When 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…
(I should mention that I was surprised and impressed by The Voice when I went to a recent taping – it was a tightly run ship, on schedule and no unnecessary delays or waiting time. Bravo, Mark Burnett!)
The reason for obscenely early call times is because, at the end of the day, we are creating a TV show and it can get expensive if there are delays once the production is ready to shoot. The idea is to have you, the cast member, there early and ready to go on a moment’s notice whenever the production is ready – even if that means you have to wait countless boring hours at our whim. We can’t take a chance we’ll need you for filming and you’re not around or not ready to go.
Yes, we want the cast to have a great time and fun experience, but we have a schedule to stick to and, if there is any sort of celeb involved, they tend to get priority over the cast and often only work within their own rules and schedule.
Not all shows are so cruel as to force reality show hopefuls to spend an entire day waiting for their shot to audition… but many do. The most notorious culprits: Talent Competition Shows.
I’ve heard American Idol is generally the worst. I’ve known a few peeps who’ve gone to that dreaded open call, where they had to wait all day under the blistering sun in a football stadium waiting for their chance to sing. And that’s after they woke up at 3AM to get there early! It’s nuts, right?!
I wish these shows would truly care more about the people auditioning and their comfort and well being, but the priority is just on what makes good reality TV and not the people on the show who actually entertain us at home.
Now, I won’t say which one just yet, but I’m coaching someone on a talent competition show right now. This person made it past the early rounds and is now going to be performing in front of the judges. The call time for the day of the audition? 8AM. Not bad…. but it came with a warning that the day might not end until 2AM… the next day!
Surely, this person won’t be needed the whole time.
I guess, once he/she makes the show, the lost frustrating hours will fade into memory. But when I run my own reality show, you can bet I’ll be on YOUR side! Be sure that if we know you won’t be filming until the afternoon, I won’t make you get there at 8AM!
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