WRITER | PRODUCER | INTERVIEWER | SPEAKER
I hope nobody minds but I thought it would be much simpler if I just wrote my own BIO rather than asking someone else to; or worse still, writing it as if someone else did.
On my passport, under occupation, I have always nominated writer/producer, because these activities make up the largest percentage of what I do in exchange for financial remuneration and personal fulfilment; (not necessarily in that order. Sorry Dad).
My seemingly swankier exploits as an interviewer and speaker I owe to the career foundations I built as a producer and writer. So if it’s all the same to you – I will start with them.
It is such an exciting time in digital marketing and content creation. Brands can be their own television networks and create and distribute their own programs. I approach Brand Content Creation in exactly the same way I approach making a primetime series for Foxtel or the ABC:
How do I reach the audience and create an indelible impact? How do I stand out from all the noise and messaging to make a real connection and form an emotional bond with the consumer?
I have spent the last two decades sitting across the most famous people in the world. My job was not to interview them- but to make it possible for them to be authenticate, and to open up about their deepest fears and struggles, their greatest joys and triumphs; to give the audience an opportunity to see inside their soul.
Over and over again viewers would tell us: “I felt like I was sitting on the couch with you during the interview”.
It meant that they felt a part of the experience – that they were inside it, not outside looking in.
My vision as a Content Creator is to reach into the SOUL of a consumer and make them feel a part of an authentic, timeless, connecting experience that they will credit the brand for giving them.
One of the biggest highlights of my writing career has been the countless cover and feature stories filed for New Limited’s flagship Sunday Magazine, (now even more economically named “Sunday”).
Hugh Jackman, Kylie Minogue, Sinead O’Connor and Buffy the Vampire Slayer are among those I managed to meet, interview and wax on lyrical about in Rupert’s prime print real estate.
Speaking of which, I also wrote a column for Melbourne’s Sun Herald Sun called SEX, LIFE and LOVE. I still can’t believe how honest I was about my dating fiascos and, even sadder, long periods of abstinence.
(FYI, the one about “How to Break up with Dignity” still has some useful tips in it if you happen to be in the market. Thankfully, my single days are long over. Thank you darling).
But my all-time favourite earlier job was creating and writing comedy sketches for Channel Seven’s Saturday Disney in the days when The Block’s Shelly Craft was one of the hosts.
I was allowed to Pixar-ise some of the greatest moments in history so that Shelly, Mel Symons and Daniel Widdowson could act them act with a terrifying blend of slapstick and method. One week they were the Apollo 13 astronauts, the next Captain Cook and his crew. I think my fondest memory is of Shell as Florence Nightingale.
I also produced and directed these segments and that gave me the confidence to start my own production company.
It really shouldn’t have – but it did.
During my third year of living in Sydney, I was trying to find a rental property while I was producing interview segments on music stars like Pink and Powderfinger for Qantas inflight programming.
Two incredible revelations came to me at this stage in my life.
- 1) I realised I truly LOVED the art of interviewing. In fact I didn’t view it as an art. I simply sat in front of people whose music (or films) I adored and chatted to them as if they were my friends. (Remarkably, some of them now are)!
- 2) I realised that if you didn’t have your wits about you, it was possible to rent a property in Sydney that did NOT have an internal laundry.
I would like to take this opportunity to say that I am from QLD originally. In QLD we don’t consider a laundry in a home to be an added extra. A tennis court? Yes. A pool with its own water slide? You bet. But an internal laundry is considered as standard as a toilet or an oven in QLD.
Anyhow, as I was inadvertently extracting the internal emotions of music artists from Monday-Friday and desperately searching for a unit with its own laundry on the weekends, I called my company Internal Laundry Productions.
From this point on – apart from a short and confronting flirtation with commercial radio – I have been pathologically focussed on creating, producing and (why not?) hosting my own interview shows.
Here is how that has worked out so far:
BACKSTAGE PASS – THE NINE NETWORK (2004-2007) WRITER/PRODUCER/HOST
Backstage Pass was a half hour celebrity interview program which screened on The Nine Network on Saturday mornings. During this incredible tenure I flew to London, Paris and New York numerous times a year to interview artists and actors like Beyonce, Mick Jagger, Tom Cruise, Hugh Jackman, Kylie Minouge, Coldplay… alright alight, that’s enough with the name dropping.
If it’s any consolation there was a lot of jetlag involved and since I was responsible for getting a half hour television show to air every week in the middle of all that travel –it was a tad stressful too. (And I’ve got a non-functioning thyroid to prove it).
Highlights: Mick Jagger calling me by my name; Tom Cruise waving down his publicist (who was waving me down) so that he could have more time with me; Robbie Williams stripping down into a Hotel bathrobe just before our interview; Coldplay’s Chris Martin offering me a lift from Paris to London in the band’s private jet.
I said it was stressful – I didn’t say it sucked.
INSIDE EDGE –ABC NEWS 24 AND ABC LOCAL RADIO (2009 -2013) WRITER/PRODUCER/HOST
Inside Edge was a concept I came up with when the ABC was launching Grandstand Digital radio and was looking for ideas and concepts for content related to sport. I pitched up an interview show involving me (who else?) doing long form interviews with some of our biggest sporting legends.
I had the extra idea of inviting each guest to bring along a person who had helped shape their life in some way to join them for a part of the interview.
This proved to be really successful and always offered a new and interesting insight into the guests throughout the series. Inside Edge ended up being aired across the country on ABC Local radio as well and was filmed by ABC News 24 as a half hour television show.
Highlights: Interviewing cricketing legends like Ian and Greg Chappell, tennis legends like Ken Rosewall and John Newcombe, Evonne Goolagong and Roy Emmerson; Footie legends like Laurie Daley and Johnathan Thurston and inspiring female trail blazers like Lauren Jackson and Libby Trickett.
THE TRUTH ABOUT US – BIO CHANNEL, FOXTEL AND ABC LOCAL RADIO – (2013-PRESENT) EXECUTIVE PRODUCER/PRODUCER/WRITER/HOST
The Truth About Us is a 10 part series that interviews some of Australia’s best loved newsmakers and celebrities alongside the people who have helped define and shape them. It is the work I am most proud of to date.
I have had a terrifyingly small but dedicated team helping me bring this series to life and we have delivered a formidable guest list (especially for an inaugural series) and hopefully some really engaging and insightful interviews.
Highlights: hearing Russell Crowe affectionately call his guest a “banana”; swapping recipes with Maggie Beer and Stephanie Alexander before the interview; getting a word in edge wise with Jimmy Barnes and Michael Gudinski; revealing new insights into the INXS story; pretty much everything about Guy Pearce and hearing all the fabulous answers to my standard final question: WOULD YOU COME BACK AS THE SAME SEX YOU ARE NOW OR THE OPPOSITE ONE?
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NSW 2007, Australia
PRESS & MEDIA