Exchanging Sticks for Cameras

Brian Tague (brtague@ursinus.edu)

Jumping up from his couch in a fit of pure ecstasy, Mike Johnston ‘23 cheered as he read the email that led to his biggest opportunity yet, filming a lacrosse game but not just any game. This was an offer to go film for Johns Hopkins University, a perennial powerhouse program with an incredible track record of success. He quickly gave a triumphant fist pump and high fived his suitemates. After that, he ecstatically called his father to tell him the news. For Johnston, this was more than a simple job offer. This was the opportunity to take his burgeoning videography career to new levels.

Arriving at Ursinus his freshman year, Johnston had hopes of having a successful career on the Ursinus Men’s lacrosse team. Things didn’t go according to plan though as he soon found himself facing the difficult decision of choosing between his two passions. Having previously done freelance videography for E-sports leagues, Johnston realized that he had a passion for capturing moments using his camera. Early on in his first semester at Ursinus, he decided to take the gamble and hang up his lacrosse helmet and pick up the camera full time. Johnston’s close friend, Michael Green ‘23, remembers him agonizing over the decision. “It took him a couple of weeks to come to terms with his decision, but eventually he realized it was the best thing for his career and what he wanted to do after college.” 

Soon after filming the Ursinus lacrosse team, Johnston began branching out to different sports, with his edits garnering more fans. Gambling on himself was paying off as he began to receive offers to film additional events. Eventually culminating in an offer from STX, a major company that supplies lacrosse gear and equipment to all levels of the sport. “This was the opportunity that I had been working so hard for,” Johnston remarked. “I feel like this is a vindication of my work. It is showing that all my work is finally paying off,” he added.  Jumping at the opportunity to film for a Big Ten program, Johnston eagerly drove down to Baltimore, Maryland that weekend to film the game. 

For Johnston, the end of his journey as an athlete meant the beginning of a successful videography career. Betting on himself and his own abilities, he took the plunge and greatly shook up his life. He didn’t know it at the time, but this decision would end up being one of the best decisions he’s ever made. Beginning his own production company, with hopes of setting up his own LLC, Johnston aims to continue his career in videography and hopes to eventually work with the NFL. However, even with the road ahead of him still unwritten, he will always be able to look back with glee at that moment when he was just sitting on the couch.