Annette Sharp holds a BAAS in Behavioral Science from Texas A&M. She is a counselor and motivator with an empathetic heart.
Have You Applied For a Reality Show?
Have you ever ever wondered how to get on a reality show? You can learn the do's and dont's from someone who's been there.
Know what to say during casting interviews as well as the three basic magic words to remember when applying for a reality TV show:
Enthusiasm, Originality and Spontaneity.
How To Be Selected For A Reality Show.
1. Search for on-line surveys
Look for surveys posted online about the development of a new show. They will usually post a bulletin on the main page of the site. It will say something like "Do You Have a Phobia? Does it interfere with your life?" or "XYZ is looking for contestants to participate in an exciting new reality show..." or "Have you ever wondered 'What If?'" It will be something catchy that will attract your attention. The reason they do this is because they are trying to determine what kind of response they're going to get.
If a production company is trying to 'pitch' a new show to the network and they want to see what kind of interest they can stir up with their particular idea, take advantage of it! They will usually display a 'response' box where you can type in your answer. Remember, if you stumble upon a survey like this, YOUR RESPONSE NEEDS TO ATTRACT THEIR ATTENTION. Type in a quick, to the point, description of why you are responding, or whatever they are asking for. If you're a good writer, that's a plus. Just type it in like you were talking to them on the phone, exactly like you actually talk in conversation. Don't worry about using big words to impress, just BE YOURSELF. Then click 'send'.
2. Go To An Open Casting Call.
Chances are, you already have a favorite show and you've been sending audition videos for every season. Let me tell you something. I don't know this for sure, but considering the amount of tapes they receive, I don't see how Casting can look at every single video that's sent in. Check the website closely and see if they give information on open casting calls, which are usually held in major cities across the U.S. Sometimes, though, a local radio or television station may send out a local 'casting call' to apply for a particular show. If you have the resources and time to attend an open casting call, especially if it's advertised directly by the network itself, GO! Here's why:
It will give you a chance to meet, face to face, with casting agents. They are going to be looking for your response, watching your expression, and especially checking out your personality. Oh, and of course, looks count (but it doesn't take a Dolly Parton or Tom Cruise look-alike to get on a reality show). Depending on the content of the show, they usually want everyday people, just like you and me. Weird people, shy people, outgoing people; you never know what they want. Just be yourself, answer questions directly, look them in the eye, and don't over-do it!
3. Submit Your Audition Video
Submit multiple videos, if necessary. Most networks supply a link where you can upload your video directly. Even if the casting agents don't look at all the submissions, maybe, just maybe, they will pick up your video and watch it.. Regardless, just submit them. In addition, follow the directions on the application EXACTLY. Don't miss anything. Most reality show applications are the same format, but each has exclusive directions. So read carefully. Be direct, and get creative with that video! But remember, they aren't always looking for 'perfection', or some outlandish display. Mine was down-to-earth. I didn't even think it was that good! But I just acted like MYSELF, and they liked it! I spoke to the viewer like I was speaking to an everyday individual about a particular subject.
4.Search for Ads from Placement Agencies.
Personally, I don't know how well these agencies actually do with placing an individual on a reality show, but I've run across many who claim to publish your photo and information directly to casting agents looking for contestants. You'll usually find these on your major Reality Web Sites like.....
There's lots of these websites out there. Use your Google OR BING Search engine!
NOTE: these placement agencies usually ask for a fee to list you Bio information, so be selective in choosing who you actually go with!
5. When You Are Called For An Interview
Okay, now is your chance! Once you get the call, you have usually made it to the semi-finals. You have got to get it together and be enthusiastic. Do not hesitate, just answer the questions they ask. The agent will be bubbly and project an air of real interest in you that will make you feel really important. When I got the first call, I was totally unprepared, but when I realized who I was actually talking to, my adrenaline started pumping!
