In his five years filming and editing with Dude Perfect, Abilene Christian University alumnus Tim Holt has worked with celebrity athletes, spent three days filming on the U.S.S. Nimitz aircraft carrier, competed in trick-shot challenges for a YouTube audience of millions, and sometimes gets recognized in public, thanks to his occasional front-of-camera appearances.
Holt’s job – senior production editor for Dude Perfect, a sports and comedy group boasting more than 50 million YouTube subscribers – has an undeniable fun factor. Still, he said the best part of being on the Dude Perfect team is how faith impacts the way his teammates work and play.
“I am really blessed because we are all actively striving to live out our faith,” he said. “I feel really lucky to be in an office where people believe in conflict resolution, forgiveness and faith, and they own that. That’s been huge.”
Holt earned a bachelor’s degree in digital entertainment technology with a minor in digital media from ACU in 2015 and began working for Dude Perfect just months after graduation. He credits his college experience with helping him find the right path for his future career, particularly his experiences with ACU’s Filmfest and the Los Angeles Film Studies Center through the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.
“That was one of the biggest catalysts that launched me to my field,” Holt said. “It helped me grow my skills and try things and fail. I made a lot of bad films but I learned from it.” He also completed two internships while in college, including working in ACU’s marketing and creative services office as a student photographer and videographer.
Holt recently spoke to a virtual audience of more than 300 students at ACU’s Young Alumni Forum and emphasized the importance of that type of practical experience for those looking for a similar career path.
“Get your hands on cameras and equipment, and create as much content as you can,” Holt advised. “Get your bad stuff out of the way while you’re in school. Don’t get hung up on technical errors, just keep honing your skills.”
In addition to having hands-on experience, getting a job with Dude Perfect involved some initiative and some patience. After completing his time with the L.A. Film Studies in the spring of his senior year, he had a week before graduation and used that time to send emails to potential employers.
During college, a friend had shown him some of Dude Perfect’s videos. The group’s work appealed to his love of sports, particularly hockey, and was based in his hometown of Frisco. He sent an email with clips of his film work but knew it was a long shot and was surprised when he got a call inviting him in for an interview.
“I was freaking out, pacing back and forth in my room,” he said.
Holt said the interview went well, and he expected a job offer to follow immediately, but the group called back to tell him they were already onboarding a film editor and simply said, “Let’s stay in touch.”
That wasn’t what he expected but later proved to be providential.
“It really turned into a blessing in disguise,” Holt said. He took a job doing video work at The Hills Church in North Richland Hills instead. “It really was a great few months. It allowed me to grow, to learn what it’s like to be on my own out of school.” By the end of the summer, however, the call he had hoped for came through: a full-time job offer from Dude Perfect.
Now, more than five years later, he is married, and he and wife, D’Ann, welcomed a baby girl, Everly, in late 2020. His days at Dude Perfect are a mix of filming and editing, tedious work and playful fun, late nights, early mornings and days that are more relaxed. Ultimately, however, Holt said he’s found that his identity must be beyond the ups and downs of a job.
“It’s been the privilege of a lifetime to get to work here with such a fun group of guys,” Holt said. “But at the end of the day, it’s just a job and not where I find my fulfilment and hope. I tried that for a little while, and it didn’t go well. You get burned out and drained. It looks super fun, but it’s a lot more work than people imagine. I thoroughly love my job, but it doesn’t compare to the hope and satisfaction I have in my faith.”
— Wendy Kilmer
Feb. 15, 2021