1987 Telecommunications alumnus Dwight Smith started his career as an aspiring soap opera writer and scored an internship at “General Hospital”. He always knew that he wanted to be in television but his focus has shifted from soap operas and sitcoms to reality television as his career went on. Today, he is the Co-President and Executive Producer of Mission Control Media in California. We sat down with him to discuss his college years and what happened after CCIM.
Writer: Caitlen Ramey, Department of Journalism Student • Interviewer: Any Ung • Video: Ball State UMS
What kind of student were you at Ball State?
I was definitely a very driven and passionate student at Ball State but I was also very competitive. I would see what my classmates were working on and rise to the occasion to produce work that was equivalent if not better than there’s. I really enjoyed media and communication so I was a high achiever when it came to my academics.
Did you have a favorite place on campus?
Campus has changed drastically since I was here in the 80s but my home was definitely in the telecommunications department. We didn’t have the amazing facilities that are here now but I was here most of the time. I also had a minor in theatre so I spent a lot of time over there working on productions as well.
Were there any professors that made a significant impact on you?
There were two professors, Nancy Carlson and Dave Smith who really inspired me to do my best work and really enjoyed having in class. Nancy was very enthusiastic about the subject she was teaching and really inspired all of her students to do their best both in the classroom and outside of it. Dave was also a very engaging and nurturing professor that really took an interest in his student’s success. He actually arranged an internship in Los Angeles at “General Hospital” for me after I graduated which really jump-started my career in the business. I still keep in touch with him and he reached out to me a couple years ago when his granddaughter was interested in moving to LA and wanted me to talk to her. We had a phone conservation and she was very impressive on the phone, so I asked her if she was interested in moving to California because I would hire her. She is doing very well and is now a producer so I felt like I was able to return the favor to Dave by doing the same thing he did for me.
How did the Telecommunications Department equip you with skills for success?
The Telecommunications Department really filled me with real world knowledge along with practical and hands-on experiences before graduating. There was a class that was taught by news anchors from Indianapolis and throughout the semester we were taught all aspects of what it takes to create a newscast from start to finish. I am really glad that I took this class because I gained experience that I wouldn’t have been able to gain until entering the workforce. When I went out into the world, I felt like I had an understanding of the culture, process and even politics that would exist in the workplace. Even in the 80s, I felt like I had the opportunity to work with top-notch equipment that was better than what some workplaces had which really allowed me to create work that would set me apart from other job applicants.
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