BUYING AND SELLING REAL FLESH AND BLOOD
By Zach Messner
Coming from an acting background, I realize what it means to sell one’s self. In this former life, I sold myself by showing off my measly credits: The Player King in “Hamlet” and a tranny newscaster on FOX Cable News, to cite two examples. But now… A few years after slating my name and tons of vocal warm-ups later, I’ve landed on the opposite end of the spectrum – the buyer.
While in Development at Back Roads Entertainment, a lot of times we’ll get the chance to work alongside the Casting department in finding unique talent in unsuspecting places. In doing this I’ve noticed that “Pimpin’ yourself out” in the unscripted world is a helluva lot different then the scripted world.
As an actor, we carry ourselves in a reserved, respectable manner up until the actual audition. That’s when you’re supposed to turn it on and let loose – become the jerk – become the nerd – the goofball – the killer – the Indian Chief…
But in Reality TV you are not an actor. You’re just potential talent.
The difference? As a potential talent you don’t realize you’re being judged when you are. It comes down to “you are who you are” and nothing else matters.
All this means one thing. You have to be on all the time. If Carla, the Casting Associate, comes a-calling that phone call is your audition. That’s right. You’re in the audition room and you don’t even know it. So, it’s probably better you don’t in fact develop a case of politeness, but rather unleash the wacky, raw, innate traits that make you who you are.
Everyone’s fresh meat, and we’re the rabid dog looking to snatch you up before the next guy. ‘Cause while actor’s have the chance to move from project to project, in Reality TV you’re one person’s prize. (Unless of course you beat the game and get cast on “Celebrity Apprentice.”)
Look on the bright side though. You don’t have to deal with an Ari Gold. That will come later. Once you’ve signed your book deal. Speaking of which, it’s important to Back Roads Entertainment, as a company, to always consider the far-reaching capabilities a talent might have. Is this a person that can transcend to the Internet culture of unique sound bites for viral pass-ons. Is this a person who can be integrated into multiple merchandising opportunities? The TV show is only the beginning.
In the end, there’s a lot more to consider in a talent than merely a good audition. And on the opposite side, there’s a lot of uncharted territory for almost all talent coming into this world. In many cases, they probably wouldn’t even consider themselves talent. They’re just the regular dude who happens to own a kick ass bait and tackle shop. Or in our case, the next great reality TV star – that is if he moonlights as a tranny pop star on his spare time.