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David Parks

TV/Film Producer and Director
Sea Gull

Years as a Camper: 1971-1975

Years as a Staff Member

  • 1978 – Jr, Counselor – Archery
  • 1980 – 1984 Sr. Counselor Sailing
  • 1993-1996, 1998 – UA Sailing

Can you provide a brief overview of your job responsibilities? As a TV producer, I’m responsible for the overall creative, technical, logistical, and budgetary oversight of the project. I’ve been fortunate to have had so many opportunities across such a wide breadth of media production.

When I work as a director, it is generally for live, multi-camera events such as sports, award shows, concerts, etc. I love directing as I can focus creatively on the execution of the show that the audience sees, without the responsibility of the overall production resting on my shoulders.

What first lead you to pursue a career in the media? I was an undergrad at Syracuse University expecting to major in Political Science and eventually go to law school. But I took an introductory media class my freshman year and quickly realized that was what I wanted to do. I changed majors and transferred into the Newhouse School at Syracuse, and the rest is history.

Do you have any career advice for members of our Camp community? Work hard, never be late, and above all, enjoy what you do. When you are starting out, explore different areas in media that might be of interest. If you’re working in one area and it doesn’t speak to you, change. Best to do it when you’re starting out then wake up 15 years down a road that you hate. I also tell students to maintain their contacts. As you meet people in the industry, continue to check in with them, especially if you don’t specifically need anything. I always say, check in with people when you are working, not just when you need a job. That tells them that you sincerely want to be in touch as a peer, not just because you need a job.

What do you believe have been some of your greatest personal and professional accomplishments? Is there a goal toward which you are currently working? I keep using the term fortunate, but looking back on my career, it’s so fitting. I’ve had the opportunity and honor to work with so many great people…. Presidents, Senators, Congressmen, athletes, musicians, writers, etc. I think two projects that I’m especially proud of both involve giving back and trying to make a difference. One was serving as Supervising Producer of Live Earth: The Concerts for a Climate in Crisis. This was the 24-hour worldwide concert back in 2006 to bring attention to the climate crisis and inspire people to make changes in their lives. We staged major concerts in 10 cities across all seven continents. One hundred of the biggest musical artists of the day took part. I even wrote a speech for Al Gore which he gave on the Mall in Washington, DC. That event, which aired around the world, became the largest entertainment broadcast in the history of television, reaching an audience of three billion people.

Is there a person or a situation that had a huge influence on you while you were at Camp? How and why did they impact you? I remember Wyatt Taylor always emphasizing the importance of a firm handshake and looking someone in the eyes. It’s amazing how many times over the years I’ve been complimented on my handshake!

Men like Wyatt, Lloyd Griffith, Jim Epps, Bo Roberts, Jupp Rice and others were legends who had huge influences on me. I can’t say enough about Doug MacMillan who was my Head Counselor in Camp II for four of my five years as a counselor. I was a better counselor and now father because of him. Certainly, Pete Morasca, who gave me the opportunity to join the Sailing Staff, then to return to Camp as a UA after 10 years away is inseparable from my life at Sea Gull and remains a good friend. And I also remember so many little things.

Favorite Camp meal: Cookout!

Favorite mess hall entry song: Titanic

Three words best describe you: Loyal, Brave, Adventurous

What profession other than your own would you like to try? Surgeon

All-time favorite skit memory: We put on a major Batman & Robin skit one year combining the Sailing and Motorboating staff. Pete Morasca was Batman and Motorboating Chief Steve Hilsee was Robin. We turned a golf cart into the Batmobile and they drove it right into the mess hall. It was epic.