The 14th Episode of the Podcast comes back with the thunder after a short haitus.
In this episode, we sit down with Peter Brown, an Houseguest from Big Brother Canada Season 1. He’s also what I consider to be a “normal guy” who was cast on Reality TV because of his understanding of the process, combined with his YouTube experience.
You can listen to the podcast right here on the website by clicking the gray play button above or you can download it right from the link below to listen on your computer or iPod.
The Podcast is also available in iTunes, you can subscribe by clicking this link.
All Podcasts are recorded in one take, no re-dos or anything.
The reason I am doing this is because I want to record a Podcast as if I was directly talking to you in a conversation. Not a glossed over edited unrealistic conversation. When edits come into play, the human element and error is lost.
Links Mentioned in this Podcast Episode:
- Peter Brown on Twitter
- Peter Brown’s Original Casting Video
- How To Get Cast On Big Brother Video
- Get Your Question Answered on the Next Podcast
- Peter’s YouTube Channel
- Peter on Facebook
Thank you for listening to this Podcast. Take a second a let me know what you think about it!
Dan Gheesling: This is the How To Get On Reality TV Podcast with Dan Gheesling – Episode 14. Yeah…I know it’s been a while since the last episode…just sit back and enjoy this one, Canadians.
Welcome to the How To Get On Reality TV Podcast – where you will learn everything you need to know 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!
Welcome back to yet another episode of the podcast! Yes, I know it’s been a while since we put one out, I’ve been a little busy but now, with Big Brother Canada Season 2 casting, I figured: who better to bring on this episode than one of your very own? Our very first international guest! Very excited to have him on the show today but, before we get into that, I just want to thank you guys for all the support in everything over the past 6 months. I know the podcast took a little hiatus. When it came back for Big Brother Canada Season 2 casting I figured, you know what, I want to do something special for you guys. So I got one of our very own. And when I say one of our very own, you know, there are only so many normal guys that get cast on reality TV. And I feel that our guest today, Peter Brown, is just that. He really understood the casting process, he understood what it took to get cast and, most importantly, he got cast! And so he’s here on the podcast giving you his best insight into how to get cast on reality TV.
In the middle of this interview, I found myself taking so many notes from Peter because he has so much experience from his YouTube background and it just poured out in this episode! I hope you guys that are applying for Big Brother Canada right now really take a liking to this episode because there is so much information! I hope you guys enjoy! So without any further ado, here is Episode 14 of the How To Get On Reality TV Podcast: An Interview with Peter Brown, YouTuber and Big Brother Canada Houseguest! Enjoy guys!
Dan: Very excited today to have a special guest on the podcast! All you Canadians out there and just general Big Brother lovers, really excited to have our first international guest of all-time: Peter Brown, who has been on he first season of Big Brother Canada! He’s a very, very, very smart individual in the casting department. Excited to have you on, Peter, thanks so much for joining us!
Peter: Well thank you so much for having me! I wasn’t aware that I was a trendsetter! The first international guest?! This is a big badge of honor for me!
Dan: Very much so! We’re crossing the border here in the podcast and who better to do it with none other than, Peter Brown! Before we get into this, you have to tell me: what is your YouTube alias, because I can never pronounce it.
Peter: (laughs) Well, the alias has, uh, taken a back seat. Now I am more well-known with my real name. But, for a large amount of time, I was known on the Internet as Parker Jakobowhitz. And it was basically just a larger-than-life version of me. Something that I could use on the Internet, make different types of jokes that I normally wouldn’t normally make in my real life. So all of my film school friends who had YouTube channels, we all got these aliases, and mine was Parker Jakobowhitz. But now I am back to being me.
Dan: Well that’s great, you know, you talk about something right off the bat that I want to ask you about in casting! You said that you created a persona on YouTube that was larger-than-life. It was more like yourself on steroids and that’s the first question I want to get into for you. Because you were on the first season of Big Brother Canada and, I would argue, that’s the most difficult show to get cast on because there’s been 14+ years of the show and there’s a huge Canadian fanbase.
You overcame that and accomplished that. To me, that’s even more difficult than getting on the American show. You’re coming from such a larger pool. I want to ask you: as soon as you heard that Big Brother Canada was casting, how did you begin your reality TV audition preparation?
Peter: Well I was really excited when I saw the commercials for it. I was watching After Dark and I saw a commercial that said “Hey Canada! Now is your time to play!” And I kind of had a similar reaction, thinking to myself that there’s going to be such a huge, new talent pool for casting to draw from. So they really are going to be taking the best of the best. This is probably going to be a fairly tall order.
Peter: But I was confident in myself and I knew that it was something that I always wanted to do. I’ve seen every single American season. So I just started writing down notes every single night and asking myself ‘what are these people doing? Why did they get on? And what can I do to communicate reasons why I should be one there?’
So, basically, I became a student of the show and I just took notes constantly. Then started to use the information I was gathering to use it to my benefit.
Dan: Now when you say you were taking notes…I’ve heard people say they take notes on gameplay, but were you taking notes on casting? And, if so, what kind of notes were you taking in terms of your audition strategy?
Peter: Well I understand that, while everyone considers themselves an individual, very few people are. And, more often than not in reality television, you are more of a character than a person. So I started to figure out what each person’s character was, which character I would likely be, and how I can best present myself in the way that was going to be the greatest version of that character. Because it was my understanding that there was going to be a lot of different types of “Peters” out there – the dorky guy or the comical nerd – whatever it’s going to be, there will be a lot of variances of that. So I need to make sure that I am the best of that. Not only do I need to do that, but I also need to understand how I would fit into a larger group of people, so that there’s some sense of connectivity there. I gotta make sure I know what they’re looking for or what I think they’re looking for: the hot girl, the jock guy, the mom, whatever it is. I needed to learn how I could factor into all of those other types that are likely to be in the house and just make sure that I am the best possible candidate for my role.
