Travelling around the world is all fun, games and a career for personality Reuben Mourad.
You may have previously heard his voice on Sydney and Melbourne radio, as well as presenting the weather on your flat screen television. Today, the multi-talented presenter, 2013 CLEO Bachelor finalist and MC Reuben Mourad travels the world and makes you unintentionally envious of his explorations, activities, and delicious food consumption. He presents these adventures on his YouTube and Facebook channels, as well as instagram, Twitter and Snapchat (@ReubenMourad) for the in-between takes. This guy doesn’t stop having fun!
I’ve been following his career since his early days getting his foot in the door in radio broadcasting. After digesting a fair amount of his YouTube channel of late, I finally decided to stretch the friendship and have a chat to a friend I’ve admired for quite a while for getting out there and making stuff that’s heaps of fun (and can be heaps of fattening with the amount of cronuts consumed!)
Briefly tell me your media career background.
So I need to start by first saying that it was never my intention to be a TV host at all. I actually went to Sydney University and did a BA, before being accepted into a postgrad cadetship program at UNSW for Marketing, which then led to a job in media sales with the Australian Radio Network. During my university life, I was doing voiceovers on the side to make a little coin, and the radio network encouraged me to try some on air announcing, where I had a lot of people generously giving me advice and coaching me in delivering a radio show. From there, ARN put me forward to complete my post grad studies at the Australian Television and Film School, to become a Program Director, but as luck would have it, I was encouraged by the TV department to get into on camera hosting, and literally sat me in front of a camera (for the first time in my life) and said, “talk”. The next week, I started a job at Foxtel on The Weather Channel. It all happened so ridiculously quickly and unexpectedly – literally within a week from “you should try TV hosting” to “you start on Monday”, so I really didn’t have time to process it, or realize what exactly was happening!
What made you pull up stumps from being weatherman at Network TEN, to hopping on a plane to the US?
I was asked to join Network TEN for the launch of their new morning program, Breakfast. I was the on the ground, man on the street cast member who would traveled around the world covering all different types of events and doing color pieces, etc, which was a great role for me – it allowed me to be myself, and to just enjoy the thrills of live television. Alongside this, they asked me to present the weather on the national evening news on the weekends, which I also enjoyed. It was a great team, and being able to work with Natarsha Belling, Matt Doran and Rob Canning was an absolute dream – they were honestly some of the best people I’ve worked with, and the most fun times in my career. But unfortunately, when TEN went through rough times, programs were cancelled and people lost their jobs, and everything changed so suddenly. I still remember sitting up in the TEN boardroom with the CEO at the time, and him asking me, “So what do you want to do?”, and me telling him that I’ve always wanted to work overseas and give it a go in the US. He told me that he thought it was the right time to do that, considering the lack of opportunities for me with the network at that time, and assured me that I could always come back – so with his blessing, I packed up my stuff and literally bought a one way ticket to the US.
What does your team consist of, in order to film a segment?
It really depends on what I’m working on, and the end broadcast medium. I’ve been on shoots here in LA that took place in the same studio as Suicide Squad and Mad Men, and they’ve involved a crew of literally over 50 people – I felt like such a tiny fish in that huge sea of Hollywood! But at the same time, I also regularly shoot with just one cameraman. So much of my work is on the road, and I shoot around the world, so traveling light is mandatory. A lot of the time, I produce and edit my own pieces too, which allows me to really take ownership of the whole process.
How much time and effort goes into producing a segment?
I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to producing pieces, to be honest – and a lot of the time, I’ll put it together using the skills I learnt in a newsroom. I like to go into a shoot knowing exactly what structure the piece is going to take, but I never let that take away from the real experience that I’m going to capture, so sometimes, I have to change things completely on the fly. The biggest time consumer for me is the editing process, and that’s really what slows me down. If I had it my way, I’d be turning out pieces every day!
What would be your favourite event / location you have reported on, so far?
I’ve had so many ridiculous experiences and events that I’ve been able to go to around the world – this is a very tough one. But, I have to say that one of the best things I’ve ever got to do, was been being able to fly onto a navy warship in a seahawk helicopter, where I spent the night with the crew, talking to them about their deployment. It was such a foreign experience for me, and most of all, gave me such an incredible respect for the navy.
And your least favourite (The Skyslide in LA gave me the sweats!)?
Yeah, the Skyslide in LA was pretty terrifying, because I have a fear of heights. I was shooting a piece on the Gold Coast in Australia, and was asked to skydive… which, honestly, is at the bottom of my list of things I want to do. But, I strapped on a parachute, and climbed up 12,000ft in the air and jumped (ok, I was thrown) out of a perfectly good plane – and the worst part was having to talk to a camera when I landed, when all I wanted to do was vomit.
What would be your event / location to experience?
Last year, I shot a week on board a boat, sailing around Croatia for the first time. It was truly an incredible part of the world. It’s the best way to see such a beautiful and magnificent coastline, and the waters are some of the clearest you’ll ever swim in. On the other opposite extreme, I shot in Alaska last Spring, and it was, without question, one of the most unique travel experiences I’ve ever had. We travelled to Fairbanks to go dog sledding, and it was like walking into a postcard. At that time of year, it’s still snowing, and still very cold, but not the ridiculous conditions that you might get in winter, so it was perfect for me. And dog sledding – wow. Where do you start? It was one of the incredible moments where you’re just surrounded by snow covered forests, sailing through the wind behind a pack of beautiful dogs, thinking, “is this really happening?”.
As you’re having the time of your life making these segments, what will you do if you actually go on a ‘holiday’?
It’s funny you say that, because honestly, when you’re on location shooting, you’re in total work mode. And when I travel with people, and they get to see me working, they’re often really surprised by how much goes into a short video. I say I’d love to go on a vacation where I don’t have a camera, but I don’t know if I’d be able to do it! My mind is so trained to think about how to capture experiences on camera, that it’s hard for me to switch off – but I am trying to get out of a work headspace more often, and to just enjoy my down time in a location as my own experience of a new part of the world. Despite what I do for work, I still firmly believe that the best way to explore the world is to appreciate the experience, and to take in every aspect of that moment.
Profile Photo: Raul Romo (raulromo.com)