See behind the scenes at FHM in ITV2 show The Exclusives
FHM Deputy Editor Dan Jude
Profile of ITV2's The Exclusives mentor and FHM Deputy Editor, Dan Jude
From as far back as I can remember I’ve always been a lover of magazines. I was a big reader as a kid, and as I worked my way through school I started to write more and more, at any opportunity.
I went to Bristol University to study English and Philosophy after a gap yaah, which consisted of two hours of lectures a week, lots of drinking, and a few essays here and there. Not overwhelmed by the workload, I got increasingly involved with student media opportunities, first writing regular gig and album reviews for the Uni paper The Epigram, then co-presenting a radio show on BURST FM with my soon-to-be-ex girlfriend. We once broke up live on air, delivering our highest listenership (double figures).
After uni, I briefly flirted with the notion of becoming a film-maker, so I moved to New York so I could study at the New York Film Academy and tell lots of pretty American girls that Hugh Grant went to my school (he did). However I soon realised that my passion was words, not moving pictures, so I decided to move back to London to give journalism a shot.
At first it was a repeat of my pre- and mid-university experiences of the industry: work experience placements, unpaid internships and unsuccessful job applications. All of these were brilliant in their own ways, either for helping me get a taste of the industry, or making me even more resolved to succeed.
Finally I got my break, working on the launch of a magazine helmed by the unlikely triumvirate of Loaded founder James Brown, celeb Peaches Geldof and former Maxim Features Editor Dave Whitehouse. Dave and I produced two issues of Disappear Here in an office with a handful of interns, many packets of biscuits and virtually no money, until we all realised that creating a free, high-quality, not-particularly ad-friendly youth culture magazine in the middle of the worst recession in several decades is actually quite tough.
By the time we decided to let go of Disappear Here, I’d built up enough contacts to go freelance. Somehow, I started writing for all the big women’s magazines, doing everything from going on a hen-do to infiltrating a community of pick-up-artists. Temporarily being Cosmo’s sexpert was the culmination of this part of my career.
After a while I started writing more and more for luxury titles, largely due to the nice trips I was often able to go on, and when a job came up for a Managing Editor at luxury title Shop, I went for it and got it. I didn’t tell my interviewers that I didn’t actually know what a Managing Editor does.
Eighteen months later, we’d taken the mag from four cities around the world to 40, and I was starting to yearn for a new challenge, when serendipitously I was approached by a new FHM editor I’d previously applied for a job with. (He later told me I had ruled myself out of that job due to cancelling successive interviews on account of kidney stones. Tip: don’t get kidney stones.)
Life has a funny way of working out though, and now I’m in my dream job. The pressure is intense, the hours can be social-life-destroying, and there are plenty of swings and roundabouts, but I love it. Highlights to date have included seeing lots of hot celebrities in their underwear, hanging out with Usain Bolt in Jamaica, getting wasted with Rizzle Kicks in Ibiza, riding on the back of a Ducati at 300kph and peeing next to One Direction at the Brits.
Yes, there are lots of perks, but at the end of the day the best thing about the job is being able to do something you love every day, and make a magazine that you’re truly proud of. When it all comes together, there is no better feeling in the world than seeing that magazine that you helped create in your local Tesco. The first time that happens is when you realise all the hard work and bullshit you’ve put up with over the years is worth it.
Dan's bullet point tips on how to get into the industry
- Write, write, write, write, write. Every time you write you improve at writing. I’m a better writer today than I was a year ago, and I’ll be better in a year than I am now. It doesn’t matter if it gets published or not, writing is a discipline like any other that needs a hell of a lot of practice.
- Read. A lot. And then write down turns of phrase, words, headlines, similes, metaphors – anything, basically – from writers you admire. Don’t ever copy or steal from others, but learn from them. Writing’s a bit like stand-up comedy – once you have a formula and your own style you’re half way there.
- Keep a notebook and a pen in your pocket. And write down ideas every day. 90% of them will be crap, but if you write down 10 a day, that’s 7 good ideas a week.
- Don’t email people if you’ve got nothing to say. If someone emails me with a CV I delete it straight away. If someone emails me with a list of ideas that make me chuckle, I’ll read it all the way through.
