This is the 50th article in Bears Doing Big Things, a weekly column celebrating the stories of notable M-A alumni.
Adam Vaughan ‘10 is a Video Producer and Editor for Jotform. At M-A, he enjoyed his humanities classes, including journalism, and played badminton and soccer. His path to using multimedia to spread information and stories began with written journalism. He attended the University of Oregon and worked for Pac-12 Network.
In high school, Vaughan enjoyed writing and literature classes, he said, “I definitely knew I was more kind of on that creative side, rather than the technical math and sciences.”
His senior year, Vaughan took journalism. “That class was my first introduction to journalism, and I really enjoyed it. Both my parents are in journalism, so I think from a young age, I kind of gravitated towards that. I was really interested in pursuing print journalism and writing in college,” he said.
Vaughan attended the University of Oregon, and said, “It wasn’t really until my junior year that I started getting more involved in the student newspaper and started to put it all together. I look back and I wish I had just dived right into all those extracurricular organizations. But my freshman and sophomore years were pretty much just exploring different classes, including writing. Oregon has a very good journalism school, so that was one reason that I wanted to go there.”
During his junior year at the University of Oregon, Vaughan traveled to Vienna, Austria where he interned at the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, a BBC affiliate, and found a, “whole other side of storytelling that [he] hadn’t really experienced before.”
After returning to the University of Oregon, he began doing video editing and shooting videography, mainly for Oregon Athletics.
After graduating, Vaughan returned to M-A to coach badminton. He said, “I came back to live in Menlo Park and I worked as an assistant coach. At the time I was looking for a job and struggling to find one. The head coach, Coach [Ramon] Young, offered me the job. There were 60 kids on the team and it was a really great experience that developed my leadership skills. When I first started, I was thinking, ‘There’s no way I’m going to learn all the names of the kids on the team.’ By the end, I’d found 60 friends. Giving back to the M-A community was really fulfilling.”
Vaughan kept working in sports, specifically for Pac-12 Network. There, Vaughan worked up the ladder starting as a video logger. He said, “It’s basically the lowest paying job at the company and you sit there on a computer and tag and archive all of the athletic games that have happened and every single play. It was very monotonous, but it was a great way to get my foot in the door because soon I found myself volunteering a lot to do little jobs here and there.”
Exploring different elements of Pac-12, Vaughan did work in the features team transcribing interviews, becoming an Associate Producer for the team. He said, “I dove into this world of documentary filmmaking. I was doing human interest profile pieces on student-athletes across the conference, mostly Stanford and Cal, and I loved it.”
One of his projects at Pac-12, “Our Stories: Savannah Rennie,” was the 2019 Northern California Emmy Award winner in the Sports-Program Feature/Segment category. Vaughan said, “That was the first feature I worked on, and to see all that hard work gain recognition was a highlight of my career. We revisited the story near the end of my time at Pac-12, which was a great full circle moment.”
Vaughan’s interest in video production comes from his ability to inspire, “I love finding those stories in human interest pieces that inspire. Being able to help tell that story in a unique way that people can appreciate is the best,” he said.
I love finding those stories in human interest pieces that inspire. Being able to help tell that story in a unique way that people can appreciate is the best.
After leaving the Pac-12, Vaughan went on to work at the Academy of Art University with the Online Education team. There, he “started to develop more technical skills behind the camera and editing. I was shooting and editing videos for online art courses, taking the curriculum and translating that into video for students to learn from.”
Now, Vaughan works for Jotform as a Video Editor. “Mainly, I’m producing product tutorials, but also there’s a lot of opportunity to showcase customer success stories through video. We have a lot of different enterprise clients and a lot of small businesses that use Jotform and there’s opportunities for the video team and myself to go out and get to sit down and showcase why businesses love using our product,” he said.
Vaughan’s advice to M-A students: “Don’t be afraid to try new things. Whether it’s taking acting classes or getting involved with a student organization. I think for me, for a long time I was kind of a shy person and afraid to kind of try out new things. But you’ll never really regret having tried new things even if it doesn’t work out. “
Vaughan’s advice to people interested in video production: “Don’t be afraid to get out there and do it over and over and over again, to the point where it feels natural. Also, you don’t need the most expensive equipment and editing programs, it’s really about the creative vision and artistic taste behind the production and storytelling, so don’t let the lack of high-end equipment hold you back.”
More of Vaughan’s work: