Category Archives: TV Journalist

Millions Watch Dan Babic in viral “Watch Me” parody

Dan Babic and Caitlyn Jenner

“I didn’t wake up to be mediocre.” This simple mantra is what pushes Australian Television Host Dan Babic every day. He doesn’t accept anything other than excellence, and those who have followed his career know this to be true. He is truly extraordinary, and at just 23, he has emerged as one of Australia’s most high-profile entertainment journalists.

Babic’s online television show AfterBuzz TV has over 20 million downloads a week in 150 countries. He has interviewed some of the world’s most recognizable celebrities, such as icons Caitlyn Jenner and Kim Kardashian, as well as Academy Award winners like Kathy Bates and Brie Larson.

Entertainment journalism and hosting is something that chose me. As long as I can remember, it has been the only thing I have wanted to do,” said Babic. “We live in what appears to be such a dark world at times, so I live for my moment on screen where I can help provide escapism and take audiences away from the hardships they may be facing. I love the power it gives me to brighten one’s day and the ability to just make people laugh.”

In the parody music video of the hit song “Watch Me” by Silento, Babic does just what he aims to do, and gives audiences around the world the opportunity to watch a video and escape. The hilarious video features Babic dancing and rapping a line in the song. His reputation and popularity greatly contributed to the video’s massive success, going viral and amassing over 20 million views on YouTube alone.

“Although we truly believed in the project, nothing is more validating than knowing all your hard work has paid off. While we were confident in the final result, my grandmother taught me to ‘never count your chickens before they hatch.’ There is always that slight feeling of fear upon releasing a video to the world that your intention of proving joy and laughter could be ill-conceived and taken out of context. Reading all the comments from fans provides the upmost feeling of joy knowing that through my talent and work I was able to make someone smile. It’s why I get up every day and continue to have the success I have in the entertainment industry. I see what I do as service to others.”

The video, by YouTube sensation Bart Baker, is four minutes of talent. It was written by Eli Braden, who is responsible for some of Howard Stern’s, Jimmy Kimmel’s and Joan Rivers’ most successful content. Babic had always wanted to work with the writer, and therefore jumped at the opportunity when it arrived. Knowing the necessity of having a distinct leader in the industry who would not only boost views on the video, but also who have the ability to make audiences laugh, Babic was approached to be a part of the parody. There are several controversial moments in the video, which are necessary for the humor, and Babic’s role provides the light-hearted moment needed to capture audiences.

“Production chose not to take the risk of using an on-camera personality without a notable acclaimed track record and requested my work on the project. Having notoriety in the television industry is something I don’t take nonchalantly. I am well aware of that my regard is rare and the ability to entertain millions though my personality is a true gift. I was therefore thrilled to have the confidence and respect of acclaimed industry professionals and was very excited to collaborate with successful individuals at the top of their field,” said Babic.

The video largely takes place in a gymnasium, with various characters dancing in the background and appearing on screen. Regardless of his crucial role in the parody, Babic says working on the project was very relaxed and filled with constant laughter. He was working alongside comedic experts, an exciting experience for the television host. When shooting the parody’s make-or-break moment, he felt completely confident in his ability to use his improvisational skills to create laughter. He trusted his instincts, and helped make the moment triumphant and made a moment with darker humor very tasteful. His versatility is evident, and his cameo impressed many around the world.

“The parody was an instant hit, and Dan’s leading and critical role as a television personality held tremendous weight in the production. His role in the music video worked similarly to having film stars in music videos, as fans looked forward to seeing one of their favorite TV hosts in the music video, where he was even key in pointing out the surprising twist at the end of the music video. The parody video of ‘Watch Me’ garnered an incomprehensible 20 million views on YouTube, an impressive feat which highlights not only the immeasurable success of the music video itself, but of the impact Dan’s role had on attracting viewers to come and pick out his part. This, paired with overwhelming praise from fans as well as over 180,000 likes for the video on YouTube, is incontrovertible evidence of the massive commercial success of the music video, and of Dan’s leading and critical role therein,” said Heidi Jo Markel, CEO of Eclectic Pictures who has worked with Babic in the past.

