By: Lauren Zook
“Clint Smart has such a gift for honoring visions, stories, and people through film. He has been able to capture the colorful sprits and humorous stories from our Friends through the modality of film work. We are AMAZED at the work he has put in to get the films how the Friends want them while always making sure the product is dignified and sophisticated. We are the lucky ones to have Clint on our team and as one of our very special FLC champions.” Sarah Edwards, Advocacy Through the Arts Program Director
What started as a business relationship, hiring Clint Smart to film and produce a short video about Friends Life Community, has turned into a ten-year friendship that has inspired six films. Clint was hired to help tell the world what Friends Life Community was (your typical brand script production). Now Clint volunteers his time and expertise to help the Friends tell their own personal stories – giving them the autonomy they truly deserve.
The storylines have developed over the years, and Clint has been the man behind the camera capturing each Friends’ personality – something that most have never been asked or had the opportunity to do. From the sheepish smiles to the infectious laughter and commanding presence – Clint feels honored to help share these stories.
After Clint finished working on a few of the promotional pieces, he got a phone call from Sarah Edwards, then FLC’s Performing Arts Specialist (now the Advocacy Through the Arts Program Director). The team had been working with the Friends on writing their first original film, and they needed a videographer/producer. As the conversation went on, Sarah said, “Oh, but we don’t have any money to pay you.” Clint knew this was the right thing to do, so he volunteered his time without hesitation. He had been impressed with the team and how Sarah always brought selfless energy, working so hard to give the Friends the spotlight they deserve. He too wanted to be a part of that.
Since that phone call Clint has gone on to produce Everyone Deserves a Place to Belong, America’s Got Talent: Davis Edition, The Friends Life Daily Show, and Tandem Troupe Season Five The Great Vacay Giveaway (Contact Sarah Edwards to schedule your private viewing of this film). Clint is quick to say this is never about him and he doesn’t want to get in the way of the Friends’ goals. Yet, his servant heart has unlocked a world for the Friends who have wanted to share their stories, by giving them a safe space to be honest and truly in control. Clint has so much empathy for the Friends. He has seen them work through challenges, overcome fears, and embrace each other for who they are and what each of them offer in the most unique and beautiful way.
Clint has had the honor of producing the most original films, written by the most authentic individuals who have so much to say but have never had the chance – until now. Clint said, “There is so much heavy in the world – it is good to laugh and be silly.” Through countless hours of filming, multiple edits, and more blooper footage to review than A footage, Clint has given not only the Friends and their families a priceless gift, he has given our world a gift – stories of hope, healing, laughter, and acceptance.
Friends Life Community is grateful for Clint and his willingness to be our volunteer videographer in residence. As our program continues to grow and you want to get involved, let us know. If you are interested in sharing your talents with Friends Life Community as a volunteer, please click here.