Filming “The Good Life” IRT Internet News & Lifestyle Programme

IRTShooting the IRT Good Life TV programmeTwo years ago I was blogging about the International Day of the Older Person. At that time, a few of us residents had agreed to be filmed about our thoughts on retirement and getting older.

IRT (Illawarra Retirement Trust) is the operator of the over-55s village where I live, and they are very interested in creating age-friendly communities. As part of “supporting initiatives to change people’s perceptions of older people and of ageing” they came up with the idea to have a monthly, thirty minute, internet-based, news programme. 

I had already featured twice in their quarterly glossy magazine. Once, on the changing face of retirement – where they featured my decision to go to university at fifty-five – and the other time, on the release of I Belong to No One. I’m not saying I have become their “go-to gal” for these kinds of things, but, well, one thing led to another, and a few months ago I was asked if I would be interested in the gig as the newsreader for this latest venture.

Well, there’s not much I won’t try at least once – and hey! – sitting in front of a camera has to be less daunting than a tandem skydive, wouldn’t you think? (note to self, must use that skydive voucher before it expires). Besides, I was being asked to talk. Great! My nickname wasn’t motor-mouth for nothing!

I wasn’t a shoe-in for the role. IRT advertised a casting, and a number of men and women were short-listed. They settled on Pete Gatwood for the host, and then came – a screen test! Hilarious. I walked into the studio, was introduced to Pete, sat on a couch, had a few key phrases on a teleprompter pointed out, and then the idea was that Pete and I were to ad-lib from there! I had never seen a teleprompter before, and the subject of our banter was soccer (football). Most people know I am less than interested in sport. Pete threw me a line about my opinion of the game. For a moment I was tempted to throw back, “is that the one with the round or the pointy ball?“. I was also tempted to go off on a tangent, debating rugby league versus Australia rules football – and my preference for the latter because the guys wear very short shorts and sleeveless vests. In fact, my mind was so full of word pictures that I had to think fast to come back with a quip. That wasn’t too easy, I was still snuffly and thick-headed with a cold.

Well, we must have done all right together, as a few days later I heard the role was mine. I received a script shortly before filming, which included some complicated word structures (e.g. “intergenerational socialisation tool” ????? Ya what? Come again?) but I didn’t want to memorise the text in case it sounded too rehearsed. Learning how to read a teleprompter was a funny experience, a bit like the story of the Three Bears. The first run was too fast, the second run was too slow – but that run was just right. Except that it took more than three takes to get it right, and paragraph spaces had to be inserted to give me a chance to take a breath. At one stage I said, “I can’t even listen that fast – let alone speak!” Also, I am known for talking with my hands, and I was terrified I would let them flutter all over the place, so I anchored them firmly and didn’t move.

The programme was launched on – you guessed it – the 1st October, International Day of the Older Person. I have added a link below. You will note I have had a huge change of hairstyle in the subsequent two years since my first cameo appearance. You may also note where I take a deep breath, ready for the following sentences. And when you watch the segment on the 75 year old who still plays soccer every Saturday morning, you will realise why soccer was top of mind at the screen test.

Filming for the next episode is in a few day’s time. The producer went for “voice of authority” for the newsreader first time, plus I was trying to be serious for a change. I think it can be improved if I loosen up a little. In the voice-over I was smiling, and you can hear the difference in the voice. See what you think . . . (and yes, that complicated phrase was dropped!)

Garrulous Gwendoline 🙂 October 2015

Good Life Launch 2015-10-01 005





18 thoughts on “Filming “The Good Life” IRT Internet News & Lifestyle Programme

  1. Pingback: IRT Internet TV “The Good Life” Episode 2 – lifting the bar | The Reluctant Retiree

  2. Well done Gwen. Such a great story.Look forward to next installment! (and IRT show) We have been away for a week with our Austin Healey Car Club – Batemans bay and Bowral. Lots of laughs good food good company great weather and lots of car talk! It is an annual event. Have a good week and good luck with filming!


    • I have a tendency to agree to things and deal with the consequences when I get there. For me, it wasn’t so much reading from left to right, but remembering the phrase that had already rolled out of view by the time I was wrapping my mouth around it. It was different to reading a speech, and much different to having a conversation.


    • Underneath the makeup, yep, that’s me. Other reasons I look different is that I was being very, very serious, have grown my hair and had Colour foils put through AND wiggled off 17 pounds since this time last year. Hard to keep the weight off though! I have always struggled to keep my look the same. It’s one of the reasons I gave up trying to get any gigs in advertising. That’s another one of the things I tried my hand at in retirement 😀 The only job I got was advertising Depend Incontinent Pants in the print media! Hahahhaa


      • Sounds like you have many interesting possibilities in life!

        Now have South African visa almost in hand and booked a place in Cape Town for January. I will check out various possibilities, apartment, auto, volunteering (probably with Shine) etc. Will leave on safari end of January – Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda – and am still pondering all the variations on a theme. It is a “comfort” safari which means no bush camping and I am beside myself with excitement and anticipation. Will blog as I can but the idea is just having adventure before I’m too old. Hiking several times a week trying to be fit and strong .

        All best to you!!!


  3. How fun to be able to see you in person! You did a great job on this video. I had to look at it twice to figure out who you actually were- I guess in part because of the hair and the seriousness of the topic. I always picture you much more lighthearted for some reason. Maybe it’s because of that fabulous profile picture that you have on your blog.♡

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had to be very, very toned down for this event, but I think I went overboard. For the next programme, we are doing an outdoor cooking segment also, so am planning on being a bit more out there, along the lines of, “So, Ben, what are you cooking up for us today? Food? Oh great! I LOVE food! yum, yum, yum. Can you teach my husband how to cook that? I don’t possibly have time to do it myself” 🙂 And I’m not surprised you didn’t recognise me. My hair changes my look so dramatically, sometimes I don’t even recognise myself. (and I certainly don’t recognise that old woman in the bathroom mirror first thing in the morning).


  4. Great Gwen you wouldn’t know you weren’t a life-time, career TV person. I see what you mean about the serious approach, but just at the very end of your segment your eyes have a sparkle and you look a little more relaxed and friendly, and I think you’ve captured your ‘telly truth’! 😄
    And, I really like your new hair do – dynamic.


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