Dan: That’s very, very insightful in terms of understanding how you connect with each type of character. So give me an example. When you said you knew there would be some type of a jock in the house – how did that effect what you would do in your audition and in your preparation?
Peter: Well, for me, I made reference in my audition video I am a lifelong pro-wrestling fan and I love sports BUT I am never going to be WWE champion and I’m never going to win a Stanley Cup. But I believed that I could compete in the world of Big Brother and I would assume that there’s, you know, a big jacked up guy that will dominate all competitions, da da da da da da… So okay, my character has some kind of combative element that I can use with the jock guys. “Big Brother is MY sport!” Maybe you can do the football thing and hockey thing in the real world, but Big Brother is my sport and I’m going to be able to compete with you in that.
Also something I was (at the time) I had a tendency to fall for high-maintenance, dramatic girls and, in real life when I made that video, it was absolutely true. And, in the house, I fell for a high-maintenance, dramatic girl. So I mean there’s these little narrative points that I was trying to establish in my audition video that would ultimately come into fruition inside the house which I think was a testament to how prepared I really was.
Dan: I love talking about this because you mentioned briefly your film school background and you talk about character points and how you connect. The reason I brought you on was because I knew there would be a higher level of insight. The fact that you gave the casting producers an opportunity to know what you’re type was. You pinpointed it very directly. I watched your audition video before we got started (which we’re definitely going to include a link to it) your audition video is phenomenal and we’re going to get to that. But just the fact that you were aware of and mentioned the type of girl that you wanted to be paired with, whether you wanted to or not, it gave the casting producers the option to put that in the house with you. Now, let me ask you this was there anything else that you were that conscious of that you made a statement to create another character point or character connection to?
Peter: Um, one thing that I was aware of, because I have extensive background in YouTube and I am extremely comfortable being on camera, being on a set is not foreign to me, is not intimidating to me, at all. So, I realized a lot of people in there were going to be like, Nerve…obviously everyone is going to be nervous in there you’re playing a… you’re always on high alert, but there’s going to be different levels to that. So, some people were paranoid about cameras, paranoid about what they were saying. Uh, they didn’t know how much was going to be on the Internet or they didn’t understand how live feeds worked. There’s all like these questions they would have about kind of the functionality of the game perspective and while they were worrying about that, I never had to because I understood what was being seen. I understood that I had to censor myself to a degree, or put on a bit of a show sometimes and that is something that comes very naturally to me, and that doesn’t come naturally to most people. So, for example I believe there were 6 tasks in our entire season and I had 3 of them. And, that’s basically because I understood that when something cool is going on in the house, you have to make it entertaining. So I was constantly thinking how can I make this situation entertaining or how can I formulate this conversation in a way that’s going to be engaging to an audience. And all these types of things, where as everybody else probably just going, you know they are running through their normal day as it’s a normal day and Big Brother there is no such thing as a normal day. So why everyone else is worrying about what they look like and what they are doing I am just sitting back and kind of relaxing because I know what’s going on.
Dan: So, sensationally you took all the variables you knew you could control, knowledge of the show, things going on and then combined with your experience in front of the camera and on set that made you stand out right away. But, let me ask you this, for someone who isn’t camera ready or hasn’t spend a significant amount of time creating YouTube videos and understanding what looks good and what doesn’t. You know, I have a certain set of advice that I always give people, but I want to hear yours. For someone who is listening to this right now and says you know I am not as dynamic as Peter on camera. How could or what would your best advice or tip to them be to look better on camera or sound better on camera?
Peter: Well its first, you have to fail at it. So, put yourself on camera. Most people are probably not going to be uh, very good editors or maybe they’re not so good with cinematography or whatever it’s going to be but you know you just got to put yourself in front of a camera. I don’t care if it’s your cellphone and just talk for 3 minutes and realize how bad you are at it, is probably the first step. And once you see that and you go oh, oh, ok alright now I’ve seen myself. I understand that I am not as good as I think I am in my head and then you start putting pen to paper. Take the things you said in your 3-minute failure and write them down and then study them and craft them so it’s the best versions of you. I know that’s probably the first thing you say and the first thing I say. It’s the first thing everybody says. Everyone is just like be yourself. But the reaction is frequently; yeah I know that part, but what else? What’s the secret? What’s the inside scoop? And to be perfectly honest, that’s really it. But, there are multiple differences between being yourself in real life and being yourself on camera. You have to learn how to be yourself on camera. Ultimately the you in your head will… that will come through on TV. You have to present yourself in the way that you see yourself first. And that can sometimes be a trial and error process. But for me, the next step that I go one further is, recognize what character you are. Because I am all about character and if you can’t succinctly communicate what type of character you’re going to be on the show and if you don’t know yourself well enough to be able to explain that in 3 minutes, then you are way behind the pack and you need to do the work to catch up with the rest of the group.
Dan: Alright, so you threw a lot at us and I just want to take a second and break it down. You threw so much great information, but the first thing you said and I know this is hard and if you go on YouTube and watch peoples audition videos you can see it, is that you seem like you are very self aware. You know of being able to watch a film of yourself and say ok this looks good and this doesn’t. And I think unfortunately what a lot of people do is their first time in front of the camera may be at an open call. And you know your first time doing anything you’re not very good. But, thing I kind of want you to extrapolate on is the fact that you said you recognized your character and you mention a little bit about filling your role. Can you explain, you know what you felt your role was heading into that being as self aware as you were?
