On September 22, 2017, students of TCNJ’s Communication Studies department gathered in Kendall Hall’s television studio to experience a special lecture. Fresh off his latest Emmy Award win, Saturday Night Live director Don Roy King arrived to share his career wisdom with his enthusiastic audience. With all the humor one would expect from an SNL personality, Mr. King launched into a discussion of his failures and triumphs in over four decades of experience in the television industry.
He revealed how grateful he is to have a career in television, which allows him to be part of a world of storytelling and “making people laugh and clap.” Finding a career that allows you to enjoy every moment of your work, of simply living “weekend to weekend, vacation to vacation,” is crucial, according to Mr. King. But he did warn against rushing down a career path – careers and life, he pointed out, are “marathons, not sprints,” and it’s possible to make “a U-turn” at any age. Mr. King revealed that moving to Saturday Night Live in 2006 after years of directing morning news shows was the most thrilling and rewarding challenge for him.
Mr. King is an animated storyteller, but he was just as eager to take questions from students in the audience, who wanted to know everything about internships, SNL mishaps, early-morning versus late-night television directing jobs, and straddling the line between confidence and humility, especially as a young professional. Mr. King responded to each question with careful attention and endearing anecdotes. Throughout his interactive lecture and Q&A session, he stressed the importance of trying new skills, seizing unexpected opportunities, and seeking out knowledge from any source available, claiming that he himself is still learning to this day.