The day-to-day structure involved each industry professional staying in their lane and using their well-regarded creative instincts to ensure the project’s success. Babic was surrounded by other industry leaders on the video, and when everyone from different fields came together with one goal in mind, it was the best part of the experience for the entertainment journalist.

“Working with notable, celebrated professionals in the entertainment industry is inspiring, the project allowing us to each learn from one another and admire each other’s unique gifts and rare talent. I’m a big believer that you are your environment and felt extremely grateful to be in the position I am in,” Babic concluded. “I never take this for granted and as a host live for bringing people together in laughter, entertainment and good times. With so many views of the parody, it is safe to say our work put a smile on millions of people’s faces across the world. That’s what the world needs more of after all.”

You can watch the “Watch Me” parody video here, and prepare to feel the sense of escapism that Babic always aims for, and always achieves.

Adversity and Success – The Unconventional Career of Tim Hauraney

By Martin Desouza 

It is undeniable that in the pursuit of a passion, adversity is inevitable. Canadian professional racecar driver Tim Hauraney came to this realization early and often in his career. No matter how fast he could drive, adversity would catch up to him around every corner, and straightaway.

Hauraney recounts several difficult situations he had been able to endure in his pursuit of becoming a professional.

In racing academy, Hauraney would spend months fixing cars for 12 hours a day, seven days a week, just to be able to test the Formula 2000 cars and sharpen his skills.

While racing in the ChampCar Atlantic Championship, Hauraney had to place high enough in each race to earn enough prize money to finance the next race.

Hauraney was even forced to sleep in the transport truck, which carried his car on a tour across North America, while competing in the Formula Renault Series (Fran-Am) – a feeder system into Formula 1.

“While other drivers were flying first class and sleeping in five star hotels, I laid my head to rest at many of the wonderful roadside truck stops across America. Truck stops are… interesting places to say the least,” Hauraney laughs.

Despite all of the challenges, nothing compared to 2008 when North America entered the worst recession in 75 years.

“I drove a rusty old 1987 Mazda 626 with no heat,” Hauraney says.

Not exactly the car you’d expect one of Canada’s most illustrious racecar drivers to use to earn a living.

“Sponsors and owners tightened their wallets, racing teams folded, and I had to find a way to earn a living. I moved home to Peterborough, Ontario and got a job delivering pizzas.” Hauraney says.

In 2008, Hauraney was a local celebrity known for driving some of the fastest, most expensive automobiles on the planet, who found himself driving a car worth $800, chasing teenagers for tips. He went on to confess that it was without a doubt the lowest point of his career.

Prior to the recession, Tim Hauraney was one of the most promising young drivers in racing.

In 2005, the Formula Ford 1600 rookie of the year found himself all over newspapers and magazines as he made his ChampCar Toyota Atlantic Debut at the Honda Indy in Toronto, his home event. Race fans knew Hauraney as an aggressive, dynamic, and calculated driver. Owners and managers knew his true strengths were in his knowledge of the cars, his attention to detail, and his ability to provide accurate feedback for his team to make adjustments on the fly. This ability was the most important characteristic that teams look for in their driver and one that helped Hauraney develop an elite reputation in the racing community.

In 2008, however, Hauraney’s abilities and reputation didn’t matter to team owners.

“Teams were looking for money, not talent. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the financial support that many other drivers had, so I was left without a team to drive for. Psychologically, It was very difficult to accept. I definitely felt that my passion for racing was fading,” Hauraney describes.

A passion that began by fixing cars with his father, and grew stronger watching the likes of Brazilian F1 driver Ayrton Senna tear up the track on TV, was once again struck with the difficult reality that auto racing is the most expensive sport in the world.

A full season competing as a semi-professional racecar driver costs about $1,000,000, which made sponsorships, and wealthy team ownership essential.

Even though Hauraney was no longer racing, he did maintain a part-time job touring the US working for car manufacturing companies on a segment called “Editor for a Day.” He would educate consumers using his expert knowledge of cars, while they test-drove the cars on a track. The driving program was turned into a TV commercial and aired in several states.

“I played an intricate role in developing the program and the production experience added a new dimension to my career,” Hauraney says.

This experience helped Hauraney to transition when a new opportunity presented itself from an unlikely source.

Prior to Dan O’Toole becoming the news anchor for Fox Sports Live in the United States, he was the anchor for TSN in Toronto.

