Hollywood producer Don Mischer speaks to USC students about influence of television

USC students and faculty filed into Fertitta Hall to see producer Don Mischer speak as part of Business Communication Expert Speaker Series on Wednesday.

Mischer, the president of Don Mischer Productions, oversaw the production of the 83rd, 84th, and 85th Academy Awards. He has received the Governor’s Award from the National Association of Choreographers, and is a member of the Event Industry Hall of Fame, the Producers Guild of America, the Directors Guild of America and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Mischer focused on sharing his past experiences with the audience in order to give them advice on how to attain success in the live television industry and recounted countless challenging scenarios he has faced in his career. Mischer also answered various questions from the audience.

According to Mischer, while the television business may seem solely glamorous and well-calculated to many, he recalled several occasions where spontaneous events boosted television ratings.

“So many times we worry and prep about something going wrong, but sometimes the unexpected can make a show more exciting and memorable,” Mischer said.

Mischer stressed the importance of communication in the television industry, specifically the live television industry.

“Success and failures are more or less based on communication,” Mischer said, referring to events such as surprising the public with Muhammad Ali being the final American to hold the Olympic torch in Atlanta in 1966.

Mischer reminisced about events such as these, explaining the immense calculated secrecy and timing that allowed incidents such as these to have such a large impact on not only America, but on a global scale as well.

“There’s no feeling like being in a control room where you’re looking at the clock and it’s going 10.. 9.. 8.. And you know that 80 percent of the planet will be watching what you’re about to lay out there,” Mischer said.

Mischer also touched on the importance of social media in the new world of television.

“The landscape of television is changing rapidly,” said Mischer. “Social media has opened up new levels of communication… We had 78 percent of Oscar viewers have a second screen in their hand. .. You can greatly enhance communication with your potential audience.”

While the past and the present were heavily talked about, the Mischer answered questions regarding the future of television, stating that companies such as Netflix, Amazon, and other streaming websites are the future of television. Mischer also highlighted the tenacity needed for such a job.

“I think we kind of thrive [on stress],” Mischer said. “We get some type of joy from it. There’s this type of game you play in your head, “can we pull it off?” and you leave the event thinking “we dodged a bullet.”

Mischer stressed the importance of live television bringing together a variety of communities in a variety of places.

“Everyone is watching, it’s a group experience,” said Mischer. “More than anything, live television makes [people] feel like they’re seeing something real.”