Friday, March 14, 2014

Should I try to get on a reality show?

The answer to this question depends on what kind of career you want. If you’re interested in becoming an actor, I would advise not going on a reality show. Even if you are a trained actor, the fact that you did a reality show will stay with you - and have a negative effect - for a long time on your goal to have a legitimate acting career. We can argue that it shouldn’t be that way, that we should always be judged on our abilities as an actor, but perception is a big factor in the world of show business. And the perception is that serious actors don’t do reality shows. With the exception of pornography, it is probably the most difficult area of the business to live down after you've done it.

However, if you don’t feel you have what it takes to be an actor, or you don’t have the interest in becoming one, then you might give reality shows a go. People who have gone on to other positions in front of the camera, which involve few traditional acting skills, include Elisabeth Hasselbeck (Survivor, The View) and Bob Guiney (The Bachelor, Host: ABC Soaps - the Summer Fling segments). If you come out of the experience with a likable personality, you could end up hosting some kind of show.

One other thing to bear in mind is that some reality show performers are members of SAG-AFTRA (working under an AFTRA contract), and the segments are mostly scripted and edited. They are not really “reality.” 

And once you have signed the contract, the producers can edit the footage any way they want. They can turn you into a bigoted idiot or a raving maniac if they feel the show will get higher ratings, and there is nothing you can do about it. Not only will the stigma of doing a reality show follow you, but what others perceive as your personality will also stay in the minds of producers and casting people for a long time.

All of us actors must sometimes make difficult choices, especially when we're trying to pay the bills. If you get the opportunity to audition for a reality show, just give it some real thought before you jump at the chance to be on one.



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