Adding another entry to my disc golf media series this week, Jamie Thomas of The SpinTV was kind enough to indulge my curiosity. If you have not heard of him, then you’ve been living under a rock. Innova’s tournament coverage has been stellar, and improved during the 2015 season by adding the Insider Show starting with the 2015 European Open.
Taking a look at the thoughts of the disc golf media, I find that each person loves what they do. Read on as Jamie Thomas of The SpinTV shares with the disc golf world.
Before the questions, would you be so kind as to tell us what your job title and duties with Discmania/Innova/SpinTV are and if you are a part of Jussi Meresmaa’s company Spin18 and helping with the Disc Golf World Tour.
Sure thing, I’m actually self-employed but I work closely with Discmania and Innova on various projects. Most prominently I work producing content for SpinTV. I’ve also been involved with DiscGolfPark and the Disc Golf World Tour.
Being involved with one of the premier video providers in disc golf, what do you get out of providing disc golf video coverage for us who don’t travel the country playing in tournaments?
I always have one of those “aw, shucks” moments whenever people compliment the channel like that. Just 3 years ago at tournaments I’d show up and people would ask who I’m with – the answer “SpinTV” would result in confused looks so I’d just follow up with “Innova” as clarification. Nowadays I’ll meet people and after they hear me speak I’ll see those wheels turning in the head, and some have even recognized me. It really shows how much people pay attention and care about the sport, so I think the best thing that I personally get out of it is making people happy because they got to watch their favorite pro.
…racking up the airline miles ain’t bad either!
The Insider Show was a great new addition to TheSpintv’s tournament coverage when it debuted at the 2015 European Open. How did you handle the transition from being a behind the scenes guy to being the face of the show?
Thanks! It was really more of a pragmatic choice than anything. I had been doing the audio commentary, which allowed me to really study the game on a deeper, more analytical level as well as build relationships with the big names in the sport. So the comfort level with the guests was there, and the production team is top notch, so the only variable was if I would freeze up on camera or not…and as it turns out that only happened once. It was a really exciting experience overall.
Working with Innova and Discmania covering tournaments puts you in touch with many of the top disc golfers on tour. Would you rather play a round of disc golf or do some other activity like bowling, pool, movies, etc with any of them?
I enjoy spending time with those guys and girls off of the course. There’s an old truism that when your hobby becomes your career you view it differently. It’s not to say I think they don’t enjoy casual rounds, but the mental approach is different. Some of the best memories result from hanging out off of the course, and considering the places we get to travel to – I hope that never changes!
From the media side of a disc golf event, how different is it to cover a European event than an American event?
The competition itself isn’t much different, but the atmosphere definitely is. Because disc golf is a bigger blip on the radar in smaller countries like Finland and Sweden, it’s easier to budget the nicer toys into the production plan. I believe disc golf here still has so much room and ability to grow from a production standpoint, but it will look much different. Broadcasting methods and workflows are changing rapidly and what is judged as “success” or “growth” today may not be an adequate or applicable metric in 5 years, but I do believe that we can be successful and create more careers in the long run.
Many people who play the sport of disc golf as a hobby dream of working in the disc golf world. When you have down time or are away from disc golf, what do you do when you have the free time? Play a round, hiking, another activity, or does disc golf follow wherever you go?
Well first I’d like to say to those people be careful what you wish for. The more you work in disc golf, the less you play. If your goal is to be a touring pro, working in the disc golf industry is not a stepping stone to a playing career. If you want to work in the industry, your time will be spent making the game better for others to play. Don’t get me wrong, I still love playing tournaments and casual rounds, and I do that as much as I reasonably can, but when conflicts come I choose work over play. If I don’t, somebody else will and you’ll be interviewing him or her instead!
Outside of disc golf I love playing and coaching basketball (my original passion), board game nights, team trivia, playing League of Legends with friends. I’m a weird combination of an athlete and nerd with a high competitive drive.
1, 2, no 3, no 4….dang it. Just a whole bunch of thanks to Jamie for taking time to answer my questions. I look forward to the 2016 disc golf season and what he helps bring to those of us not able to attend or participate in some of the biggest PDGA tournaments every year.