Riverview High School student Ben Tilley wanted to find a way to fit in to public school after going to private school for 11 years. He was encouraged by his father to provide video coverage of his high school sports teams. The ‘Shark Attack’ coverage didn’t start out as smoothly as he would have liked it to over a year ago at the Riverview football game.
“Our first show was against East Bay, actually, at the stadium. We had quite an experience,” said Ben. “We had a rain delay, and the power went out. It was a pretty eventful first show. That’s what kind of got me interested. I never thought of it as, you know, this could be really popular. I figured that maybe the coaching staff will see it, some of the players will see it and say, ‘Look, a cool little highlight reel,’ but it’s just turned into so much more, and it’s just been awesome.”
Ben and his partner, Kenny Heystek, along with Ben’s dad, Chris Tilley, who has worked in the TV industry for 20-plus years as a videographer, have a production meeting on the Friday before the game to discuss the script and their plans. They produce a pregame video on-site at the sporting event, B-roll of the game footage and postgame coverage, including interviews of the players and coach. The group will then edit the video until the early hours of Saturday, record voice-overs, and then post it online for their viewers. They use Chris’ personal professional-level equipment to achieve all of this. The video is posted on their Instagram page, @RVHSSharkAttack, and appears on the Shark TV YouTube channel, Riverview High Shark TV.
Ben’s favorite part of being a reporter is the environment of the football games.
“Whenever we go out to football games, the vibe is just extraordinary. It’s so exuberant; it’s really just fabulous,” he said. “You get into the flow of the game and it’s just amazing. It’s a great environment. Our school is fantastic, the crowd is always large — it’s just awesome to be out there on the field.”
The junior credits his TV production teacher, Overstreet, with helping them come up with ideas for the show and giving them inspiration. He was also very complimentary of Heystek, his partner and TV production classmate who started helping with the broadcast this season. Heystek has earned the moniker ‘One-take Kenny’ because he likes to get everything done in just one take.
“I got interested in doing the sports coverage because I was originally more interested in movie-style films and Ben asked me to help him with the Shark Attack coverage,” said Heystek. “Once I started helping with the coverages, I almost instantly started to like reporting on the games.”
The ultimate goal of the three-man team is to expand coverage of Riverview High School sports. They have covered flag football, football, basketball, volleyball and plan on covering other sports. Ben wants to continue in his father’s footsteps in the TV field. Chris worked for WTSP for several years before he became a freelancer. He works with him on freelance opportunities and has gained tremendous experience in the field already.
“None of this is possible without my dad,” said Ben. “He’s the greatest father ever, and he’s doing so much for me at the beginning of my career, and I am just so blessed to have him.”