Want to get cast on a reality TV show like The Block, Big Brother or The Bachelor? All it takes is sixty seconds, according to one casting guru.
Want to get cast on a reality TV show like The Block, Big Brother or The Bachelor? All it takes is sixty seconds, according to one casting guru.

How to get cast on a reality TV show

Sixty seconds can change your life according to reality TV casting guru, Marion Farrelly.

But that sixty seconds can also shatter your dreams of reality stardom and blow an audition if you don't use them well.

Farrelly, who has cast some of the biggest shows in the UK, US and Australia including Big Brother, The X Factor and Celebrity Apprentice, says the secret to standing out from thousands of reality wannabes is not to be white noise.

"White noise is stuff that people say without thinking - 'I am really nervous but excited, it is not my time to go, I really want to win this' - it is absolute white noise and it means nothing," Farrelly said.

Josh Barker and Elyse Knowles were cast on The Block. Picture: Nine
Josh Barker and Elyse Knowles were cast on The Block. Picture: Nine

"I say to people when they walk into the audition 'you have one minute to tell me about you and tell me why you are different to all the people outside'.

"Don't tell me all the average stuff because you sound just like everybody else and that means I could throw a dart into the crowd, hit anyone and put them on the show.

"Tell me why you are different. And the people that really cut through I still remember them, like Farmer Dave (David Graham from Big Brother).

"I remember looking at his form and saying 'you are single and you look like this, how is this possible,' and he said 'it is hard to find a farmer's wife when you are looking for a man.'

"Constance Hall, the mummy blogger, she was on Big Brother. I said to her 'don't tell me you are a real people person' and she said 'I am not a people person, I find people really disappointing actually'."

Locky Gilbert and Zoe-Clare McDonald on The Bachelor. Picture: Channel 10
Locky Gilbert and Zoe-Clare McDonald on The Bachelor. Picture: Channel 10

Farrelly said the key to winning over a room was as simple as ABCD.

"You need to enter a room and own it," she said.

"Think of A as your attire, B is body language, how do you move? C is your content, your conversation, if you are talking white noise no one is listening, and D is your delivery, do you smile, are you considered, do you take your time and are you charming?

"It is not my job to be interested in you. It is your job to be interesting and when you realise that your life changes."

Farrelly said the key to a successful show format was keeping the idea simple.

"Complicated is bad, simple is good. It's very easy to make something complicated, it is very difficult to make something simple," she said.

Chad Hurst and Sophie Budack in the Big Brother house.
Chad Hurst and Sophie Budack in the Big Brother house.

"You need to be able to describe your idea in one sentence, think left of field and know who your audience is and why will they watch.

"And it has to have a unique selling point. With The Voice, for example, if you were anywhere in the world and saw the red spinning chair you knew it was The Voice.

"We were working on The X Factor at the time The Voice arrived and all we had were crossed arms."

Farrelly is on the judging panel for the inaugural AACTA Reg Grundy Award, an annual $50,000 prize which launched Monday to find the next great Australian screen format.

The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) has named the award after Reg Grundy, the founding father of formats who put Australian TV on the world map.

Martha Kalifatidis and Jessika Power on Married At First Sight.
Martha Kalifatidis and Jessika Power on Married At First Sight.

The award has been established in partnership with Grundy's wife, Joy Chambers-Grundy.

Farrelly said she was excited to see what new ideas were put forward.

"I love formats that are interesting like Big Brother or Survivor where you can just insert clever, interesting people into them and they will work anywhere every time," she said.

"The next best television idea is not going to come from someone in TV. Everyone who watches TV is a critic and a producer. Someone out there is going to come up with the next big idea."

fiona.byrne@news.com.au

 

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Originally published as How to get cast on a reality TV show


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