Over a career spanning six decades, Don Mischer has directed TV specials and events featuring the likes of Prince, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Muhammad Ali and Taylor Swift (among many others). He’s now putting his memories of some of those experiences on paper.
The multi-time Emmy winner’s memoir, :10 Seconds to Air: My Life in the Director’s Chair, is set to be published on Nov. 14 from Unnamed Press and Rare Bird. The book will trace Mischer’s path from his childhood in Texas to directing and producing Oscar and Emmy telecasts, Super Bowl halftime shows and a host of TV specials ranging from 1983’s Motown 25 — where Michael Jackson debuted his moonwalk — to the inauguration of Barack Obama as president.
Mischer was a student at the University of Texas at Austin in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. As he recounts in the book, he lent a hand to reporters who descended on Austin hoping to learn more about Lyndon B. Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, and after seeing how television coverage affected people, decided to pursue a career in the medium.
He would go on to direct more than 100 TV productions, winning 13 Primetime Emmy Awards and two Daytime Emmys for his work. He also has a lifetime achievement award from the Directors Guild of America, a Peabody for Motown 25 and the Norman Lear Achievement Award from the Producers Guild of America, among other accolades.