So you want to be a reality TV star?
The first wristbands for Thursday’s “X-Factor” auditions in New Jersey were distributed at 6 a.m. — on Wednesday.
With that many people looking to get discovered on reality TV — or just be a cringe-worthy clip in the outtakes — it’s tough to land a spot on even the B-team shows.
We checked in with the experts to see how those of us who aren’t Top Chefs can score a little camera time.
Don’t hide your charm — or crazy
“I think the No. 1 quality of a good reality star is that they’re a Type A personality; they’re willing to discuss everything they’re thinking in the moment,” says TV critic Andy Dehnart, who writes about reality TV at RealityBlurred.com. “The best reality stars are not introspective, quiet people, because that doesn’t translate well to TV.”
Be yourself, but a camera-friendly version of you
As the founder of the New York Reality TV School, Robert Galinsky trains wannabe reality stars how to appeal to casting directors. But his sessions aren’t so much about creating a character as they are about making your own personality camera-ready. “You need to wear it on your sleeve, but it needs to be true,” he says. “Audiences are getting smarter.”
Have a story …
Four-time Emmy winner Terence Noonan is constantly pitched shows — hint: There is no room for “the next Paula Deen” — but he discovered the stars of his TLC show “DC Cupcakes” when he stopped in their bakery. And it wasn’t the phenomenal buttercream that sold him: “There was this story of sisterhood, giving up your jobs and taking a chance — as a producer, I’m always looking for a story,” he says.
… And then stick with that story
Once you’ve landed the gig, you need to keep doing what got you on TV in the first place.
“If you want to be on a reality show, never stop doing the thing that got you a reality show,” advises Noonan. “Don’t think you’re ever too good for the cupcakes — you can’t be too good for the cupcakes.”
How to apply
Individual shows and networks have applications on their websites (MTV, for example, kindly pools together its gigantic amount of opportunities at www.mtv.com/ontv/casting
call). Other sites — such as RealityWanted.com — post casting calls and connect producers with potential cast members who have profiles on the site.
But don’t apply to every show, every season, warns Dehnart.
“One of the reasons ‘Survivor’ recruits people now is because they get a lot of the same applications again and again,” he says. “Most shows are not going to be interested in someone like that — they want someone who is interested in the show and what they’re doing, not just fame.”