Archive for category: Jillian Michaels

Marty’s TED Talk on Weight & Identity

03 Nov
November 3, 2016

Marty was part of the season three of NBC’s The Biggest Loser, like I was, and just recently released this TED talk about his own struggles with weight and identity. Fantastic, powerful stuff!

Biggest Loser casting tips (season 16)

22 May
May 22, 2014

Biggest Loser is well into casting for season 16!  The latest information will be posted on the Biggest Loser casting website.  Basically, this post is a collection of tips I’ve written based on my experience making the cast of season three, as well as some links to casting advice I don’t think you should miss:

  • NBC has posted casting information and the application here.  They have all the casting news and information on a special blog just for Biggest Loser casting, which you can find here.
  • Pete Thomas, the season 2 $100,000 winner has some of the best casting call advice out there, which you can find at his website, Lose It Fast, Lose It Forever.
  • Holland, a casting director for Biggest Loser sent me a bunch of great advice on how to be casted, you can find it here.  She updated them October, 2009.
  • I’ve been posting these casting tips for the last few seasons and they always seem to end up with thousands of comments; just about every season has contestants that were hanging out on here, reading and giving each other thoughts and advice.  You can find the most recent one here.
  • If you’re dealing with disappointment about not being cast, then check out my post on Biggest Loser casting disappointment.

One of the questions I hear a lot is about money … how do contestants afford to be away from home and work for months at a time? I don’t know what it is now, but when I was a contestant there was a $500 a week stipend for cast members on the ranch. When you received the check you could cash it and spend it, send it home, save it, whatever. All airplane tickets, hotel accommodations, etc., for the contestants and potential cast members are taken care of by NBC, and during the casting process it self there was a $50 per diem to cover food costs.

Another question is timing; typically a season lasts for about 8-9 months. About four of this is spent in filming; if you last all the way until the final three or four, you could be away from home for as much as four months or so. Once the ranch filming wraps and the last few contestants are sent home, however, there is still another four or five months that all the contestants have to continue losing weight until the finale. In addition, potential cast members are flown out to California a couple weeks before filming begins for the final round of casting, medical checkups, psychological evals, etc. NBC brings out more people than what they need and the cast is not finalized until filming literally begins. People have been cut at the last minute and replacements flown in with hardly any time to spare. Nothing is in stone until it’s on camera!

When will you hear from Biggest Loser about your video? There is no way of knowing. I heard back a few weeks after I sent it in, but even after that it’s a big waiting game. If you get a phone number or email from a casting direction, definitely drop them a line/call every couple weeks to find out if you’re still in the running or what’s going on. Schedules and plans change almost every day, so it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. If you don’t hear back within a month I would think your video didn’t make the cut. That doesn’t mean you can’t send in another or visit a casting call – it’s just up to you!

Finally, here’s my video application tips! This is by no means a recipe for success; it’s based on my video application and the conversations I had with casting directors out in LA in between things. I was pretty curious about the whole process so I was pumping them for info even after filming began. I’m such a nerd!

  • They’ve usually decided if they’re interested in you within the first 30-60 seconds of your video, so front load it with your best stuff. Make it interesting! Start off with something funny or exciting!
  • Keep in mind, if you’re going to be cast, your video is going to be watched hundreds of times by producers, executives, casting directors, etc. If it bores you or your friends the second or third time watching it … put some more time into it!
  • Special effects? Don’t bother! We’ve all got video editing software with all sorts of bells and whistles on our home computers, but fancy transitions are not going to sell you to people who do video editing for a living. In fact, it can distract from who you are. I’m a video editing nerd and I didn’t use any special effects other than putting my name and contact info on as a subtitle at the beginning.
  • Don’t bother talking about why you need to lose weight. When I first started filming my audition video I started describing all of my health reasons for losing weight – but when I was watching it back, I realized … they don’t need to hear it! One look at me was all they needed to know I needed to lose weight! Show them why you need to lose it; I said I needed to lose weight for my kids, and then I followed it with a minute or two of the best footage I could find of me with wrestling with my three boys. We probably filmed half an hour of that insanity and I grabbed the cutest, loudest, and funniest few moments for the audition video. Your physical need to lose weight is not nearly as interesting as who or what your losing the weight for.
  • Live loud! Reality TV is over the top, dramatic, and filled with loud personalities. They need to see that on your video! I wanted them to know that even though I was morbidly obese I was up to the challenge of the crazy competitions and workouts – so I threw on a bunch of clips from my different youth group activities; me getting slimed, snowtubing, playing paintball, screaming at events, being on stage, running around … you get the idea. Other contestants did things appropriate to their lives; Tim from Oregon had himself spinning out on his Harley, Tim from Delaware recruited his elementary school class to do things with him, Heather Hanson filmed herself running around in a sports bra all day doing her household chores and errands. The less talking and more action you can have, the better (in my opinion)!
  • If you have footage or photos of yourself thin, include those at some point on the video. If you can show them what your after will be, then do it!

Remember, enjoy the conversation here and know that I will never compromise your anonymity – not to NBC, 3Ball, Casting Directors or anyone. You can post anonymously, or you can leave your names and contact information … just remember that NBC likes to be the one announcing their cast for the show, so if you start identifying yourself publicly as a finalist, you’ll probably find yourself eliminated from the casting process. Be aware that casting directors do check in at my blog to see what people are saying, get a feel for what questions are going on out there, and sometimes to give us updates. Good luck to everyone … and let me know if you make the show! I get a kick out of hearing about the different contestants that have hung out on my blog before making the show! ;)

Biggest Loser season 15 casting calls announced!

17 Apr
April 17, 2013

004

Check out the above graphic to see when and where the open casting calls for the next season of Biggest Loser are being held! Exact times and locations will be updated soon at the casting website, www.thebiggestlosercasting.com. What this means, since filming usually begins 4-6 months before the season premiere, is that we’re probably looking at another January launch to the show. Casting will happen over the next few months, be finalized in the summer, and begin filming late summer for a January premiere. Good luck! For more advice on trying out for the show, check out my casting tips blog post.

So who’s going? And to which city? I’d love to hear how it goes!

Biggest Loser casting tips (season 15)

07 Jan
January 7, 2013

Biggest Loser

Biggest Loser is getting ready to start casting for season 15!  Casting calls will be posted on the Biggest Loser casting website.  Basically, this post is a collection of tips I’ve written based on my experience making the cast of season three, as well as some links to casting advice I don’t think you should miss:

  • NBC has posted casting information and the application here.  They have all the casting news and information on a special blog just for Biggest Loser casting, which you can find here.
  • Pete Thomas, the season 2 $100,000 winner has some of the best casting call advice out there, which you can find at his website, Lose It Fast, Lose It Forever.
  • Holland, a casting director for Biggest Loser sent me a bunch of great advice on how to be casted, you can find it here.  She updated them October, 2009.
  • I’ve been posting these casting tips for the last few seasons and they always seem to end up with thousands of comments; just about every season has contestants that were hanging out on here, reading and giving each other thoughts and advice.  You can find the most recent one here.
  • If you’re dealing with disappointment about not being cast, then check out my post on Biggest Loser casting disappointment.

One of the questions I hear a lot is about money … how do contestants afford to be away from home and work for months at a time? I don’t know what it is now, but when I was a contestant there was a $500 a week stipend for cast members on the ranch. When you received the check you could cash it and spend it, send it home, save it, whatever. All airplane tickets, hotel accommodations, etc., for the contestants and potential cast members are taken care of by NBC, and during the casting process it self there was a $50 per diem to cover food costs.

Another question is timing; typically a season lasts for about 8-9 months. About four of this is spent in filming; if you last all the way until the final three or four, you could be away from home for as much as four months or so. Once the ranch filming wraps and the last few contestants are sent home, however, there is still another four or five months that all the contestants have to continue losing weight until the finale. In addition, potential cast members are flown out to California a couple weeks before filming begins for the final round of casting, medical checkups, psychological evals, etc. NBC brings out more people than what they need and the cast is not finalized until filming literally begins. People have been cut at the last minute and replacements flown in with hardly any time to spare. Nothing is in stone until it’s on camera!

When will you hear from Biggest Loser about your video? There is no way of knowing. I heard back a few weeks after I sent it in, but even after that it’s a big waiting game. If you get a phone number or email from a casting direction, definitely drop them a line/call every couple weeks to find out if you’re still in the running or what’s going on. Schedules and plans change almost every day, so it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. If you don’t hear back within a month I would think your video didn’t make the cut. That doesn’t mean you can’t send in another or visit a casting call – it’s just up to you!

Finally, here’s my video application tips! This is by no means a recipe for success; it’s based on my video application and the conversations I had with casting directors out in LA in between things. I was pretty curious about the whole process so I was pumping them for info even after filming began. I’m such a nerd!