Peter: I attempted to present myself as the dorky, intellectual, comic book guy. Um, I consider myself to be above average intelligence certainly. So, I knew I had to come off as a little cocky maybe, a little condescending. Um, you know a very confident person, which I wasn’t entirely before I went into the house ironically. Because I became confident after I left the house. But, again I was presenting yourself in the way you see yourself in the head. Um, so I like comic books, I like pro wrestling, I like sports. I wanted to make sure they had a full spectrum of what I am, so I couldn’t be, just be the dork who is just a smart guy. I am also the dork that likes sports. I am the dork who likes wrestling. I guess, I don’t know (laughs) maybe those are all dorky things, but I wanted to make sure I was, that the character was robust and was filled. In film school when you are making your character sheet you can just give them a name and an occupation. You have to give them a name and fill out a whole three pages worth of information. So basically what I did, was I did that for myself. I wrote the Peter character and that’s what I attempted to present.
Dan: That’s really interesting. You said you got that from film school. Like is there a template, you know likes, dislikes, background… I mean can you tell us what ideally you would remember from that sheet or that template you filled out?
Peter: Yeah, that’s exactly right. So in our screenwriting class in film school, you basically give you a character sheet. And it’s basically 2 odd pages of fill in the blank questions. As though you were going to your Facebook profile, or a dating website or you know whatever it is you’re going to have to fill out a lot of Q & A type things like you know, um, even stuff as silly as: When was your first kiss? Who was your crush? Whatever it is. And, for a character, you’re making a for sure film and you have to create all these things. It establishes the character. It makes it better so, when you’re making the film, you understand the decisions that character is making. You have more insight as to why they’re making them. So I basically just did that for the Peter character and it was and, you know, what I felt like would be honest answers. I wanted it to be more synced. So, like, what was the first sports team you saw? Whatever it was. What type of girls do you prefer? Write what you’re ideal girl is. What was your saddest memory from childhood? I don’t know. What’s your happiest memory from childhood? Who was your best friend from junior high? Whatever it is, all the random wacky questions what you fill out. Kind of your miniature life bio. That’s what you have to do, because when you’re writing it down, it helps you remember it and get to know yourself. The better you know yourself, the better you are to communicate that to an audience who does not know you.
Dan: I find that fascinating that you took your character that far, you know, in terms of filling that out. Essentially you took yourself and, I’m sure you exaggerated in some areas and down-played others. One of the things I want to touch on that you mentioned about confidence. When I went back and watched your audition video, which is on YouTube, your audition video conveys a sense of confidence. And I know that’s not easy, but, my question for you is: How much of that was real and how much was fake? Because you watch that video and you’re like: this dude is getting on the show. You know he is.
Peter: (laughs) Uh…yeah, I had a lot of people reiterate that same thing, you know, I exude confidence in the video and, like I touch on earlier, I wasn’t the most confident guy in my real life before entering the house. But…I’m comfortable on camera. I’m competent on camera. So, when the red light comes on, I’m a different person. That’s the Peter that appears on YouTube. So I understand how to turn it on for camera. I can be confident talking to this inanimate object. That’s basically where it comes from and from years of practice. Know what’s happened it my real life is that I’ve kind of caught up because of the show. But, you know, like everything kind of comes out in the wash. Everything comes out, which is pretty neat. It was essentially just understanding that I have experience in this field and I’m confident in there is nothing that’s going to phase me, I am extremely familiar with the show. So in that very specific part of my life, I could be very confident. When you throw another random scenario in, it would just be what I was comfortable with, I suppose.
Dan: So let me ask you this – I know you said it comes with years of experience with creating YouTube videos, but I’m guessing and I’m not even sure if it’s available, but if we wanted to go on and watch your first YouTube video I’m guessing it’s not as good as your last one. So is there anything you can remember from your early YouTube days that helped you really visualize, or, because it directly relates to creating an audition video. Is there anything from your early days of YouTube that you look back and think: yeah, that made me a better character on screen?
Peter: There is certainly a difference between the version of me on camera from when I started in 2010 and the current version of me. And that’s succeeding by learning how to fail. I look back and the way that I’m delivering jokes or the way that I’m attempting to communicate with an audience it feels too much like a character. It feels too over-the-top, it feels too smart for me, it’s not really relatable, it’s me really trying to overcompensate for something. Then, over time, you can see me more confident and relaxed, you know, it seems as though that’s how I normally am. So what essentially happened is the over-the-top character that I was attempting to create kind of went away after a while and became the normal me on camera. The normal life me changed too because I was becoming more confident just interacting with the camera. So it’s a long-form version of what people have to do in extremely condensed amount of time of the learning how to fail thing. I just had the jump on it by a few years with, you know, doing YouTube.
Dan: We talk about you being on YouTube for almost three years now and probably even longer than that. With your extensive background in YouTube, can you take us through the physical process of how you created your audition video? Because I know you said you created that character sheet. Well then what? That character should give you background but what did you do from there on?
Peter: So I knew I needed to get as much information as possible about me in the three minutes that you have. So…talking fast, always keeping it interesting, and constantly keeping the narrative moving. What I did was: I knew I had my YouTube setup, my white screen, got my 3-point lighting, setup my camera, had my script (my script was a little longer, I had about a five minute long script), I had stories that might have to get cut, but I wanted to be able to select the best pieces. So I timed out what would be about a five-minute video, knowing I would have to cut about two. Then I just stood there for an hour or however long it was and talked. Then I took it to the editing bay. Yeah, so there were a lot of stories. For example, one story: I was on a different reality show in 2011 called Gillette Drafted and it was basically a VJ search but for sports broadcasting. I was on that show and I told the story about how I became the villain in a reality show about sports broadcasting and how preposterous that is but I was able to do it anyway. And it just didn’t seem to fit with the character I was trying to convey so it ended up getting cut. There’s a few more little stories like that just didn’t make it because it wasn’t the character that I was trying to present but basically I just set up my screen, my light, my camera and talked in front of it for however long it took.
