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1. Stand between two really lame people at the open casting call.

“Seriously, if you position yourself in between Mr. Meek and Sally Soft-Spoken, then you will only stand out more,” says Monson. She also advises against bringing your beautiful and charismatic best friend with you.

2. Wear something memorable but not crazy.

“Don’t wear a costume just to be silly,” explains Monson. “And don’t dress like a stockbroker if you work at K-Mart. You will just be uncomfortable and it will show.”

3. Wear something that flatters your figure and flaunts your personality.

“If you have big boobs, don’t wear a hoodie – show them off,” says Monson. “Same goes for that six pack, guys.”

4. Don’t make the producer’s job harder with your clothing.

Don’t wear any garments with visible logos. “They’ll have to be blurred out,” according to Monson. Also avoid wearing all black, all white, noisy jewelry or sports team logos.

5. Answer Your Phone.

Monson points out to make sure your phone accepts blocked and private numbers. She’s seen people miss out on a TV opportunity because the network couldn’t get ahold of them.

6. Amp up your energy in the waiting room.

“By the time us casting directors get around to interviewing you, we’re going to be tired,” Monson said. “We keep an eye on the waiting room to get a better idea of who people are, so always be on.”

7. If you’re nervous, be honest about it—or start drinking.

“Tell me you’re nervous,” Monson says. “It almost always releases the fear of being nervous so you can just be you.”"If that doesn’t work, go get a shot of whiskey and then come back!”

8. Use your flaws to your advantage.

Your imperfections could set you apart.”Do you have six toes? A lazy eye? Anger management issues? These are not deal breakers, by any means, ” says Monson. “They just might be the it factor we’re looking for.”

9. Pretend you’re presenting a movie trailer about your life.

“Think about it … the main reason a moviegoer wants to see any given movie is usually because they’ve seen a killer trailer!” Monson explains. “A trailer highlights all the best parts about the film, but leaves you hanging just enough to get you off your butt and go pay a premium to see it on the big screen.”

10. Use your audition to say who you are and aren’t.

The best way to do that is to think about a person who might be your polar opposite cast member, Monson tells us.”This will be your on-air nemesis … tell us who you think that might be because it helps us figure out how you would fit into the cast,” she explains.

11. Never make a tape just sitting in your room.

“Show us your world,” Monson says. “Nothing is more boring than you standing in front of a white wall or sitting at your computer, so take us around your house or to work.”

12. Never lie.

Monson says this is the biggest deal-breaker in the business. A criminal record or embarrassing past won’t make casting directors rule you out, but lying about them will.

13. Don’t babble.

Casting directors get bored easily, according to Monson. Pick a succinct script and stick to it.

14. Don’t be picky.

Monson shared a story of a friend who wanted to lose weight who skipped “The Biggest Loser” audition process, which is inundated with applications. The friend instead directed her attention to a smaller Discovery Channel show. She was cast and lost 80 pounds.

15. Don’t try to act stupid.

Monson says being fake is very obvious to the casting directors. They’re also not impressed by weird stunts.

16. Don’t hide your body.

“If you’re fat, own it,” Monson says. “If you have a six-pack, show it off.”

17. Form an opinion.

“You must have a strong opinion if you plan on getting cast on a reality show, so the sooner you form one, the better,” advises Monson. “It can be anything.”

18. Don’t overdo your application.

“Under no circumstances are you to give one word answers when filling out an application, but that doesn’t give you carte blanche to write a sequel to Gone With The Wind if the mood strikes you,” Monson warns.

Sarah Monson

A fabulous fellow named interviewed me about my career as a reality TV casting director for his equally fabulous website, Film Industry Network.

It’s a great resource for any and all who want to get into the film and TV biz, or are already actively pursuing their dreams in the entertainment industry. I highly recommend you check them out and join! When it comes to getting ahead in Hollywood, it’s all about who ya know.

Networking is king, and this site is Lancelot.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

Iain: What does it take for an actor to get ahead of the competition? Any tips?

