As a reality TV producer and development executive, the first thing I’ll say is – we prefer “non-scripted” instead of “reality.” It just sounds better, right!?
My job is to find people who are worthy of a TV show, then convince networks why. That’s literally my job. No, it’s not as glamorous or easy as it sounds.
People often ask me how to get a reality show, how to be on reality TV, how to become famous, and how to get a reality show produced.
The answer to all those is fairly simple – no one really knows! Even as a non-scripted professional, I’m baffled every day by the people who get reality TV shows.
Like, how do some of these people get on TV!? Yes, we’re incredibly judgemental.
However, what I do know is what people like myself – the ones finding, developing, and pitching shows – look for in talent. In the beginning, it’s not about appealing to a network.
You have to get the attention of, then impress the development executives at production companies.
Follow these rules and increase your chances of being discovered!
How to Get a Reality Show
First a foremost, getting discovered can happen several different ways. If you’re active on social media and have videos on YouTube, you’re more likely to be found by someone like me scouring the web for talent. Make sure your content is exciting. Portray yourself in a way that is worthy of TV.
Not everyone has to be a Jeff Lewis, insane character, but if you’re boring…#OnToTheNextOne
If you don’t want to wait to be discovered and prefer a more aggressive approach, that can work too. For example, if you have a family business of deep-sea fishing and want to pitch you and your family for a show, find production companies that are behind similar shows.
REACH OUT TO PRODUCERS
Almost all production companies have websites (if they don’t they are not legit) with a “contact us” page. Do that!
You have to be thorough about your life/business/family, but brief. Producers HATE hearing “My family is so crazy!” and, “Everyone says I need a TV show!” Don’t say those things.
When reaching out to producers make sure you include photos of yourself and whoever is around you, plus everyone’s ages. We all want to know what the talent looks like and how old they are. If everyone is old, find some youngins!
That’s the other important thing – you alone are not a TV show. It’s important to have a cast of characters. A family business or group of friends is perfect – there are multiple cast members and the relationship history lends itself to lots of great storylines.
How to Become a Reality TV Star
If you’re someone who is just looking how to become a reality TV star and wants to be a cast member on an existing reality show (like Big Brother or Survivor), the process is similar but different.
Most shows have casting websites that can be easily found online. Having a solid casting tape is #1! These casting directors get hundreds, even thousands of submissions.
You need to stand out. Talking about your cute dog is not a selling point that will get you on TV.
Your pet peeves, the things that make you mad, your ambitious personality, why people should listen to you – those are the things that get casting directors excited!
Also, if you’re submitting a casting tape for Big Brother, you’re more than likely a fan of the show. You know what makes it on the air. So, use that to your advantage.
If you’re trying to get on a cooking show, do that same. Watch what the contestants on that show are like. You don’t have to be someone you’re not, but be aware of what types of people they are casting.
How Can I Get a Reality Show?
If I can’t stalk you on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, a website…you don’t exist in my world. I personally use Instagram every day to search for talent. Hashtags are your friend!
Flipping houses? Use #houseflipper #flippinghouses #realestateinvestor. Those are your friend and will probably be how a producer finds you.
MODESTY IS YOUR ENEMY
Whether submitting a casting tape to Survivor or trying to get a production company to take you on as your own show, you need to be entertaining and confident. Don’t be afraid to brag about yourself.
You know who you are. Be that person and magnify it when shooting a casting tape or doing a Skype interview with producers. Just be fun and memorable…like this adorable rabbit!
When we as development executives have meetings, we watch tons of videos of talent. If we’re not hooked by 30 seconds in, it’s not a good sign. Keep that in mind. Even if you’re a window washer and feel like your job is boring – you better be ready to say you’re the best damn window washer in the city!
PREPARE FOR REJECTION
All this info is great…maybe I’m biased…but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. The process takes a long time and rejection is your new middle name. It’s not personal, so don’t get sassy with whoever it is that you’re working with.
We work with a lot of different people and a lot of strange personalities who really want to be on TV. The people who are not easy to work with, or get sassy/pushy after a setback, are the ones who never get a callback. As producers, development executives, and casting directors, it’s our job to talk to you and cast you.
We want to love you…so help us love you!