop a documentary about Xavier player Colby Jones in the week leading up to the NBA Draft. Landen spent a week in Jones’ hometown in Alabama interviewing his family and friends, and of course, attended the NBA Draft, only to find out that the majority of interviews he filmed had corrupted on his hard drive. It was an incredibly disheartening moment for both Landen and Jones, but Landen was still able to pull together a recap of the draft night.
He also initially found it difficult to adjust to shooting flashy basketball content after years of letting his style shine through the romanticism of baseball. After a steep learning curve, Laden has been able to adapt his slower storytelling style to the faster world of basketball. Unsurprisingly, he is also a huge proponent of stepping out of your comfort zone.
If Landen could give one piece of advice to creatives who are just beginning to break into the industry, it would be to post your work, because even if you don’t think it’s the best, you never know who might see it. He didn’t post his work until a few years after he started working as a videographer and regrets it because of all the connections he has made through social media. The sports creative industry is all about connections, so the more people you know, the more rewarding the field is.
Despite the fact that Landen still does not own a personal camera, he somehow manages to constantly produce amazing content. Check out some more of it below: