Live interview on national Australian TV: Weekend sunrise

Live interview on national Australian TV: Weekend sunrise

Benny

Check out this video interview I had over the weekend on Seven Network‘s Weekend Sunrise program, which is one of the most popular weekend shows viewed across Australia. If you’re a new subscriber from Australia, welcome!

It was my first time ever interviewed live on TV (and my second time ever interviewed on TV in general, the first time being in French for Quebec television, talking about Couchsurfing).

[Note: They use a strange flash-heavy video hosting system, so you might have to try it in a different browser for it to work. I can't see it on Firefox (in Linux), but can in Chrome. I'm hoping they'll send me the original video so I can upload it to Youtube some time. If you can't see it here, then try this link instead. Sorry about the cheesy 30 second advertisement.]

Behind the scenes

After some email exchanges during the week, I was called into a TV studio here in Istanbul, and set up with audio and a microphone in front of a camera for live satellite transmission with Andrew O’Keefe and Samantha Armytage in Sydney. It was just after 8:30AM in Sydney, and 1:30AM in Istanbul.

Unfortunately I couldn’t see anything myself (they couldn’t give me a live feed of Seven Network in that studio), so I’m just staring into a camera and trying hard to hear the questions without talking over the hosts despite the time delay (you’ll notice I didn’t even hear the last question about saying goodbye in Turkish).

What I found quite ironic is that the view you see behind me is not far at all from my apartment, but I had to get a taxi 20km away from it to the studio (right by the international airport) and sit in front of an HDTV with a looped recording. (If you watch anyone sitting down on TV news with a nice view behind them, always be sceptical that they are sitting in front of a window!!) Far from being anywhere beautiful I’m in a dull building filled with cubicles :-P

As you can see, the interview went well even though it was my first time doing anything like this! I was a bit nervous, but remembered my number one rule for such situations and went with the flow. I like how they re-edited my Language Hacking Guide video!

I thought being interviewed on TV in front of such a big audience would involve lots of preping (telling me not to curse, explaining how I should answer questions etc.) but they must have presumed I did this before, since I just had a quick hello with the hosts when the audio was working before hearing the news and weather leading up to my interview. The questions were good, and I think I did an OK job despite the very tight timeslot.

The linear nature of TV is another reason I don’t watch it any more, and I can’t quite say much in four minutes. Online there are no such limits – you can always click for more information, or podcasts and Youtube videos are only limited by the audience’s patience since a 1 hour one and a 5 minute one usually cost the same to produce. Despite that, I think I got my basic message across!

I found Andrew’s replies funny as well as confusing, and he misleadingly said that I say I claim I can help anyone “master” a language in less than 3 months. His linguistic factoid is also not something I’d imagine many academics would agree with. I just nodded politely rather than try and argue.

Hopefully this is the first of many such appearances! Let me know what you think about it in the comments :)

Check out this video interview I had over the weekend on Seven Network‘s Weekend Sunrise program, which is one of the most popular weekend shows viewed across Australia. If you’re a new subscriber from Australia, welcome! It was my first time ever interviewed live on TV (and my second time ever interviewed on TV in […]

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  • WC

    That was a pretty good interview!  That time-delay is always killer.  They should have mentioned you had a slight delay so the viewers understood what was happening, but oh well.

    And the 3-months thing is a pretty common mistake about your blog, since that’s the name of it.  They take it as a guarantee, instead of a name.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

      In podcasts there is always time to clarify, but I won’t be able to do that on traditional media, and it’s quite annoying. Anyone who reads the blog beyond the title always sees that it’s mission and objective based and never a promise I make. Just something I have to deal with since I don’t plan on changing the name ;)

      • WC

        Yeah, I wasn’t trying to suggest you should change it!  It definitely pulled me in hook, line and sinker.  And I stayed for the content.  That’s a recipe for success!

  • WC

    That was a pretty good interview!  That time-delay is always killer.  They should have mentioned you had a slight delay so the viewers understood what was happening, but oh well.

    And the 3-months thing is a pretty common mistake about your blog, since that’s the name of it.  They take it as a guarantee, instead of a name.

  • Jakub Hurt

    Seems like the hosts didn’t have delay problems…that made it awkward. Great interview though Benny, I love your irish accent. Thanks for your blog and I wish you to learn many more languages. You’re a great inspiration.

    Greetings from Brno, Czech Republic
    Jakub

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

      Thanks!

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

      Thanks!

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

      Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/aarongmyers Aaron G Myers

    Great interview Benny.  And what a wonderful backdrop!  I took Consuelo there for our anniversary last month.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

      As I said in the post, the backdrop was an HDTV. The camera people in Istanbul actually wanted scenery of a sunrise over a mosque and I had to convince them not to. Anyone with half a brain would have figured out that the sun can’t be rising in Istanbul if it just did in Sydney…

  • http://profiles.google.com/jon.shock Jonathan Shock

    Good work – I thought the guy interviewing came over a little strong though. Seems strange to bring on a guests to talk about languages and then show that you know more than them. Anyway, I thought you came across relaxed and confident, and with a good message.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    I don’t think having varied experience on many different TV shows disqualifies anyone enough to be labelled as not smart. Sure, the interview wasn’t perfect, but they were nice and respected me and let me say my piece, so I really can’t complain!

  • Leigh Millward

    Dude, I’m very impressed. You definitely have guts!
    I don’t think you need to worry to much about the whole ‘3 months’ thing; I don’t think most people understand that you’re just setting yourself a goal.