  • They’ve usually decided if they’re interested in you within the first 30-60 seconds of your video, so front load it with your best stuff. Make it interesting! Start off with something funny or exciting!
  • Keep in mind, if you’re going to be cast, your video is going to be watched hundreds of times by producers, executives, casting directors, etc. If it bores you or your friends the second or third time watching it … put some more time into it!
  • Special effects? Don’t bother! We’ve all got video editing software with all sorts of bells and whistles on our home computers, but fancy transitions are not going to sell you to people who do video editing for a living. In fact, it can distract from who you are. I’m a video editing nerd and I didn’t use any special effects other than putting my name and contact info on as a subtitle at the beginning.
  • Don’t bother talking about why you need to lose weight. When I first started filming my audition video I started describing all of my health reasons for losing weight – but when I was watching it back, I realized … they don’t need to hear it! One look at me was all they needed to know I needed to lose weight! Show them why you need to lose it; I said I needed to lose weight for my kids, and then I followed it with a minute or two of the best footage I could find of me with wrestling with my three boys. We probably filmed half an hour of that insanity and I grabbed the cutest, loudest, and funniest few moments for the audition video. Your physical need to lose weight is not nearly as interesting as who or what your losing the weight for.
  • Live loud! Reality TV is over the top, dramatic, and filled with loud personalities. They need to see that on your video! I wanted them to know that even though I was morbidly obese I was up to the challenge of the crazy competitions and workouts – so I threw on a bunch of clips from my different youth group activities; me getting slimed, snowtubing, playing paintball, screaming at events, being on stage, running around … you get the idea. Other contestants did things appropriate to their lives; Tim from Oregon had himself spinning out on his Harley, Tim from Delaware recruited his elementary school class to do things with him, Heather Hanson filmed herself running around in a sports bra all day doing her household chores and errands. The less talking and more action you can have, the better (in my opinion)!
  • If you have footage or photos of yourself thin, include those at some point on the video. If you can show them what your after will be, then do it!

Remember, enjoy the conversation here and know that I will never compromise your anonymity – not to NBC, 3Ball, Casting Directors or anyone. You can post anonymously, or you can leave your names and contact information … just remember that NBC likes to be the one announcing their cast for the show, so if you start identifying yourself publicly as a finalist, you’ll probably find yourself eliminated from the casting process. Be aware that casting directors do check in at my blog to see what people are saying, get a feel for what questions are going on out there, and sometimes to give us updates. Good luck to everyone … and let me know if you make the show! I get a kick out of hearing about the different contestants that have hung out on my blog before making the show! ;)

Biggest Loser season 14 premieres Sunday!

05 Jan
January 5, 2013

Anyone else excited for the new season of Biggest Loser? I am … for the first time in a LONG time. I know some would disagree with me, but I really think the switch to one season per year instead of back to back seasons helps build anticipation for the show. It used to wear me out trying to keep up with all the episodes! The shorter season, time off from the last one … changing it up … should make for a better season all around.

What are you looking forward to? Personally, I’m cheering on Michael Dorsey … another (former) youth pastor on the show! That brings the total to five former or current youth pastors that I know of; Tim Thomas and myself from season three, Sean Algier, Mark Cornelieson from last season, and now Mike.

Anyway, the two night premiere is Sunday and Monday night. Post your thoughts here!

Biggest Loser’s new logo

01 Dec
December 1, 2012

Well, it’s almost here … after half year hiatus, the Biggest Loser will be coming back in January with a new cast, Jillian Michaels back, and a new logo (see above)! I actually think the time off the air will do the show a lot of good. I’ve thought for a while now that two seasons a year would wear viewers out, especially with two hour episodes. I think the return to one per year, with (hopefully) shorter episodes to go along with the shorter season will actually give the show what it needs – it will leave people wanting more!

I’m intrigued by the logo redesign, though. Maybe I’m still getting used to it; it’s actually the third in the series history. Season one saw the original logo; if you notice ‘the’ is actually on the upper left, and the the rest of the logo isn’t quite as smooth or refined as later versions. That’s Gary Deckman rocking his finale weigh in, by the way, one of my long time inspirations. By season two they made the switch to the logo that carried the show through twelve seasons and the special editions, however, even as far as season three there were still leftover shirts from season one popping up now and then with the original logo. I know I received at least one.

Of course my favorite is the logo I wore. I’ve always felt like it perfectly summed up the show through the shrinking waistline, the tape measure, and besides that, it just looks good. I think I’ll miss seeing contestants sporting it on the show! But I definitely agree with the recent seasons ratings declining, the show definitely needed some retooling and rethinking. Then again, most of the decline I still attribute to the changeover in production companies. Hopefully this time around they find the right inspirational feel for the show in their editing!