Sarah: Have your story down. I call it your “personal sizzle reel.” Be able to pitch yourself as the perfect person for the project in 60 seconds or less. Tell a compelling story that will make me intrigued by who you are and leave me wanting to know more. Sometimes a Casting Director won’t even ask you any questions. They might just say: “Tell me about yourself.” You must have a compelling story and sell us on wanting to keep you around.

Check out my entire interview here: Tips from Prime Time Reality TV casting expert Sarah Monson

Thanks Iain!

 

Ever wonder what a reality TV Casting Director actually does… and why they’re hired in the first place?

I’ve been getting quite a few emails from folks who would rather go behind the scenes, instead of making one on TV. So, I thought I’d enlighten you with a quick glimpse into the inner-working of my world.

When a production company creates a reality TV show, they need a “cast,” which is the selection of people hand picked to be a part of the show. And it’s a Casting Director’s job to find all of those people.

Read more »

reality tv auditions can take foreverWhen it comes to the world of reality TV production, or any type of production really, there’s a mantra that one comes to live by: HURRY UP… AND WAIT.

In every show I’ve cast, regardless of my best efforts, the shooting schedule for the people auditioning or the contestants always seems to follow this hurry up and wait pattern. When we need you, we need you RIGHT NOW! But then there can be hours where you’re twiddling your thumbs wondering what the heck we’re doing and what’s taking so long. This can be incredibly frustrating.

Here’s an example: for the last reality show I cast – which was a celebrity dating show – the daters had to be ready at 8AM. Sometimes the celeb didn’t arrive until noon, and often the actual filming didn’t begin until 2PM. This, naturally, didn’t really sit well with the cast members. By the time filming started, they were tired, grumpy and annoyed. And I’d be annoyed, too. This can pose challenges to filming, since it can take a bit before people pep back up once we’re ready to roll.

But that’s just the way it goes when it comes to production and casting…

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Unlimited budgets and Celebrity planners, Oh My!

Now that it’s been confirmed that Ashely and JP will tie the knot on TV, what will their big day actually look like?

ashley and jp wedding

Here’s what I think:

I bet it’s off to New York, where the nuptials will take place near JP’s family on Long Island. Now that ABC is footing the bill, the couple will seek out the crème de la crème Long Island wedding locale: Oheka Castle. Often booked for years, JP might have to grease some palms to get the date they want.

No worry, Long Island is where all the mobsters live, so that won’t be a problem. Ashley should head to Manhattan and hit up Kleinfeld for a possible cameo on Say Yes To The Dress, where she can try on gorgeous gown after gorgeous gown before settling on a truly over the top number to match the opulence of Oheka. (No one wants to get upstaged by a building.)

Ashley should also amp up her ring bling by picking a finger breaking diamond encased with more diamonds, surrounded by even more diamonds – courtesy of Neil Lane.

Let’s get real shall we – deep down the duo is pretty simple, so for their honeymoon they’ll cheese out and hit the Poconos for some old school romancin’ or maybe head north to Niagara Falls where they can canoodle in a heart shaped bed for two. Wherever they go, let’s hope it’s warm enough for Ashley to bare her midriff.

Even in wedlock, that belly button needs to breathe.

CONGRATS!

If you REALLY want you voice to be heard – skip applying to THE VOICE and GO VOTE!!!!

ELECTION DAY IS TUESDAY, NOVEBMER 6th. Make a difference!!

khloe-kardashian-and-mario-lopez-hosting-x-factor-what-viewers-are-saying

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT – I was interviewed by CELEBUZZ the other day to shed some insight on the new X-FACTOR HOSTS. See what I had to say and more… right now!
FOX’s long search for new The X Factor co-hosts, featured drama that played out in public for months, could have been its own reality talent competition show. And now that it’s over, what can we expect from newly-crowned winners Khloe Kardashian and Mario Lopez?

Well, no one doubts that actor/entertainment newscaster/beauty pageant emcee Lopez has the polish and experience to do the job. As for E! celebreality star Kardashian, let’s just say she’s got her work cut out for her.

