One on One: 2Day brekky host Jules Lund (pt 2)

Staff Writer

Adrian Brine is the Fox FM Assistant Content Director and Founder of Spotd, a Talent Discovery Platform that connects talent with Australia’s largest media employers.

Moments after Jules Lund (right) was announced as one of the new hosts of 2Day FM breakfast, Adrian spoke with him to discover how he got his start in the media and the journey Jules has taken to get to where he is now.

Read Part 1 here, Part 2 is below :-

Adrian: Was it solely your showreel or ‘secret weapon’ as you put it, that landed you the Getaway gig?

Jules: Despite the reel, I didn’t exactly have Getaway in the bag. Ch 9 set up an audition against four other guys, where we all had an hour each to create a story at Fox Studios, Sydney. The elements were an opening piece to camera, ice-skating, ten-pin bowling, mini-golf and a long competition piece to learn on the spot. I already knew I was at an advantage, because half of any successful audition is how ‘match fit’ you are. You wouldn’t run a race unless you were in peak physical condition. The same is for auditions. Not only had I been presenting So Fresh two days a week, but in the months leading up, I’d set myself an intensive training regime designed to silence the little voice – the one that sabotaged me in Barcelona.

All I needed was my cousin Oscar (who is now our Digital Content guru at the radio station), his handy cam and nerves of steel. I targeted all my weaknesses. I often stuffed my lines because passers-by would distract me. So we went to a supermarket at peak hour and I’d stand in the doorway and deliver my lines. The pressure of having people waiting there for me to finish, or at times push past, was more intense than any situation I would face on location. Not to mention the automatic door coming at me from both sides! We did this for weeks. When it didn’t bother me, and I could turn up and do it in one take, it was no longer a weakness. I was also embarrassed about presenting in public, in case someone I knew saw me. It played on my mind. So I chose the most embarrassing spot I could think of – outside the Jam Factory – I stood up on the bin and delivered all my pieces across Chapel St to Oscar filming from the other side. When the little voice finally shut up, we moved on.

They say if you look after the little things – big things happen. I had invested hundreds of hours into making this 1 hour at Fox Studios count. And it worked. A few weeks later I was on my very first Getaway assignment – waterskiing on the Hawkesbury River. It was one of the greatest moments of my life. Here I was on a beautiful sunny day, experiencing the thrill of getting up on ski’s for the very first time, amplified by a camera crew on a speed boat next to me. The boom mic was hanging over my head, and the producer asked “How does it feel?”. I couldn’t contain myself. I felt so proud. After writing that ‘pie in the sky’ ambition in my journal no less than 18 months earlier, here I was getting paid as ‘the adventurous host on Getaway’.

Adrian: How important is it to know who you are as a person before you can be a good presenter?

Jules: We’re no different from an iPhone, or a can of Red Bull, presenters are a product. So it’s essential to define your brand. If you don’t know who you are – no one else will. Your brand is your personality. But what you need to narrow it down, and project the traits that make you unique. When I set out, I chose Free Spirited, Bold and Athletic. They were diverse, but complemented each other. And each had a long list of supporting words. I then ensured everything from the graphics on my show-reel cover, to the clothes I wore, to how I carried myself in an audition, to my biography were cohesive with those brand values. So that if someone I’d never met, saw me on TV, and had to describe me, they’d most likely arrive at those words, or ones to that effect. But more importantly they’d feel like they knew me.

Adrian: What have you learnt from the interviews you’ve done over the years on TV and Radio on how to get the best out of a guest?

Jules: Sometimes what you do off camera is more important than what you do on camera. Build rapport, make it fun, but more importantly be present. Listen.

It’s also important to try to put yourself in their shoes, and find a way to disarm them. I’ll never forget a segment I saw on Rove a few years back. Avril Lavigne was hot property, and she knew it. In nearly every one of her interviews, she was cold as ice. Knowing this, Rove and his team had to think laterally.

So they brought out a live Koala.

Avril melted. She let out a girly scream, and without knowing it, completely ditched the teen-angst façade. The producers had done their research, and discovered all she wanted to do in Oz was see a Koala, and it revealed a side to Avril few of us had seen (which as it turns out, was just as unlikeable.)

No matter how charismatic you are, you just can’t beat good research. When I was filling in for Richard Wilkins on The Today Show I interviewed Sienna Miller and there was not one question I asked, that I couldn’t have answered for her. I knew everything about her. But it was actually an Action Figure that I used to crack her.

When she was in Sydney promoting G.I JOE with her co-star: Rachel Nichols, I knew they had a relentless production-line of reporters pecking at them all day long with the same old questions. I’d done my research, and during the interview pulled out 2 action figures that I bought online. They were plastic models of them. And the girls went nuts! They were both so excited, because they hadn’t held one before that day. I asked them to re-enact their best fight scene and it was hilarious (and hot).

So in the (slightly altered) words of the late, great JFK… Ask not what your subject can do for you – Ask what you can do for your subject.

Adrian: You are known for throwing everything into your craft, is that what you have to do to be successful do you think?

Jules: Well remember, one of my brand values was to be BOLD. I always knew that I was willing to go further than the average joe. Whether it’s drinking cow blood mixed with urine with the Tanzanian Massai Warriors, or dressing as a red rag to a bull. That’s why I’m in TV, to entertain. And who doesn’t want to see some pretty boy reporter get gored by a 2 tonne rampaging bull? So I volunteered to wear the Red tracksuit, and also to create all those hideous spandex suits on Dancing On Ice. To put it bluntly, if you lack personality, the producer will give you theirs. But viewers want to connect with YOU, so as often as possible own your words, express your opinions and react like you would at home.

Adrian: Finally, what’s your advice for aspiring presenters to get their big break?

Jules: When someone mentions they got a lucky break, don’t feel like there’s nothing you can learn from that. Look at their lead up. Then in your own life, leave nothing to chance. That way you’ll be well prepared when ‘chance’ unexpectedly drops by.

You have to spend money to make money.

My original campaign cost me $10,000. It was my life savings and a huge gamble. But if that cash was all that stood between me and my dreams, it’s a small price to pay. And I’d sooner live with debt, than regret.

And finally don’t forget, SOMEONE has to be the next presenter.

Why couldn’t that person be you?
Read the original 3 part series on Spotd.

Adrian Brine is the Fox FM Assistant Content Director and Founder of Spotd.

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