Sometimes, okay most of the time I have to pull on my big girl pants and put myself out into the big (not that bad) world of radio and television.
Unless you’re a well known name in the world of Irish broadcasting there’s no one banging your door down with offers of work, there’s rarely a gentle tap to be honest.
You have to try creating work for yourself, making opportunities to prove to the powers that employ that you are someone they want to call. That takes knocking on doors, not in the literal sense, more via email. Then you hope someone answers and better still, asks you in. Then it can go all a bit Charles Dickens and you are left looking in the window – How profound! Yes, I’ve been at the window many times.
For me, I found and still find this a tough experience. Unlike some people who work or are trying to work in radio or television, I’m pretty crap at self-promotion and even though I’d teenage dreams of going to Bay side, (I wanted to be Kelly but I was more Screech. You thought I was going to say Jessie but even that was a high expectation for me as a teen.) and being full of American spirit and enthusiasm. In reality I’m great at being a cheer squad for everyone else and terrible at being my own.
In this game, you really need to push yourself out there, at least a bit. Then to add insult to your already self-questioning injury, there’s the people, who for whatever issue they are having feel the need to drag you into miserable town with them. Let me explain; A pitch was made for quick feature on TV show and I played a part in the pitch. I knew nothing about it until a long time after and as it turns out, had been rejected. Fair enough. But it must have left a sour taste in person who pitched its mouth as one day as words where exchange and I was told about the pitch and promptly told’
“They liked the idea; they just didn’t want YOU.”
Excuse me while I just go and feel sh*t about myself over here! Thanks!
Years ago, I did a few stints on Seoige & O’Shea on RTE. Initially I got on okay, I did a “Presenter for a Day” feature mentored by Amanda Brunker (who I loved then and still do now – Her snapchat is worth a follow) it went well other than an incident with Gordon Ramsey, who asked me did I actually eat food and said I’d smelly breath! (Yeah, that was a crushing moment on national TV!) But, I got great feedback and was asked to come back to do some entertainment bits but it was short lived. Still can’t put my finger on it, but might have been when I got slight ‘getto’ talking about 50 cent! Seoige & O’Shea target market was like, oh lets say 40 plus maybe? I was not getto fabulous. Also, the show finished up so that could have been it.
A year or two later I took a punt at contacting TV3 to put myself forward for the panel show Midday and not long after, I got a call and booked for a week. I was so nervous, my lips STUCK to my gums, my mouth dried up, actually DRIED UP. I tried to contribute something and sat there thinking how are you going to talk when your lip is STUCK to my gum? Anyway as it turns out on that occasion I had little to offer on the show and was fairly overwhelmed by the women around me and probably my surroundings. Long story short, I pretty much died on my ass!
I got a call Tuesday after the show to say there had been a mix up in panel guests & I was not supposed to be booked for the week, but thanks a million & they would be back in touch another time.
Yeap, I think about a year passed & I still hadn’t heard anything which considering my performance, or lack of, I wasn’t a bit surprised or upset to be honest.
Now here’s the bit I’m crap at, actually trying again, having to get back in touch or as they say now “reaching out“. I knew I HAD to at least send and email. I knew that but I mulled and discussed with anyone who would give me ear time for weeks. I would talk myself into sending it, then by bed time talked myself back out of it.
I think everyone got sick of listening to me and said to ‘just do it, what have you got to lose?’- Honestly I could have reamed them off a long list of ridiculous answers. Christ, I really need a self belief workshop or something. I’ll probably talk myself out of going though.
Sorry, I digress!
Back to that email – It was time to stop being a scaredy cat and send an email putting myself out there.
Elaine Crowley had taken over the reins on Midday so I mustered up the courage and sent her a mail. I was very honest about my earlier appearances. I’m sure it read something along the lines of
“Listen if you’re really stuck, like hell was freezing over, there was no other options and even they weren’t available, well I live nearby, MAYBE you might CONSIDER giving me another shot?!??
I booked the following week on the show. I met Elaine for the first time as she breezed into studio just before we went to air, she smiled, welcomed me to ‘Midday and told me to relax and be myself.
‘You’ll be grand” she reassured me, then in true Elaine fashion, looked straight ahead into the camera said “Hello, and welcome to Midday”
The rest has been history. I’ve always have and will always be thankful for that one woman giving me another shot.
It still doesn’t get any easier & I still absolutely crap myself having to send emails like that. It’s a bit like writing this, blog, god I get funny feeling every time I write or say that word. A blogger, ME? But writing these are kinda like popping myself in the shop window and asking people to take a punt on what I’m doing and hope that they might just like what they get and if I’m honest, I hope they do.
So, here I am.