Let’s face it, reality television is bound to frustrate any actor. With so much valuable programming time being taken over by catfights, cook-a-thons, and dance-offs, there are fewer and fewer jobs available for traditionally-trained actors.
Plus, all too often, reality stars become celebrities who end up with their own TV series.
So, this begs the question: As an actor, should you ever take a “role” in reality TV?
I hear my clients asking this question often, so let’s take a look at a few points to consider if you’ve ever wondered whether or not to do reality television.
Does It Align?
You’re an actor with specific goals and intentions for your career, but you are also a well-rounded human being. When you imagine yourself participating in this reality television project, is it in alignment with your career goals and your personal standards?
It’s quite possible that competing on a show like The Biggest Loser could be an incredible experience that enhances your life and happens to be a nice bolster for your career, as well.
Check in with yourself and take your temperature. Would you be pleased if your mom saw you on the show? Would you be proud to share your experience and maybe even footage with your target list?
Ask yourself all these questions and get a feel for what seems right for you.
Often reality shows don’t even want to hire actors. They are looking for “regular people” to appear on their program, so they may want to hire you but ask you to pretend like you’re not an actor.
My advice is to be as open and honest about your acting pursuits as possible. Don’t hide the fact that you’re an artist, and get really clear with the producers that you’re an actor and you want to take your acting career to the next level.
If you’re not allowed to reveal that you’re an actor, I would say that you should probably say no to this opportunity.
Know The Difference
Usually actors are afraid that the industry will dismiss their acting chops if they’ve been in a reality show. They’re afraid of the “reality star turned actor” cliché, probably due to the recent string of reality stars who get a taste of being on camera and decide to pursue the craft.
That route doesn’t have a great track record.
So let’s be clear: a trained actor who chooses to participate honestly in a reality show for fun and exposure is not the same as someone who auditions with the sole intention of becoming famous.
When you’ve been trained as an actor and have experience as an actor, I’m all for being open to the opportunities that present themselves.
Reality TV can be a cool way to get some attention, be courageous and share your goals on a big stage. Remember to have fun with it and be willing to see where this journey leads you.
Have you ever done reality television, or thought about whether you would? What is one reason you would or wouldn’t do reality TV?
Let me know in the comments below.