Fall 2015

Kate Louise Moran

Live and Well

Kate Louise Moran went to work as a temp at London Weekend Television more than 20 years ago, and within three weeks she was hired as the production secretary on the talk show Michael Barrymore’s My Kind of People. "One year later," she says, "they offered us an associate director training program, and the rest of my career [in live TV] kind of fell into place."

One of those pieces falling into place included meeting fellow Brit Russell Norman, who later became the longtime director of America’s Got Talent. Moran still works there today, nine years after the show’s debut. She says there’s nothing quite like live television.

Among the acts that have kept life in the booth interesting for Moran are "Professor Splash," who jumped off the roof of CBS Television Studios, "Slackwire Sam," who executed a handstand on his "pole of death" 80 feet in the air, and a man fittingly dubbed "The Professional Regurgitator," who swallows objects and then brings them right back up.

Even those memories pale compared with a moment on Dancing with the Stars, where Moran has worked concurrently with America’s Got Talent for the last 20 seasons (DWTS does two seasons per year).

"I’m counting back to air, and at 15 seconds every single monitor goes black," she says. "We had no idea what New York [where the show was live] could see, and when they said the camera on host Tom Bergeron was up, I kept on counting and Tom threw us out to an unscheduled break.

"What followed was pandemonium as engineers poured into [the booth] to fix the problem, and we just kept extending the break," Moran adds. "I have two recurring nightmares as an AD. One is every page of the script is blank and the other is I look up [from the script] and the monitors are all black."

Not all of her experiences have been the stuff of nightmares. One day "two years ago, Francis Ford Coppola walked into our booth on Dancing with the Stars and sat right behind me for the entire show," Moran happily recalls.

"Apparently he wanted to see how we did the dance and music camera cuts for a project he was doing. I was, literally, in awe, and extremely nervous, given his stature. The best part was that a few days later he sent me an email asking if I wanted to work on his project."

Moran, who is applying for U.S. citizenship in 2016, says she has no plans to return to British TV. "I joined the DGA 10 years ago, and I absolutely love it here."

(Photo: Marcie Revens)

At Work With

Short profiles of Guild members in all categories sharing their experiences at work.

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