App State’s football videographer is building a legacy through the brand – The Appalachian
A football videographer has been creating content since he was a student at App State. On the big screen at Kidd Brewer Stadium, trending pre-game videos have become synonymous with this mountaineer.
Max Renfro, a senior marketer, came to App State with an interest in working with the football video team and made it his passion. The evolution of his work coincided with the team itself.
While App State football’s success on the field has garnered attention over the past few years, the work behind the scenes has also received national recognition. When the team made headlines for scoring touchdowns, Mountaineer Football’s content team made headlines for unique uniforms and documented scenic views advertising Boone.
Renfro led the content team for App State football, but there was a time when school wasn’t his first choice.
When he was a senior in high school, Renfro made the final decision to attend App State. Renfro spent time in high school as a photographer and discovered a passion for documenting his landscapes, then heard about the Mountaineer football video team. In his freshman year in 2018, Renfro joined the video team. His impact was felt quickly as he took over as student director of video production in the spring.
“It was the biggest decision to come here and start making videos. I feel like every day I appreciate it more and more,” Renfro said. “My high school didn’t even have no football team, so I had no idea I would be filming football a few years later.”
As team leader, Renfro won four SAVVY awards from the College Sports Video Association from 2018 to 2020, but his viral breakthrough came just before the 2020 season.
A Renfro-led uniform reveal video featuring Thomas Hennigan emerging from the water of Laurel Creek Falls garnered national attention from multiple outlets. ESPN and Barstool Sports posted the video, now surpassing 10 million views on TikTok alone.
App State’s social media development was a microcosm of Renfro’s rise as a content creator. The reveal of Hennigan’s uniform drew the most attention on App State’s football TikTok account.
“TikTok’s algorithm, anyone can go viral, so it’s just a reminder to always post your work. You never know who’s looking on the other side, so it’s an easy way to grow” , said Renfro.
The account now has 228,000 followers, the fourth in all college football programs. Over the past four seasons, Renfro has been thinking up ideas for each week of the season, getting fans excited every week as they wait for the video to be released on social media.
From a Halloween uniform inspired by “Stranger Things” to players running through the snow to return the helmet strip with College Football Hall of Fame coach Jerry Moore as the star of a video, the Renfro’s creativity has built a following comparable to any Power-5 program.
In this process, Renfro developed a student content creator program with the team, including second student Will Allen and senior Andrei Paras. As an experienced creator, Renfro recruited Allen to shoot the App State video and met him while visiting school.
“Without Max, I wouldn’t be where I am right now. If that meeting had never happened, who knew if I would be filming App State football,” Allen said.
Heading into this academic year, Renfro initially decided to step down from his role as Chief Content Officer for App State Football. As a senior, he faced the pressure of a final year of college classes in addition to the independent work he does beyond athletic shooting. This resulted in Allen taking over the role, but before the start of the football season, Renfro was unable to stay too long before returning.
Renfro contacted Allen before the season to express his interest in returning to the team. Allen was thrilled to see one of his mentors creating content for another year.
“Max didn’t have to do this. It was out of the kindness of his heart to come back and help me when he is in the most stressful year of his life. If that doesn’t tell you what kind of guy he is, I don’t know what will,” Allen said.
While filming App State this season, a national opportunity was brewing behind the scenes. Each year, the NFL holds the NFL Honors ceremony a few days before the Super Bowl. At this event, the league crowns the biggest football stars of the year. The NFL offered Renfro the opportunity to become an NFL Honors videographer. He accepted it and started planning the trip to California.
Months before the trip, those who worked with Renfro helped him reflect. Paras, Allen and others practiced different video shots and edits that Renfro would use on top NFL players.
“The creative process for this was crazy… It was really cool to see him bring his talents to a bigger platform because he deserves it,” Paras said.
Renfro created videos posted directly to NFL social media. The stars of those videos included the MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgersoffensive player of the year Cooper Kuppdefensive player of the year TJWatt and Defensive Rookie of the Year Micah Parsons and more. The content was posted to NFL flagship accounts and viewed around the world on all social media platforms with Renfro’s name right below.
The original video plan was a movie poster style with an animated video featuring highlights from the season and star players getting Hollywood treatment. Renfro broke down his NFL Honors experience and sleepless nights in California in a vlog.
“It doesn’t feel real, but it was a crazy experience,” Renfro said. “I wasn’t too starstruck or anything, but it felt like I was filming an App State video.”
After debuting as a freshman videographer for an up-and-coming college football program, Renfro revamped App State content and shot videos with the biggest stars in American sports.
The creative drive that shows up in viral videos has inspired students like Allen to attend App State and join the athletics content team, and Renfro has become a mentor to them.
“Seeing how he does things was really interesting and really a special experience to be able to work with him,” Paras said. “Outside of the creative world, he’s just an amazing friend, and he’s always there for you.”
Looking back on his experience at Boone, Renfro said he will always remember where he made his mark as a videographer and photographer. With over 17,000 Instagram followers and over 100,000 TikTok followers, the Renfro brand goes beyond App State content. After graduation, he plans to dive into the freelance world, whether it’s commercial work, covering huge NFL events or continuing to work as a mountaineer in Boon.
“From now on, I’m just going to start freelancing, so if App is one of my clients, I’d love to work with them, and then anyone who needs a video,” Renfro said. . “I’ve been an App State fan all my life, so just being able to create for the football team while growing up as a fan was a dream come true.”