Dan: Now you mentioned something huge – you said you had a script that you said would last five minutes and cut down. Tell us about what you did to make that script. Because obviously you had to come up with these stories but take me through the process of having to make an audition video, you giving yourself more time to give yourself story to cut down. But when you sat down and created that script, what did you do? How did you pull stories? What was your mindset to doing that?
Peter: So essentially I knew that I needed to captivate whoever my viewer was. That means giving all the best Peter that I could but also being honest. So I tell them, you know, I went to film school and how that relates to Big Brother. I talk about my biggest passions in life, wrestling and sports, and how that relates to Big Brother. So I basically create this bio of myself with always keeping in mind with how is this going to be relevant to the show. A lot of people are going to say, “Oh, I’m a great manipulator! I’m a great liar. I’m this horrible person.” Then they say that everyone loves them. That doesn’t really make sense! How can you be this terrible, awful person and then have 15 of your best friends appear behind you in your video and be like “Yeah! Get this guy on!” It’s just not authentic. So I knew I had to be authentic to whomever was going to be viewing it. I also had to make sure they were engaged with the highlights of me. That’s basically what I did. I wrote the bio, all the things that interest me and I love, and Big Brother is one of them. You know, all things kind of just aligned and pointed towards that one goal and how does this relate to Big Brother.
Dan: You mentioned a key word there and you’re so good at it with your YouTube videos and even with your audition video…you mentioned about keeping the viewing audience engaged. What does that meant to someone who has no idea how to keep someone engaged and what is that for you?
Peter: Um, for me, it’s always giving them something perhaps unexpected. And I mean you don’t want to be 20 seconds into the video and know what it’s going to be like at the three-minute mark. You always want to give them a little something different. So for me I started out being super dorky whatever, but then I got like hockey uniform and a wresting shirt on, I put like nice clothes on at the end. I’m always changing up the visual information so, you know, in their mind they say, “Okay, this is a reset, what is he going to say now? What’s he going to talk about when he’s wearing this outfit, what’s this?”
So my advice to other people: you don’t have to go and make this elaborate production, but you also have to think about what you’re suppose to be saying, what is the order? Order is very important. You want to be telling them a story. Just like if you’re writing a script or whatever, you have to get through to the end. You can’t know what the ending is going to be on page one, that’s bad storytelling. So get your pertinent information out there first: you name, your occupation, and then elaborate on that by always giving them something new and exciting to talk about. If you can’t think of new and exciting things to talk about every 30 seconds, then you’ve got a lot of work to do. And that means putting pen to paper and writing it down. I’m a huge proponent of writing it down because if you can see it, visualize it, and you say it out loud then you’re going to have a lot better chance of communicating that effectively. Because if you say your three minute video in front of a mirror reading off of a piece of paper and you don’t find it interesting, nobody else is either.
Dan: Well you talk about keeping things in order, keeping things fresh, keeping people engaged and your audition video for Big Brother Canada is up on YouTube and we’re going to include a link to that, but at the end it just kind of hit me that you throw out the fact that you’re an atheist. There were so many things I learned about you from a three-minute window, you know, and it just kept coming and coming. I think anyone who wants to take a look at how to keep things engaged and really take a look at Peter’s YouTube video. I felt like all that stuff, and talking to you now we know, it didn’t happen by accident. It was very methodical and very planned out but kudos on the execution.
So now I want to talk about: coming from your audition video, you also released another video that I probably saw a couple months ago that I just loved. It’s a five-minute video about your best tips on how to get cast on Big Brother Canada. Before we talk about those tips, I just want to ask you: why did you decide to make that video?
Peter: I love Big Brother. Big Brother is one of the most important things in my life and I want to continue for it to be one of the most important things in my life. That means making the show successful. So you hear countless stories of people like Frank or people like Judd who applied numerous times. YOU! You applied numerous times to get on and it’s like there’s this process and maybe it takes two or three times. But what I want is for the person who could get on or who would be awesome if they got on, but they sucked at auditioning. I want that guy. I want Steve in Toronto or Sally in Saskatewan to be awesome at their audition the first time so that the show is better. And I know that probably sounds ridiculous to people who are not Big Brother fans, but I love that show, I love that concept so much that I want every season to be the best season ever. And that means getting the best people. So if my tips can help a person who should be on but can’t get on because the trial and error is too hard for them or it takes two or three seasons to get there, I want it to be the first time. Basically I want Robyn to have the hardest time ever casting because she has so many great people to choose from.
Dan: On the show, I felt like you continued to be yourself but also remain that inflated character. But, you know, we talk about people who have tried out multiple seasons and I’m with you there, like, those people seem to be the most interesting characters because they want it so bad and..
Dan: And I want to talk about the video that you made because, just like your audition video it’s phenomenal and I’m a big fan of your YouTube channel in general, but just watching that, you know, I wrote down a few, what I felt were the top points, and I just want you to kind of elaborate a little more or more so than you would in the 5 minute YouTube video. But one of the first things you say is that the first 10 seconds of your audition video are hugely important. Can you expand on that?
Peter: Yeah, well that’s like a general YouTube rule, um, for all videos, is that the first 10 to 15 seconds are extremely important in captivating your audience like we live in the ADD generation and, you know, people are watching YouTube more than they’re watching television now, and if you can’t grab them in the first 15 seconds, they’re not going to watch your video, you know, for the whole 3 minutes no matter how good you think it is at the 2 1/2 minute mark. So, your objective should always be to grab their attention with something, whatever it is tell them some kind of interesting fact, be in a crazy situation that you need to get yourself out of, start a story and then give the cliff hanger ending later. Whatever it is, whatever is going to suit you best, but you’ve got to grab their attention in the first 15 seconds or they’re going to click that video off because there’s no reason to keep watching. If you’re not instantaneously, you know, interesting there’s no re-, you have to give the person a reason to watch. And I think that’s one thing that people often forget, you know, they start and they ramble on on some story, and then they’re a minute in and they, and, you know, they don’t even have a name yet. Or they start with- ‘Yea, I love Big Brother, I’ve seen every season, I’m going to be so awesome on the show’ and then you’re 8 seconds in and it’s like, I don’t know your name, I don’t know anything about you except you’re sitting in a dimly lit room telling me things that everybody else is going to say.
