By Dani Moritz-Long
He’s visited all 50 states and five continents. He’s produced and shot national TV programs, interviewed a Nobel Peace Prize winner, NFL hall-of-famers and Holocaust survivors. But, despite his star-studded resume, Multimedia Producer Scott Smith says he’s found a home at Valencia and, while it’s a far-cry from working in hot-shot studios, it’s a home he’s truly come to love.
Why, Scott explains, has everything to do with variety — both of the work itself and the people he encounters.
Describing himself as a man of many hats, Scott says he enjoys working in an array of creative disciplines and, if his title truly encompassed everything he does, it might get a little long-winded. (Scott Smith, producer, director, editor, motions graphic designer, lighting director, and audio and cameraman doesn’t exactly role off the tongue.) Similarly, his work also features a variety of topics. Sometimes he’s producing videos for online learning in dental hygiene. Other times, he’s transforming the studio into out-of-this-world spacecraft (like during one of Former Faculty Association President Neal Phillips’ Theatrical Thursday videos).
That kind of diversity in his work, however, doesn’t scare him away.
“The variety of work and the variety of people are two of the best things about working at Valencia,” he explained. “Every day, we have the opportunity to interact with professors, staff and/or students in the studio. Orlando has always been a fairly transient community, so along with a variety of subject matter, the people come with their own personal stories. A common question I ask people I work with is ‘Where are you from?’ This has opened up a Pandora’s box of answers from people from Columbia, Poland, Venezuela, Mexico, California, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Cuba, Ohio and more. Valencia College has to be one of the largest gatherings of eclectic people in Central Florida. If you want to know what the United States is going to look like in 20 years demographic-wise, I think Valencia College provides a snapshot.”
In turn, this kind of diversity of both employees and students is the primary source of Scott’s inspiration. While Scott says he’s often “hidden away in the studio,” he’s always inspired by the diversity within Valencia, his colleagues’ stories and the College’s ability to transform the lives of our students.
As it happens, Valencia has also transformed his career path — opening doors to new possibilities.
“You never know when a casual conversation will change the direction of someone’s life,” Scott said. “Working directly with professors since starting at Valencia in January of 2015, I started thinking about teaching myself.”
After a 30-year production career, Scott, who has a bachelor’s degree in cinema, thought it might be too late to obtain a master’s and start a career as a professor. “But,” he explained, “one day I spoke with [Humanities Professor] Ed Frame before a taping and he said he didn’t even start teaching until he was 60. Well, he’s in his 70s now and still enjoying teaching at the West Campus. I told him he was my hero and began working on my master’s soon afterwards, and we’ll see where that leads in the future.” Scott plans to complete his master’s in digital journalism and design this year (2018).
Summarizing Scott’s contributions, Operations Manager of Video Production Michael Maguire said, “To say Scott is a valuable part our team would be a gross understatement. Scott is a consummate professional and out-of-the-box thinker who takes ownership of every instructional video project he produces and consistently delivers a finished product that is creative, engaging and high-quality. I believe a large part of Scott’s solid reputation among faculty and staff has to do with how invested he is in their success, and especially the success of their students. Instructors feel they are part of a collaborative and intrinsically motivated team with the shared vision of enhancing student learning. Aside from Scott’s talents and professionalism, he’s simply a great guy and a caring human being who is genuinely interested in people and their stories. He is a pleasure to work with and an essential part of our department’s success.”
You can learn more about Scott’s career and get advice on screenwriting on his award-winning blog by clicking here.
Scott also encourages anyone interested in having an instructional video produced to contact Michael at email@example.com or 407-299-5000, extension 1814. You can see examples of these videos by clicking here.
Know of someone who embodies one of Valencia’s Values (learning, people, diversity, access or integrity), who has been an employee for one year or more? Send the colleague’s name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu. He or she might be one of our featured colleagues, subject to supervisor’s approval.