What Jules Lund told me changed my life
THE first year I made a video was 2015.
I'd wanted to make videos since 2012, but it took me three years to get my act together. WHY?!
First, because I'm lazy to my core. There's really nothing I enjoy more than sleeping. I know it looks like I work a lot, but if I'm not working - I'm sleeping.
Second, and most importantly, I waited because I was scared. Really scared. I didn't know where to start; I didn't know what to say. I didn't think I was going to be funny or entertaining or interesting. I just couldn't do it. So … I put it off, and off, for years.
Then one day, around June 2015, I paid my Italian friend Alex (I mention his ethnicity because he still owes me pasta and biscotti) to film and edit a presenting show reel for me. I planned, once it was done, to send it to Jules Lund.
'Why Jules?' I hear you ask. Great question.
When I was doing a short presenting course at NIDA, Jules was the poster child for TV presenting. Seriously, any time our teachers wanted to demonstrate how to present, they used footage of Jules. The guy was slaying it on Getaway and had gigs coming out of his ears. He was (and is) an incredible presenter.
It was terrifying to think of Jules watching my work, but I had a good feeling about it too. By that stage, I was doing radio in regional Queensland, and all I could think was, Who do you think you are, sending bloody Jules Lund your show reel? But I got his email from the network database, shut my eyes and hit send.
Obviously, I assumed I would never hear from him. Why would he reply to me? He's so busy, and has way better things to do than write back to some rando.
But he did. He wrote back.
I remember seeing his reply in my inbox. I just about died.
One new message.
My first thought was: Oh god, he hated it. This is hate mail.
My second thought was: He's mad at me for sending him a completely unsolicited email.
My third thought was: Wait. Have I turned the oven off?
Then I calmed down, took a deep breath and opened the email.
It said: Can I call you?
He did, and we spoke for over an hour, and the upshot of what he told me was that I needed to create my own content, and not wait for a role, or some other opportunity, to present itself. I remember him saying: "Tanya, you need to make two-minute videos that are really funny and have a bunch of personality. Just be you - you are your biggest asset. Put them on Facebook, and not on YouTube, and don't just say yes now, and hang up the phone and never do anything. Send me your first video."
For me, this was one of those pivotal moments. I can still tell you what street I was on when I took the call, what I was wearing and what I was looking at. It was so life-affirming - somebody I had always looked up to believed I could do something, and cared whether I did.
So I made a video the next week. That video was called 'The Differences between 18 and 30' and it went viral.
Since then, Jules has been a mentor to me, as well as a co-worker. He's invited me on his shows, pushed me and encouraged me to keep going.
Jules, if you're reading, thank you for everything you've done for me. I wouldn't be writing this book without you, and I just hope I can be a 'Jules Lund' to someone else.
This is an edited extract from Am I Doing This Right? By Tanya Hennessey (Allen & Unwin RRP $29.99).