I was animated with my responses (it's part of my personality, maybe not yours) and she loved it. It only took her a few minutes to say "You're funny! This is what I need you to do...send me a 3 minute video .....blah blah blah". And that was it. If the agent requests a submission video, application, or anything else, just say "sure" and get it done. The agent will try to create a sense of urgency to get it sent fast, so try not to stress too much. It is their job.
6. If You Make It To The Finals.
This could be your big break. Once you get to the Casting Department, you're going to be feeling pretty darned important. So stay cool, be yourself, and ask lots of questions. I drove the Casting Director's assistant crazy with all my questions. I wanted to find out exactly how they find contestants, what they are looking for, etc. She told me that they received thousands of responses to the original 'teaser survey' on the network's website. It was the type survey I spoke of in 1, above.
She said they read thousands of submissions, so I asked her "what made you pick mine?" And she said it was the way it was written, it stood out (I guess because I did it spontaneously). Then, the Casting Agent liked my response on the phone (enthusiasm). During the taped interviews at the Finals, I was animated, upbeat, and very descriptive when asked questions about my life; not to mention original. So, if you make it this far, your chances are really good.
Check out the advice from these casting agents
Remember the majic words when applying for a reality show:
Enthusiasm, Originality, Spontaneity.
Just a thought:
When I made my audition tapes (in a time when VHS was the primary way) I did not put a lot of thought into them, at first, because casting was pushing me to get them sent in ASAP. It seemed as though they liked my tapes that were not practiced (like all the one's I did for Survivor, and never got called!). I didn't even think my original audition tape was that good, but I remember the Producer telling me, "Yeah, when we heard you say 'such and such', that was really funny". Actually, I was speaking like I always do; but they liked it!
Submit Your Video And Application Now!
Do not wait! Submit your application today. The longer you wait, the easier it is for others to come in a step ahead of you.
Remember, you have the same chance as anyone else. Think positively, go for it and follow these suggestions. You might end up on the next season of your favorite reality show.
Other Suggested Reading:
- Reality TV Show Reject: A Contestant's True Story
Get the inside scoop on what goes on behind the scenes of the reality show casting process. Find out how Hollywood and production companies control the rights of reality contestants.
This link gives you GREAT info, plus, actual videos showing the DO's & DON"Ts
- Casting Interviews - Reality TV Casting Interview Essentials Video - About.com
To compete with the countless other people at a casting audition, you need to impress the directors within the first 20 seconds of your interview. Learn how to wow everyone by presenting yourself in an interesting and authentic manner.
Great Link Here
Check this one out: >
This link provides some expert advice and information about interviewing for a reality show. Excellent information and worth exploring.
"Tips on what casting agents are looking for, body language and personality. Must read."
I checked the link out myself and found some really great tips.
Here Are A Few Links For Shows Currently Casting
- Are You Getting Ready to Buy a Home? : On TV : Home & Garden Television
Be On HGTV's House Hunters or House Hunters International -- If you're getting ready to buy a home in or near Santa Fe, Phoenix, Seattle, Washington or Augusta, Ga., then we'd like to put your story on TV!
- TLC Casting: About Our Shows: TLC
TLC is now casting.
- The Amazing Race Casting - How To Apply : The Amazing Race Casting
How To Apply To The Amazing Race
- How To Apply To Survivor : CBS Survivor Casting
How To Apply To CBS's Survivor
saif113sb on August 11, 2011:
Very informative hub.
Harvey Stelman from Illinois on September 06, 2009:
Now that Van Jones has departed, maybe we can all write about one Czar at a time and recruit others to do the same. They don't have to be on Hub, but it may spark some interest. What do you think?
There was no other way to contact you.
Annette Thomas (author) from United States on May 14, 2009:
What's your great idea? Wish I had a connection at the production company so you could pitch your idea, but I haven't had any contact with them for almost 5 years now. Once you're through, you're through. They wash their hands of you. I have my own ideas for a great show, too.
George Guzman on May 13, 2009:
I have a tremendous idea for a reality show Please contact me.