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Southeast Missouri State University

Big Screen Dreams Call to Southeast Alumnus

College of Business

If you would ever like to see your own vehicle on the big screen in Hollywood, think about giving Tom Smith a call.  Tom saw a niche in a movie and television production market and decided to fill it.

“I recently launched an online picture car database Web site where vehicle owners can list their vehicles for film, television and commercial use.  Reel-Wheels.com is a subscriber-based service that eliminates the middleman by connecting the production company directly with the vehicle owner.”

Tom’s Web site is a service of his company, Thomas Smith Productions, which offers graphics, editing, script writing and video production services.  He also works as a freelance assistant director in film and television production in California.

Tom graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, a major in marketing, sales and promotion and a minor in history.

After graduating, he made his way to California to work in the film production industry.  He’s done well for himself while there, including winning the Director's Guild of America Award in 1993 as part of the director's team for the HBO movie "The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader Murdering Mom."  He also received the Communicator's Award of Distinction in 2004 as producer of the DVD, "Getting Involved With Leona Valley Sertoma."

“Every day is different, and you meet new people almost every day.  It is the people I get to work with, get to know and call friends that is the most rewarding for me,” Tom says of his work.

Tom is also a past president and still a very involved member of Leona Valley Sertoma. Sertoma is an international service organization with headquarters located in Kansas City, Mo. Sertoma sponsors community projects to promote freedom and democracy, to assist youth and to benefit a variety of other local community needs.

Tom says it’s important to believe in yourself, take responsibility and don't be afraid to be wrong. 

“And when you’re wrong admit it, learn from it and move on.  Don't be afraid to make mistakes.  In fact, make a lot of them and most importantly, learn from your mistakes,” he says.

Tom says Southeast helped him to focus, set objectives and follow through.

“The world of tomorrow can be the dreams you dare to have today,” he says.

Tom’s favorite memory of Southeast is getting the opportunity, through help from Dr. Charles Wiles, to work with a visiting independent filmmaker.

Tom currently lives in Valencia, Calif., with his wife Melody, also a Southeast graduate.  In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, fly-fishing and still photography.