But now that I’ve had my long winded say … what do you think of the new logo and what you’ve seen so far of the new season?

Biggest Loser season 11

05 Jan
January 5, 2011

Did you watch the premiere of Biggest Loser season 11 last night?  I have to admit, I haven’t seen it yet … but it’s the first season I’ve been excited to check out in a while.  I love the idea of new trainers, of changing things up, and the other things they have going on.  I definitely thought the concept of giving the contestants four weeks immunity for being with the new trainers was a good idea – otherwise, what fan of the show is NOT going to choose the celebrity trainers they’ve been watching for years?  It also gives the new duo a month to get used to the gameplay before it really starts to matter.  All in all, I’m really intrigued; Jillians’ last season, new trainers, new twists – it all adds up to some healthy change for a long running reality show.  What did you think?

Jillian Michaels is leaving Biggest Loser

10 Dec
December 10, 2010

Someone posted this tidbit of news over on the casting page discussion, then I saw Jillian’s tweets about it and now it has made the news (all based on her twitter, no official statements have been made).  Basically, it looks like this upcoming season premiering in January will have a new trainer … that will go on to replace Jillian.  You can read the article here.  What do you all think of a Biggest Loser without Jillian?  She has definitely killed the competition when it comes to producing winners.  My impression from talking to other contestants who know her and listening to her is that she has definitely been the biggest expert on the trainer side of things on the show, but I’ve actually never met her – she wasn’t around on season three, my season.  That was the year she left the show because she said she didn’t like what they were going to do to the 36 of us sent home the first day – it was a pretty mean move at the time!

Biggest Loser: Where are they now?

27 Nov
November 27, 2010

I watched the latest Biggest Loser reunion show last night (it aired on Wednesday) and loved it!  You can watch the whole thing in the video above (I love Hulu!).  The producers have finally hit on a great recipe for making a reunion show – focusing on the inspirational stories that continue long after the show wraps.  I loved seeing some old friends make the episode, enjoyed the different physical challenges they put together, and thought the stories were great.  Of course, my favorite portion of the show was when they focused on Dr. Huizenga – he’s the real brains and heart behind the incredible weight loss that happens on the show.  It’s his years of experience with the NFL that really set up the format of extreme weight loss that makes it all work.

I have to admit, the only thing that rubbed me wrong were all of Jillian’s under the breath comments about Ryan, the season one winner.  It wasn’t a surprise – he has been open about the weight gain long before any other winners admitted their own struggles.  About 50% of Biggest Loser contestants put significant weight back on – while that sounds like a lot, it’s far better than the national average.  Typically, about 90% of people that lose weight put most or all of it back on.  I only point that out to say it’s not shocking that a former contestant would have regained weight, especially from the first season.  The reality is that the show has learned a LOT over the years on how to do Biggest Loser; the rules have changed from typical reality tv filming where most shows like the Apprentice and Survivor only take 30-40 days to film the whole season and don’t have the host of emotional and psychological issues that come with weight loss and extreme isolation for a period of filming that can take as long as five months.  Season three (my season) was the first where they actually started letting contestants have contact with each other during the months off the ranch before the finale because they realized it really helped with the motivation and ongoing weight loss process.  Anyway, it just rubbed me wrong to see one of my inspirations back in the day talked about like that – especially since he was there as part of his rebooting his pursuit of health (much like Erik came back on the reunion show last year).

That aside, though, the show was GREAT!  And I even made the show … for a few milliseconds …  What were your favorite parts?

Biggest Loser casting tips (season 12)

18 Nov
November 18, 2010

Biggest Loser is now casting for season 12!  Casting calls will be announced in January, so stay tuned.  Basically, this post is a collection of tips I’ve written based on my experience making the cast of season three, as well as some links to casting advice I don’t think you should miss:

  • NBC has posted casting information and the application here.  They have all the casting news and information on a special blog just for Biggest Loser casting, which you can find here.
  • Pete Thomas, the season 2 $100,000 winner has some of the best casting call advice out there, which you can find at his website, Winning Man.
  • Jen Kerns, a season three contestant like myself, and a doctor for the show for seasons four and five, has also put together some fantastic casting advice that you can read here.
  • Holland, a casting director for Biggest Loser sent me a bunch of great advice on how to be casted, you can find it here.  She updated them October, 2009.
  • I’ve been posting these casting tips for the last few seasons and they always seem to end up with thousands of comments; just about every season has contestants that were hanging out on here, reading and giving each other thoughts and advice.  You can find the most recent one here.
  • If you’re dealing with disappointment about not being cast, then check out my post on Biggest Loser casting disappointment.