Dan: Well, you know, you gave 3 really good tips, and I just want to reiterate what you said. You said, you know, some examples of how you can start faster, you know, make those first 15 seconds memorable; You said, you can talk about a crazy situation. You could give out some random trivia about yourself, or leave a cliffhanger of a story right at the beginning. I think those are 3 great tips, as someone, because everyone is going to say, ‘oh, ya, I know the first 10/15 seconds are important, but then what?’ And I think, you know, whether you realize it or not you just gave–You know, someone needs to, someone listening should rewind to the past 60 seconds of what we were talking about. But, you know, you talk about the fact that one of the points that, you know, one of the important points you said in that video was the fact that you said, like, don’t pretend you’re on the show. And, essentially, you know that kind of builds along the fact that you said that you know that I’m going to be the best on the show, ‘yada, yada, yada’ but you say don’t pretend that you’re on the show. Can you explain what you meant by that?
Peter: Yeah, there’s a tendency that some people, um, have, uh, which they probably think is cute or original but is not…they put themselves in the shower and they’ll have a cold shower, or they’ll make their own version of slop or in the past they did peanut butter and jelly or whatever it is, they pre-, you know, they’ll have a little day counter with them on their couch, whatever. Everybody that’s auditioned, or most people that are auditioning, knows what Big Brother is and any one that you video probably, or definitely knows what it is. (32:50) They, uh, the casting people know what the show is. They know, you know, what’s going to happen on the show. They know there is going to be challenges, whatever it is, you don’t need to show yourself in the hypothetical house, you need to show them how good you are as a person, so that they’ll put you in the real house.
Dan: Yeah, that’s one of the things that I always talk about when we talked to a few people about Survivor audition videos is that you’ll see Survivor audition videos and people will be in the woods in their backyard, and it’s like, it goes like, how many thousands and thousands of videos are like that. But I think that’s a great point, the other thing you mentioned in that, you know, 5 minute YouTube video is the fact that, you said, ‘show it and don’t say it.’ And I think that was a really important thing. Can you explain what you mean by that?
Peter: Yeah, in, in the world of reality TV, seeing is believing. Um, and so, if you’re an athletic guy: show yourself being athletic. You know, put yourself on the field. If you’re smart: talk in an intellectual manner or show yourself in an environment that’s reflective of that intellect. If you’re a hot girl: show yourself…I don’t care. Just make sure, uh, that you’re communicating visually in addition to auditory. You know, I had a little bit of a different, um, thing for me because, like, my whole thing was like “I’m YouTube, I’m in this giant like void, this is what I do” so for me I’m just like saying it all but I am giving some context at the very least. What I really mean by that is that a lot of people would say, ‘I’m so smart, I’m so cunning, um…I’m emotionless’ and they’re just rattling off these bullet points that everyone else are going to say and they’re not giving any context to it or they’re not showing why they are like that. Or they are not providing a story. So, um, basically what I’m trying to get at is you have to elaborate, explain, think-hey- like you said for the Survivor thing, how many thousands of people are going to say I’m a manipulator, I’m a backstabber, I don’t care about anybody and then follow it up with nothing? At least follow it up with something.
Dan: That’s a good point in terms of follow it up. I really like that advice. That’s good. Um, another big point that you made in your video in helping people get cast on Big Brother Canada, is you said and this– I kind of, I kind of tie these 2 points together because essentially it’s the same thing. You said 2 things, you said ‘don’t talk about your friends’ and also no endorsements from past contestants. I kind of lump those in the same thing, but, but tell me your view on that.
Peter: Yeah, yeah, that’s probably fair because I mean it’s essentially the same thing. You’re having other people attempt to communicate why you are so great. That’s, like, sitting in a room and having everybody else point at you and say how great you are while doing nothing and, uh, that doesn’t really work when you’re trying to do a 3 minute audition video about yourself. Now, in the live casting, a little bit of a different story, but for the video itself, you want to make sure that you are communicating the points because you are ultimately the one that’s going to be in that house. Not your friends, not other past houseguests, whomever it’s going to be. They don’t count, they’re not relevant. And, you know, unless they’re in the story that you are telling, you know, if you’re doing a flashback or whatever it is–I don’t know, uh, they’re not the ones that are going to be in there. You are. So make it about you. Be selfish. Big Brother is a game for selfish people, and you have to be selfish in your audition video to get in there.
Dan: Got it. Now, one of the things in your audition video that, you know, after I watched this, in, you know, me taking this from the casting perspective, and looking-watching your video, one of the things that I wanted to ask you about that, you know, helping people get on Big Brother video is: What’s one, like, YouTube type, whether physical setup tip or audio or lighting tip that you could give someone to make them-their video look or appear a little bit better. I know it’s not going to look as professional as yours on the white background and everything, but what’s a good random or general tip that anyone can apply to make their audition video better? And I’m saying from the aesthetics and the film aspect of it.
