How to Make a Great Audition Tape for a Reality Show

So you want to be a reality TV star. The first step? Wow the producers with an awesome audition tape.

You will need

  • A ruthless self-appraisal
  • Discipline

Step 1 Know the show Be familiar with the show you’re applying to. It will provide invaluable insight into the different kinds of personalities they’re after, not to mention the kind of personal information or life drama that may give you an edge.

Step 2 Follow instructions Follow the application instructions to the letter. If they want a DVD, don’t send a VHS.

Step 3 Be seen and heard Before you start each shot, make sure you can be seen and heard. Don’t play the radio or TV in the background, and have the light source in front or above you. Don’t stand in sunlit windows!

Step 4 Don’t bury the lead Lead with your most powerful stuff. Just as people decide if they like someone in the first few seconds of meeting them, TV producers make up their minds about wannabes in the first 30 to 60 seconds of their audition tape.

Step 5 Focus on story Focus on telling your story—not just creating a cool, funny, or wacky persona. Are you just out of jail? About to get married? Give them a narrative they can work with.

Step 6 Emphasize your faults Emphasize your faults, not your strengths. Being likeable is boring; producers would rather see the weaknesses that could make for compelling TV.

Step 7 Be high energy Be high energy. Reality TV is no place for shrinking violets.

Step 8 Let your actions speak Whenever possible, let your actions on the video speak for you. Show the producers what you can do instead of telling them about it.

Step 9 Keep it simple Keep the tape simple. You may think you’ll impress the producers with special effects and fancy editing, but the truth is that you’ll just distract them from learning about you.

Step 10 Don’t be shy Don’t be shy about displaying your physical assets. Let’s face it—TV is a visual medium, and a pretty face and/or a rock-hard body are always going to give applicants an edge.

Step 11 Include contact information Be sure to include your name and contact information clearly on the tape.

Step 12 Shut up Do not post your audition tape online. You will immediately be ruled out, because producers like to introduce their casts themselves.