All That Glitters Isn’t Gold
By Ryan Allingham
Working in Development at Back Roads Entertainment, I find myself scouring the Internet and sifting through copious amounts of magazines, all in the hopes of discovering the next hit show. You would think that with all of the resources available to people today, discovering a great idea, or finding good talent would be easy; I can promise you that it is not.
A few weeks ago, I came across a magazine article that profiled two people that put a new spin on an old format. These days, pretty much everything has been done, so when you come across something new and different, you must strike while the iron is hot. To me, this dup was ideal because they fulfilled a key list of components that I find essential to development, such as, having a good look, being well dressed, and ran a family business that was really taking off. I was so intrigued by this “talent” that I immediately went on the Internet to find their contact information so that I could get in touch with them. They responded rather quickly (which is rare), and I was fortunate enough to speak with them on the phone the following day.
The conversation went great. They sounded like they had everything I was looking for, great energy; good attitude and they told me all about the various elements of drama their work provides, which is essential in developing a dynamic reality show. I truly felt I had struck the development jackpot, but as anyone working in this field will tell you, all that glitters is more often than not, never gold.
The next step in our development process is to either get the talent on tape via Skype, or have them come in for an interview. Luckily, my newly found talent lives in New York and I set them up to come in for a meeting the following week. I spent that whole week leading up to my meeting talking about how excited I was that I had found something unique to the current television landscape, but within the first 10 minutes of the meeting, I knew this was going nowhere.
When looking for talent for a reality television show, the characters need to “pop” in real life. So much so, that if they are not completely over the top characters in real life, there is no chance that they will translate well to TV. There is a reason that shows like Jersey Shore or any incarnation of the Real Housewives… franchise are so successful. The format of those shows is nothing groundbreaking. They hit it big with viewers because the characters they feature have the certain je ne sais quoi about them that makes us want to tune in week after week. Unfortunately for me, my talent just didn’t have that “it” factor that I was hoping for when I found them. It was a let down for me because, on paper, they had everything that I had been looking for, but if they don’t have that much energy in person, they definitely won’t have energy on television.
This is in no way an attack on these people whatsoever, in fact, I found them to be a very delightful duo, but they just didn’t have that spark that I was hoping for. There is really no way to avoid this type of situation. In my opinion, you can never really tell how good a character someone is until you meet them. You can’t get discouraged by this. You just need to keep your head held high, and your eyes wide open for something else.