Biggest Loser Casting Tips (season 8, page 3)

21 Mar
March 21, 2009

COMMENTING IS CLOSED! THIS POST GOT TOO BIG! YOU CAN CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION ON THE BIGGEST LOSER CASTING TIPS (SEASON 8, PAGE 4) BLOG POST!

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Okay, casting is well on it’s way for season eight of Biggest Loser.  I’m reposting this entry to enable people to continue the conversation started here.  As you can see by the title, this is actually page three; page two is here.  There’s over a couple thousand comments worth of ideas, notes, and other information, including casting directors, and former contestants (other than myself) on each of those pages, so if you have some time it’s worth exploring.  Here are the vital links:

  • NBC has posted casting information and the application here.
  • Pete Thomas, the season 2 $100,000 winner has some of the best casting call advice out there, which you can find at www.WinningMan.com.
  • 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.
  • My original casting tips post with over a thousand comments worth of discussion, click here.  Stacy, Adam, Phil, Amy and Coleen were all reading and posting in the discussion there – it’s fun to look back and realize they were some of the superstars of season six!
  • My second post (fairly identical to this one), with well over two thousand comments worth of discussion, click 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.  Good luck to everyone … and let me know if you make the show!  Pete Thomas has more contestants on season seven than I did and I’m bitter!  😉

790 replies
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  1. TBone says:

    So I'm guessin that I won't be able to blog anymore once I get that call, so I'm going to be a blogging fanatic!

  2. Who wants to join me says:

    What I want to know is why haven't they had a brother/sister team yet on the show?

  3. heavyweight says:

    Big Loser Wannabe- what do you mean? THey know I did to? Lol What are you trying to say?

  4. T30 says:

    Pastorswife – those turkey bonzai burgers were AWESOME!!! Can't wait to try the porkchop recipee.

  5. Hmmmm?? says:

    heavyweight – I'm confused. What are they asking about family? I know in the tips for making a home video they tell you to include family members – spouse, boy/girlfriend, kids, etc. Is that the type of context you are referring to?

  6. YANKEE says:

    Jimbob if you are CURIOUS then why would you make fun of a fellow Yankee?

  7. Biggest Loser Wannab says:

    Well if they knew you had a family member then why are you asking why they are asking. It is not making sense. It is a good thing. Who cares if you applied as a single I wouldn’t care either way they can take me as a single or a couple I don’t care.

  8. RealHopeful says:

    Personally, I am pretty much so sick of the team format. I am looking forward to it going back to singles for my season. 😉

  9. HottieTrappedinthisB says:

    heavyweight… what's your yahoo name?

  10. Hmmmm?? says:

    me too – back to singles!

    If I'm reading it right I don't think heavyweight is being asked about family to join her as a partner on the ranch as much as asking for info about families for her application packet – like pics, or video? heavyweight is that correct? Or are they asking you about family as in "do you have a family member who needs to lose weight too?"

  11. HottieTrappedinthisB says:

    Heavyweight… if that's the case… I would totally volunteer to be your sister! LOL!

  12. FancyFace says:

    When CURIOUS/JimBob was talking about the CD's checking out websites, it sparked a question…

    My myspace page is set to "private", should I put it to public so they can see it without adding themselves as a friend? Thanks for your answers.

  13. pastorswife says:

    T30…I'm so glad you like those Bonzai Burgers! I could eat those everyday!

    RealHopeful…I agree with the team comment. I'm ready to rock it for singles this season!

    Wouldn't that be great if all season 8 were from this blog? What an awesome time!

  14. Pick Me - Pick Me - says:

    I can say 100% that 3Ball is legit. Last season (7) I went to a call back at there office in Manhatten Beach. 3Ball is JD Roths productions company. They produce lots of Reality shows. The Office is on the same lot CSI Miami and the new 90210 is filmed.

    I have met several people at the office, and they are all super nice. They are there and real.

    If you watch the credits on most show you will see there are several Production companies involved with one show. I think (no way in the know) 3Ball created the show and has sold it to NBC. 3Ball casts is and put it toghter and NBC pays them for it and brodcasts it. NBC will have the final say as they are paying the bills and are seeking out the ratings and sell the ad spots (subway, glad, Britta, etc) Love the product placement on the show. My wife and always jock, and it time for short advertising break…

    Bob: Do you know a good way save half of the $5.00 foot long?