That’s the verdict of at least one reality TV insider. “Mario Lopez will make a great host. He’s a seasoned and polished pro and just a really likeable guy,” veteran primetime reality casting director and author of Me on TVSarah Monsontold Celebuzz.

“As for Khloe, is it a publicity stunt? Maybe,” she said of Kardashian’s hiring. “Khloe is super famous, and people will want to watch her to see how she does,  good or bad.”

What advice did Monson have for the new co-hosts?

Despite Kardashian’s ease in front of a TV camera, she’ll still have some new job skills to learn. On Keeping Up With the Kardashians and its spinoffs, Monson said, “She isn’t asked to read anything off a prompter, memorize lines, or be anything but herself or do anything she doesn’t feel comfortable doing – like making small talk with Mario to fill time.”

Not that emceeing a live show will be a breeze for either host. “Sure, they’ll have people feeding them lines and have monitors with zippy dialogue,” Monson said. “But if something goes wrong, it’s just the two of them up there that have to keep the flow of the show moving.

Already, less than a day after X Factor impresario Simon Cowell confirmed Lopez and Kardashian’s hiring, the inevitable rumors of an ego feud between his two new employees have begun to spread. But Monson said she thinks the pair will work well together.“Dynamic duos are always fun to watch,” she said. “They add more personality to the overall content of the show; they can play off one another,  good-cop/bad-cop style, and offer different levels of support to the singers and chime in with their own opinions. One guy just can’t do all that.”

Of course, last year’s inaugural season of X Factor was supposed to have a male-female co-host pair, Nicole Scherzinger and Steve Jones. But then, Cheryl Cole left the judging panel, Scherzinger took her place, and Jones hosted the show solo. After the season ended, in a casting overhaul, Cowell announced that Jones and judges Scherzinger and Paula Abdul were out.

Before the recent round of Season 2 auditions began, Cowell brought in Britney Spears and Demi Lovato (at no small expense) to be the new judges, but while he promised to have new co-hosts by mid-August, it took until this week to winnow the field and strike deals with Kardashian and Lopez. They’ll make their debut when Season 2′s live shows begin in November.

It’s still not clear how the show will handle so many familiar, assertive stars, or whether there’s actually room in the spotlight for all of them every week. Which brought to Monson’s mind a cautionary tale from Cowell’s previous show, American Idol.“Remember American Idol Season 1? They had two hosts. One was Ryan Seacrest and the other was Brian Dunkleman,” Monson said. The now all-but-forgotten Dunkleman was gone by Season 2, but a decade later, Seacrest’s ongoing Idol gig remains the cornerstone of his multimedia career.

“Advice to Khloe and Mario: You do not want to be the next Brian Dunkleman!”

I watched the Big Brother finale last night to see if my buddy Dan Gheesling walked away with $500,000 again. He didn’t (sorry, spoiler alert). It was actually Ian, the engineering student who has been watching the show since he was ten years old, who won the money – and my heart.

He reminds me of that guy in Road Trip who falls in love with that zaftig leopard print undie loving lover.

I don’t regularly watch Big Brother, so I was utterly confused as to what HOH meant and why Danielle and Ian were throwing challenges. So I’ll let the experts over at HuffPo handle this one.

Read more »

 

My friend wanted to go on a weight loss reality TV show. She didn’t want to get famous, write a book, or snag a spin off: she wanted to lose weight. So instead of applying for the mother of all chub chiseling shows, the behemoth CBS show The Biggest Loser, she found a new, smaller Discovery Channel show that was casting, which at the time wasn’t as flashy and popular.

You may think that’s  a bad thing. Newp! In fact, it’s a great thing. Why? It was EASIER TO GET ON. How?? Because it received FAR fewer applications… and thus my pal’s chances were greatly increased. [Full disclosure: I did help out with her application and her submission video, too.] And guess what! She was cast on the show – and ended up losing 80 pounds!

My point is this: if you’re not as picky about which reality show you want to go on, you might be better off having your pick of the litter from shows which aren’t the most popular of their kind.

Read more »

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