So you want to be a reality star…
You have your favorite reality shows and you are dying to get on it as well. Well the good news is that you don’t have to be an actor or model to get on reality TV. Reality TV is so popular because many of the people are not actors and the viewers relate to them. But just because it is called reality TV, there is little reality involved.
Many reality shows do have some scripting and the ones that don’t are heavily influenced by the producers. Have you ever seen a reality show where there was no villain or someone disliked? Probably not. People on reality TV are many times coached to fit a role or stereotype and producers request or encourage certain behaviors. Some shows actually do use actors who mold themselves to fit the part but many search for people who seem to fit what they are looking for, naturally.
Producers encourage certain behaviors because reality TV must have a certain amount of friction between the characters to make it interesting. You must love certain people and hate others, however, those roles are not always revealed to the participants and people have come out after the show aired to protest the way they were portrayed.
In reality TV a lot of footage will be filmed. You will have every minute filmed and later countless hours of footage will get cut down to an episode. The parts that are shown will be controlled by producers and may not be your best moments. Before going on the show, you will be required to sign releases to give producers all that power.
OK, so are you ready for all that? Will you be OK if you are shown in a light that you don’t like? Will your family, friends, employers be OK with that? Those are all questions you need to answer. Remember that reality TV is not really real at all. You will be on a set with dozens of people such as producers, camera guys and production crew. Will you be OK with having that many people around and having them film everything you do. Also, you will have to go through it pretending they’re not there to give viewers the perception of reality.
Luckily, there is pay. Most people do not go on a show for kicks. They do it for the fame and the fortune and reality TV can bring both. Often times characters that are well liked or totally hated get their own spin off show and countless appearances and interviews.
You want to be a reality star and now you want to know where to begin. You begin with finding out which shows you want to go on and learn everything about that show. Next you search for reality TV casting calls and see if and when those shows are casting.
The large and popular shows have well publicized casting calls and many go cross country to do the casting. Be prepared for competition. Shows like Survivor, The Amazing Race, X Factor, Top Model and many others have thousands of applicants and you will need to get yourself noticed in the crowd. New shows do much smaller casting calls that are not as well publicized and you will need to search them out. Once you found them and got an audition, you must be willing and able to travel to them at your own expense with no guarantee of acceptance.
Once you find the casting notice, you will submit your info and hope to get an audition. Most shows are looking for specific personalities and looks that producers think will make great TV. They want outgoing, dynamic individuals who will not shy away from the camera or a on screen fight. Knowing the show well will help you figure out what they are looking for. The show is looking for competitors and people with a very competitive spirit.
Shows like Fear Factor and Survivor will have strict physical requirements and need their contestants to be in great shape. If applying for a show with physical requirements make sure that you can easily meet those or you will not be considered.
If you do get that audition, be prepared to dazzle the casting directors without looking fake or scripted. Remember they are looking for interesting characters that viewers will understand. Think of how many times we see a person and know what they are about with only a few lines. Always keep in mind that this is “reality tv”, meaning producers want strong characters but need them to not be exaggerated so they look “real”. If you can get a strong image across without looking fake or rehearsed, you are off to a good start. A common complaint from casting directors is that people coming in to audition seem fake, rehearsed or playing a part. You always want to look genuine. If they think you are acting, so will the viewers.
Reality shows love the crazy characters, the over the top gay guy, the ditsy blonde, the loudmouth, etc. but they only like them if they seem real and not forced. Most of all, reality TV wants originality.
Most people tryout for shows over and over before actually getting on. With each tryout they learn more about what they are doing wrong and right. The more auditions you go to, the better you will be at it and hopefully at one of them you will have all your t’s crossed and i’s dotted to impress the casting directors enough to get on.
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