    Mike: No Bob, how?

    Bob: Cut your subway $5.00 foot long in half and place it in a Glad zipper bag and it will be good to have later.

    Mike: Wow Bob, that is great!

  15. wannago says:

    LOL! Pick-me.

  16. heavyweight says:

    Pickme- did you have your call back there for TBL? what happend last year?

  17. FancyFace says:

    LOL Pick me. Yes, those dreaded ads

  18. Pick Me - Pick Me - says:

    They check your websites, myspace, FB to see if you are talking about the show. That will get you cut faster than anything. Thats why you never, ever, ever discuss what is going on with you and casting, where you are in the process.

    This is why I have said several times, do not talk about if you got a call back, asked for additional info or get a second call back.

  19. heavyweight says:

    Pickme- I was talking about your season 7 experience..waht happend?

  20. FancyFace says:

    Yes, I know they check, but I'm asking if I should put it public or not, just in case they want to see more about me and what I put on myspace or not. What do ya think?

  21. Pick Me - Pick Me - says:

    My buddy and I did get a call back last season. They interviewed us on cammera and was told that they would be doing pitches. I guess we were not right cuz we never heard anything after that. Some CD's keep you in the loop and others dont. I also know the CD's move on to other things and have nothing to do with TBL at a given point. I know the CD we had last year moved on right after our call back and I did not have a contact person other than Brandon, but I am pretty sure he is up there a bit ad there was no way I was going to bug him. I dont think calling, emailing, etc helps you get on the show. If anything they might get tired of hearing from you and tell you, you are out of the running and drop you.

    I am not call, emailing or doing anything like that this season. If they call me, they call me. If they don't – well I told you all about the naked pictures. I have them stamped and ready to overnight. I know their physical address, no PO BOX here!

    Dear Mr. Roth,

    I hope you enjoy these photos. Please pass them around al of the casting directs working on the biggest loser project. It would not have had to come to this if you would have just put me on the ranch. If you would like to stop receiving these photos you will put me on the next season at which time the phtotos will stop comng.

    XXXOOO
    Pick "bringing sexy back" Me.

  22. HottieTrappedinthisB says:

    Pick Me- LOL! Too funny!

  23. Jay Baby says:

    Pick Me- You made me spit out my drink laughing at your ad interpretation.

    Is the ranch really at a college campus? If so where are all of the students?

    Question for those of you headed to the ranch. Since everything is so confidential what is your spouse planning on telling people the reason that you magically disappered from home is? I think my neighbors would call the poliece and think some foul play happened. One day they see me and the next i'm gone for weeks. I have very nosey neighboors though. They tell us things like wow you guys stayed up late last night. They are a little old couple being protective.

  24. Pick Me - Pick Me - says:

    The current Ranch is not a school campus one or two of the season did take place on a school campus, probably filmed during summer break. The current ranch is a private ranch in Ventura County. I can think of the name of it but is has a website.

  25. wannago says:

    So if you are chosen, you can't even tell close friends and people you work with? I would think they just don't want you advertising it, but that you should be able to tell a few people…can't you?

  26. Biggest Loser Wannab says:

    Pick me–I have been hush hush with this Season even with family!!! Should we be careful what we put on our status messages on facebook and myspace about waiting for a special call?

  27. Jay Baby says:

    Pick Me-
    Thanks for the info.

  28. Pick Me - Pick Me - says:

    I am gone so much now that the neighbors will just think I am on assignment somewhere. The nosie neigbor across the street will ask my wife 100 time where I am and when will I be back. But him and I are in the same line of work so he undestands what is up when I am gone.

    That goes for daycare too, when I drop off or pick up my daughter they ask me when I will be out of town again.

    I think my wife has a man on the side and they all look out for her. If she does he needs to start mowing the lawn, clean the pool and pull his wieght around my house.

  29. heavyweight says:

    Pick me did you contact them a lot last season? So after you were told you were being
    Hottie- yahoo?

  30. tblfan says:

    jajajahaha jaybaby he shold tell them you won a cruise. when/if i get on the ranch well tell people that. not that my neighboors would notice cuz they both got forclosed on. even the ones across the street…damn economy luckily were doing good….

    gotta go attend my kids both fur and human

  31. Pick Me - Pick Me - says:

    I have asked my wife not to post anything on FB. She had put I was going to the CC in LA, i figured that was fine. I have asked her to post nothing else. I have no idea how it will effect anyone but I have read the contract and it says do not discuss where you are in the procees.

