United States

Meet RSM Pursue Your Passion Winner: Joshua Scott


Tax Senior Associate | Kansas City, MO

Housing is a basic human need, but rapidly rising costs in major cities across the country are leaving many people in dire situations. This growing problem is most evident in San Francisco, where the costs of both renting and owning a home have quadrupled since 1950. The astronomical rise in housing costs in San Francisco is the result of several varyingly complex factors and has led to tents being propped up all over the city and fully employed people living in cars and warehouses. The coastal city of San Francisco contains abundant wealth and scenic vistas juxtaposed with scenes of abject poverty, making it a ripe location to pursue my passion for documentary filmmaking with the help of RSM.

Through the Pursue Your Passion program, I will travel to San Francisco and create a documentary film that will allow individuals struggling with the housing crisis to tell their stories.  Documentaries provide the opportunity to connect with a diverse array of people and their stories, enhancing the potential for empathy and respect for one another through the simple power of understanding, which can ultimately lead to discussion and action. A few years ago, with a basic camera and no budget, I hit the streets of Kansas City just to listen to the stories of people collecting money on the side of the road. I pieced the footage into a short documentary and have been happy to see the quickly produced project garner abundant online views from individuals and organizations, with some organizations reaching out to showcase the project at charitable events.

I have been enamored with the power and art of image and sound in film for as long as I can remember. Additionally, growing up, there were brief periods where my family was in between homes, so I have a deep understanding and passion to explore income inequality and homelessness. Thus, RSM’s Pursue Your Passion program affords the perfect opportunity to combine my passions for filmmaking and the study of income inequality to create a highly meaningful project that has the power to educate and potentially inspire action.

As previously mentioned, the housing crisis in San Francisco is complex, but it is my intention to scratch the surface and inspire conversation by adding faces to a serious problem that can be found across the United States and world. I have been a frequent traveler to the San Francisco Bay Area through my hobby of creating wedding films and I will team up with a photographer that created a non-profit publication illuminating the often overlooked street residents of San Francisco. I will also meet with local journalists and non-profit organizations. Potential interviewees include a military veteran who fell into homelessness and works as a fulltime trash picker and a school teacher who commutes four hours a day for housing she can afford.

For many years, I have dreamed of creating a meaningful film that I can enter into film festivals and ultimately share with the world.  RSM’s Pursue Your Passion program will allow this dream to become reality and I am eager to begin this documentary to inspire other aspiring filmmakers and to learn and educate others about homelessness and affordable housing.