O’Toole is a big racing fan and a former fan of Hauraney’s. The anchor recognized that Hauraney’s racing career had slowed down as a result of the recession and he asked Hauraney if he’d ever considered applying his professional racing knowledge and experience to a role in sports media.

O’Toole recommended that Hauraney take a crash course in journalism at the Toronto College of Sports Media.

“Dan pulled me aside and pointed out that racing is a good niche for TSN which I could add value to. He knew TSN’s Formula 1 product could be better and that there was huge potential for me, and the product” Hauraney says.

As he had done so often in his career, Hauraney put his head down and worked relentlessly to learn the ins and outs of his newfound industry.

He spent months learning as much as he could about the production process, and before he knew it, he became a lead producer for TSN’s racing content, and the official racing analyst.

Hauraney has interviewed some of racing’s biggest stars including the likes of James Hinchcliffe, Nicholas Latifi, Lance Stroll, and Lewis Hamilton.

When asked how Hauraney handled the challenging transition, O’Toole says, “Tim was able to make the jump from the driver seat, to the analyst seat, without even a wobble. He brought his expertise as a racer, and delivered it to the viewer in a very digestible way. Tim not only has the ability to break down races, but also get inside the minds of the current drivers, like he did with Lewis Hamilton.”

Evidently, what seemed like an unfortunate end to a once promising career became revitalized by the perseverance of a man so committed to his craft.

These days, Hauraney continues to apply his advanced knowledge of cars as a product specialist for Ferrari and Maserati.

He also helped forge a television deal between TSN and Nissan in which he acts as the producer and star of their television commercials.

The zealous athlete turned analyst is evidence that through determination and persistence, no amount of adversity can overcome a person committed to pursuing their passion.

Documentary Filmmaker Liliya Anisimova!

Director and TV Journalist Liliya Anisimova
         Director and TV Journalist Liliya Anisimova

Liliya Anisomova is a driven journalist who has always known what she wanted. As a young girl she would climb inside the cardboard box turned TV set, created by her grandparents, and drift away into her fantasy. For years she would play pretend, imagining herself as a news anchor; but she wouldn’t have to pretend much longer, as her ambition would soon make her dream a reality.

Even though she had been freelancing since the age of 13 it wasn’t until age 16 that Liliya kicked her goals into overdrive. Not one to wait around for things to come to her, Liliya moved from her hometown of Volgograd, Russia to Moscow to become a TV Journalist. Her forward thinking and direct approach has lead her to many opportunities. When she felt like she wasn’t getting the experience she needed she didn’t sit around feeling sorry for herself, she got up and did something about it.

When Liliya, a self confessed travel junkie, stumbled across the Russian Travel Guide one afternoon it was love at first site. After contacting RTG TV, she was a part of the team in less than 24 hours. Through her role at RTG, she was lucky enough to work with a range of talented directors, which planted the seed for her next move.

She says, “The more I was watching experienced directors working on documentaries for Russian Travel Guide the more I wanted to try it myself. I learned a lot while working there, but I knew it was time I did it myself.”

Watching directors work their magic sparked something within Liliya. She wanted to share her vision and help others share their stories; and, ever since she began her directing journey, she has continued to produce compelling documentaries.

She moved to New York soon after where she began directing her first documentary, Magic of the Underground. The film details the life of Steve, a generous New York Subway magician who not only got people to notice him, but also brought laughter to his audience. As this was her first documentary, Liliya learned a lot about the relationship between a director and their subject– something that would serve as an important lesson for all of her future film projects.

About working with Steve, Liliya explains, “He let me into his life. Sometimes it was even overwhelming, as he would call me in the middle of the night crying and complaining about depression, or other personal problems.”

Liliya’s more recent film Love is the Highest Law, which was released at the end of 2014, is just as touching, but this time she chose to take on the politically charged and controversial topic of gay rights in Russia. As an Official Selection of the Queer Film Festival, Liliya’s film screened at the University of Oregon where she was invited to talk about gay rights and her experience making the film.

Something that comes across in all of Liliya’s work is her incessant bravery. She is not afraid to be honest, share tough stories and speak up for what she believes in, characteristics that make all of her projects as informative as they are groundbreaking.