Scott Hays leans forward in the control room making sure the positioning of the cameras are correct, the sound mics are working, and the lighting is hitting the right angles. As a producer, Hays is involved in just about everything happening around him, and somehow he remains calm and remains collected, going with the flow.
Getting cozy in the middle of two technicians on a Tuesday morning taping, Inside OC begins at the OC Register Studio and the teleprompter rolls.
“We’ve got this new show Inside OC that is airing on PBS SoCal seven times a week,” says Hays. “We also just got a commitment from Cox that it will air from San Diego all the way to Palace Verdes six or seven times a week.”
From radio to video to being an instructor here at Saddleback College, Scott Hays is doing what he loves and expressing himself through all his various media.
“The one thing I’m really into right now is recording songs and writing songs,” Hays says.
Hays just finished a song about the California lifestyle writing both the music and lyrics. Three months ago he got his show Inside OC up and running. He also used to freelance for publications such as Los Angeles Times and Men’s Fitness.
It all began with attending the community college Orange Coast College, where he received his associate degree. He later transfered to Chico State receiving his bachelor’s in communications and minored in political science. He received his masters from California State Fullerton and masters in English literature from the University of California, Irvine.
“Writing was a thing I naturally gravitated to as a young person,” Hays says. “Whether it was writing lyrics to songs or whatever it was a way to sort of express myself in the written form.”
The campus newspaper at Chico was his first journalistic experience and his first professional experience was for an alternative news weekly where he wrote a piece with his editor about a neo Nazi white supremacy group in Northern California.
“It was a pretty exhausting and extensive piece we wrote,” Hays says. “I got a lot of feedback from it though.”
Hays’ first job back in Southern California was for a chain of weekly newspapers. Hays stayed in the newspaper business for about two years before quitting his job and going into freelance magazine journalism.
“I felt constricted in my writing by the inverted pyramid style,” Hays says. “I wanted to branch out and try different styles of writing”
In an unexpected turn, Hays transitioned into teaching. Saddleback College was the first place that hired him with zero experience. Before he knew it, Hays fell in love with teaching.
“Teaching was a whim, I’ve been teaching since 2001,” Hays says. “I just saw a couple other writers that I knew were teaching part-time and I knew I had the degrees to do it.”
Hays comes from a family of teachers. His father and two older brothers are teachers as well.
“What I love about [teaching]I think is just the energy,” Hays says. “And the dynamics that occur in a classroom”
With all his experience gained as a journalist, Hays was approached to be a consultant for many different types of companies consisting of entirely media related jobs.
“That’s sort of how I fell into the consulting business the video stuff,” Hays says. “I started in 2007 and I ran into a guy named Dave Holland McMahon who was a homeless guy in Laguna and I befriended him. I’d walk downtown and go sit in the alley on the ground with him and his guitar. He’d play me some of his songs.”
That inspired him to make a video for the Friendship Shelter called “Shelter Me,” which was a benefit CD with songs on it about the issue of homelessness. Hays also created a video documentary about it as well.
“That was just an incredible experience,” Hays says. “Probably one of my top professional experiences and I made zero money.”
It wasn’t about the money to Hays but about the creativity and purpose behind the project, which was really inspiring.
Two years ago, Hays got involved in radio when someone came to him asking to be the first guest on new radio station in Laguna. Hays came on as the second guest later being asked to co-host radio program.
During his interviews, he began filming himself curious as to what it would look like, and he started doing several 30-minute shows getting Cox Cable to agree to air. The radio station owner wanted to own the content, though, but Hays said no and stopped doing the radio show.
“I just thought it would be interesting,” Hays says. “To see what I looked like conducting interviews in a radio station.”
Today, Hays is creatively tapped into writing music and creating lyrics. For Inside OC, he’s also working on a story about a new Orange County task force called the Orange County Homicide Task Force, which just started about a year ago, for .
“Everything I’m doing I’m enjoying,” Hays says. “I love teaching for the reasons I expressed. I love doing the radio/TV stuff that I’m doing. I’m digging the music a lot. And that’s my lifestyle so there’s nothing that I’m working on that I don’t enjoy.”