Scott Foster is simply the best press agent working anywhere. Time and time again he’s pulled rabbits out of his hat publicizing my film during our 5-year international journey together. His writing and media acumen and his communication skills are unparalleled.” — Catherine Bauknight
Scott Foster represents photojournalist/producer/director Catherine Bauknight whose documentary film Hawaii: A Voice For Sovereignty continues to garner international awards and accolades. A protégé and friend of the legendary photographer
Alfred Eisenstaedt, Bauknight’s work has been compared to the late Margaret Bourke-White. Bauknight was one of only four photojournalists covering the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. View the Yale University Library collection of her work HERE. Ms. Bauknight is based in Los Angeles, California.
Scott’s entertainment industry experience has included artist management and the development of marketing & promotion strategies for a broad diversity of recording artists including: the London and Vienna Symphony Orchestras, B.B. King, Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, Tom Jones, The Moody Blues, The Rolling Stones, Dionne Warwick, The Supremes & Diana Ross, The Jackson 5 and later, Michael Jackson.
Scott notes, “I started out working in the record department while I was going to college, a dream job for a teenager. One think led to another and I was in my mid-20s when the massive social upheavals that came to define the entire era began; the Black, Womens’ and Gay human rights movements coalesced under the banner of the Democratic Party, the Vietnam War protests began and popular music quickly morphed from folk music to hard rock and the Beetles. It was an exhilarating time and on so many levels.”
Now on the road promoting product from over 100 independent recording labels, in 1971 Scott was engaged by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to help safeguard the economic interests of artists and musicians, he was part of the national team of professionals that successfully lobbied Congress to pass the 1972 extension of the then-abbreviated time limits on U.S. copyright protection for sound recordings.
Spheeris’ accidental death in 1984 at age 34 changed the course of Scott’s life. Scott said, “After Jimmie’s death, his longtime touring band, Zoo Drive, was facing ruin. All were prominent, seasoned studio musicians with major credits and we set out together to get them a recording contract.
The night the William Morris Agency’s New Music Manager, Kevin Scott first heard the band live in their rehearsal studio, the Hollywood power agent said, “This is the greatest Rock & Roll band working in the world today” and he signed them the next week.
The band was already playing to SRO houses all over Los Angeles including the infamous Madam Wongs West in Santa Monica. William Morris booked the band on the very first Joan Rivers “The Late Show” after her split with Johnny Carson. View that classic video (bad sound and all) here.
Always exploring and pushing the limits of new technology, Scott set out to give his musicians the very latest. Scott said, “MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) was in its infancy and few really understood the potential. Getting it to all work together was a major and expensive challenge.” Scott met with the best sonic engineers in the business and ultimately commissioned the design and execution of the first live-performance application of MIDI — which included a custom MIDI-activated Steinberger guitar for band member John Goodsall of Jazz Fusion band Brand X fame with Phil Collins on drums.
Also in Hollywood, Scott managed the career of Columbia-Screen Gems songwriters and musicians represented exclusively by the William Morris Agency. Scott remains in contact with his former Hollywood entertainment attorney Jay Cooper who is now recognized as “one of the foremost authorities on intellectual property rights in the world.”
Scott later partnered with preeminent live-sound engineer and audio-video designer, John Winkler who produced groundbreaking audio-video and special effects systems for Hollywood’s Pantages, Wilshire, and Greek Theaters, Studio 1, and the spectacular Universal Amphitheater AKA The “Gibson Ampitheater” (MCA) — as well as performing custom live-sound engineering and systems design for clients including Barbara Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Barry Manilow and Neil Diamond. The duo was performing similar sound and video design work in Hawai`i until Winkler’s untimely death from AIDS in 1984.
During his 25-years in Hawai’i, Scott has represented original A Chorus Line cast member, Tommy Aguilar, vocalist Jeffrey Apaka and the estate of the late Alfred Apaka, “Hawaii’s Frank Sinatra.” Scott was a consultant to the former Honolulu Symphony Society, the Hawai`i Musicians’Association, and the Hawai`i Arts Alliance. He worked with former State Representative Jim Shon and the late Hawai`i impresario Abe Weinstein to help launch The Honolulu International Jazz Festival and Scott continued to do pro bono marketing for the event through 2005.
In 1986, Scott led the successful charge to save the funding for Hawaii’s landmark Art In Public Places (APP) program, a major funding component of the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. With all at risk, Scott helped create the Hawai`i Consortium For The Arts (now merged with the Hawai`i Arts Alliance) to organize the state’s many arts advocates to successfully lobby the State Legislature to save the funding. Scott later worked to influence his client, then Governor Ben Cayetano to purchase the original Royal Hawaiian Hotel site as a State Art Museum to permanently house and protect the huge state art collections. Scott continues to facilitate communications pro bono for the Hawai`i arts community via his state-wide email list serve, The Hawai`i Allied Arts.
In 2006, Scott was a consultant to the former Honolulu Symphony Society (HSS) and feels “honored” to have worked with the late HSS advocates A.Q. McElrath and Nancy Bannick and again with the Hawai`i Musicians’Association to successfully win “an unheard of” $4 Million state appropriation “to expand the Symphony’s permanent endowment.” Not only that, an additional annual state grant-in-aid of $150,000 will directly support nearly 200 youth music education programs across the state. The funds are managed by a seperate organization; the Honolulu Symphony Foundation.”
Scott had represented the Musicians Union during several tumultuous years while dealing with a dysfunctional board of directors and inept management. Despite their spectacular “win,” in 2010 the 110-year old Honolulu Symphony, “the oldest orchestra in the USA west of the Rocky Mountains” went into bankruptcy and was liquidated.
Scott notes, “The bankruptcy and liquidation was a very sad moment for all concerned. The good news is, the orchestra was revived the next year under the new name The Hawaii Symphony Orchestra by a laudable group of Honolulu business people and is seemingly enjoying excellent public support. The priceless music library with some charts dateing back over a hundred years and the rare instrument collection were bought out of bankruptcy by the sage group. A.Q. and Nancy would be very pleased to know how it all turned out.”
Scott’s client roster includes sculptor Jan-Michelle Sawyer whose bronze of Israel Kamakawiwo`ole “Brudda Iz” was erected at the Wai’anae Community Center in 2003. Sawyer’s bronze portrait bust of Hawai’i slack-key guitar legend, Gabby “Pops” Pahinui has stood on the grounds of the Waikiki Shell since 2001. In November of 2007, Sawyer’s bronze of Title IX author Dr. Donnis Thompson was dedicated at the University of Hawai`i Stan Sherrif Arena. Her current commissions include a bronze honoring the Hawaiian renaissance voyagers of the sailing canoe, Hokule`a.
Scott Foster has also performed work on behalf of the Royal Order of Kamehemeha I and The Kamehemeha Festival & Parade Committee, and he enjoys many close working relationships within the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and numerous other Hawaiian civic and cultural organizations. Scott is particularly proud of his small role in assisting the career of Hawaii’s young slack key genius Makana.
Scott notes, “In many ways I’m an old-school press agent. I work very hard to get my clients positive free publicity and to minimize the damage if they somehow misstep.”