Student Spotlight: TikTok famous football filmmaker

After a single viral video launched his TikTok account into the limelight, Kayd Nissen is on the road to success in the realm of sports filmmaking.


Gabby Drees

University of Iowa junior Kayd Nissen records footage at a Clear Creek Amana high school football practice on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021.

Parker Jones, Arts Reporter

With over 390,000 followers on TikTok, student videographer Kayd Nissen has already found success doing what he loves — sports filmmaking. 

A University of Iowa junior double majoring in journalism and mass communication and sport and recreation management, Nissen is employed as a videographer for Iowa football but also does freelance filmmaking on the side. Originally from Carroll, Iowa, he first found his passion for being behind a camera after taking a multimedia class at Carroll High School. 

The 20-year-old credits his love for filmmaking to his high school’s advanced technology department, and the access he was able to gain towards cameras and other equipment not many other high schools in the area had at the time. 

During his junior year in high school, he began filming Carroll High School’s football team under the name “S1lk Productions,” derived from a high school nickname, and sparked his love for filming sports. 

Friends and family began to take notice of his filmmaking skills, and he landed the job as a student videographer for Iowa football his senior year of high school. As a videographer, he films the team’s games and practices for videos and clips to post to the team’s social media accounts.

Nissen first gained his TikTok following during his freshman year at the UI, after one short video he posted of the Iowa state high school volleyball championship went viral. 

“I posted it one night, not thinking much of it,” Nissen said. “Then I woke up the next morning and it had seven million views.” 

After that initial boost in followers, Nissen was inspired to keep posting sports videos and highlights to the app. He currently has 391,900 followers and 19.2 million likes across all his TikTok videos. 

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Nissen attributes much of his success on the app to chance, although he said he is grateful for the connections and opportunities he’s received through TikTok.

Among those opportunities are several different sports-related public relations teams and companies that have offered Nissen jobs or contracts. Last winter, a sports recruitment company, called Signing Day Sports contacted Nissen, and offered to fly him to Arizona to film local football teams after finding him through TikTok, he said, which he said was valuable experience to have. 

“I definitely want to take [sports filmmaking] post-college,” Nissen said. “Hopefully after I graduate I can find a job at another college, or a professional team, or even in the industry working in videography.” 

Currently, Nissen plans to work with the Clear Creek-Amana School District for the football team’s entire fall season. He also works a bit outside of the sports realm and is occasionally hired to film weddings and other events, and plans to continue doing so.

Eventually, the videographer hopes to make a viable career out of his passion and continue on the path he has already started. 

“It doesn’t feel like work to me,” Nissen said. “But I know I can turn it into a career.”