HGR 012: Reality TV Rejection And What To Do Next

by Dan Gheesling

reality-tv-rejection-rejectedThe 12th Episode of the Podcast helps you deal with the tough rejection that comes with applying for Reality TV.

In this episode you’ll learn what NOT TO DO as well as what TO DO after getting rejected from Reality TV.

Podcast Notes:

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Podcast Transcript:

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Dan Gheesling: This is the “How to Get on Reality TV Podcast” with Dan Gheesling, Episode 12: A Baker’s Dozen… (laughs) …that’s not 12, that’s supposed to be 13!

Welcome to the “How to Get on Reality TV Podcast” where you will learn everything you need to know to about getting cast on a reality television show. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know where to start or if you have applied many, many times before. This podcast will help you improve your casting game!

And welcome back to another episode of the How to Get on Reality TV Podcast. This is episode 12 and thank you so much for tuning in. I am having a little too much fun talking about a baker’s dozen which is actually 13 not 12, but it’s all-good. So I just wanted to thank you guys so much for tuning in yet again to another episode, because this one is a little bit serious. Because, this one is all about Reality TV rejection and what happens after that.

What are you supposed to do after you get the call that says “Hey, thanks for trying out for this show, but no thanks.” How do you pick up the pieces? How do you move forward? And, more importantly, what do you need to do to improve your chances for next time and give yourself a better shot to get cast? So that’s what we’re going to talk about in this podcast but, before we do that, I wanna thank everyone up until this point. We are up to 34 reviews on iTunes and I appreciate every single person who has taken the time out to do that! And most recently, Drillteam09, Colleen Kelly, Jessica Newman, Ken the App Man, reality12, and JuJu9234, all of you guys were super kind and giving the 5-Star reviews. I really appreciate that and, if you’re a regular listener of the podcast and you haven’t gotten a chance to leave a review, I’d really appreciate you doing that!

So, with that being said, we’re going to jump right into the content. Meaning we’re going to talk about the rough side of reality TV. The tough side that, unfortunately, the majority of the people experience – which is rejection. And rejection in any form is not fun to deal with. It’s especially difficult when it’s something you’re extremely passionate about. I know if you’re listening to this podcast, you’re really passionate about getting on reality TV. It’s not easy and it’s a dream that a lot of people chase. At some point, people come to a crossroads. They’ve been applying and applying and they just keep getting shut down. Then they come to the fork in the road and they say ‘You know what? I’m done applying, I’ve had enough!” OR they turn the corner and tell themselves ‘I’m going to keep applying. I’m going to continue to do whatever needs to be done to improve my audition tape or improve my open casting call to find a way to get cast.’ So I wanna help you guys when you get to that fork in the road. I wanna help you guys make the left turn and continue to fight on. That is what this episode is all about.

So let’s talk about what happens when you first get rejected because one of two things is eventually going to happen. At some point in the reality TV casting process, whether you applied, sent in a video, you go to an open casting call, you might have even got to the semi-final round, and then you get rejected. The rejection is going to come to you in one of two ways:

1.)   No call back and no email response. Because one of the most-asked questions I’ve gotten is “Hey Dan, when am I supposed to hear back from this reality TV casting company? When am I supposed to hear back from this show as to if I did or didn’t make it?” The sad truth is that they’re not always going to take the time out to let you know. The best thing you can do if you’re sitting there waiting for someone to respond to you is to get on the website and look at the deadline date of when the cutoff is.

I know that’s not the answer you want to hear, but that’s the truth. Because these people who work for the reality TV casting companies, they have so many people applying and that they have to look at, unfortunately, they don’t respond to everyone. They don’t say ‘Hey, you know what, maybe next year.’ They just don’t do it.


So that’s one option – you don’t hear anything back. There’s no rejection whatsoever, life just goes on without you. Which is a bummer. Because I know when you take a lot of time to either make an audition video or you plan your casting story when you go to that open casting call, you put a lot into it. To not hear back is tough but that’s part of the game and you need to be prepared for that. So that’s one way.


