Australian TV presenter Faustina ‘Fuzzy’ Agolley (pictured) from Video Hits has a day job any music fan would envy. Recently she agreed to mentor the winner of the HP Go Live Reporter competition held in association with the Big Day Out 2009 Tour. Fuzzy was also kind enough to participate in some Q & A about her career, how she got her start in presenting/reporting, and what she does on a daily basis in her job.
Who is Fuzzy? Describe yourself in three words…
Busy, Thinker, Vivacious
How did you get started as a presenter?
I did lots of work experience in TV production, following that I attended an open call audition for a role on Channel [V] I didn’t get the job but I did guest spots on the Channel. One of the first things was the Big Day Out live on WhatuWant.
What do you think competitions like the HP Go Live Reporter means to budding presenters? e.g providing opportunity etc.
I think competitions like this are an incredible opportunity for budding presenters. There would be so many guys and gals out there itching to have this opportunity. It’s a great stepping stone towards getting to the goal of being a full time presenter.
Do you get nervous before segments?
Yes, I still get that nervous energy before going Live or interviewing an artist I’ve admired for a long time but it’s good nervous energy!
What prior to an interview to prep yourself – research, rituals etc
It depends on how much lead time I have and how busy the week is with other artists to research. I like to research like crazy. I’m talking magazines, books, youtube, music news, blogs, journalist written biographies, transcripts from past TV specials and interviews, finding out stories behind songs, the use of lyrics, instruments, liner notes in CDs. It gets a little obsessive. I may not use it all in an interview, and I’d like to be surprised with new information in an interview but this makes me feel comfortable that most of the information is in the memory bank.
Before hand I usually go through my list of questions with the producer and work on the priority of topics we want to cover. I usually have a key word for each question so that aside from having a conversation I can at least know where I want to take the interview next.
This is a heavy ritual isn’t it?
Who is your favourite presenter and why?
Oooh there’s a lot, so please include them all! Andrew Denton is an amazing interviewer and presenter. He says all the right things so succinctly and has a genuine interest in every guest he has on his show.
I love Cat Deely of So You Think You Can Dance because she has incredible energy.
In terms of Music Presenters I love Yumi Stynes and Chit Chat on Max, Adam Hills on Spicks and Specks and overseas I liked watching interviews by Alex Zane and Alexa Chung from the now defunct Popworld. All these presenters are so in love with music and extremely witty and good interviewers.
What’s the best & worst thing about being a presenter?
The Best thing is that I’m in a job that I’ve wanted for many years, it’s music television every single day. There really is no worst thing.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in front of a camera?
Probably when I stuffed my face with marshmallows playing “Chubby Bunny” with Mika, he spat in my face while saying Chubby Bunny because his face was so stretched out.
Who has been the best person to interview and why?
I’ll narrow it down to two. Alicia Keys and Neil Finn.
Firstly Alicia Keys is an incredible artist and I admire her dearly. Even more reason not to screw it up! We only had 10 minutes but we got talking about so many things, Australian artists, her home in NY and her secret “Bat Cave”, touring in Eastern Europe, NZ & Aussie wine, her role in The Secret Life of Bees and her latest album. The interview just flowed so well, we had a great time and she ended the interview by saying “Wow! You know what I’m going to say, you know what you’re going to say next. You’re like BAM! BAM! BAM! You’re good. I like you!” I was chuffed!
Neil Finn was equally amazing. I interviewed him at his studio in Auckland before the Homebake festival. We chatted for a long time about the early days of getting signed in America, went into detail about some of his many music videos, his feelings about songs he penned years ago and its relevance now and being a Father. I also strategically placed one of his very cool Hummingbird Collector’s Edition acoustic by his side and at the end of the interview he picked up his guitar and played us “Fall At Your Feet”. Incredible.
How does a presenter avoid looking awkward in front of a camera?
Just smile to the camera and chat to the camera like you’re chatting to a mate. With lots of energy! With interviewing be confident and as relaxed as possible.
Name three things that a person needs to be able to be a great presenter?
A team player, lots of energy and an equally great researcher.
What are some of the tactics that you use to try and get more of a response out of your interviewees?
Depends on the situation, at a festival like the Big Day Out interviews generally are chilled out and bands are more responsive than in a hotel room situation.
From the research you’ll find what topics they like to talk about most. If they’re really into talking about one particular thing let them keep going so that it becomes a fun conversation. But always have back up questions to keep the interview going, if you know they love talking about hobbies or their obsession with a particular instrument then go for it!
Is there a secret to being a great presenter?
I think lots of practice makes a great presenter.
How does one handle fame?
Different people handle it in different ways, I’m a low key person and still just get around day to day normally.
Out of everyone who’s ever lived, who would you love to interview and why?
That’s a difficult question! Perhaps Jeff Buckley. His music is still so unique to anything you hear today. He really did leave too soon. I would get stuck into Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk, what was made of it was already a great record, there’s a lot of questions to ask about that alone.
Can you describe your typical day?
Most days aren’t shoot days and are spent in the office at my desk in front of a computer researching on the phone, emailing and at times going to a meeting or organising wardrobe options for future shoots. There’s some PR either online or phone interviews or a photoshoot.
I think a lot of people are surprised about how much work is done from a desk, it isn’t all glamour!
Many days end with going to a gig, which is always fun!
If you weren’t a presenter, what would you be doing?
Either a TV producer, documentary maker or something completely different, an Aid Worker and making the most of my Geography major from Uni.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully still working in Media as well as being more active in environmental and development projects and by then at least thinking about starting a family.
What are some of your tools of the trade that you can’t live without?
The internet, our video clip database and my laptop.
How does technology play a part in your role as presenter?
It’s a massive part of my role. I’m always using technology and so does our crew. It’s integral to get us on air.
Fuzzy is a mentor for the HP Go Live Reporter, David Murray from Sydney and you can keep track of their experience at the Big Day Out 2009 by going to www.hp.com.au/golive.