    I don't mind disucssing last season but this season is being kept close to the vest.

    Is it worth risking? I am sure if you have got a call back it is no big deal to discuss but if you get that second call, I would keep it to yourself.

    I had to giggle last season while watching this board. On the day the second call backs were made there were a few folks on here that disappeared not to be heard from again till after sequester. Some of them had some great stories. The best one I heard was not to complain about not getting an escort to get some food. I couple called several times to get an escort so they could leave the room and score some grub, After a few calls they got a call back at the room and was told they were getting transportation for them to go home. They never got a chance to be interviewed or take any medical exams.

    Moral of the story. Don't call us, we'll call you!

  32. HottieTrappedinthisB says:

    I think that friends and family can know… you just can't put it on the news. Think about the episodes where they get to go home… they always have a crowd waiting for them.

  33. RanchBabyRanch says:

    I totally agree about ad placement – it is so blatant it is funny!

    My favorite recent one was Tara plugging Extra gum to her brother when she was home for the week :)

  34. Jay Baby says:

    Hottie- That is the same thing I was thinking that they always have crowds waiting for them. Vicky had a billboard that had a welcome home sign up for her. Owell at this point I have nothing to tell to anyone I was just curious about what others planned to tell.
    Pick me- seriously, they got sent home because they wanted some food? So you have to have an escort to go get food? Do you need one to take a dump too?

  35. TEDDYB says:

    WOW thats a great story .so what happens at the sequester are you in your room all the time til they need you ?do they allow a cell phone up until filming?

  36. LemonGirl says:

    Any video people hear anything yet about needing more materials or anything?

    If you went to a CB did you notice if most of the people there needed to lose a "little" bit or a "big" bit, by BL standards?

    I am heavier on the female side, but more suited I guess for a "big" season, (300+) but not as big as the biggest female weight to be on. I think I am most nervous about being too heavy. I think my video was fun, and I think I did everything I could to get them to notice me this time.

    If they do a second casting for season 9 I am hoping by then to be under 300 and closer to the typical BL female weight. (One can wish, but I am going to try my best. At this point I can lose a little but I gain it back worse.)

    I am really hoping that they do another casting this year now, because I talked my sister into doing it with me if they do couples for 9! She has a great career that I think they would be into and is under 300 over 250.

  37. Can't Say Who I says:

    Lemongirl – at my casting call, most of the people there were on the bigger side. I think atleast 100 lbs to lose is necessary to get on the show (I feel like Pete or Matt said that at one point, though correct me if I am wrong). I think to be able to win, you would need to lose that much atleast, depending on your starting weight.

    A lot of people are saying they heard that the casting they just did was for both seasons…but you never know…I don't think that could be 100% accurate unless they are taping at the same time, or atleast overlapping somewhat. If they wait until Sept to start taping the next season, I just don't think it's reasonable that it would be 100% based on casting that happened in Jan-Mar…just my opinion though.

  38. simplyme says:

    hmmm? Very well said! Tbone- thank you so much! When do I put the rice in when the chicken and vegie are done cooking?

  39. slycat says:

    WOW!! I think I might make a soup for watching BL tonight… Thanks for the inspiration!!

    As far as the group that had their videos picked up on that fated 1:55 delivery, I am one if them and have not heard a word..

    FEAR NOT! ONLY BELIEVE!

  40. booboobunny says:

    Hey PoohBear – I'm a Libra as well!! I really hope that 4/9 is the day for us! That would have been my ex mother in law and closest friend's birthday. She passed away last year and I know if she had anything to do with me getting a call from TBL, she's already nagging God to get it handled for me!! If she were here, she would be so incredibly supportive of this endeavor of mine. She would SO be moving into my house to help my new hubby out with the kids. I miss that woman SO much!! When her son and I were married, she and I did not get along, but as soon as we divorced, she and I no longer saw each other as a threat (I suppose) and we became very, very close. I know she's looking down on me now smiling and cheering me on!

    The 9th would be a great day for good news. What an exciting and nerve wracking time for us all!

    PoohBear – wouldn't it be cool if we got on the show together? We'd be Pooh and Boo!! ;o)

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