2.)   You’ll get some correspondence: a quick phone call or email saying ‘Hey, we really enjoyed your audition, but it’s not a good fit this year.’  OR ‘Hey, try again next year.’ But sometimes that can be as equally deflating as not hearing anything back. Essentially it’s an email or a phone call basically saying: you’re just not good enough this time. And that’s generally when you have to look inside and say how far you wanna take this thing. How far do you wanna push yourself to getting on reality TV?


Say you get a phone call or an email. There’s one thing you can do to help your chances next time around and I like to call it “Milking the Correspondence for Information.” If you get an email saying ‘Hey, we really enjoyed your audition, but it’s not a good fit this year.’ …if you can get ONE piece of information from that Casting Agent or that Casting Assistant, that’s what you want to do! You don’t want to badger them for information or bother them. Just say by responding in an email “Hey, thanks for getting back to me, I really appreciate it. Is there anything I can focus on to get better for next time?” And they may respond…you have nothing to lose!


They may say “You need a little more experience in –this– area.” OR “I didn’t see this side of you in your audition video.” OR “Next year maybe you’ll have more stories regarding your occupation.” Whatever it is, if you can get any information from them that’s like gold. There’s no harm in asking because you have nothing left to lose at that point anything. My only word of caution at that point is don’t pester them. Don’t write them a 2-page email saying that you’re disappointed you didn’t get cast. Just ask one simple question and see if you get a response.


One of the other things you can do…and it’s tough, but I’m going to talk about in this podcast is three things NOT to do after you’ve been rejected. And then also three things TO DO after you’ve been rejected.

But, before we get to all that, one thing you want to do is build upon your experience. So just the fact that you got through an open call or that you’ve been through the audition video submission process, you’re now more experienced than the last time! Whether it’s your first time applying or your tenth time, each time you do it you can experience. That’s something to keep in your back pocket and add to your confidence moving forward. You’re not going to make the same mistake twice, because you’re learning from what you’re doing. Or at least attempting to learn, especially if you are listening to this podcast, which you’re on the right track to upping your casting game.

So let’s talk about when you get that rejection. It stinks and it’s not a lot fun, but I am going to give you three things NOT to do after being rejected. But I do want to preface this in saying: if you’ve done these things before, that’s okay. These are things that, in some regards, I have done. You know, it took me 4 years to get cast on reality TV and you guys know that. These are all things that I’ve done at some point that were not beneficial to me getting on reality TV.

So I want to go through these 3 things NOT to do:

1.)   Don’t bug, stalk, or harass the Casting Associate that you’ve been in contact with. Now I never did this but I got this email and it really disturbed me. Bottom line…it’s not their fault that you didn’t get cast. They’re just relaying a message from someone higher up. And anything you say or do to them is not going to change it at this point. But I got an email once from a listener saying that about a day or so after they got rejected, they went out and after about a few too many “pops” they kept drunk-dialing their Casting Associate. To me, on just SO MANY levels, you just can’t do that. Whether you’re drunk-dialing or sending multiple emails…just don’t do that! It does the complete opposite of what you want. You come off desperate, you come off cheesy, and you come off annoying. The last thing you want to do is annoy someone who is trying to help you. So please don’t do that, especially for the sake of the Casting Directors and Agents and everyone involved. Just don’t harass the casting people. Which, you would think, is common sense but it’s not. Because the first inclination when you get rejected is to badger them and ask what is wrong with you and what could you do better. You’re not going to want to do that because it will just turn them off and then you won’t be able to milk them for information! So that’s the first thing not to do if you get rejected when you’re on your way to reality TV.

