In the seven months that Stan Johnson has been the LMU men’s basketball coach, both his and the team’s social media pages have regularly featured exciting videos intended to advertise the program and hype up fans. They are clearly high-quality productions, and they are put together by an LMU student — sophomore marketing major Will Hanmer.
“[Johnson is] really big on making people feel connected to the program,” Hanmer said. “So that's kind of our main goal right now.”
Hanmer has long been interested in both sports and film and found that he was skilled at videography during high school. He began shooting events and games for his school’s sports teams during his sophomore year of high school and has continued to make sports videos ever since.
Upon entering college, he got involved with the Lions as a content creator, helping to produce the LMU athletic department’s behind-the-scenes show “The Pride” as a freshman. He served as both a videographer and an editor for the video series. He admits to being pleasantly surprised at how it turned out, citing the first episode as an example.
“It was just kind of an idea that our athletic department had, and we put it together and I think it turned out pretty well,” he recalled. “It looked good. It sounded good. Everything went pretty smooth with it.”
When Johnson was hired in March, Hanmer reached out to him and expressed interest in working with the men’s basketball team specifically. Johnson liked the idea, and the two now work together on video concepts, focusing on increasing LMU basketball’s national presence.
“Coach Stan's really big about having a video that people find catchy, or with a song that's catchy, and [making viewers] want to go back and replay it and watch it again,” Hanmer said. “Or if it's like a hype video, you want people to feel like they can run through a brick wall.”
Hanmer finds variation in the style of his videos to be important. It’s not just about the mood the video creates, but also the angle it takes.
“We've done our fair share of LA-type videos — building the LMU-LA type of brand,” Hanmer said. “And then also the more connected family style of videos with the team bonding and that kind of thing.”
Fortunate to work along side 3 of the best coaches in this business. I’ve found that in life the people we surround ourselves with make all the different in who we become. Proud to be influenced by 3 high level people & coaches. #ANewSTANdard @lmulionsMBB @WillHanmer pic.twitter.com/jw2BlcgbaW— Stan Johnson (@LMUCoachJohnson) September 18, 2020
The pandemic has changed Hanmer’s work. He considers videography to be his strongest skill, but because he is not on campus right now, he is unable to work in that aspect of production. Instead, the footage is shot by athletic department employees Matthew Lerman and Trevor Grinsell, who send it to Hanmer. It is then up to Hanmer to sift through the material, edit the video and put together the desired product.
“That's been totally different, using other people's clips, just because like when you're shooting it, you know, like, ‘Ooh, this I'll use later in the video,’” Hanmer said. “But now I go in [knowing that] I have zero clue what I'm going to find that day.”
In spite of the challenges that come with working remotely, Hanmer appreciates the work that his co-workers are doing to make sure that they are continuing to produce regular content.
“Everyone in the department is really coming together to help each other out, and I feel that we have really grown as a unit,” he said.
Hanmer hopes to return to filming the men’s basketball team himself whenever he is able to go back to campus.
Long-term, he is interested in eventually starting his own company for creative content. In the meantime, however, he is happy to be working with LMU and helping to grow the "presence" of the Lions.
“[Our content] just depends on how the season goes and [we’re] taking it day by day,” he said. "But overall, I think [we should] continue on the path we've been on.”