Thursday, October 21, 2010

Altered Reality

Psst. Hey you. Yeah, YOU. Wanna be on TV? We can make you famous! Everyone will see you. Will they think you're cool? Uh.... sure! Why not? We're doing a show about Barry Manilow fans so let us film you and you'll have a great time. Honest!

It's that time again. Another production company developing a "reality show" is casting. Details here:

The alt newsgroup had a discussion on this. According to one of the posts, Garry Kief commented on this at the ManilowUK Ning site.

Fans On TV
Posted by Garry Kief on September 1, 2010 at 6:25pm

I've heard rumors again of fans being contacted to be on TV. This has
happened in the past....when TV companies have gone directly to
fans....and all have promised to be respectful etc. Unfortunately, it
has never worked. I've talked to countless fans in tears about how
they were portrayed on camera, how the program was edited, and how
they had been been manipulated to look like idiots. Even though we
always ask production companies to first contact us and explain their
real intentions....they never do. I'd encourage everyone to be very
cautious before they consider getting involved.

Looks like it's more than just a rumor this time.

Here's my comments, also from the alt newsgroup:

Garry basically took the words right out of my mouth.

"Reality" shows (I prefer the term "unscrpited" to reality) are not
altruistic endeavors out to glorify their subjects for their benefit.
They're going to exploit you to make money. Period. If you sign on
for this and understand what you are dealing with (perhaps by watching
a few reality shows to get the hang of their goals) then knock
yourself out. There are a few people who figured out how to
"manipulate the manipulator" - like Dr. Will on "Big Brother" - and
were comfortable enough with themselves and the scenario to use it to
their advantage. If you think the production company is going to make
you look like the hero of your own story, get the Kleenex ready.

If you go on one of these shows (not just one about Barry's fans but
ANY reality show) I would heed the insight I heard about from a
production crew member. (I think it was aired on the old now-defunct
Fox Reality channel but I'm not sure so if I need to attribute this
later, I will.) "Reality shows depict you as you are, even if they
are edited. With editing, ou can make a good person better. You can
make a bad person worse. But you can't turn one into the other."

Whatever you say or do on camera is going to be amplified. Start with
a factor of 10, just to be safe. What you think is "funny" or "just
being silly" is going to be used to make you appear to be an idiot.
And you're never going to control the court of public opinion. It is
very hard to stay classy 24/7. Composing yourself with a camera in
your face all the time is even worse. Not many people can do it; even
the best people in the world.

When I watch these shows (I admit it, it's my guilty pleasure.
"Amazing Race", "Survivor", "Big Brother", and my favorite of all -
"My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancee". I even watch "The Real Housewives of
Atlanta" but you couldn't pay me to patronize the establishments that
they do after they've been there and I wouldn't spend time with these
people, even at gunpoint.) Where was I? Right - when I watch these
shows, I have to wonder about their judgement most of the time. As
in, if I was in a position to hire one of these "reality show divas"
for a job, would I? Probably not - because if their judgment is so
poor that they allow themselves not only to be sold on the idea of
being a "star" on a reality show, but then fly off the handle and
behave like a fool as well, what kind of employee would they be? Not
one that I would want to manage.

Anywho - long story short, this is advice from Garry that I would
take. If they don't have the integrity or the balls to approach
Stiletto with a pitch for a reality show about the fans of their top
client, you can't expect them to treat the cast that well either.
Be careful out there, folks.  Don't be taken advantage of.

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