Peter: Well, one thing that I notice that a lot of people do that’s a mistake is that they position themselves in front of a window, and this is a horrible thing to do because it’s a gigantic light source. And, so when you see, and it may look nice. You might have a beautiful backyard. But, unless you have a professional camera that you can light that correctly, you know, you can change the settings so that you don’t look completely blown out and black, it’s just going to look horrible. So, put yourself in a well lit area that is best reflective of you. If you have a home office, put yourself your home office. You know, if it’s just you sitting on the couch, it’s just you sitting on the couch. Just make sure that the room is quiet. Make sure there’s nobody around making noise, there’s no dogs, whatever it is. And make sure that you have all the lights on, you want to make sure that the person watching your video is able to see you and hear you clearly. Like I said in the video, it doesn’t have to be some big elaborate production, but it does have to be watchable. So, you know, maybe, you know, if you’re just sitting there on the couch and you’ve got one picture on the wall, maybe that’s a little boring. Find the most interesting place in your house, the most reflective of you, even if it’s just you sitting in front of your bookshelf. Well, hey, then I can see on your bookshelf you’ve got all the ‘Harry Potter’ books or something like that. Maybe that says a little bit of something about you. You want to make sure that the visual information in the frame reflects you.
Dan: That’s interesting. I really like the no window thing because that’s something that if you’ve never used a video camera–if you’ve never shot yourself, that’s a common mistake that I think, uh, you know, people make and like you said it makes for a horrible visual. But, you know, so, transitioning from kind of your advice from the casting department back to your casting story, I know we have to tread a little lightly here, but, um, after you sent your audition video in, what was the next thing that happened to you in the process?
Peter: Um, so, not long after I sent in my video casting came here, um, to Vancouver. And I had already received a call about my video expressing interest, but I thought–and because I’m, you know, a fan of the process and a fan of the show, you know what? I’m going to go early. I’m going to show up just like everybody else because I want the full experience. Big Brother Canada: season 1, maybe they’re not going to get a season 2. So, I want to make sure I’m doing everything possible for me to get seen and be part of the whole experience. So, I went just like everybody else and stood in line for 2 hours and went in and did the, uh, live audition and as I touched on earlier, when you’re in the live audition–not to give too much away–but you’re not in there individually, and, uh,
Dan: …and I’ll say it because I don’t want to put you in a situation, sometimes for people who go to open casting calls–and this is something we talk about all the time, it’s why I don’t like open casting calls–it’s not just you some of the times. It’s you and two or three or four other people and it’s like you’ve got to be the dancing monkey that’s louder and more witty than everyone else. So, I’m guessing that’s what you experienced.
Peter: Yes, yes, something very similar to that and, and, what the tip is here if you want a secret super tip for that is, which is the complete opposite to the video strategy, is you want to make everybody else in that group talk about you. Because, like you said, you want to stand out. You’ve got to be the dancing monkey. You’ve got to be the one that, you know, out of the whole group–you know, because if you can’t stand out in a group of whatever it is, 3 to 6, whatever it is, if you can’t stand out in that small of a group, you’re not going to be able to stand out on national television. So, if you can make it so that every other person in that group is pointing at you, talking about how awful or awesome you are, you’re way ahead of me. Easier said than done but if you can do, you’re in the right direction.
Dan: You know, and I can only imagine, you know, knowing how you operated on the show, I can only imagine how you did that. I’m sure that’s one hell of a story. And, oddly enough, uh, a few weeks ago I was in Canada and talked about one of the executive producers about it—and this is where I was a little bit conflicted because I didn’t know–you know, she had told me that she saw you in person at open casting call but I also knew you had sent in a video and you’re actually one of the few people that I’ve ever known who have done both and succeeded. Because most of the time, one of the questions, should I go to open casting call or video, and usually it’s one or the other but you were, you know, you were–did both, and from what I know about your performance in the open casting call, it was just as big of a shoe-in as your video. Which is cool because I just think that’s so unique that you excel in both and, and, because normally someone would fail at one and kind of like blow their chances with the other if that makes sense. You know, if someone sends out an audition video that’s good and then goes to an open casting call and then just—anyways, I just find it fascinating that you did both and succeeded at both. And, uh, anyways I want to move forward and like I said, I can kind of fill in the blanks here as far as treading lightly but when you got the call back, so after you went to the open casting call in Vancouver then what happened?
Peter: Umm, so after I went to the open call in Vancouver, of course, there are the rounds of call backs that they have to go through that come immediately after, um, so you go the main day –whatever it is, Sunday–and then they’ll have call backs the next 2 days which are much more intimate. They are one on one, they’re longer. It really gives you a chance to shine, um, with somebody who is a decision maker. So, uh, maybe you’re great at doing 90 seconds in a big group to get noticed, but then can you carry that same momentum for a half an hour. So, that’s kind of the next step. That’s what you kind of got to be thinking of going forward is that when you’re in your longer interview, when they’re really getting to know you and figuring out who you are as a person, you’ve got to make sure that you know yourself pretty darn well because they’re going to ask you a lot of personal questions and you’ve got to have an answer for everything because if you hesitate, if you stumble, if you hum and haw, or if you are unsure about anything about you, then I would expect that they are going to be unsure about you. So, even if you’ve got to make it up–because you’re going to have to lie in the house anyway– if you’ve got to make it up, start a story and then just roll with it. And, you know, again easier said than done. I can do it, I have a history. I’ve done improv acting; I do a lot of comedy sketches and stuff like that. I’m good at just spit balling and rolling so I can make up some story about myself and I can make it believable because, you know, that’s the kind of communicator that I am. So, you know, the best thing is to just tell them the truth, but you always have to have an interesting question–and you should know what they’re going to–the types of things they’re going to be asking because you watch the show. They’re probably going to be talking about showmances, they’re probably going to be talking about strategy, they’re probably going to be talking about life in the house, you know, and your life in general. So make sure you’ve got some answers for these things and not just, yes and no–you’ve got a story to tell. It’s about story telling.
