Mercer Communications and Theater Arts professor, Scot Mann, takes pride in his students, his career and the fact that he bleeds Mercer orange.
This is Mann’s fifth year teaching at Mercer. His classes include: Acting, Directing, Playwriting, Theater History, and Stage Combat.
Raised in Griffin, Ga., Mann completed his undergraduate study right here at Mercer before attending a university in Alabama for graduate school. After that, his life becomes a blur of exciting places and experiences.
“I was a student here, then for 15 years I was a freelance actor and freelance fight coordinator. I had a strong interest in martial arts, which got me into stage combat, which really propelled my career,” said Mann.
“I got to work everywhere New York, Los Angeles, Chicago. I was based out of Atlanta but I also traveled to London, India, and Germany. It’s a wild profession and you never know what’s going to happen. You just have to go with the opportunities,” said Mann.
Mann eventually settled into a teaching career at Southern Mississippi, where he taught for three years before coming to Mercer.
“When this job opened up, I applied for it immediately. It made me feel like I was coming home. Actually coming back and taking the reins from my predecessor was very appealing to me,” said Mann.
Since returning to Mercer, Mann has married his wife Kelly — who is also an actor and stunt performer — and enjoys spending time with his preteen daughter, Madeline.
In his spare time Mann choreographs stage combat for theaters in the Atlanta area, teaches at professional seminars, and if he can squeeze it in he works in television or film shoots.
“I stay pretty busy outside of campus. I am the director of the majority of the plays performed at the Backdoor Theater. I love directing the shows. It drives my day knowing that I am working towards rehearsal that night,” said Mann.
During his time here Mann has tried to expand the Theater Arts program from a focus on theater to looking at the rest of the industry as well.
“I have added film and television training. I have also added stage combat to the training because of the skill set. I am trying to make a stronger bridge into the professional industry,” said Mann.
Mann tries to teach theater training from a practical angle while also trying to inspire enthusiasm for acting and behind the scenes work.
“Acting is hard work. It is actual manual labor and I also try to teach my students to have confidence in themselves. If this is what they want to do, they should do it,” said Mann.
Mann says that Mercer is by far the favorite place he has taught so far in his career.
“There are intelligent, talented, and gifted students involved in the program and this is a really strong community. At larger universities it is hard to get to know the students. With 160 theater art students there were great students, but I had no time to spend with them,” said Mann.
While Mann admits that his students are the best part of teaching he expects his students to work hard and enjoy acting.
“They have to have creative expression. They need passion for what they are doing if they want to make an acting career happen. The most important thing is to enjoy acting. If not why would you do this,” Mann said.
While Mann is proud of every play he has directed here, he admits that there is memory that holds a special place in his heart.
“My proudest moment was the first time I had one of my students graduate,” said Mann.