Orlando Magic’s cameraman shares his success, struggles
Published: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 16:05
Mike Bauer knows his way around a video camera. As a cameraman and editor for more than 200 Orlando Magic games, he can lace together footage to tell a story. This has not always been easy for Bauer, who has struggled with stuttering since childhood. After attending a conference of the National Stuttering Association and meeting hundreds of children and adults who spoke openly and boldly about their speech impediments, including speech-language pathologists, Bauer was inspired to apply for a degree in speech-language pathology at UCF at the age of 39.
The Central Florida Future spoke with Bauer about his life, jobs and recent education.
CFF: What got you interested in video and filming?
Mike Bauer: I have two experiences in college and high school that were very similar. I was in a communications and TV class in high school. I was able to film at my friend’s party, and I observed everyone laughing and having a good time watching the video.
In my college dorms, I would film everyone in our dorm, capturing daily life. It was like reality TV; everyone wanted to watch it.
I started editing my junior year of college in 1993. I’ve been doing it ever since for 18 years. I filmed home and away football games in college at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. When our football team went all the way to the national championships, I got to work with ESPN. My very first job out of college was with Robert Morris [University] in Pittsburgh, Pa., doing their home and away football games. They were starting a brand new football team; I was their video director. I was new, they were new. I was scared to death.
I moved to North Carolina and worked for a Charlotte news station. Then I moved to Atlanta for a year and a half to work for ESPN motocross. I went on to work in Germany, Belgium and Austria. After that, I worked for Walt Disney Entertainment doing live sports and talk shows, acting as director, producer and editor. I was with Disney for six and a half years. I got hired by the Orlando Magic, and I’ve been with them for six years. Now I am working at the Golf Channel doing studio camera work and some editing.
CFF: What brought you back to school for speech-language pathology?
Bauer: I never met another person who stuttered until I was 31. I got introduced to other people who stuttered and to some stuttering support groups. We have a monthly meeting at UCF that is part of the National Stuttering Association. I was slowly becoming more and more interested in the field. The national conference is held once a year, the largest group that comes together for support. I started going in 2008.
I met hundreds and hundreds of other people who stuttered. What fascinated me was that many of the people I met were speech-language pathologists. I thought it was absurd.
I realized it makes you more qualified because you have been in their shoes. After two years of just contemplating on whether to make a career change, I decided to apply to UCF. I was accepted in fall of 2011.
I’ve met speech-language pathologists. I saw how professional and successful they were working with a speech impediment. They help out children and work with children. This is what inspired me. If they can do it, why not me? I feel like I have a passion for the field. I love how strong and resilient [children] are. They are just very inspirational to me as well.
CFF: How have you dealt with the transition back to school?
Bauer: Transitioning to a full-time student was intimidating. I thought I would stick out like a sore thumb. With UCF being such a large school, I blended right in and was able to meet a core group of students in communication sciences and disorders.
CFF: Why kids?
Bauer: I’m inspired by children. I observe them now speaking and stuttering. That’s why I wanted to work with children; they are brave and courageous, and I hid it all my life. It is a relief that all these other children who stutter are out there and are not hiding it like I was. I have met so many kids at the past conferences, and these kids are speaking to over hundreds of people. They are courageous and brave, and stuttering doesn’t seem to affect them. When I was their age, I would not have done that, nor in high school.
Having kids of my own made me question staying in sports, the hours are very demanding. I’ve worked a lot of Christmas holidays. If you work at a school, you’re off evenings, weekends and holidays.
CFF: What is one of your more memorable moments with the Orlando Magic?
Bauer: I was able to travel with the Orlando Magic in 2009 when they went to the finals. At the airport you go to the hangar, you hand in your luggage there, and you don’t see it until you arrive at your hotel room. Best way to travel, for sure.