Gary Scott began working as a producer at Wellington’s Gibson Group in 2001, after spells in student media, at the TV3 news desk, and making documentaries.
Keen to become a journalist, Wellington-raised Gary Scott had been inspired at high school by Brian Priestley, host of weekly media show Fourth Estate. At Waikato University Scott majored in New Zealand history, a lifelong interest, but was detoured by stints in student radio and newspaper editing. They both provided useful on-the-job training, and helped towards what had always been the longterm goal: winning a place on the post-graduate journalism course at Canterbury University, which Priestley had then until-recently commanded.
While in Christchurch, Scott became news editor of university radio station RDU; the experience of helping establish, then commanding a regular news service confirmed that his interests lay in broadcasting, rather than print.
Scott had contacts at TV3, and when the channel kicked off in 1989 he did some work experience for Nightline. Upon completing his diploma Scott did some writing for the Waitangi Tribunal, while busy talking his way into his first screen job: as Wellington assignment editor for TV3‘s primetime news bulletin. The high-stress job of assigning stories to journalists proved Scott's trial by fire.
“It was pretty much seven in the morning to seven at night, sometimes longer. They’re hard weeks. I did it for two and a half years, which was a record for a while. You’ve got to absorb a lot of stress, and keep a lot of things in your head. You’ve got two radios going all the time, police scanners, phones. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.”
Scott then began his long association with documentary and factual series, initially at Wellington's Ninox Films. Scott took on a variety of roles at Ninox, including as researcher, writer, and ultimately director. After joining the directing team on early episodes of reality show Emergency Heroes, he first got the chance to direct solo with 2000's Point Of Impact: Air Accident Investigators, which allowed viewers a rare look inside NZ's Transport Accident Investigation Commission.
Having done time as a news reporter at the tail-end of his TV3 stint, Scott also successfully pitched Flight 703: The Survivors, based on a 1995 Ansett plane crash he had reported on for the station. The documentary involved interviews with survivors, including William McGrory, who had used a cellphone to guide emergency services to the hilltop where the plane went down. Flight 703 was highly commended at the US International Film & Video Festival.
Scott joined the staff of Gibson Group in 2001, after Gordon Harcourt hired him to direct documentary 'Op Stars, which went behind the scenes of the 2000 Mobil Song Quest. Originally keen to carry on directing, Scott was offered a job at Gibsons as a producer, after directing and co-producing a second doco for the company. Since then he has produced or executive produced a long line of documentaries, from one-off projects like Aspiring to the challenges of two-part doco How to Spot a Cult, through to WW2 heroes series Kiwis at War. The latter show was commissioned after the Anzac Day ratings success of Gibson Group's one-off escape tale Dare to Be Free.
Scott also produced settler series Here to Stay through two seasons. He ranks it as one of his career highlights to date, as well as a chance to explore a long-time interest: the social history of New Zealand. Each episode used a Kiwi personality to examine one of the key settler groups that make up the New Zealand tribe.
In 2013 he was helping sort the logistics of recreating Gallipoli and the battle of the Somme around greater Wellington, for five part series War News.
Aside from his television work, Scott has also brought his historical and organisational expertise to Gibson Group’s Visitor Attractions team, who handle interactive and exhibition projects. Scott has helped out on the award-winning OurSpace wall at Te Papa, a multi-media project for the Museum of Copenhagen (where he once lived), and the Outrageous Fortune exhibition at Auckland War Memorial Museum. He also produces videos for Gibson’s corporate sector clients.
'Gary Scott - Senior Producer'. Gibson Group website. Accessed 16 June 2017