Avoiding the bunker: Following the hole-in-one career of European Tour Productions junior director Kate Parry

European Tour Productions junior director Kate Parry hard at work on location

Kate Parry is junior director for European Tour Productions at IMG. She has already achieved greatness, becoming the first woman to direct the DP World Tour world feed. Read on to find out more.

How did you first find out about TV broadcasting as a career? What was your inspiration or idea, and why sports broadcasting?

After I finished college, I was uncertain of my career path as I did not want to go to university. I ended up completing an intense six months NCTJ journalism course where I learnt all aspects of journalism, including broadcast, and from then I was hooked! I have grown up in a very sporty family and sport is one of my main interests, so combining both my love of sports and broadcast was a great starting point for me.

Sport has always been a big part of my upbringing and lifestyle. Growing up in Liverpool, we are a very sporty family that loved attending numerous sporting events, from watching Liverpool FC matches at Anfield, the grand national at Aintree or the major golf tournaments together. This has always left me feeling intrigued and excited to be a part of the wider industry and now being a part of one of my favourite sports in the broadcast capacity, I couldn’t be happier.

Sports broadcasting is forever evolving, so the main challenge is to make sure you keep everything fresh and current. Innovation is a key player in all of this and being the first to create something new and different is a real challenge that we all thrive to achieve.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve worked on in the course of your career?

Luckily for me, I have experienced some amazing moments during my time at IMG, including two Europe-winning Ryder Cups, submix directing the 151st Open Championship near my hometown, and also directing the Dubai Invitational at the start of the year with Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood going head to head on the final day.

Although there have been many personal achievements for me at IMG, becoming the first female director of the DP World Tour world feed last August definitely tops that list. It was an amazing experience and I am so glad to lead the way for any other females wanting to get into the industry.

European Tour Productions’ Kate Parry has become the first woman to direct the DP World Tour world feed

What has been your career path from education to TV?

I decided against university as I was uncertain which avenue to pursue. After my NCTJ in journalism, I worked for the Liverpool Echo newspaper for a few months, before applying for the IMG summer internship programme in golf.

I completed the two months of my internship at Stockley Park with European Tour Productions (ETP), learning all aspects of the company, including the live team. After this, I was lucky enough to be successful in applying for a live assistant producer job with ETP, and I have stayed here ever since!

My junior AP role was really my first real full time job. I felt both excited and apprehensive to start with, however it was such a great opportunity that I knew I had to give my all to. I tried to absorb everything and anything as much as I could, learning along the way and climbing the ranks as I go.

Tell us more about your time at IMG.

Through my journey at ETP, I have climbed from a junior AP working on stats, all the way to junior director and directed my first live events in the last couple of months. In this time, I have learnt the role of PA, graphics AP and producing, EVS operating, VT editing, Submix directing and now live directing the world feed coverage.

I have always loved golf from a young age and used to watch all the majors with my family. Combined with my enthusiasm for production and journalism, this job really excited me. The job also involves a lot of travel, which was just a bonus.

What has been challenging about the role?

Although I had a base knowledge of production, learning about a live environment was totally new to me. Learning on the job has its difficulties and it especially adds pressure when you can’t afford to make any mistakes live on air. Being able to manage and thrive under that level of responsibility has led me to the position I’m in now.

When I first started this role, golf was in general very male dominated. For parts of my career, I was the only female in the live production gallery, which could occasionally be a slight challenge. I’ve always been a people person and that’s definitely helped in working scenarios as I have progressed. I also started my career at 19, so I’ve always been one of the youngest members of the crew and have found it’s imperative to gain the respect of other experienced members of the team to prove my ability at a younger age.

The DP World tour is a global tour, where we travel from Europe to Asia, Australia, and then to Africa. This has its challenges in itself, working with different international crews from week to week, and certainly enables you to perfect your skills abroad, learning to apply and adapt to any situations that may arise. That being said, I have always loved meeting and getting to know new people, and the fact I get to do this whilst travelling as part of my job excites me just as much as the first day I started.

What do you enjoy about it?

I love the buzz of a live OB environment; everyone gives their all and comes together in their roles to make the best programme possible. Especially while travelling for many weeks of the year together, you become really close and it’s a great environment to be in.

The technologies used in sports broadcasting have evolved rapidly over recent years. What for you in your day to day job is the most exciting, and also what is the biggest gamechanger for this industry overall?

Over the last couple of years, remote working has taken production to a new level. The ability to deliver sound and vision to multiple locations across the world using an internet connection is simply genius and has changed the broadcasting industry hugely.

For ETP, this has allowed us to produce and direct international events around the world from our hub at IMG’s studios in Stockley Park, which is great as we continuously try to reduce the carbon footprint of our broadcasts.

Day to day, the advancement of technologies for broadcast makes directing a very fun gig. Having the options of top tracer, shallow depth cameras, augmented graphics, live drones, wire cams, steadicams etc, is really fun to work with.

I also think the development of multi-platform collaboration has excelled in the last couple of years. Through a joint effort between live broadcast and social media channels, this makes live sport so much more accessible than ever before and reaches a much larger audience than the traditional demographic for sports in many ways, with endless possibilities.

What advice would you give to other women looking to move into a role in sports broadcasting like your own?

Definitely pursue it and don’t be afraid to ask any questions; that’s how we all learn. I was very green to the TV industry when I started, so experience isn’t always hugely essential if you’re willing to try hard, listen, absorb and be as keen as possible to do a great job.

As the first female director of the DP World Tour world feed, I feel a huge sense of achievement and hopefully can encourage other females to take on roles they may feel are male dominated or out of reach. I’ve never been a person to focus on gender; I believe if you work hard you will achieve and get rewarded regardless.


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