Commencement Issue: Scott McClennen

“Temple Smash” creator Scott McClennen steps into the entertainment industry.

Within the School of Communications and Theater, film and media arts major and graduating senior Scott McClennen saw extensive creative assets in the people and resources and wondered why there was little connection between the school’s majors.


In November 2008, he filled this void with “Temple Smash” – the first student-produced variety show at Temple.

“SCT was into niches, and there was very little collaboration between the advertising, photography, theater, journalism [and other] departments, which didn’t make sense to me because they’re all so intertwined in the professional world,” McClennen said.

McClennen said he wanted to make the program similar to a “Saturday Night Live”-type show that would be an “exhibition of the talent in [Temple].”

He said his experiences seeing bands at open-mic nights and his involvement with an improvisation troupe inspired him to bring people within the arts together – and share their performances with others.

“[‘Smash’ is] one of Temple’s platforms that tries to represent the culture of the university,” McClennen said. “We’re really trying to make a university show that connects everybody to everybody.”

In Fall 2009, with one episode of Smash under his belt, McClennen interned with the show that had provided much of his creative inspiration.

“I interned for ‘SNL,’ and I brought lots of the tactics I learned there to Temple,” McClennen said. “Pretty much after the pilot, [I was thinking], ‘How can we make this bigger, better and pack more into one hour?’ It’s grown from there.”

His busy semester was filled with commuting to New York City multiple times a week while maintaining responsibilities as a “Smash” co-producer.

“It’s been stressful and difficult a couple semesters – the one in New York City especially,” McClennen said. “But you have to learn how to prioritize your time, and so many people have had my back.”

Two years and three seasons later, Smash has been embraced by the Dean’s Office, given a budget and has become an integral part of SCT.

“It’s a professional training ground. [‘Smash’] ranks right next to ‘Temple Update’ in its merit, in every way,” McClennen said. “Each part of the process is done professionally, and there’s a sense of achievement for every student involved.”

For McClennen, the show was not only a major creative endeavor during his college career, but it has left him with hours of hands-on experience and a set of honed production skills.

“I learned how to manage people, how to work with people and how to be a positive leader,” McClennen said. “Different people take direction different ways, and you need to positively reinforce that everyone’s job is important. Names are important – just saying someone’s name [when you’re speaking to them].”

McClennen said he has few concrete plans for after graduation, which include applying for the NBC Page Program, using his scuba diving certification, riding his bike more and “finding more cool rooftops.”

“I really like hanging out on rooftops,” he said.

“Other than that, I really don’t know. It’s a little scary to think we’re graduating in two weeks because there’s no rules at this point in life,” McClennen added. “I’m just trying to figure out what the next step is [and] what I want to do, but it’s really exciting.”

Kara Savidge can be reached at

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