After watching Titanic for the first time, I wanted to be like Leonardo DiCaprio.
I wanted to be in the movies.
I told my mum and she booked me in for an audition for a company that made TV advertisements.
We went along.
Auditions were being held at the Mecure hotel. The conference room lobby was the biggest room I’d ever been in. The carpet was red, purple and orange.
I was probably nervous but you don’t think of it like that when you’re 9. I kept myself distracted by inspecting the indoor plants and running around talking to the other kids.
Then it was my turn. My mum came and got me and we walked into another room. It wasn’t as big as the lobby. There was a walkway through the middle with chairs on either side. And a few adults at the other end of the room.
We walked towards the adults.
I can’t remember what they said but I remember feeling excited. You never remember what was said but you always remember how you feel.
‘Can I do that?’ I asked.
A girl was doing a catwalk up and down the gap in the chairs.
I did the catwalk. Up and the down the same place the other girl did it. The adult auditions girl smiled and laughed. I nailed it.
My mum took me home. I turned on the TV and imagined myself being in the ads.
Waiting for a reply from the company was hell. It had been two days but two days feels like a month when you’re 9.
More waiting. No reply. More waiting. Still no reply.
I began to lose hope. ‘Why didn’t they pick me?’
My mum called the company.
‘We’ve gone out of business,’ they said.
She told me. I didn’t believe it. I had convinced myself I was already in.
Maybe they didn’t close down. Maybe mum was trying to be nice because I didn't actually get in. All these stories I told myself.
My friend’s sister also auditioned. Her mum sent my mum an article from the newspaper. The article said the company closed down. My mum was right. I should’ve believed her. I was already a movie star to her.
11-years later, I auditioned to be on Big Brother. We had to run around the room acting like chickens. ‘You should’ve sat there barking like a dog, you would’ve stood out.’ My friend said. What a good idea. Too late though, I didn’t make it through the first round.
4-years after, I made it through to the last round of auditions for Survivor. For the final challenge we had to replicate a scene from the show. We were split into tribes. I was the leader of one tribe. The first challenge was a solo puzzle solve. I volunteered. We started and a few quick solves later, I pulled out in front. I held the lead and ending up winning easily. The next challenge was stacking jenga, we sent our tall guy in. He couldn’t cope, he got shaky hands. I stepped in and stacked our tower to the roof. Our tribe won by a mile. Two days later I got a call, ‘Sorry Daniel, you haven’t made it through.’
By this point I already had my own TV show. One where I’m the lead actor, director, editor, story writer.
I thought I wanted to be like Leonardo DiCaprio. But really all I wanted to be was my own biggest fan.
The internet allows this. It removes the gatekeepers. No more auditions.
Want to be in a movie? You can make it, edit it and upload it to YouTube. Now everyone around the world can see it.
All it takes is a little courage. A little courage to take the leap and hit publish. My first 30 videos were me talking to myself in my car. All bad. But I still got the rush every time I hit publish. It doesn’t have to be videos either. It can be whatever you want to make. But the thing doesn’t matter, the rush is what you’re after.
I’ve watched my latest video over half a dozen times. I smile and laugh every time. My brother edited it for me. He wants to get better at video editing. He did a great job.
My channel now has a trailer. Like the trailers you see you for movies. It’s got all the things I’m into, food, movement and learning. Plus it’s funny.
It’s okay to be selfish sometimes. You have to become your own biggest fan. If not you, who?
I’m my own biggest fan.
PS my little brother, Sam, is giving himself a 100 day challenge for making videos. He wants to make a video a day for 100 days and show people different parts of Brisbane at the same time. Here’s his first one. Hold him to it.