Biggest Loser casting tips (season 9)

13 May
May 13, 2009

Casting has begun for season nine of Biggest Loser. Here are some links with some great casting advice, followed by some of my own advice based on my experience getting on to season three of Biggest Loser (still the best season in my opinion!!!):

  • 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.
  • Holland, a casting director for Biggest Loser posted a ton of great casting advice in the comments below; I reposted here to make it easier to find.
  • 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.  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!  ;)

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  1. Busy says:

    Well, I have to say I am actually glad things turned out the way they did with my call back leading to season 10. Two of my kids have the Swine Flu and they really need me home right now. My husband and youngest child do not have it. I hope they don't get it. My oldest is having a rough go and the Tamiflu is so hard on her frail body. I am exhausted and can't even think of weight loss at this moment. It is all about survival. So, things happen, or don't happen for a reason.

    I hope most of flu season is over by the season 10 filming for me (if I get there- I'd like to say "when") and anyone who needs to be home if anyone is sick in the family.

    Keep up your resistance if you are well by taking vitamins-especially C and D, a lot of fluids, rest and I must say: exercise. I don't wish this flu on anyone. It is horrible.

    Praying for health-

    Busy

  2. Tempted says:

    Oh Busy! I am so sorry you are dealing with so much sickness! You are right, things always seem to be clearer in hind- sight!

    I'm still feeling a bit obsessed with BL and a great need to lose weight. I can't seem to make it happen and I am very frustrated with myself.

    I sure hope to join you on BL 10!!! Can you even imagine! 🙂

  3. Busy says:

    Thanks so much Tempted. We are hanging in there. This H1N1 has really thrown a wrench into things, but my daughter who had Tamiflu is over it! My son is in the yucky cough stage. My 4 year old didn't get it, so we may be waiting for that vaccine for her. I had it, but not my husband-so he will need the vaccine, too. Are you getting vaccinated?

    So….BL season 10 is now casting! I saw in on the NBC site. Singles and teams of two are being accepted-Woot Woot! I am assuming since I got a call-back that told me to wait for another phone call, I do not need to re-apply.

    Now, I lost a few pounds with that terrible swine flu and it may put me at 90 pounds to lose (but I am 5'2 3/4-darn it!!) and disqualify me. It will inch its way back since I am the yoyo queen, but I hope they don't look past me for 10 pounds! I will just have to use my personality …heehee Hey- I would cast me! =)

    Hope to see you at sequestering! Yes-I am imagining it!!!

  4. Tempted says:

    I saw it too!!! I'm shocked by how early they are getting things going. I wonder if Jillian's new show is pushing Biggest Loser dates around a bit to accommodate the new show.

    Do you plan to make a video or wait for an open call? You sound pretty convinced you do not have to re-apply. Do you think they will call people from the last go-around? I'm just not sure how I stack up. Season 8 I know I got pretty far, but I really didn't have a partner for 9, so I wonder if they will think of me…

    This flu stuff is all anyone talks about around here. The schools are all closing and there is a lot of paranoid people. I hope you are doing well.

  5. Tempted says:

    Oh- and Busy- 90 is real close to 100. If you get pretty close and they really like you I think it would be easy to overlook. Not to mention, if you get sequestered just eat some salty peanuts and drink a big coke 🙂

  6. Busy says:

    Hey Tempted! LOL! So true about the big Coke and peanuts. It just may do the trick! I can think of some great meals to go out and have, too! When Jackie called me, she said she will keep my stuff for season 10 and call me in a few months (that was July). Do you think I should just wait it out? Nerve- racking!

    I think I am more than ready to go! The kids are almost well and my husband is worried about my health. He knows of a woman-of my size and my age- who just died yesterday. He was really having a hard time with it and it was hitting home ….and with kids….I think he would like me to make it to the BL ranch even though he loves me how I am. I am thinking positive!

    I would send your video and ap ASAP if they didn't say they would call back. If they have a casting call in the Sacramento or SanFrancisco area, I may go for fun. Where are you?

    I can't wait to see more people posting and see what the take is on season 10. You may be right about Jillian's show. Hey, the sooner, the better for us, huh?

    Stay well!

  7. Tempted says:

    I had what I thought was a great video for season 8, and I know it got me really far. I think that the whole how to apply thing is all part of the game, too! I read somewhere that it is good to get their attention early, and I sent my video in late.

    I now need to decide where to go from here. I know I got "noticed" for season 9, but like I said, I really didn't have a partner. I didn't get as far in the process.

    Do I jump on it and get a video in early, or wait and see if they call ME, or do I try to hit a casting call, etc. I feel intimidated to do another video because I liked my first one so much! I wish I could just turn that in again:)

    I'm a mid-westerner. This winter is forcasted for a lot of cold and snow– Boy it would be great to be in California missing all that!

  8. Yarra says:

    Hey!

    Just so ya'll know. They usually "announce" casting about this time during the fall. BL gets a MUCH bigger turn out for casting if they "advertise" the next season while there is a season airing on TV. They will just be accepting and watching tapes through December most likely. CC's and what not will probably start in Jan/Feb/March time frame.

    I just don't want anyone to get depressed if they don't hear much of anything for the next couple months.

    Busy: why way back in July did they say they would keep your info for bl10? The cast wasn't decided until the end of August. Were you a single? If you have Jacks' email, you might want to contact her. But GIRL!! You already lost 10 lbs! Even with the flu! Use it as a jumping off point and got to town on the weight yourself! You could have ALL of that gone before the show even starts filming! Don't wait!!

    Tempted, I would totally shoot a little more footage and add it to what you have already done. Send in the video. If you have a casting director, send it to their attention. If you don't, go to Hollands casting page on her FB and ask if you can send it to her attention. I am sure she would love it. 🙂

    🙂

    If you guys get the opportunity to go to a CC. I would also do that. 🙂 Can't hurt and they are a ton of fun! 🙂

  9. Matthew McNutt says:

    Hey guys, this post has gotten massive … I've reposted in honor of season ten beginning casting (with a few minor tweaks to my blog entry). I'm locking comments here just to keep the conversation happening in one place. Here's the link to the new blog post: http://matthewmcnutt.com/?p=1976

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