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What's the secret, people ask, why do people openly discuss their lives with you on national television? ANDREW L. URBAN, who thought up the idea and who talks to anyone he meets, answers the question.

The secret is no secret; just like Front Up itself, it's a simple thing, although it should not be confused with 'simplistic'. The simple thing is this: everyone in a crowd is an individual. Every one of us has a complex emotional, physical and psychological life. Nobody is a stereotype, even if they look like one. Front Up accepts that and relishes in it. Our aim is not to minimise people on tv, but to allow them to expand.

As a journalist and writer, my intense interest is in the human condition; the uniqueness of every face is a physical symbol for the uniqueness of every heart. Behind every suburban door is a family of complex individuals whose relationships are no less explosive, amazing - or sometimes humdrum - than those of the great stars and celebrities. But they are all as unique. And each one of us can recognise similarities as well as differences, making other people at once familiar and strange.

In my profession as a film journalist, I regularly interview people whose very career involves being interviewed, promoting themselves or their films; Jim Carrey, Sharon Stone, Michael Douglas, Gregory Peck, Toni Collette, Bryan Brown, Russell Crowe, Jack Thompson, and so on.

In Front Up, I interview people with no public profile, people who have no agenda to be interviewed and set out on their day without any notion that they would spend 20 minutes or so discussing their lives on national television. It's a very different thing. The substance of the conversation is changed from what people DO to what they ARE.

This is the endlessly fascinating aspect of Front Up. At least for me.

I hope you enjoy meeting the folks in Series 7: and I thank them all most profoundly for their generosity in spending their time and sharing some of their life.

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Andrew L. Urban


Front Up
Series 7: from December 7, 1999

Series 8

SBS Television
Tuesdays 7.30pm 8pm

Repeats: Thursdays 4pm


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