Skip to Content
Alumni profile

Tom Scott ’66

Pursuing picture-perfect sound.
February 23, 2016

When the 1983 film The Right Stuff won the Academy Award for Best Achievement in Sound, Tom Scott accepted his statuette on stage as part of the sound team. The following year, his work on Amadeus won him a second Oscar.

Yet the film industry is not where Scott expected to work. After earning a degree in civil engineering, he spent two years doing community planning in a small city in Venezuela with the Peace Corps. Then, in Los Angeles, he trained the next Peace Corps group bound for Venezuela.

With a background as an amateur musician, he landed his first job in sound nearby at a small independent recording studio; he built music recording facilities and traveled the globe recording bands on tour. And then he landed a gig working with cinema sound systems for Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 film Apocalypse Now.

Tom Scott

“It was like a concentrated postgraduate course,” says Scott. “I learned about movie sound recording and mixing, and I even got a credit in the movie. I was hooked!”

And he loved the collaborative nature of films. “Working in a studio with a band or going out on location to make a recording, it’s usually a fairly small group of people,” says Scott. “Working on a film is a much larger effort. You might be operating the big sound-mixing board with three or four other engineers and, often, the director, producers, and editors.”

As rewarding as the work was, he wanted to move his career forward. After “two home runs in a row,” he thought, “Maybe I should ask, ‘What’s next?’”

Scott spent the next seven years as director of engineering for George Lucas’s Skywalker Sound. At Skywalker, a new technology caught his eye, and he and several Lucasfilm colleagues decided to pursue it through their own company, Entertainment Digital Network (EDnet).

EDnet allows long-distance audio recording over special high-fidelity connections. “Voice and music artists can provide their talents to producers and projects all over the world instantly, saving travel expense, stress, and fuel,” he says.

Recently Scott relocated from California to Cape Cod with his wife, Kadi. He is still involved with EDnet, and he has won the Samuel L. Warner Memorial Medal Award from the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers.

Scott is on the committee for his 50th MIT reunion in June and looks forward to squeezing back into a shell in the Reunion Row crew race, as he has for the past few reunions.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook?

Robot vacuum companies say your images are safe, but a sprawling global supply chain for data from our devices creates risk.

A startup says it’s begun releasing particles into the atmosphere, in an effort to tweak the climate

Make Sunsets is already attempting to earn revenue for geoengineering, a move likely to provoke widespread criticism.

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

These exclusive satellite images show that Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway

Weirdly, any recent work on The Line doesn’t show up on Google Maps. But we got the images anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.