Dan: Now, let me ask you this. So, for the person that isn’t dynamic on stage, who doesn’t do improv, you know, what–because I’m guessing there was–you knew what was going on, you knew if you got a callback that you knew what you were getting yourself into. Is there anything that you did to prepare yourself, you know, for that essentially that barrage of questions? And you know that you’re going into that–and knowing you, I know that you didn’t go to that thing and didn’t know exactly what to expect.
Peter: Yeah, so again this all ties back to character. I needed to know that every answer I gave tied back to the character that I was attempting to present and would be on the show. So, not that I was lying or, you know, exaggerating or, um—
Dan: …But you were kind of exaggerating.
Peter: Well, exaggerating in a way that was not, it’s not duplicitous. I’m not saying that I’m an astronaut in training and then getting in the house and they find out I’m not an astronaut in training
Peter: You know, I’m saying things that are authentic; I’m just, you know, communicating them in the way that is the most compelling. I guess that would be the easiest way to say it. And my advice for other people in there is, you know, it’s okay if you’re sitting there and they ask you a question and it stumps you once–I’ll give you one– but 2 or 3 times, it’s bad. Even if you just start with a simple yes and then just talk; just let words come out of your mouth like verbal diarrhea–whatever it is–just freaking talk, and eventually you’ll find a roundabout way to get it back to your point. My advice is to just talk, and maybe that’s a me thing and maybe that’s just something that I’m good at but, you know, it’s just they’re going to ask you about all elements of the show and they’re going to ask you about all elements of your personality. What you’re comfortable with, what you’re uncomfortable with. You have to know yourself to rattle off these things at a moment’s notice in a way that’s going to make the person asking these questions go–’oh, hey, that’s kind of cool’ And if they’re not asking you the questions you want–because that’s one thing that I did–I knew I had some things that I wanted to say, absolutely, like I have to get this point across, I have to get that point across, so if they ask me a question that’s even in the general ballpark, I’ll answer it in 30 seconds and then I’ll veer off in another direction and talk about something else that I want to talk about. The point that I want to get across, the message that I want to communicate and then they’ll go–’oh, well that’s interesting. Tell me more about that.’ So, if you’ve got a few bullet points of things you have to get across then make sure you’re doing that and that’s just listening for verbal cues– something that’s in the ballpark and then answering it and going off in your direction. You can control your interview if you want to simply by being assertive and knowing what you want to say.
Dan: So, so you didn’t jam your message down their throats and completely disregard the question. You just answered their questions–somehow found a way to tie it to whatever talking point you wanted to throw at them. So, you kind of appease them but then you took control of the wheel. Okay, so, you mentioned something interesting and I know this is something that happens to a lot of people–it happened to myself–in terms of getting frozen by a question or getting stumped by a question. Is there anything that you were unprepared for? Any time that you remember at any time during the casting process where you thought, ‘oh, crap. I might have blown it there.’ or did you, were you so hyperaware that you just blew through it and made it happen.
Peter: Well, well, not to say that I was arrogant but no. I was very, very prepared and there was nothing that anybody threw at me, even at the final stage with the most intimidating person you could possibly be in front of. There was nothing that anybody could throw at me at that point that was going to stump me because I know me quite well and how to communicate Peter. And, so, even if it was a question that I didn’t know the answer of offhand, I knew me well enough that I could make something up that would be true. Or they could ask me a scenario like what would you do if your best friend stabbed you in the back in the house? And they voted you out or whatever, and I know how I react to things in such a way that I’m able to say, ‘well, this is probably what I would do.’ Or this is how that sequence of events would occur. Or, you know, this is how I might react just because, you know, I know me. And, again, I know I say it a lot but you’ve got to know you before you get into that room. And if you don’t or you only think you do, you know, you’re not going to be successful.
Dan: That’s funny that you didn’t get frozen because I think that’s very rare. But the fact that you were so prepared and obviously focused with your background experience and everything, you know, I’m glad that you did make it through because, you know, like it or not–people have opinions–but you were a memorable character on the show and then stuff like that rarely happens by accident. Yes, you know, every now and then you’ll get the southern bell that just melts everyone’s hearts. And that’s how she normally is–but for someone like you, I just really enjoyed your character and you on the show because I knew you knew what you were doing behind the scenes. And you even had me at the beginning; you said something like you hated people. And you had me, I was like ‘This guy really hates people’ but anyways, I get off on a tangent. Speaking of, I want to wrap up with this last question. And this is, kind of, I guess personal, because you’ve given everyone so much great advice on the podcast. We appreciate you coming on but how are you personally–so you, I’m talking to you now–different than the role you played in casting? And you were–and my other follow up question was—were you aware of this? And yes you were, but how was the line drawn and how are you actually different from that character?
Peter: Well, I’ll say this. I didn’t want to be someone who was the greatest, like, casting guy ever and then goes to the show and sucks. And I’m not talking about being a bad game player. Like, anybody can show up and be the first one out. Like, it’s a crapshoot. But I didn’t want to be, like, this dynamic interesting audition and then get in the house and fail as a character. So, that’s something that I was always aware of. Like I said before, you know, when I was doing the tasks, I made sure that I was interesting– you know, you’re acting a little bit. You’re making it fun because Big Brother, you know, ultimately should all be about fun. So, I made sure that the character that I was communicating in the audition process was also the character that I ended up playing on the show. And where that line is in real life, um, it is certainly now more skewed towards the character. I believe, I think that Big Brother taught me to be confident in myself and, you know, allowed me to be, you know, the larger than life personality that I was in there in the real world because, you know, as weird as it might sound, I never felt more comfortable in my entire life than I did in the Big Brother house. I felt that I could be authentically me, and that was something that was extremely important to me. I felt like I belonged in there. And then when you get back into the real world, there’s this huge decompression process. It’s very, very weird readjusting to reality and I found I was more confident; I was more assertive and happy with myself. You know before Big Brother…never smiled in pictures–Ever! Hated smiling in pictures, now I smile in every picture. So, I say Big Brother taught me how to be the person that I always wanted to be.