2.)   Immediately after getting rejected — don’t resubmit another audition video and don’t go to another casting call. If you’ve been rejected for the season, don’t send another video in because you’re just wasting your time. They’re going to look at it and see that it either doesn’t match up with your first audition video (which is going to seem kinda sketchy) OR you’re just going to annoy them for being that person who badgers them for the season. So, don’t resubmit another audition video after being rejected for that season.

3.)   Don’t get defeated. It’s NOT the end of the world if you get rejected from one season of a reality TV show. Trust me. You know, I would say I’m walking proof of that. If you listen to the podcasts, I believe, 5 through 7, you heard Troyzan’s story from Survivor. It took him 10 years to get cast on reality TV. So don’t get defeated, it’s not the end of the world. You can always move forward, you can always apply the next year. And you have an entire season to gain more experience in your casting game. So don’t get defeated. I know that’s easy for me to say but, you know, if being on reality TV is really want you want to do then you’ve got to overcome some adversity. You got to push through it. Keep on fighting.

So those are the 3 things that you should NOT do after being rejected from reality TV. And, being a coach, I don’t really like tell people what not to do. I prefer telling people what TO DO because then you can take action on it, have some construction criticism and move forward. So I’m going to go through the Top 3 things TO DO immediately after being rejected from reality TV.

1.)   Just walk away from it. Once you get rejected, there are a lot of emotions: despair, you’re upset, angry, sad, you could even cry. If you get rejected, just walk away from it for a week. I like to call it “Go Get Some Air.” Be really upset for about an hour. But after that hour, drop it and move forward. Just do something else and don’t think about reality TV for a week. Anything you do in that time frame, in that emotional state, is not going to help you. It’s not going to get you closer to being on the show you want to be.

2.)   Reapply for OTHER reality TV shows of no consequence. What do I mean by “no consequence?” Go apply for another show that you don’t care whether you get cast on or not. It doesn’t matter…you have nothing invested into it. But still give it your best shot because every time you go to an open casting call or every time you create an audition video, you’re going to get better at it whether you realize it or not. You’re going to be more comfortable looking into a camera and delivering your lines. You’re going to be more comfortable walking into an open casting call – thinking you’re the man or the woman.

So, go apply for something else besides the show that you’re desperate to be on. You  me, it was Survivor. I applied for Survivor multiple times because I just wanted to gain casting experience. Yeah, it would’ve been cool to move on in the Survivor rounds, but that’s not what my main concern was. If I got rejected for Survivor, it was no big deal. My eye was on the prize for Big Brother. So I recommend that to you. Apply for a Bachelor-type show. Apply for, you know, some crazy reality TV shows. Just get yourself out there and get comfortable with the process.

That’s something you can do right now to help your casting chances. Because you never know what connection you’re going to make with a casting person. You never know how they may lead you into a different storyline of yourself that you’ve never thought of before. There’s just endless possibilities from you continuing to put yourself out there. You don’t know the benefit that’s gonna come from it – so just do it! Plus it will help you get your mind off the fact that you were just rejected from the show you really wanted to be on.

3.)   Start focusing on what you can do better. Obviously the worst thing you can do is recreate the same video year after year, tell the same stories at casting calls year after year, because you’re not changing anything up. There are a couple resources you can look at to up your casting game. One is to listen to some of the old podcasts. It’s funny because, depending on when you listen to this podcast…the first podcast was created over a year ago! I barely remember what we talked about. It was so long ago. I mean, one of the titles is about an open casting calls. Go back and listen to those. Start to insulate yourself with reality TV. You never know when you might get that one piece of information that can help you.


The other thing I recommend you do is go on YouTube and type in “Reality TV Audition Videos.” OR Survivor Audition Videos” OR Big Brother Audition Videos.” Just type in your show and “audition videos” and watch them. You’re going to see people who have been cast and people who you have never seen on reality TV. And, actually, I want you to spend more time watching videos of people who weren’t cast. You can start to develop an eye for it. If you were to watch 20 audition videos on YouTube, you’re going to have a pretty good eye as to what looks good on camera and what doesn’t. What makes a compelling story and what doesn’t? It will better your story and video and just make you better. The more you focus on what you can do better, the more you’re going to be prepared for the second time you apply for that show you really want to be on. So focus on what, individually, you can do better. Gain as much information as you can, listen to old podcasts, watch audition videos on YouTube, and do whatever you possibly can to increase your knowledge of the scenarios.


