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Oct. 9, 2015
This week has been a fun one for Northwest Missouri State University alumnus Scott Jones.
Jones is a 1999 graduate and devout Kansas City sports fan. With a fanbase buzzing and media swirling as the Kansas City Royals enter the postseason, Jones is garnering attention for the short videos he posted after every Royals regular season game to answer the question: Did the Royals win? Reporters from The Kansas City Star to Yahoo Sports are sharing his story, and his YouTube views are rising.
Making silly videos like those, however, is just practice for Jones. They are a way for him to stay fresh on the skills he uses in his day-to-day work as a senior writer and producer in the marketing and creative division for Disney XD.
“It’s just like in school,” Jones said. “You’re doing the hands-on stuff in your spare time and it helped you in class. Now doing the hands-on stuff and projects for myself helps my career. I’m always practicing.”
On Thursday, Jones stopped by Northwest to share his story and some examples of his work with students whose classrooms and production studios he once sat in. He visited Justin Ross’ fundamentals of electronic media production course as well as Will Murphy's advanced TV practicum class and the weekly meeting of AdInk, an advertising club for Northwest students.
The fundamentals of electronic media production course was a reunion of sorts for Jones and Ross, another Northwest alumnus who is building a Hollywood career. Ross is serving as a lecturer this fall in Northwest’s School of Communication and Mass Media, and he is head of development for Main Line Pictures in Los Angeles. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Northwest in 2003 in mass communication and then a master’s degree from Florida State University’s Graduate Film Conservatory.
At Disney XD, Jones oversees the scripting of commercials and other promotions for Disney programming, such as “Phineas and Ferb” and “Gravity Falls,” along with short sketches or music videos that appear on the network.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in broadcasting at Northwest, he had writing and production stints at Kansas City radio and TV stations. In 2003, he moved to California in search of an opportunity to advance his career.
Jones’ break came in 2004 when some of his promotional work caught the ears of a producer with Kids WB. Jones moved to Disney Channel in 2006.
His days involve writing scripts and collaborating with a team of graphic designers and editors. Often, he’s working on multiple promotional spots simultaneously. He typically starts his days with brainstorming sessions and ends them by critiquing TV spots with other writers and producers.
Jones explained that kindness can play a big role in landing that dream job, as it did with him securing his first job in Kansas City and again in Los Angeles.
“It’s about getting to know people and being a decent person to work with more than anything,” Jones said. “I’ve had jobs based on who I knew, and it was just ‘I met that guy at something and he was nice, and he did some funny videos that I liked,’ and that’s how I got to know these people. Relationships are very important. If you just get to know people and like them and be interested and curious about them and ask questions, it’s nice as a friend and it can help your career.”
But Jones also credits Northwest for providing him with the profession-based education on which he’s built his career. He often spent late nights and early mornings experimenting with film equipment and producing silly short films in the broadcast studios and editing bays of Wells Hall. He also was deeply involved with the student-led TV and radio stations, KNWT and KZLX.
“We used to check into the studio on a Friday night, and we would just hang out and make shows,” Jones said. “It was stuff that we liked to do. I’ve spent a lot of time on various things, trying to be good at something. Pick something you like and go with that. If you like graphics, do graphics. Just being exposed to so many things at Northwest was really useful.”
Jones’ message to Northwest students Thursday was to keep practicing and keep trying things – even if they don’t always work out as planned.
“I know how much I didn’t know and can only assume there’s a lot I still don’t know,” he said. “Just to have somebody give them a little insight of what to expect next is helpful. I remember the things I wasn’t good at, and it’s like time travel to come back and think that is me in the classroom and try to help them learn things.”
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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