Christopher Scott, B.A. '04
Most people who grew up on the East Coast in the final two decades of the 20th century knows the sordid history of Action Park in Vernon Township, New Jersey. Christopher Charles Scott, however, grew up in the tiny town of New Chapel Hill, Texas, and knew nothing about the notorious amusement and water park.
Journalist Seth Porges approached him in April 2019 about the possibility of creating a documentary about Action Park. By Memorial Day, they were in Vernon Township, filming what proved to be a breakthrough documentary for Scott, who founded Stategery Films in 2015.
HBO picked up the documentary titled Class Action Park, a reference to the many class-action law suits filed against the park that closed most recently in 2016. It was featured in The New York Times, earned the 2021 Hollywood Film Critics Award for best documentary and is one of the top streaming titles on HBO Max.
Scott initially pursued a career in politics and eventually handled the marketing and advertising account for the City of Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Thereafter, he decided to work for himself and started Stategery, which began as a comprehensive creative marketing agency. His first client was a Shreveport, Louisiana, oil company that wanted to lure executives from Houston and Dallas. Scott produced The Shape of Shreveport, an eight-episode documentary that was named 2016 Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Documentary of the Year.
In 2017, Scott’s What About Waco, a comprehensive documentary about Waco’s history, was awarded the Deep in the Heart of Texas Film Festival Grand Jury Prize. He released An Ode to Joy, The Death and Resurrection of Baylor Basketball in January, and his current work, The Five Priests, was an official selection for the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.
That he ever made a documentary film, let alone has made a career out of doing so, would have been a foreign concept to college-aged Scott, who came to Baylor by way of Tyler Junior College with plans of becoming a Baptist pastor before settling on Great Texts as a major. He was raised by his paternal grandmother and his great-aunt in a Black farming Christian community where the only academic books were the Bible and outdated World Book Encyclopedias. Baylor was a different world for Scott, who says his first couple of semesters were difficult.
“There was a feeling of not fitting in because of my cultural and social experiences from a rural, agrarian society in East Texas,” Scott says. “At Baylor, I had friends whose dads were CEOs and vice presidents of banks. There were cultural gaps and social misunderstandings, but there was also a willingness to attempt to get to know each other.”
Eventually, Scott gained confidence that he belonged at Baylor, where he often thought of himself as the poorest kid at school.
“I learned that I could be in a community with students who did not look like me, who did not grow up like me,” he says. “Finding those commonalities was awesome. If I got married today, if I had 10 groomsmen, six of them would be from Baylor, and six of them would not look like me. Baylor is the perfect place for those sorts of collisions to happen.”
Scott says his story is not unique, that Baylor fosters community — brotherhood
and sisterhood — regardless of appearance
“I realized that part of my hiccups and gelling at Baylor my first couple of semesters were preconceptions I had about myself,” he says. “Once I released my own mental shackles, I was able to be free, and I started building relationships.”
Scott says he is the product of prayers and faith lived out loud and that any of his successes in life can be traced back to the Old Kilgore Highway in New Chapel Hill and
“Those are the two places that have made me what I am,” he says. “That these people saw something in me and invested in me — a kid who grew up in a house that today is about to fall over if the wind blows hard, holes in the roof, holes in the floor. I drive by that house sometimes, and I get emotional that a kid who grew up in a house like that found a home in Baylor. To this day, Baylor is my first love.”
2022 Alumni Award Recipients