My Career Journey PRT 2b: The unprecedented, risky and blunt audition

“Journalistically speaking, I had no clue what I said or if I made any sense at all to the panel doing the audition…It turned out I had unknowingly spoken about some of the content in line with a show that the TV station, new at the time, had lined up as part of its daily programming for a morning show. – @JoyDoreenBiira
(file photo/2010)

Into the audition room I walked. A five judge panel and a camera (JVC-HM series) at the centre of the audition room.  There I was thinking and smiling, “God damn, what in the bejesus did I just get myself into?” Before I could get through with that thought the questions started to chime in.
“Tell us who you are while looking straight into the camera.” was the first question. The instruction was Ignore the direction the question is coming from and respond to the camera.

I clearly flunked that part where they said pay no attention to where the question was coming from or who was asking it, because that’s exactly where my whole body structure turned to (You’re allowed to laugh). I hurriedly responded, “My name is Joy Doreen Biira, 20 years old, an undergraduate university student at Makerere University doing Information Technology. I’m a merchan….” And before I could complete “I’m also a part time Merchandiser”, a second question came through. 

“Why are you here? What do you want to do on TV?” Deep down I was thinking, ‘oh blimey, this stuff is definitely not for me.’ So I responded to that question without much thought. “Truth be told, I came here with a friend who was doing auditions and was convinced [by a gentleman in the hallway] to come up here and do the same”.
I said it very bluntly with mindset I was ‘taking a risk and giving it a try’ and nothing more. I silently said to myself, “You’re not going beyond the audition because clearly the interviewers/judges must have criteria those auditioning should meet, to get the job! And a 20 year old dressed like a girl next door is presumably not what they would be looking for on TV.”

After all I had nothing to lose.

As my mind raced with all manner of thoughts, one final question was asked, “What would you want to watch on Television whenever you turn on the TV?” I went on with my blunt responses, “I’m an evening student at the university so I don’t watch the news because when it’s broadcast, I’m in the lecture room having my classes. So if the News can also be done in the morning then I would try to watch it. Oh, plus I’d like to watch what people on the streets are saying about the news”. 

(File Photo/2017)

As is usual protocol all the auditions were taped/recorded. I was asked to leave my contact details and then I hurried out of the audition room. 

Met my friend who was the reason I had been to the TV station in the first place and he asked, “How’d it go?”. I was speechless! “Okay. They asked me to leave my details” I said lazily. I did not want to get into details because I thought he was the one who had gone for an actual audition. I was just trying things out! He shared his experience on our way back to university for evening classes. I mentioned the ‘risky, blunt audition’ to some of the Campus Radio regulars and we laughed about it. Well, a little light moment never hurt no one!

So, the next day, I received a phone call… The voice on the other end asked, “Is this Joy? Do you have a CV? Can you bring it to NBS Television (Uganda) as soon as you can?” And all I was thinking was, “What CV? I barely have anything sensible to write on my Curriculum Vitae”. While that went on in my mind, the voice went on, “would you consider a career in Television if you were trained into it?”

Given I was an I.T student at the time, I had access to internet anytime and every time I needed to use it in the computer labs at Makerere University. So, I sprung into CV writing mode, with the help of GOOGLE [that’s right] and some friends [yap]

Journalistically speaking, at the audition, I had no clue what I said or if I made any sense at all to the five judge panel at the audition. But it turned out I had unknowingly said some sensible things [ahem], that were inline with content that the TV station, new at the time, had lined up as part of its daily programming for a morning show.

Next on My Career Journey PRT 3 The CV, Training and almost Giving Up

Read Part 2 here“At University I spent a few hours, 2-3 days a week, mostly in the mornings at the Campus Radio station before or after I was done with my merchandising job (which paid for my course handouts and transport to University). Then from 4 or 5pm, I’d attend my Information Technology classes. I did that for most of my first year at the University.”

Read Part 1 here“At 19, I joined Makerere University in Uganda, after being admitted for Bachelor of Information technology… my first choice was Mass communication, Industrial Fine Art the second, and Information Technology the third… I’d make time in the morning hours to sneak into the mass communication radio department and attend my Information Technology lectures in the evening”

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