Searching for the Next Much Lackey
Tonight, I tuned into the first episode of the Muchmusic VJ Search. The show narrowed 2,000 auditions down to 20, which will cut down to 10 next week by viewer votes.
Watching the show, I wondered what the big freaking deal is about a job at Much. I just don't see it anymore. Am I getting too old and jaded already?
In 2001, I applied for a pop culture reporter gig at the nation's music station. It was at the time when they were replacing Sook-Yin Lee with another host. I read in the back of EYE an ad for the job, which said it was an open call; all ages, races, sexes were invited to come down to 299 Queen and hand in a photo, a reel and go through an interview. Of course, the wise ones already knew what they were looking for. Sure, they say open call, but really, you know they have a specific race and gender in mind already. In this case: Asian. Female. Pref. with a journalism background.
That day was Nov. 25, also known as my 20th birthday. I stood in line from 10 in the morning to 8 p.m. for my interview. I had no idea it would take so long and in the process, left my neglected party guests at my house wondering where I was. (When I showed up, hmmm...I wonder why everyone already had their backhands in launch position)
My college friends shot this poorly-edited, gonzo journalism piece where I hid in the bushes and attacked people with a mic. I believe at the end, you can actually hear me say, "Holy crap, this is so bad..."
But finally, I got through the door and George Stroumboulopoulos interviewed me for the reporter job and I think it went well. A month later, I received a callback and they wanted me to come down and shoot a five-minute mock intro to videos. i was nervous, not having much on-camera experience and I ended up stuttering way too much for their liking. I didn't receive a second call back.
That gig went to Hannah Sung.
I applied a few more times and once, a producer remembered my name off the bat, but I didn't pursue it any further.
It's cool though. At 24, being a VJ almost seems kind of silly. At the time I think I had the patience for such a job with screaming kiddies for poster punk bands and other such buffoonery. Now? Meh. Much apparently doesn't pay very well and once you reach a certain age, I've heard they kick you out. Celebrity status? Maybe. But most of the people who have been previous VJs on the station used the opportunity as a stepping stone. I doubt it was something they aspired to as a career. Plus, I don't think I'd be able to tolerate hanging around with Leah Miller for an extended period of time. She's about as annoyingly bubbly as Jennifer Valentyne.
As a previous BlogTO post notes, the shows on Much now are less than commendable. Then again, back in the day there was Life on Venus Ave. and that was a whole other mess.
Still, I wish the crop of VJ potentials the best of luck. Even if it means you have to show your tatas and almond joys to get the job. It's all about shock TV anyway, right?
Side note: They're re-making a modern version of You Can't Do That on Television. Now, THAT's worth watching. I just hope Alanis does a guest spot where she sings thank you to India naked and green slime dumps on her.
Muchmusic's VJ Search 06 is hosted by Dina Pugliese and airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on City-TV and Tuesdays at 7 p.m. on Much.
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