So we talked about 3 things you shouldn’t do after getting rejected and 3 things you can do to help yourself after getting rejected. But, overall, the best thing I can tell you is just to never give up! It sounds cheesy, it sounds hokey, it sounds cliché, but I’m speaking from experience. If I gave up, I wouldn’t have been in the situation I was and able to play the game I wanted to twice. There are so many factors that are involved in getting cast on reality TV. You could be a great TV character, but maybe you don’t fit a twist that season or maybe you don’t fit into that specific cast.


There are so many things that have to go right in order for you to get cast on a show. That’s why it pains me to see great people who have great casting stories that give up or get discouraged. If you’re listening to this podcast, you’re already committed to getting on reality TV. So just promise that you’re not going to give up! Because I know from a selfish standpoint that I love seeing people on reality TV who it’s taken them a long time to get on. You see a different level of passion from those characters on the show. You see a different level of people understanding how to be reality TV characters and make an entertaining show when they have so much invested in the process.


I keep going back to Troyzan but, you know, watching him in Survivor a couple of season ago, there was just something about him and about every minute he spent on that island. You can see it and feel his passion and how bad he wanted to be there. The only thing something like that is to go through the struggles.


I know this was a short, quicker episode in terms of content and bouncing back to reality TV rejection. But that’s the long and short of it. You’ve gotta move forward, up your game, learn new things, and you gotta make sure you don’t bug those casting producers. As long as you stay in their good graces and don’t get labeled at the stalker/creeper or “that guy,” you’re going to be fine. You’re going to have a shot to get cast as long as you keep improving.


So I want to close out this podcast a little differently by taking a few of your submitted questions. And we’re going to take 2 questions that were submitted through the website at HowToGetOnRealityTV.net/ask. And if you want your reality TV questions answered in the next podcast, you can, you can go there. Once again it’s HowToGetOnRealityTV.net/ask and you can fill in your question there. These 2 questions I want to address specifically because if you’re listening to this podcast and you’re really in the thick of it, these questions are going to help you.




From Lucas: “What is something special I can do to push myself into the casting finals?”

Answer: This is a really difficult question to answer but I wanted to give you at least one tip to help yourself in this situation. So, Lucas, I’m talking directly to you: it’s really about understanding your character. Understand what has gotten you to this point so far. The one way to understand that is to go back and replay in your head any communication you’ve had with a reality TV Casting Assistant. Really focus on what specific questions they asked you about your life and experience. Those questions are the ones that are going to push you to the finals.


The biggest thing you can do to differentiate yourself is to understand the role you are being molded in or the role that they see you in. The more ammunition you can give them for that mold, the better off you’re going to be. So, Lucas, really focus on the questions you’ve been asked specific to yourself. Now I’m not talking about questions like “Why do you want to be on this show?” I’m talking about the questions that are directed to you personally. Take those questions, think about them, and figure out how you can really up those answers, and what stories you can back up. What stories can you really dig out of your repertoire to reinforce your character you’re being molded into. So I hope this helps, Lucas.


From Kate: “What can you do to prepare yourself for a semi-final interview?”

Answer: I have 2 tips that can help you, Kate.

1.)   Remove all potential distractions. So if you’re going to a location, you’re going to a face-to-face semi-final interview. What is a distraction? Know the exact route you’re going to take to get to the location of the interview. Knowing that you’re going to leave on time. Planning your day out, going into the interview with your phone left in the car. Just remove anything that can distract you from what might distract you from your story.

