Meet Dave Pond: sports videographer and tax translator
Dave Pond likes to tell stories. But how he does it depends on the circumstances.
At work, Pond uses words. He writes and edits content for H&R Block’s online and downloadable tax software at its world headquarters, where he turns tax mumbo jumbo into stuff clients can swallow.
“I take technical information written by subject matter experts and make it digestible for everyday people,” says the program manager for content strategy. “Clarity is huge. My job is to make DIY tax prep easy to understand, so clients can get through our products without having to call or chat with someone for help.”
Sharing the view
On his own time, Pond communicates via video cameras.
“I tell stories through my lens,” he says.
To do that, Pond plods, climbs and slogs in all kinds of weather through baseball fields, football stadiums, concert arenas and more to record such events as:
- The 2006 Stanley Cup Final for the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes
- The 2014 World Series for Fox Sports
- Current in-house productions for the Kansas City Chiefs and Sporting Kansas City, which includes game replays, product promotions, mascot antics and even marriage proposals
- Boxing, mixed martial arts and professional wrestling, including Lucha Libre (professional Mexican wrestling)
- Monster truck races
Pluses and minuses
The job has its perks. And its pitfalls.
“I love being at live events,” says Pond. “I love the energy. I love being part of the action. And I love not paying to attend.”
But a ringside seat can come with some blowback.
“Guys can get hurt,” says Pond.
Once, while videoing a college football game, “I got crushed by a defensive back on the sidelines in the end zone,” says Pond. (Pond turned out fine; so did the football player.)
“And at basketball games, when you’re sitting under a basket and big 7-foot dudes get fouled, look out. You have to be ready to move.”
And then, there’s the manual labor.
“Shooting professional events usually means working 12- or 14-hour days,” says Pond. “I worked a concert called Rock Fest last year, where we had to run almost a half-mile of fiber optic video cable through the woods between two stages, so concertgoers could see what was happening on both stages.
“It’s not as simple as picking up a camera and looking through a lens.”
Making something hard look easy. That happens a lot at H&R Block.
“There are similarities between what I do inside and outside the office,” says Pond. “In both places, you have to be agile and adjust on the fly.”
For example, last year while Pond was at work, the IRS website went down for a day.
“My content team had to quickly work with our DIY product owners to develop emails to send to clients the same day,” says Pond. “We didn’t want clients to think the problem was ours, or worse, go to a competitor’s product. So, we assured clients we knew about the issue, and that it was not with H&R Block.”
Just like with videography, “You’ve got to move quickly and go with the flow.”
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