One of the questions I hear a lot is about money … how do contestants afford to be away from home and work for months at a time? I don’t know what it is now, but when I was a contestant there was a $500 a week stipend for cast members on the ranch. When you received the check you could cash it and spend it, send it home, save it, whatever. All airplane tickets, hotel accommodations, etc., for the contestants and potential cast members are taken care of by NBC, and during the casting process it self there was a $50 per diem to cover food costs.

Another question is timing; typically a season lasts for about 8-9 months. About four of this is spent in filming; if you last all the way until the final three or four, you could be away from home for as much as four months or so. Once the ranch filming wraps and the last few contestants are sent home, however, there is still another four or five months that all the contestants have to continue losing weight until the finale. In addition, potential cast members are flown out to California a couple weeks before filming begins for the final round of casting, medical checkups, psychological evals, etc. NBC brings out more people than what they need and the cast is not finalized until filming literally begins. People have been cut at the last minute and replacements flown in with hardly any time to spare. Nothing is in stone until it’s on camera!

When will you hear from Biggest Loser about your video? There is no way of knowing. I heard back a few weeks after I sent it in, but even after that it’s a big waiting game. If you get a phone number or email from a casting direction, definitely drop them a line/call every couple weeks to find out if you’re still in the running or what’s going on. Schedules and plans change almost every day, so it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. If you don’t hear back within a month I would think your video didn’t make the cut. That doesn’t mean you can’t send in another or visit a casting call – it’s just up to you!

Finally, here’s my video application tips! This is by no means a recipe for success; it’s based on my video application and the conversations I had with casting directors out in LA in between things. I was pretty curious about the whole process so I was pumping them for info even after filming began. I’m such a nerd!

  • They’ve usually decided if they’re interested in you within the first 30-60 seconds of your video, so front load it with your best stuff. Make it interesting! Start off with something funny or exciting!
  • Keep in mind, if you’re going to be cast, your video is going to be watched hundreds of times by producers, executives, casting directors, etc. If it bores you or your friends the second or third time watching it … put some more time into it!
  • Special effects? Don’t bother! We’ve all got video editing software with all sorts of bells and whistles on our home computers, but fancy transitions are not going to sell you to people who do video editing for a living. In fact, it can distract from who you are. I’m a video editing nerd and I didn’t use any special effects other than putting my name and contact info on as a subtitle at the beginning.
  • Don’t bother talking about why you need to lose weight. When I first started filming my audition video I started describing all of my health reasons for losing weight – but when I was watching it back, I realized … they don’t need to hear it! One look at me was all they needed to know I needed to lose weight! Show them why you need to lose it; I said I needed to lose weight for my kids, and then I followed it with a minute or two of the best footage I could find of me with wrestling with my three boys. We probably filmed half an hour of that insanity and I grabbed the cutest, loudest, and funniest few moments for the audition video. Your physical need to lose weight is not nearly as interesting as who or what your losing the weight for.
  • Live loud! Reality TV is over the top, dramatic, and filled with loud personalities. They need to see that on your video! I wanted them to know that even though I was morbidly obese I was up to the challenge of the crazy competitions and workouts – so I threw on a bunch of clips from my different youth group activities; me getting slimed, snowtubing, playing paintball, screaming at events, being on stage, running around … you get the idea. Other contestants did things appropriate to their lives; Tim from Oregon had himself spinning out on his Harley, Tim from Delaware recruited his elementary school class to do things with him, Heather Hanson filmed herself running around in a sports bra all day doing her household chores and errands. The less talking and more action you can have, the better (in my opinion)!
  • If you have footage or photos of yourself thin, include those at some point on the video. If you can show them what your after will be, then do it!

Remember, enjoy the conversation here and know that I will never compromise your anonymity – not to NBC, 3Ball, Casting Directors or anyone. You can post anonymously, or you can leave your names and contact information … just remember that NBC likes to be the one announcing their cast for the show, so if you start identifying yourself publicly as a finalist, you’ll probably find yourself eliminated from the casting process. Be aware that casting directors do check in at my blog to see what people are saying, get a feel for what questions are going on out there, and sometimes to give us updates. Good luck to everyone … and let me know if you make the show! I get a kick out of hearing about the different contestants that have hung out on my blog before making the show! ;)