Living a dream: Petoskey High School grad makes his way at ESPN
Petoskey native Andrew Keck is in his first year as an event production assistant at ESPN. Keck¿s next big assignment will take him to England for the British Open in July. (Steve Foley/News-Review / March 26, 2012)
Some seven years later and fresh out of college, a dream has become a reality for Petoskey’s Andrew Keck.
Keck, who will turn 25 in two weeks, is in his first year serving as an event production assistant at ESPN, where the 2005 Petoskey High School and 2010 Central Michigan University graduate is cutting his teeth at the television sports broadcasting giant, which bills itself at the Worldwide Leader.
“It’s the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Keck, who was in Petoskey this week for a brief vacation from his home just outside of Bristol, Conn., ESPN’s headquarters. “ESPN is a name and it’s a bit of pride as well. All throughout high school I wanted to get there and now I’m doing it. I’m where I wanted to get and I’ve been very fortunate and blessed to have friends in the industry.”
Much like any other job, getting to ESPN for Keck wasn’t necessarily what he knew, but more who he knew.
“I graduated from Central in May of 2010 and had a friend who was a production assistant at Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta,” Keck said. “He got me a freelance job down there. It was about $200 a day for three days a week and I worked there all summer doing baseball, basketball and golf and then again in October for the playoffs in baseball.
“It was basically a resume builder.”
Keck, who interned at the Petoskey News-Review and The Graphic, was hoping to land a full-time job at Turner Broadcasting when his freelance assignment expired, but that didn’t happen.
“I came in second, which was kind of a bummer,” Keck said. “So I ended up coming back up (to Petoskey). I worked at The Corner Grocer and Family Video, just trying to make ends meet. I was engaged at the time and one day I was searching for jobs, came across ESPN.com, and came across a job entitled production assistant trainee.”
Keck said the job was a seven-month training program and contained all the same duties as a regular production assistant. It was also 40 hours a week, with full benefits.
“I said, ‘Why not?’ Figured I had nothing to lose,” he said. “I got a call a month later while still working odd jobs up here, did a phone interview with them and a month later I was back in Atlanta helping out with March Madness with Turner and they asked if I’d like to work for ESPN. I said sure, that’d be awesome.”
After completing his seven-month training, Keck accepted a full-time gig with ESPN and given a raise.
“I basically got rid of the trainee tag,” he said.
As an event production assistant, Keck carries out many tasks, but primarily assists with the game-day producer in whatever capacity needed.
“My work is primarily event side, I work at games,” he said, adding one of his most recent assignments was at the Big Ten Conference men’s basketball tournament in Indianapolis.
Keck’s primary job as an assistant is to track down footage of players or past games to use in the live broadcast for edits or ‘B’ rolls, the stock footage that helps fills broadcasts.
“My producer might say, ‘Give me a game-winning shot from a game five years ago, or give me 10 seconds of footage on a certain player,’” Keck said. “It’s my job to track those things down. I might have to go to the Big Ten Network or Fox if we don’t have it in-house, but I’ll make a compilation onto one tape and I put all these things into an orange bin along with ESPN flags, hats, stickers for backboards and blank tapes to give to other networks.
“Basically, it’s everything the producer needs me to do, I do. But it mainly boils down to me tracking down footage and clipping it.”
Piecing together a more-detailed clip or narrative and seeing it air is point of pride, Keck said.