Scott first traveled abroad as a volunteer in Thailand for his church from 2001 to 2003. While there, Scott became fluent in the Thai language and developed a great love for the Thai people and culture. Scott worked as a Thai language instructor for two years afterward. Scott has since become fluent in the Lao and Hmong languages. This foundation of fluency in three languages and cultures has provided Scott access and inspiration for his filmmaking endeavors in the region.
In 2004, Scott traveled to Thailand to create a series of short documentaries on the influence of American pop culture on Thai communities. Thematically, Scott followed characters who cleaved to traditional Thai culture and juxtaposed them with others who have adopted Western cultural practices. The documentaries highlighted a variety of individuals: a guitar shop owner who chronicled the influence of rock and roll in Thailand, a Theravada Buddhist monk, a tattoo artist, and a Bangkok taxi driver.
After a devastating tsunami hit Thailand, Scott and his colleagues Chris Coy and Andrew Coy started a non-profit organization called the Thai Film Fund (thaifilmfund.org), dedicated to helping the people in Khao Lak, the hardest hit area in Thailand. The Thai Film Fund provided people in this area with the opportunity to document their own stories in three ways—through children’s photography, a mobile video storytelling booth, and workshops that empowered individuals to tell their own stories through film. One man named Saksan, after learning the basics of filmmaking in the Thai Film Fund’s workshop, produced a stunningly poetic film about a family who lost their citizenship documents in the tsunami and were unable to obtain any governmental aid. Helping these individuals find their voice through film inspired Scott to pursue teaching documentary as a profession.
In 2009, Scott made a documentary (Akha Unspoken) on the lives of Akha women living in the highland areas of Thailand. Scott met several rural women who were lured into prostitution in Bangkok and have since escaped back to their village in Northern Thailand. Most recently, with a grant from the Southeast Asia Film Expo, Scott wrote, shot, directed, and edited his MFA thesis film Convert (currently in post-production). The film looks at Scott’s missionary work in Thailand through a critical lens. Shot in a first person cinema vérité style, Scott followed five families he taught as a missionary to explore the struggles of religious conversion.
Since then, Scott attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison getting an MA in Anthropology with an emphasis in visual anthropology and cinema in Southeast Asia.
Prior to pursuing his MFA in documentary cinema at San Francisco State, Scott spent two years teaching non-fiction cinema as the documentary arts instructor and program director for Spy Hop Productions, a non-profit youth media organization that teaches film/video production to over 1800 high school and college age youth. While at Spy Hop Scott designed theoretical and practical hands-on curriculum for all of Spy Hop’s documentary arts programs. Films from Spy Hop’s documentary programs have garnered many awards including a Peabody and selection at the Sundance Film Festival. One of the documentary programs, called Pitch-Nic, consists of two groups of three students who collaborate to make two different 20-minute documentary films. Scott co-produced four of these documentary films, all of which went on to win multiple awards locally and internationally. Many of the films Scott produced at Spy Hop were nominated as the top short film in the State of Utah for two consecutive years.
In addition to teaching and directing Spy Hop’s documentary programs, Scott also trained educators throughout Utah on how to incorporate media and digital storytelling into their classrooms. Scott has taught advanced courses in editing, Final Cut Pro and documentary cinematography both at Spy Hop and at SF State. He also helped teach advanced courses in documentary theory and history at SF State, as well as a class titled, “Documentaries for Health and Social Justice.”
While at Spy Hop, Scott led the Sundance Institute’s documentary workshops, “Reel Stories.” This intensive summer program incorporated the expertise of documentary filmmakers from the Sundance Film Festival into the curriculum.
While Scott was an undergraduate at Brigham Young University, he was exposed to the films of Ross McElwee and Alan Berliner. Ross’s film Time Indefinite inspired him to write and direct his Honors thesis film project entitled, Only The Pizza Man Knows. In the film he explores his father’s career change from successful stockbroker to Domino’s pizza deliveryman. After shooting his interviews Scott had the unique opportunity of being selected as an intern for Ross McElwee at Harvard University. Ross taught him a more nuanced approach to constructing first-person documentaries, such as the subtleties of writing narration, finding one’s voice, constructing a powerful story, and using personal stories to represent larger themes. Scott’s work with Ross paid off as Only The Pizza Man Knows was broadcast internationally for over a year on Brigham Young University’s PBS arm, BYU TV, and won an Honorable Mention Award at the LDS Film Festival. Scott also worked as an apprentice editor for Ross’s film In Paraguay, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2008.
As an intern for “American Experience” at WGBH Boston, Scott learned what it takes to broadcast films on television. Scott sat in on multiple cuts of films preparing for broadcast. He also conducted research and created the educational web content for the Oscar nominated film Eyes on the Prize. This educational tool helped teachers throughout the U.S. point their students to new ways of learning about the civil rights movement.
While living in San Francisco Scott integrated the use of new media and the internet as a freelance filmmaker for several companies. He shot, directed, and edited over 20 short films for Project Runway’s website.
Scott is currently an Assistant Professor of Communication at St. Edward’s University where he teaches courses in documentary film production, fiction film production, cinematography and lighting, and film history and theory. He is finishing up his first feature length documentary film, Peace Officer, a documentary about officer-involved shootings and the militarization of police in America.
Scott is excited about using cinema as a tool for social change that can impact communities. He is increasingly interested in exploring the relationships of urban and rural landscapes in all parts of the world.
When Scott isn’t working or filming, he is spending time with his lovely wife and his three children.