Sport Design Australia Creative Spotlight - Coby Schifcofske

October 31, 2023
5 mins
Sport Design Australia Creative Spotlight - Coby Schifcofske

In the world of #smsports, networking and relationships reign supreme. Coby Schifcofske of the Melbourne Storm serves as a prime example. Through cultivating an extensive network, Schifcofske has built an enviable career in the sports creative industry that has taken him across Australia and even overseas to the United States and the United Kingdom.

At just 22 years of age, Coby has built a stunning portfolio of video content, spanning from high-production docuseries to viral social media clips. He was the man behind the camera capturing Ryan Papenhuyzen’s rehab journey in Philadelphia and was on the ground as Australia lifted the Rugby League World Cup at Old Trafford last year.

His resume speaks to his incredible talent and unrelenting work ethic. But according to Coby, these count for little without the connections he has made along the way.

“Relationships are the no. 1 most important thing in this field of work, in my opinion,” Coby says.

“I wouldn’t be able to do my job nearly as effectively if I didn’t have the buy-in of the players and coaches. If you build relationships with the athletes, it only makes your job easier.”

In fact, it was Storm player Harry Grant who recruited Coby into the Kangaroos camp at last year’s Rugby League World Cup. A family visit to England inadvertently turned into the work trip of a lifetime when the representative hooker convinced Australian representatives to bring Coby on board for the tournament.

“The Australian squad were playing against Scotland in England and I went over to watch the game with my Dad since we were nearby,” Coby explained.

“After the game, I caught up with Harry and we started chatting about how he’d love to get me in amongst the squad and shoot content for them as they had no one doing it for them.

“I was super keen but logistically I thought it wouldn’t work; however Harry ended up speaking to the Kangaroos staff and within a few days I received a call to see if I was keen to join the Kangaroos and help them for the rest of the World Cup. So instead of heading home after my family holiday, I was lucky enough to stay in the UK and run the Kangaroos’ socials and be amongst the squad.

“It was all thanks to the relationship I built at the Melbourne Storm with Harry. I can’t thank him enough for doing that for me.”

As if that experience was not wild enough for Coby, he soon found himself flying to the United States alongside Ryan Papenhuyzen for another special project.

With Papenhuyzen off to Philadelphia as part of his recovery from a gruesome knee injury, an opportunity presented itself for Coby to join the Storm star in the States and produce a documentary on his journey.

The final product, In Due Time, was picked up by Fox League and earned a grand premiere streaming on Kayo Sports.

“It was surreal,” Coby said of the project.

“It’s definitely the biggest thing I’ve done in my career so far and to have Fox and Kayo jump on it was unreal. If you had told me two years ago I’d be in the position to do something like this, I’d never believe you.

“By the time the trip ended and I’d been back in Australia editing for a few weeks, we reached out to Fox and they were onboard straight away; they were really great and easy to work with.

“I learnt so much from the experience and know for a fact it really helped me with my career development.”

Coby’s career progression and trajectory is awe-inspiring for any sports creative, particularly those who may be uncertain of their ability.

It was not until after high school that Coby picked up a camera for the first time and began learning his craft, yet within five years found his way to the Melbourne Storm and across the world.

“Initially when I was trying to decide what to do post-school, I had no idea what I was going to do,” he said.

“I’d never used a camera and didn’t study film at school, however, I was always passionate about movies and interested in starting photography as a hobby, so I decided to take a risk and study film.

“This course didn’t have anything to do with sport but instead focused on filmmaking for movies. I studied at Griffith University and got to learn about the ins and outs of making a film, and it helped lay the platform for me and my future career in sports.

After time spent interning with the Brisbane Bullets Basketball Club and freelancing, Coby came across a job opportunity at the Melbourne Storm. One again he was uncertain and unconfident, but another leap of faith landed him his dream job.

“Initially I wasn’t even going to bother applying for the role as I felt like I would be reaching way out of my league,” he explained.

“But long story short, after numerous interviews and a lot of stress, I got the call from the club offering me the role. I ended up moving into the Storm’s COVID bubble on the Sunshine Coast in 2021, and lived with them for over a month going into the finals and then moved to Melbourne for the following season.”

Two years on, Coby remains with the Storm as one of two Multimedia and Video Coordinators alongside Bray Taylor. He has been part of three NRL Finals campaigns and helped the Storm build on their status as one of the strongest online presences in Australian sport.

Melbourne Storm Head of Digital & Content, Jonathan Demos praised Coby’s contribution to the club and highlighted his keys to success.

“Coby is an integral part of the Digital & Content team here at Storm,” Demos said.

“The most impressive thing about Coby is his enthusiasm and positive attitude; that goes a long way in club land and is really infectious.

“In relation to his content creation, his hunger to adapt quickly and try new things in the video space has been a highlight. He doesn’t stand still which is really important in creative fields.”

Coby highlights Formula 1’s McLaren Racing as a source of inspiration for his work, noting the relationship their content team has with its drivers.

“There are so many teams with elite content crews behind them and Formula 1 is a standout,” he said.

“McLaren are definitely the benchmark over there; the content team have a great relationship with their drivers and it really shows with the content they produce. Their storytelling is next-level.”

Coby’s personal relationship with Melbourne Storm players shines through in his work for the club, too. His level of access is rare in professional sports, and is a credit to Coby and his connections with the Storm playing group and staff; once again tying back into the importance of networking for anybody looking to make it in the #smsports industry.

“My biggest advice is to try and reach out to as many people in the industry as possible,” he says.

“Shoot other creatives a message on social media and just ask any and all questions. There are so many cool and unique things creatives are doing with their work nowadays, and all you have to do is ask how they did it to learn.

“I’ve never had a bad experience reaching out to others in the industry and found that nearly all of these people want to help others out too.”

You can follow Coby on Instagram.

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