How To Define Your Casting Story for Reality TV Producers

by Dan Gheesling

How-To-Get-On-Reality-TV-Why-FactorsIn a previous article we talked about how important it is to develop your story before you even think about applying for a Reality TV show.

Having your story clearly defined and ready to pitch to the Casting Producers is your magic bullet and secret sauce to getting cast.  It’s what differentiates you from the thousands of others who apply for the same show.

Behind your story there needs to be a ‘why-factor.’   Your why factor is your driving force pushing you to apply to get cast on the Reality TV show.  Previously we talked about the 5 why-factors and in this article you will learn about each in depth.

You will also learn which why-factor you should NEVER mention to anyone in casting.

Read through all of the following why-factors and take note of which one is at the heart of your personal casting story.


How-To-Get-On-Reality-TV-Why-Factor-AdventureWhy Factor #1: Adventure

There is a lot of excitement and adventure in all Reality TV shows, whether the setting is in the wild or a concrete jungle. The experience of being on Reality TV provides a once-in-a-lifetime adventure for those who make it.  The exhilaration of living in a situation that cannot be duplicated anywhere else is an extremely valid and motivating why-factor to help build your story.

You will often see multiple people cast on a Reality TV show whose number one why-factor is adventure.  They are very easy to identify by their background story and demeanor.


How-To-Get-On-Reality-TV-Why-Factor-ChallengeWhy Factor #2: Challenge

Being on a Reality TV show is the ultimate challenge (even getting through the casting process is a feat in itself).  Reality TV is a constant battle with endless competition.  Outwitting, fighting, and enduring all make up the appeal of Reality TV for someone seeking a challenge.

People who use challenge as their why-factor are often applicants who have something to prove.  It may be overcoming their age, or a possible handicap, or a family issue which always makes a compelling storyline.  This is one of the two strongest why-factors you can have.


How-To-Get-On-Reality-TV-Why-Factor-SuperfanWhy Factor #3: Super-fan

More now than before, “Super-fans” have been making their way on to Reality TV.  These Super-fans use their experience of watching every episode of every season to fuel their passion of actually getting cast on the show.

Most “fans” have been hit or miss in terms of casting success.  You should consider this one of the weaker why-factors in wanting to be on Reality TV.

It is the most commonly used why-factor, which really doesn’t distinguish your storyline in a compelling way.  (I was a super-fan of the Reality TV show I was cast on, but I never used it as a why-factor.  Why?  Because it didn’t fit the casting persona I had developed.)


How-To-Get-On-Reality-TV-Why-Factor-MoneyWhy Factor #4: Money

It has been said that money is the root of all evil; I say it is one of the strongest motivators in terms of inspiring Reality TV contestants.

When a contestant’s why factor is the desire for money, competition brings out a passion level of greed that is very compelling to watch.

Money always invokes a lot of emotion, which creates a passionate Reality TV experience.  This is the second strongest why-factor.


How-To-Get-On-Reality-TV-Why-Factor-FameWhy Factor#5: Fame

Without a doubt, the desire for fame can be extremely powerful in motivating someone to get on Reality TV.

Whether this is your number one why-factor or not, you can NEVER mention it to anyone during casting.

By acknowledging that your why-factor is fame, you diminish the impact of your entire story.

Casting Producers do not want to put “fame-seekers” on television because they provide little value to Reality TV shows.  Revealing this why-factor can end your chances instantly.

The allure of Reality TV is to watch “real” people, not those in search of fame.  People seeking fame tend to act the least real in Reality TV situations.  Why?  Because they are concerned with how they are going to be portrayed.  This is completely contradictory to the concept of Reality TV.

Even if this is your strongest why-factor, sharing it must be avoided if you want to experience any kind of success in getting cast on a Reality TV show.


What Is Your Why-Factor?

The fastest way to start building your Reality TV casting story is to define your main why-factors.  Select your top one or two why-factors and start building your story from there.  Every detail or life experience you share in your casting story should be able to be tied back to one of your why-factors.

When deciding on your why factors – no matter where Fame comes into play – cross it off your list!  It should never be mentioned again.

If your main why-factor is Money or Challenge, you now have the basis of your story.  If you listed either Super-fan or Adventure as your main why-factor, make it your secondary factor.  Pick one of the two strongest why-factors for your main one.  Use this to get started building your Reality TV casting story today.  Don’t wait or put it off anymore if you want to get on Reality TV this is how you start!

Also if you haven’t already – take a minute and download my free eBook How A Normal Guy Got Cast On Reality TV.  This will give you some insight into what my why-factors were and how I used them throughout the casting process.  You can download the book by clicking here.

What is your why-factor and how are you going to weave it into your casting story? I’d love for you to share your thoughts on the Facebook discussion page or in the comments below!

Preview My Story Free:

Learn tips from my story on how to get cast on Reality TV! Sign up now!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Colleen April 10, 2012 at 12:56 am

Hi Dan

Great Article!. I didn’t realize there was so much to decide. People are lucky to have your thoughts, books and the site now! :) Good job! :)
Have a great day! ;)


Dancing sparkled fish-monkey August 17, 2012 at 6:37 am

Dan – I applied the year you did, and that was my first rejection. I’m honestly glad I didn’t play against you. You have a gift of getting people to agree with you and making people think your ideas are their ideas. First episode of season 10 I looked around at my family and called it, “mark my words, this Dan guy already has to $500k” and I think you can do it again! You’re like a slippery super hotdog! Anywho, great articles. You’re the best player out there. There are a ton of BB personalities I have been a fan of, but you’re gifted.

Pixie stick pandas and John deere moonshine!



Arjun September 5, 2012 at 7:01 am

Dan, great post this. Although, I am not an aspiring reality TV star, I do try and understand what goes in it as inspiration. This one’s quite a thoughtful post for those aspiring to be out there in the spotlight.

What holds my curiosity is how reality TV has changed in current times and how social media today is enabling one to cross borders of fame. As a matter of fact, in an extension of the same, check out this story on how social media and its platforms can be cleverly integrated to boost up the prospects of a show.

After all, it’s always great to hear the opinions of those who have been there in the thick of things and I sincerely believe that after 4 years and 8 audition tapes, you would have a lot to tell. :-)


Darryl September 21, 2012 at 12:22 am

Hey Dan,

First congrats on another great season of Big Brother. Second I really like this article as this will help a GREAT deal for the upcoming open casting call for the first ever Big Brother Canada casting call. Also just signed up for the book preview. Consider it cramming for the big day. Again thank you for taking time to educate people on what it can take to make it on reality tv.


Leave a Comment