TV Types

The truth about life behind the screens

A Word to the TV Wannabes

Piper's grandmother's house at Thunderbird

Despite my job as a casting AP relying on people wanting to be on TV, I cannot stand to be in a room with people who want to be on TV. This is not because I enjoy trying to coerce a reluctant soul into taking part in a programme, nor because I want the heart-stopping pressure of having to talk someone’s cold feet down from the ledge of quitting. I really, really don’t. I live to find people who are WILLING to go on TV, but the people who actually WANT to be on a show for the sake of being on a show are an annoying – and invariably unsuitable – breed.

These people are the reason I sometimes lie about what my job is. When I ‘fess up to working in telly I’m regularly confronted by two types of wannabe.

There are those who think being on-screen requires zero skill:

Last week I was at a party where I was introduced to a girl who wants to be a TV Presenter and I actually tried to be helpful. I asked what her  interests were? What kind of programme she’d like to present? Had she had any similar work experience? Her answers were respectively “everything”, “anything”, and “nothing”. It became apparent that this was just another pretty girl with the charisma of a walnut who, because she was pretty, had repeatedly been told she should be on TV.

To this type I’d say; please wannabes, do not underestimate the charm it takes to warm up a nervous contestant, the focus required to keep your train of thought while a gallery full of people are talking in your ear, the precision needed to fill exactly 37 remaining seconds of a live broadcast, or the adaptability called for to smoothly switch from talking about euthanasia to discussing a panda that’s allergic to bamboo. Find out what the job involves before declaring it your dream and begging a TV professional to make your “dream-job” a reality.

Then, there are those who think they know what it requires to get picked for a show:

This group are harder to tame than the most vapid of the above specimens. These are the people who send cliche filled application forms with promises like “I’ll be really funny / entertaining / unique” or, thanks to too many X Factor episodes, they’ll include some irrelevant sob story. By writing anything that even suggests they’re thinking about “what makes good TV” they are saving me the bother of an audition by telling me they are definitely not good TV.

Perhaps it’s just my ego that doesn’t like the mystique of the casting process being second-guessed, but if a show is calling for real people we’re not looking for wannabes trying to be caricatures of themselves. Though I admit the finished cuts of some reality shows suggests otherwise.

To this group I’d say; never admit to trying to work out what the casting team are looking for. Instead, be authentic and give us what makes you, you. If it’s for reality TV, there’s no need to play up your character; the ‘normal’ off-screen version of you probably isn’t as normal as you think.

Good luck, @TV_Types

P.S. Click on the highlighted text here for more tips on how to and how not to fill in TV show application forms.

[Starlet photo source]

 

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This entry was posted on January 29, 2016 by in Casting, How to get on TV, TV, TV Jobs and tagged , , , .
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