The Early Years no image

Published on January 17th, 2012 | by johnw

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On Ballarat TV

Leanne Waller, 2011

How long have you been teaching woodcarving, Leanne? How did you get into this?”

I was asked a number of questions, while the cameraman and assistants clamoured around, me and the person interviewing me. He was in his thirties, extremely professional but at the same time, humble and helpful. I thought he was handsome with his blonde hair and mullet. Everyone in the mid-1980’s had mullets, including me.

I turned towards the man with the mullet, aware of the cameras and replied to Glenn Ridge :”I have been teaching for a few years Glenn.”

In the 80’s Glenn Ridge hosted a Bendigo Music Program called Breezin, two Ballarat children’s television programs, Kids Only and Six’s Super Saturday Show and another 90 minute music show Off The Record.

Nearly a decade later, in April 1991, Glenn joined the Nine Network as host of the prime time quiz show Sale of the Century with co-host Jo Bailey, taking over from Tony Barber and Alyce Platt. He held the role for 10 years.

Right now, Glenn was interviewing me for a segment on Kids Only. A morning programme consisting of a mix of cartoons and live segments. It was aired in Ballarat and regional Victoria every Saturday morning.

Glenn and the crew came to the Woodcarving Academy to shoot the segment. A half a dozen of them arrived 10 minutes earlier than scheduled and I was still getting ready.

I shouted from the bathroom “will only be a few minutes…just need to finish the make-up”. I came out of the bathroom, Glenn and I locked eyes and I decided then and there I was totally in love. The love lasted for 24 hours until I realised he was very happily married. If this happened today I would have googled him and found out his marital status and anything else in 10 minutes. This was the mid 1980’s so I waited to ask a friend who knew him.

Glenn was such a professional and was a brilliant interviewer-asking all the right questions.

When he interviewed me I was conscious of sounding confident and making my answers interesting and not mono syllabic.

I distinctly remember, in an effort to come across professional and ‘relaxed’, I overused the word ‘Glenn’ putting it in every single sentence. I used it mid sentence:

“well as you can see Glenn we hold the gauge like this…” and
“I came to Ballarat at the age of 17 Glenn, to start the Academy”.

I started sentences with ‘Glenn’ such as “Glenn, I enjoy my job because….” and “Glenn, anyone can learn to wood carve…” and for good measure I threw it in a few more ‘Glenns’ where ever I could.

I felt silly as I wasn’t as ‘relaxed’ as I intended to be. I bet it drove them crazy in the editing room. I can hear them saying “this Leanne person…what is it with her and the Glenn word’.

When it was aired, there wasn’t a single Glenn in the entire segment. I don’t know how they edited it so well. All I can say is they were real pros!

Towards the end of shooting, we were standing upstairs in the room that showcased all the finished furniture. We were looking into a large wall mirror.

Glenn was asking me questions, followed by a nod. He nodded a few more times, and then after nodding to my answers, nodded some more. He was nodding an awful lot. Perhaps this was an inside trick of the trade?

Note to self“, I thought, “always throw in a few dozen nods”.

I later learned that these nods, or ‘noddies’ as they are called, are separately recorded in order to provide continuity between scenes when editing raw camera footage.

The finished segment which aired was terrific, especially the ending when the camera caught my reflection looking in the mirror, and Glenn responding with a trademark nod.

BTV6 also had a morning show consisting of newsy stories, entertainment and infomercials, much the same as the morning shows currently on Australian TV after 9am.

I was interviewed on this BTV6 Morning Show when they noticed an article I had published in Ballarat newspaper, The Courier. They approached me to be interviewed as an interest story. As i had my foot in the door, I approached them a few years later and did a follow-up segment.

I also went on a similar morning programme on Bendigo TV during my time at the woodcarving academy.

In 1985, in the second year of trading I was ready to expand.

I enquired into teaching lessons in Bendigo and Geelong…


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