    You also did really well at presenting your ideas and what this website is all about, I’m sure you’ll get lots of new faces reading your blog.

  • http://englishharmony.com Robby Kukurs

    Just wanted so say you looked very confident during the interview – fair play to you! Also everything you said about how you approach language learning was spot on and not a single word was wasted on saying something irrelevant, which is crucial considering how little time you had to explain what Fluentin3months is all about.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

      Thanks Robby!

  • Anonymous

    Great interview! You did a super job of explaining the essentials of learning a language in such a short interview:  Getting out there and start speaking with live people as  early as possible, setting yourself well-defined goals (missions) and that you should welcome mistakes since they help you to learn faster.

    And you handled the audio delay well.

  • Anonymous

    Great interview! You did a super job of explaining the essentials of learning a language in such a short interview:  Getting out there and start speaking with live people as  early as possible, setting yourself well-defined goals (missions) and that you should welcome mistakes since they help you to learn faster.

    And you handled the audio delay well.

  • Anonymous

    Great interview! You did a super job of explaining the essentials of learning a language in such a short interview:  Getting out there and start speaking with live people as  early as possible, setting yourself well-defined goals (missions) and that you should welcome mistakes since they help you to learn faster.

    And you handled the audio delay well.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YCINJXODIKMDMME47X447A3XC4 S.D.I.

    Good job at getting on Sunrise, Benny! I can’t say that I’m an avid watcher, but it’s a good medium to get the message out. I can really imagine lots of viewers seeing you and being inspired to have a go at learning a language.

    Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about “Ugro-Turkaic”; “Ural–Altaic or Uralo-Altaic is a former language-family proposal uniting theUralic and Altaic languages.”. It’s a “former” grouping of two families that are quite controversial in and of themselves (well, at least “Altaic” is – apparently it’s yet to be established that the cognates are not just loans).

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

      I had heard about controversy in grouping them together. I can see some common words even with my non-fluent Hungarian helping with Turkish, but they are more likely to be loan words in my opinion. Turkish also has over 4,000 French words – this doesn’t mean it was part of Latin…

      But yeah, focusing on that would have taken the interview down a time-wasting road, so I just said “I don’t think they’re related – It’s news to me”

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

      I had heard about controversy in grouping them together. I can see some common words even with my non-fluent Hungarian helping with Turkish, but they are more likely to be loan words in my opinion. Turkish also has over 4,000 French words – this doesn’t mean it was part of Latin…

      But yeah, focusing on that would have taken the interview down a time-wasting road, so I just said “I don’t think they’re related – It’s news to me”

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

      I had heard about controversy in grouping them together. I can see some common words even with my non-fluent Hungarian helping with Turkish, but they are more likely to be loan words in my opinion. Turkish also has over 4,000 French words – this doesn’t mean it was part of Latin…

      But yeah, focusing on that would have taken the interview down a time-wasting road, so I just said “I don’t think they’re related – It’s news to me”

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    It’s still available to me – have you tried it again, or tried clicking the link I gave directly to their site? Sorry about this – as I say it’s a terrible antiquated video hosting system and it’s a pity they don’t just give me the original to upload to Youtube.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    Cheers!

  • http://leakygrammar.com Gavin

    That was pretty good for your first live interview. The hosts were an interesting pair:) That comment about Ural-Altaic languages was a trip, he needs to tell all the people who’ve been trying to figure this out that he found the answer! I’m sure lot’s of academics would be happy to hear the mystery has been solved.  Glad you didn’t go down that path and stuck with the main point of the interview.  You didn’t seem nervous at all either.  Keep up the momentum and TED should be just around the corner.  Great job!

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

      I really wanted to say that I thought he was wrong, but “that’s news to me” seemed more political a way to change the subject without him losing face.

      Fingers crossed for more talks! TED would give me enough time to really get the message across :)

  • SLD

    Do you have the video of you in Quebec?

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

      I did, but they took down the upload :( It’s another reason I want this original video myself – I don’t trust TV stations to store them permanently.

      If you want a screen cap during the French interview, look here: http://fi3m.com/fi3m-faq/

  • http://yetanotherlanguage.blogspot.com/ Crno Srce

    You did a brilliant job, Benny. I could tell you were nervous (especially at the start) but it only showed in subtle ways. As other posters have said, you did a great job of keeping focused on what you wanted to say and avoiding diversions from the hosts. Just the other day I rang up a radio station to make a particular point, and then the very first question from the host threw me and I never got a chance to get it back on track, so I would say that you handled the whole situation probably about as well as could be expected. 

    I also think you did really well with what you presented in the tight time as well, though, to be fair, I have read most of your blog, which gives me a bit of a head start! Would be interesting to see what a first-time viewer (of you) thought, but I imagine they would be quite impressed. You didn’t come across as a normal, genuine guy.

    And though I don’t watch it, I believe that Weekend Sunrise gets decent ratings for its timeslot. The female host did really well on the Australian “Dancing with the Storms” but she was a really bad dancer, so I presume it’s because she has a significant public following, mostly from this show.

    Again, great work!

    • http://yetanotherlanguage.blogspot.com/ Crno Srce

      Engaging brain – obviously I meant to say “You DID come across as a normal, genuine guy.”

  • Cannovan

    Excellent Benny – great publicity for Language Hacking Guide and well done in plugging your website near the end :)

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

      If I had politely said goodbye after she said I was a “very talented man” it would have made the whole interview pointless – that’s definitely not the conclusion I wanted :-P So yes, sending people to my blog was a must :D

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    Thanks for the tip! :)