Dana Golder is one of the biggest casting directors in reality TV. Just some of her credits include The Biggest Loser, The Amazing Race, and Cash Cab. We’ve been lucky enough to work with her on Beauty and the Geek, Scream Queens, Ghost Inside My Child, and Don’t Trust Andrew Mayne. Today, Dana is giving you priceless tips on casting just about every kind of reality TV show and documentary series you could imagine. From finding great real people to talking to them and and determining if they would be great TV, Dana is teaching you how to cast reality TV. Priceless!
Trying to Cast Reality TV or Documentary Series?
You better be a people person…or learn to be. One thing Dana is very clear about today is that you have to remember real people are just that…real people.
They are not actors. They are not performers. They’re real people living their lives.
That means when you’re trying cast reality TV or documentary series projects or pitch tapes there will be a learning curve.
For you, and them.
They don’t know how TV and “showbiz” work. You’ll need to educate them without alienating them, and we talk about that a lot today.
More than anything, remember that you’re not looking for a performance. You don’t want anyone “acting” on any TV show or documentary you’re making. You need real people to be real…to live their lives openly and honestly.
Getting to that point begins with your very first conversation, and continues for years after you’ve rolled your last frame.
Going in-depth with Dana Golder
Just some of what we cover today:
- How to recognize if someone is right for reality television
- The one trait great reality TV potentials have in common
- The importance of who surrounds your talent in real life
- The wrong way to approach a casting director if you want to be on unscripted television.
- How casting directors find real people (and how you can, too.)
- Finding the right chemistry for a reality TV cast
- The role of social media in casting TV shows
- What NOT to say if you’re trying to get cast on a TV show
- What hobbies tell you about a potential cast member
- Differences between casting docu-series and skill-based competition shows
- Checking for the right cast motivations
- The best place for YOU to find new talent for TV shows
- What to remember about talking to real people
- The handoff of casting team to producing team
- A casting director’s responsibility for the people they cast
- Experts versus real people and where they intersect
- Why being just a “host” is not enough
- Scary talent contracts – pros, cons, and that time Biagio signed one
- What an embarrassment clause is…and isn’t
- How to know when to put something on a shelf…temporarily or permanently
- And…how Biagio funded early projects with game show winnings, while fire was shot at his head!
Dana Golder has a lot to share with you about how to cast reality TV and so much more! Hit that giant “play” button above for great tips on finding, talking to, and grooming real people for your unscripted TV projects.
Transcript Coming Soon!
Helpful and Related Links
- Have a show you want to hire Dana for? Here’s Dana’s DLT Casting Website.
- Building on what Dana said, you should know this: Filming Real People – 5 Crucial Factors
- What makes great reality TV characters? We go in depth.
- Truly understand how to pitch unscripted television and how real people play a part in that.
- Follow Dana on Twitter: @dltcasting, and on Instagram: @dltcastinginc.
- Follow us on Twitter: @JokeAndBiagio – we hang out there often and try to respond to most tweets.
Let’s Make Some TV Together
Trying to break into unscripted television, reality TV, documentary series, or true crime? Want to pitch to our company? Here’s how:
Read our in-depth page about how to pitch us a show. It also talks about what it’s really like to work in our business, the unscripted TV and film industry.