Secrets Of Reality TV + Tips To Getting on a Show

Reality TV has been a hot topic for me lately. While I don’t often talk about work, I spend a lot of time with clients developing reality TV shows from start to finish. It is something I just fell into and wound up loving. While each project is unique and exciting, it has also jaded me from watching TV like a normal person. With every new scene, I watch it through a “man behind the camera” lens.

Last week, I chatted with Mary Mel of WRUW about my love for Erika Jayne, work and the change of going back to school to get my masters in PR/AD. Reality TV, more specifically Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, has always been my guilty pleasure. When I am stressed, I numb my brain with their complaints about their 15 nannies and gossipy glam sessions.

With so many people consuming reality TV and a new show popping up every week, I wanted to share some behind the scenes facts and tips on how to land your own TV show and what really goes down behind the camera, because let’s be real: I know some of you lead crazy enough lives to deserve a camera crew.

1 | Although it is “reality,” nothing is unplanned. Every conversation is sketched out in a plot-line. While this does not mean scripted, there is a general guide of what the subjects will talk about and when. If the producer does not catch a scene exactly as they need it, the subjects may be asked to create it again. On a different note, even late night talk shows are scripted. Producers will check with a celebrities publicist to get talking points and the host will rehearse them with the interviewee.

2 | Reality TV shows seek out “flawed” individuals. Whether it is having a harsh temper or being terrified of flying, you bet that  producer is going to pick on your weaknesses. Take a TV show like The Bachelor for example, there can only be one winner. That means that of the 30 girls in the cast each season, only a few can be “normal.” They have to fill the season with other tune-in worthy stuff to keep viewership high, and that means c.r.a.z.y. Imperfections set you apart- sometimes in a good way.

3 | You only see a small portion of the action. Something that drives me crazy is when I see hundreds of angry tweets about a specific moment on a show and in reality producers are master manipulators. They have 50 hours of video content, and cut together different scenes into a half hour episode. If someone gets eliminated on a talent show for bombing, remember that all of their applause could have been cut out and they could have been eliminated simply because they weren’t as interesting as other contestants.

4 | A show cast or contestants on a talent show are chosen to play specific “characters.” People are cast to fill specific roles, for example “the mean girl” or the “girl next-door.” The cast signs onto these roles and agrees to play to that role for the camera. Ex. Corinne from The Bachelor.

5 | Getting a show picked up by a network isn’t easy. Having a show go from concept to on air can take many, many years. Typically, a production house will fund your concept and then try to sell it to a network. People think it is glamorous, but in reality it is a lot of waiting around! There are many different ways that a network can order a TV show, so it changes depending on the case. Your best bet for getting picked up for a TV show is to send an email directly to a production company, such as Story Monster, to see if they are developing anything.

Obviously every case is different and some shows are filmed with honesty, but a large chunk of the TV we consume on a daily basis follows these steps.

Did you know any of these things before? What is your take on reality TV?

<3 Al

How To: Land Your Fashion Dream Job According To An Insider Part II


In a two part guest series, Ashley Altstadt let’s you in on her tips and recommendations for going after what you want, and ultimately landing a coveted spot in the fashion industry. This is part II.



Do as much as you can on the side.

When I’m not at my current job, I’m writing for online fashion magazines. Start a blog, take photos and show off your work anyway that you can. Companies want to see someone that takes the time to do what they love. Having a blog will also show off your personality and point of view to future employers.


Dress the part.

When you’re trying to land your dream job, you want to be taken seriously. I always go for a tailored pant or a midi dress for an interview. Employers want to see that you can put yourself together, but you also have your own personal style. Don’t wear too much jewelry, keep it light on the make-up, and always wear heels that you feel confident in.



Before every interview I always research the company inside and out. You want to impress these future employers by knowing the company background and philosophies. Doing your homework shows that you’re serious about the job.


Be smart on social media.

Make sure that you’re putting out a positive image of yourself on every social media platform. Employers will look there first to see what you’re like and who you are. I always stick to classy and respectable posts because you never know who is looking. Social media has become the largest representations of ourselves whether we like it or not.



I’ve learned that being nice to people will get you further in life than anything else. Always be pleasant, be nice to everyone you meet and SMILE! Also, HAVE FUN! Fashion is supposed to be creative, artistic and exciting.


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