As part of the Beyond Reality interview series, I interviewed Alex Spurway, a supervising control room producer and story producer whose reality TV experience includes, Married at First Sight, Love Island and Australian Survivor. I chat to Alex about how she started her career on the Today Show, what it’s like to be an executive producer in the competitive world of breakfast radio and how she eventually found her place in reality TV.
“It’s taken working in breakfast TV, going to radio, thinking I wanted to do politics and I finally found what I really wanted to do. Being in reality…it felt like home.”
To listen to the full interview, check out the Beyond Reality podcast here: Beyond Reality – Alex Spurway.
Did you always want to work in TV?
Oh absolutely not! I used to want to be a diplomat! I wanted to work in politics, I wanted to have security clearances at airports, I didn’t want to be in TV until a little later. It kind of fell into my lap in a sense.
Did you go to University and if so, what did you study?
Yeah, so I studied a Bachelor of International Studies with a major in Government and International Relations. Then I did a Masters in International Security.
What was your first job in TV and how did you land it?
I’d just finished both degrees, I had done an internship for about a year for the state government and I just decided that politics was not for me. I just went, I’m going to see what else is out there. And then, my sister was working at Today Show and I was looking for full time work and she told me they were looking for a Meet and Greet Producer, which is like your entry-level producer. You meet and greet guests in the morning, you get the hosts coffees and I thought that would be fun, I think I’d be good at that. She told me that Tom Malone was the executive producer, my mum works in radio, she hired Tom Malone as a cadet when he was about 18, so I kind of had an in to be honest, to get an interview. Anyway, I got the job and it really then shaped my career in television.
What’s your best piece of advice for someone starting out in TV?
Assumption is your worst enemy! Never assume! Always ask questions. If you don’t know something, don’t pretend you do because that is where mistakes are made and where a huge issue could happen because you’re too scared to speak up.
Want to hear more stories from the people behind the TV shows you love? Check out my interviews with Lighting Cameraman, Paul Webb or Sound Recordist, Nick Peterson.
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Alex Spurway is an Australian-based TV producer who has worked on shows including; MAFS (Married At First Sight), Australian Survivor, Big Brother, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! and Love Island Australia.