- Have personality. Whether you’re writing an article or applying for a job, inject colour into it. I’d rather be offended than bored.
- Respect your boss, but don’t be a brown-noser. No one likes a sycophant.
- Similarly, don’t be a yes man. Have the balls to stand up for what you believe in. If you don’t have integrity, you’re fucked.
- Remember that the people you step on while you’re on the way up will kick you when you’re on the way down. Treat everyone with respect, even if you don’t like them.
- Don’t ever email when drunk. It can only end badly.
- Do write when drunk. Just edit it the next morning.
- Always remember the reader. There’s no point making a mag you want to read if no one else wants to.
- Be multi-skilled. Future-proof yourself with digital knowledge. In 5 years you’ll be glad.
- If you see something you like, cut it out and keep it. Remember that inspiration comes from many places.
- Make tea. Lots of tea. This may be your best chance to meet the people who’ll one day be giving you a job.
Also available from FHM
Improve your skills
One of the great features on William Hill poker is the ability to replay any hand from the last 30 days, and review each event bet by bet. Learn from your mistakes.
Girlfriends! Flirting! Sex!
There are thousands of girls taking pictures of themselves in their bedrooms on FHM Single Girls. Some want you for flirty chat online, some want to meet you for mischief
More collections in Entertainment
The five biggest console releases of 2009
Brace your thumbs. It’s another killer year for gaming
Ten gadgets we (and the world) forgot
A goodbye was what these gadgets deserved long ago
Ten remakes that beat the originals
Not just better – much better
Ten movies not to be missed in 2009
Reschedule weddings. Cancel bar mitzvahs. Fuck funerals
The Specials! Franz! Dre! Your soundtrack to ‘09
We’ve weeded out the tripe so you don’t have to
The 20 best adverts of 2008
Every genuinely funny ad from the past 12 months
The London Astoria’s ten best gigs
They’ve shut it down, but they can’t destroy the good times
Ten cinematic Nazis who brim with pure evil
Tom Cruise not included. Because he's rubbish
The FHM Top 10 celebrity meltdowns
Those high-fliers have so far to fall
Remember these? The 25 best ad jingles – ever!
See the ad, buy the product and sing the jingle forever
The 10 scariest games of all time
Be afraid. Be very afraid
The 10 coolest movie speeches ever uttered
If only all these actors were in one mega-movie...
FHM’s festival preview: better than all the others
There are fields everywhere to get bollocksed in
Ten films that only make real sense after the pub
When you’ve had a skinful, only certain films will do
FHM’s 100 Greatest Games of All Time
We salute the best games ever made...
10 films that should've been good. But weren't
The ones which let us down in a big way
The 10 best movie heists of all time
Stealing: officially big and clever
Twelve golden TV sex moments
They shaped our young lives. And the contours of our pants
Double acts: FHM's top 10 famous duos
Double acts: we take a look back at the 10 best famous duos in film, television, and pretty much everything in pop...
The 10 best British TV shows of 2009
Sod The Wire, British TV is the real deal
FHM’s guide to your soundtrack of 2010
One year, 12 artists, an infinite number of good times
Ten of the best… comedians
Spurious claim alert: comedians are the new rock stars. Justification of spurious claim: in the absence of anyone in...
FHM checks out Wall Street
When most people notice a film is coming out their reaction is something like “That looks good, I definitely want to...
Classic lip smackers
There’s great food and then there’s the kind of food that makes you sad inside. When you are full, but your...
FHM (and Ian Woosnam) take on America at golf
At 3.23pm on Monday the 4th of October 2010, FHM was sitting in this very office, nervously watching the small flat...
FHM’s Top Ten iTunes Festival gigs
Even if you’re not lucky enough to bag tickets, you can stream most of the gigs live on iTunes. Or just read our irreverent...
How FHM became a Hollywood star (kind of)
It’s 4am, it’s pitch black, and a half-asleep FHM is squeezing his car between a Sherman tank and a palm tree. This...
See behind the scenes at FHM in ITV2 show The Exclusives
We're appearing on ace new ITV2 show, The Exclusives, where you can have a gander at what goes on in FHM towers...