2.)   The night before, run through a list of questions. This is something that I’ve found helped me. Run through how you would answer them. So not verbatim. Don’t rehearse your answers, don’t know them, but have stories lined up so when the questions come, you’ll have a story. Questions like “What would you do with the money if you won?” These are all questions you know you’re going to be asked. So have stories ready to go.

Kate, I hope the no distractions and preparing the night before can help you. Once you get that first call back, you only get a limited amount of time face-to-face whether it’s on Skype or in person. You don’t want any outside factors influencing whether or not you get on the show.

So just a reminder…if you would like you question answered on the podcast, you can submit all your questions on HowToGetOnRealityTV.net/ask. Thank you to Kate and Lucas for submitting those questions! I also just want to mention that if you want to get any of the links I’ve said, I will include links to some YouTube audition videos in the Show Notes on HowToGetOnRealityTV.net/Episode12. Any of the sites or resources we talked about during this episode can be found at HowToGetOnRealityTV.net/Episode12.

I also want to invite you to…if you’re looking for more information how to gain some more knowledge after being rejected…I want you to check out this Webinar I created, it’s completely free and it’s called “The 5 Deadly Mistakes of Applying for Reality TV.” So if you’ve just been rejected and you’re hungry for some more information, you can check out the Webinar at HowToGetOnRealityTV.net/webinar. It’s about an hour long and the only thing I can say to you is make sure you have paper and a pen. You’re going to want to take a lot of notes during that. Once again, you can check that out at HowToGetOnRealityTV.net/webinar.

With that being said, we’re going to close out the 12th episode of the “How To Get On Reality TV Podcast.” This one was little tough because I know if you’re listening to this podcast right now, depending on where you are, getting rejected from reality TV is not fun. But you can set yourself apart from the pack by making the decision to not give up and apply, apply, apply every year and every season. I can’t wait to share in your success when you come back and say: I was defeated, but I’m back and I got cast on reality TV. It just…bothers me when people give up. BUT you’ve listened to Episode 12 and I hope it has helped. Thank you guys so much for tuning in and Episode 13, the Bakers’ Dozen episode, is going to come out in two weeks.

Thank you guys for tuning in and I’ll see you next time! See ya!

Oh, and one more thing – if you’ve recently been rejected from a reality TV show that you’re really passionate about, do me one favor: go to YouTube right now and type in “Epic Fails,” watch at least 3 of those videos and I promise you’ll laugh! You’ll forget about the rejection. Have a good night, guys!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe Shaka May 4, 2013 at 3:45 am

What up, Dan?! I think my problem with my audition tapes is I don’t really know how to give a definitive summary of who I am, ya’ know? I mean, I am a very eclectic person with a variety of interests that it’s hard for me to peg what I should illustrate to casting directors in my tape. Do you have any tips for how to really define yourself for casting directors so they can get an idea of what you’re all about? Maybe you could address this in a podcast. Thanks so much! I love the show!


Bobby flynne May 18, 2013 at 6:52 am

I second this idea!!


Natalie May 9, 2013 at 3:08 am

It would be great if there was the typed out script for this like for the other ones. Thanks!


Dan Gheesling May 9, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Working on it for you Natalie. :)


Bob flynne May 11, 2013 at 12:08 am

Hey Dan!

Awesome podcast yet again… Not that I’d expect anything less than that from you ;)

It’s comforting to know that someone like me who keeps getting rejected can still get on the show if they follow your advice and keep persisting!


Colleen May 13, 2013 at 8:12 am

I watched you record this , you did one night in your office. (office cam) :) So I heard my name I wanted to say “your welcome.” :)
I decided to listen to the podcast. I kept thinking all the way through that it could fit so many situations in life where you feel rejected, or want to “pack it in” and walk away.
So many times people simply need to hear “don’t walk away” or “keep trying” Even the most motivated people can get tired :)
Good job!. :)
Colleen :)


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