HOW TO CAST FOR REALITY TV
Don’t be fooled by the flash and noise of Hollywood. Casting for Reality TV is not for the faint of heart. As a 20-year professional of casting for reality tv, let me give you some hot tips for success.
First, I think it is important to remember that Reality TV is a broad term for anything which involves a person who is playing themselves on tv. This of course can be everything from a GameShow(i.e. Wipeout) to a Docusoap (i.e. Keeping up with the Kardashians) So the first and most important thing you should consider for casting is, the creative. What type of show is it? What type of characters will you need? The stronger the creative vision the easier it is to find your starting place.
Assuming you have gotten all your legal documents approved. You move on to what I like to affectionately call the casting loop.
Step 1. OUTREACH
First step in the casting loop is to Create a Campaign and send it out into the universe. This is where the casting professional posts casting notices on all the sites they can. They may run Ads on IG, TikTok, FB or Google just like a normal marketing campaign. The goal is to do everything possible to bring awareness, legitimacy and excitement for the project to the Real People they are seeking based on the creative of the show. If they are looking for singles, you outreach to singles groups, if you are looking for designers, your start reaching out to all the designers, design schools and specialized organizations. Outreach is all about being consistent with your message so that it can eventually penetrate the world you are looking for. By creating a professional flyer and campaign you will receive the highest response rate. One thing to remember is that the Flyer and the app and a website presence are all there to show legitimacy of the project. Your most successful outreach will usually come from DM, Recruiting, Cold Calls, Referrals.
Step 2. FILTER, SCHEDULE, AND INTERVIEW YOUR RESPONSES
The second phase in the loop is an extensive process that includes a pre-interview by an AP who will ask the Real Person Talent questions related to the creative. Depending on the show some people will not qualify to participate. If they qualify, they will be scheduled for Step 3. During this step AP’s prep the Talent they are moving forward for the Interview with the Producer. It is important the talent is camera ready and has a general idea of what they are going to be talking about on camera.
Step 3. INTERVIEW & EDIT
The third step in Reality Tv casting, is the Casting Interview and Edit. This is the moment for our Real People Talent to shine and tell their story. A Casting Producer will guide the Real Person Talent through interview questions based on the creative of the show and record the interview at the same time. Once the interview is complete The Casting Producer will work with an Editor to create a presentation Edit along with a Written One Sheet for Production and the Network.
Step 4. PITCH & FEEDBACK.
Step 4 is the final Step in the loop. Once you pitch your selects for the week you will get feedback from the decision makers on what is working and what needs to be adjusted. This is where casting really happens. Each show will constantly need some adjustments along the way to make sure you are meeting the creative of the show and bringing in a balance of characters. In my professional opinion it is important to get feedback all along the casting process from the highest up decision makers, so that by the time you are at the end of casting, you have been able to make all the adjustments needed to meet the creative.
Repeat the Loop Week by Week. Consistent outreach will produce consistent responses to filter and schedule. It is important to keep adjusting if people do not respond to your outreach.
At the end of a successful Reality TV casting project, you can be assured that the Casting Team has worked tirelessly to find amazing people to participate. The process takes a lot of patience and ability to take constant criticism. If you are great at talking to strangers, casting may be right for you.
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