Recording and editing footage of a football game or work out session is not what 19-year-old Tommy Benavides envisioned he would be doing now 11 months ago. Eleven months ago, Benavides was a senior playing linebacker for Everglades Prep Academy High School. Reflecting on what transpired during his senior season, Benavides is grateful for how things turned out for him.
“I was a football player – it switched up quick. God opened another door for me and I took that option. Here I am now – a videographer. … I’m glad this happened, to be honest.”
Three games into his senior year, Benavides had plans to play college football. Then in the blink of an eye, the 5’ 8 185-pound athlete’s plan was derailed. During his third game, Benavides was ejected from the game by a referee for targeting (a helmet-to-helmet collision). Benavides was suspended for six weeks and would return for the last game of his season. His senior season was basically over.
“Supposedly I hit with my head, but I didn’t,” said Benavides. “It is what it is, I can’t really repeat the past.”
Although he could not play, Benavides still found a way to be a part of the team. He became the team’s photographer. As the team’s photographer, Benavides received praise from his team for his work. After receiving positive feedback from his teammates, Benavides’s friend and teammate Roderick Simms told him “you should take off” (regarding shooting photos and videos). During that conversation, Benavides came up with the name Top Fly Films.
Since then, Benavides has not looked back. In less than a year, Benavides has made a name for himself as a sports videographer. On his YouTube channel Top Fly Films, Benavides has created 45 videos and has generated over 100,000 views. These videos comprise high school football game highlights, workout highlights, and sports documentaries.
In addition, the self-made videographer who learned how to use a camera off YouTube has had the opportunity to work with several NFL players. These players include Shaquill Griffin, Lamar Miller, John Brown, D. J. Swearinger, and Herb Waters. During the interview, Benavides credits and thanks, Tevin Allen (Co-Owner of Gold Feet Global) for helping him make those connections: “He helped me out a lot. Shout out to Tevin Allen for that.”
If you’re looking for Benavides, you can find him on a Thursday or Friday at a local Miami high school football game capturing footage that comprises “action, shake-and-bakes, and hard hits”. Benavides likes being at those game. He also appreciates the love he gets from high school and college players and coaches.
“A college coach might see that (the video Benavides made) for a kid and it might help him (the athlete) for exposure,” said Benavides. “I had an athlete from college (Tyler Huntley) tell me that the coaches actually see that and they appreciate what I’m doing.”
When asked what his goals were as a sports videographer, Benavides immediately said: “My goal is to film in the League (the NFL).” With already a nice portfolio and connections with players in the NFL, most would think Benavides is going in the right direction to reach his goal.
“I want to do this for a living. I can rely on it to pay the bills and have fun doing what I love. … It’s my passion.” – Tommy Benavides
To read more stories like this, visit: shaheemsutherland.com