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 How To Get Cast on a Reality TV Show

Breaking Into Hollywood - How Do I Get Cast on a Reality TV Show?

There are 3 ways to be cast on a reality show:

  • Attend a cattle call;
  • Submit directly for consideration;
  • Know somebody who works on the show and get walked in.

#3 is terrific, but it’s not necessary (really!). What’s more important is knowing how to NOT get on a reality show. Let’s start with sending naked photos, videos of yourself in the restroom and a truly bizarre mix of other attempts to get cast. Your personality is enough. Maybe.

Now for the Do's.

PICK A SHOW If you want to be on a reality show but don’t have a specific one in mind, just surf the online casting sites for casting calls and direct submission listings! Lots of shows post casting calls every single day (to stay at the top of announcement lists). Your best bet is to start with Craig’s List in Los Angeles or New York listing. Surprise! Companies post there for national searches because they’re not allowed to do multiple posts across different city lists. Check the “Gigs/Talent” category for the most listings.

Also check the sites of your favorite networks for multiple show listings. Similarly, if you find a production company that produces a show you love, check their site for other shows. A company that produces one HGTV show could easily produce five other ones because they’re trusted by the network – and some of those other shows might be the perfect fit for you!

Your most important consideration in selecting a show to submit to is: How can this show change my life? If it can’t change your life, if you just want to be on TV, you are going to have a hard time getting cast. Your story MATTERS.

APPLY TO THE SHOW You will have to complete an application for any show you submit to and sign a release granting the production company the right to use anything you submit in any way they wish, which is usually to promote the show itself. In many instances you may also need to send in a personal videotape for consideration.

For your reel, be sure to strictly follow any format guidelines, like duration or VHS vs. DVD format. Your ability to follow directions here is the first indication of how well you’ll manage on a set. As far as content, I always recommend turning on your “First Date” personality. That means great look, great personality, good stories and a little of your playful, naughty side if you have one (no, not NAKED. “Naughty”). Don’t try to shock or impress or create a character. Just try to intrigue us into going out with you again!

Here are some technical tips for your shoot:

  • Clothes: Don’t wear black, white, busy patterns or anything with a logo on it anywhere.
  • Sound: make sure you’re in a quiet room or outdoor space (no phones, dogs, kids, traffic, etc.). We want to hear what you have to say.
  • Light: don’t stand in front of a bright source of light; you’ll be backlit, and we won’t be able to see your face. If the rules allow, just go outside into natural light; otherwise, be sure that your face can be seen.
  • Look: let your appearance to emphasize who you are and why it’s right for the show; it’s the easiest message to send. That could be a business suit and glasses, a gown with big hair and tiara or no make-up, a tank and shorts. Don’t wear a costume; wear your personality.

    All the best with your submission, and maybe I’ll see you on set in L.A!


About the Author:

DMA is the author of The Show Starter Reality TV Made Simple System: Ten Steps to Creating and Pitching a Sellable Reality Show. She is a former film story analyst, international runway model and stage performer who is now the executive producer of Tidal Wave TV, a new media and reality TV production company in Los Angeles.

For DMA's national speaking schedule and more insider resources for breaking into the entertainment industry, please visit Planet DMA. It is our goal to mentor you through your career in the entertainment industry!


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