Dan: That’s awesome. And I can completely relate to that but I think it’s cool when–someone like yourself–has such a positive experience from the show and, you know, grows individually. I think it comes from the fact that, you know, when you watch a show or even your audition, and you can tell how bad you wanted it and the fact that–you know, I think that’s an element of it too where it’s just somewhere in your, you know, people call it a deranged mind, but somewhere in your mind you said, I’m going to make it on this show by any means necessary. And I think that you’re a walking testament to that. So, Peter let me ask you this, for people that do want to get in touch with you and keep up with what you are up to, how can they–tell me what’s going on and tell me how people can stay up with you..
Peter: Yeah, I’m very active on social media. I always respond, you can find me on twitter (@alsopeterbrown). You can also find me on YouTube (@alsopeterbrown). You can like my Facebook fan page. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I always like to reach out to anybody who wants to reach out to me because, you know, just a year ago, I was, you know, watching you on TV and now I’m sitting here doing this podcast. I’m always about, you know, interacting with somebody who I would want to interact with if I was in their shoes. And I would never be one of those people who would be standoffish or not engaged with an audience. So, yeah, @alsopeterbrown all over the internet and I will get back to you as soon as I can because I always love hearing good, bad, or indifferent—whatever it is—I like to hear it.
Dan: And I’ll be–all the ways to contact Peter will be included in the show notes in the show. And Peter, let me ask you this, what is your–I guess this is a personal question–what is your direction from your YouTube channel from here on out? What’s your goal? When you started on YouTube and you have a significant following on YouTube. What’s your, you know, your vision for that or where are you taking that?
Peter: So this summer I kind of dialed it to a very specific tune, and that was just doing the Big Brother stuff because, you know, I have a lot going on right now and I kind of gave the summer to just be a Big Brother–you know, Alec and I did ‘The Sheyld Show,’ you know with Big Brother houseguests, former Big Brother houseguests and all summer but starting in the fall, October, once Big Brother is all done, I’m going to be going back to doing, you know, the weekly comedy sketches, the vlogs, and I would also, you know, my short term plan for the channel is to go back to doing short films. Go back to my film school roots. Do some nice 8 to 10 minute shorts to get more engaged in the film community. That’s something that I feel like I’ve been missing out on the past few years. But, yeah, more vlogs, some more comedy sketches, and some short films coming down the pipeline for fall and winter
Dan: Let me ask you this, what side of the camera on the short films?
Peter: Um, probably behind the camera for the short films but it depends on what they are, I suppose. The first one that I’m doing does not include me on camera, it is behind camera and it is basically about the day in the life of this ‘seemingly’ normal girl who by the end of the day is the furthest thing from normal that you could ever imagine. So, that obviously it’s not going to be me in front of the camera but yeah, so hopefully some funky little 8 to 10 minute shorts that I’ve been tinkering away with over the past few months that I’ve been writing that I’ll get done.
Dan: Well, I think in talking about abnormal people like yourself and myself who found a way to get on a crazy reality TV experience. Peter, thank you so much for taking the time out. I mean, I was taking notes. There’s just so much great information to help the next Peter, although there will never be another Peter on ‘Big Brother: Canada,’ to get on the show and, you know, I think it’s cool everything you’ve been doing because you are providing value back to the reality TV community. It’s not about the season that has passed; it’s about what you can do to help people. And I just appreciate you taking time out to come on the podcast.
Peter: Well, I appreciate you having me and anything I can do to make the community better is good in my books because it is a privilege and an honor to be a part of that community and I want to make sure that it is as good and as prosperous as it possibly can be.
Dan: Can you close this out with your “End Scene”? I just have a vision of you sitting on the steps doing some ‘American Psycho.’ How did that end?
Peter: There is an idea of Peter Brown. It’s not real. This is not an exit…oh no, shoot,
wait…I screwed up my own line. Wait; there is an idea of Peter Brown. It’s not real. This is–No, it was right… This is not an exit, disappear here. No, I had it right but then I screwed it up here. What a fail. Epic fail.
Dan: Well, here we go. Last take, last take. You have to close on a high note.
Peter: There is an idea of Peter Brown. It’s not real. This confession has meant nothing. This is not an exit, disappear here.
Dan: Peter Brown, ladies and gentlemen.
Peter: Third time is a charm!
Dan: Thanks so much for coming on, man. We appreciate it.
Peter: Thanks, Dan
Dan: It was truly a pleasure interviewing Peter Brown. And he gave so much information, and content and valuable tips. I hope you guys appreciate it as well. You know when I first met Peter, we kind of came to blows on the set of ‘Big Brother: Canada’ finale. We were hollering at one another in front of the crowd, actually, he was the one doing the hollering. But he’s such a good dude. And one of the things that I respect about Peter the most is that he’s continuing to add value back to the Big Brother community. Even the casting community, in terms of trying to help people out, so be sure to follow him on YouTube, and like I said all of his links will be in the show notes at HowToGetOnRealityTV.net/episode14.
Before I let you guys go, I just wanted to remind or not remind you but let you guys know we rereleased the HowToGetOnRealityTV.net video course which includes 4 videos, 4 worksheets, and the audio files for you to listen to in the car. Basically, what it is, it’s me teaching you A to Z through the casting process everything from creating your audition story to the best way to attack either an open casting call or your audition video. And you can check that out along with a free one hour course, so just by going to the page you can watch one of the courses for free. So, right on the page, by going to HowToGetOnRealityTV.net/video. I hope you guys enjoyed this episode and I’ll see you next time.
…Oh, and one more thing. Being as this is the special Canadian episode, I love ketchup chips. Have a good one, guys. See ya.