Our story begins in a galaxy far, far away. Actually, Texas, 28 years ago. When a 5-year-old boy, sitting in a movie theatre, awestruck, saw “The Empire Strikes Back” for the first time. It would leave an impression for life.
Meet Scott Rogers. By day, he’s the man responsible for moving Sony employees to new locations throughout Sony facilities, both on and off the lot. It’s a position that requires the patience of Yoda. “We move an average of five people every day,” Scott says nonchalantly. “In January, we moved 139 people and so far this month (February), we’ve moved 90 people.”
That means coordinating with the various trade unions – movers, IT, telephones, even acquiring furniture– to make the moves happen on time, on budget and to calm the nerves of everybody involved. “Moving is stressful for anybody. It’s all about high customer service, so I spend a lot of time reassuring people. When people ask me how I can remain so calm and collected, I tell them it’s simple. I do it every day. Multiple times.”
Scott comes well-prepared for the responsibility, having majored in social work in college. When he moved to California, some eight years ago, he saw an ad that beckoned: “Would you like to work at a movie studio?” “It sounded like a lot of fun,” Scott recounts,” and so I applied. I started in the facilities division answering phones and filling out work orders. I became a member of the credit union– so I could get a great rate on a car loan. A year later I was promoted to assist the facilities director, and three years after that I received my current position. It’s been a lot of fun.”
So that’s the Scott who lives on our humble little blue planet. But on weekends, a whole other side of Scott emerges. The Imperial Stormtrooper side.
Scott is a member of the 501st Legion, a worldwide Star Wars costuming organization – only the “bad guy” costumes; there’s a sister organization for “good guy” characters – and makes appearances at children’s hospitals, parades, museums and other children’s charity events.
“There are about 200 members in the Los Angeles area, all of whom volunteer 100% of their time and energy.” Their costumes are meticulously hand-made, not the kind of thing you simply go out and buy. For Scott, the 501st is the perfect mesh between a hobby he loves and his passion for social work. “We have an event almost every weekend,” Scott says with pride. For example, “We go to a children’s hospital, we bring games and books and toys, they shoot Nerf darts at the characters … their whole family usually joins in and we have a great time. When the kids smile and they’re just in awe, that’s the best part. Their eyes go wide, and their jaws drop in amazement; it’s just an incredible feeling and rewarding beyond anything I can describe.”
When they’re not appearing at a children’s charity, 501st members also visit comic book stores in full costume to drum up business for the store and in return, the store donates toys and comic books and all kinds of fun stuff for the kids. People helping people, just like credit unions.
“George Lucas is so impressed with the 501st,” Scott says, ”that when he was Grand Marshall of the Rose Parade in 2007, he brought over 400 troopers to Los Angeles from all over the world, on his own nickel – air fares, hotel, food, the works – so we could march in the parade with him.” With a chuckle, Scott adds, “We call Mr. Lucas “The Maker.”
Between his demanding role at Sony, and his charity work, Scott doesn’t have a lot of time, so he’s especially appreciative of the convenience of having First Entertainment right on the lot. “They’re always there for me, and they don’t nickel and dime me with fees like a typical bank. I really appreciate that.”
So Star Wars fans, now you know. Imperial Stormtroopers, Galactic Marines, Clones and for that matter, even Sith lords, have a heart. And the best part is, they do their giving right in our very own galaxy.
If your children’s charity would like to request an appearance of the 501st, go to their website at 501st.com.
The 501st Legion is a worldwide Star Wars costuming organization comprised of and operated by Star Wars fans. While it is not sponsored by Lucasfilm Ltd., it is Lucasfilm’s preferred Imperial costuming group. Star Wars, its characters, costumes, and all associated items are the intellectual property of Lucasfilm. ©2008 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All rights reserved. Used under authorization.