Biggest Loser casting tips (season 11)

18 Aug
August 18, 2010

This post is waaaaay overdue!  NBC’s Biggest Loser has been casting for season 11 for a while now – part of me still can’t wrap my mind around the fact that they’re now working on the eighth season since mine!  Crazy!  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! ;)

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  1. BLPickMe says:

    Okay ya'll, something freaky is happening I think.

    I've lost NINE pounds since Sunday night at midnight! That makes 45 pounds total!

    I started the New Mayo Clinic Diet on Monday morning, eating a lot more than I normally do, and that's another thing the fitness expert said–eat more calories. So I'm eating more on this diet, and I've lost 9 pounds in four days. It says you'll lose about 5 pounds in 5 days and 1.5 every two days after. Losing weight will be easy if it keeps going like this but I know it will slow down again. But in the meantime it's feeling good! 🙂 I just wish I could get into a bunch of my old jeans and that I could lose my stomach instead of everywhere else. LOL

    I hope you all have a most wonderful and blessed day!

  2. BLPickMe says:

    Hey I started a new page!

    LOL

  3. mando says:

    That is so AWESOME BLPickme! Rock on! What kinds of things do you eat on the New Mayo Clinic diet? I will have to look tht on up. I have lost a ton of weight while cutting carbs but then I would go back to old eating habits but then the weight packs back on. i need a new diet that I can incorporate for the rest of my life.

    Hope everyone had a great day!

  4. BLPickMe says:

    @mando

    Well it's kinda like a low carb diet, but you eat certain things at every meal. If you want me to send it to you in email, my email address is BLPickMe@aol.com, send me a message and I'll send it to ya. Everyone has asked me for it so I typed it out and have it ready to send.

    I've lost 12 pounds since last Sunday at midnight. Of course I am still walking/running every day, so I believe that has helped me lose more than even the diet said I would.

    The thing that I've really learned is that you have to want it bad enough to NOT give yourself excuses for not doing it. Like my mom is baking my cousin a pineapple upside down cake right now and man it smells SOOOOOOOO good and I REALLY want a piece…BUT…I want to be healthy and thinner even more, so I am not tempted by it because the It will ALL be worth it in the end!

    I was stuck at a 35 pound weight loss FOREVER and it was SO frustrating but I just kept on and now I'm 48 pounds down and only 122 more to go! It won't be too long before I'm saying I'm halfway finished!

    And guys and girls, if I can do it, ANYONE can! You just have to find that moment when you think to yourself, enough is enough and I have GOT to get this done! The hardest part is finding the courage and will power to start and see it through. I had that epiphany back in May (thanks DJ!!!) and I'm not going back to the old person I used to be. I'm feeling too good!

    Please do it for you first. I know you can.

    I hope you all have a most wonderful and blessed rest of the weekend!

  5. BLPickMe says:

    Oh, by the way, one thing I'm doing to help keep me motivated is taking pics of myself at the end of every month and keeping a "My Journey" journal where I keep the pics and measurements. I looked back through it today and I was really surprised by how much my face has changed already!

    Now, like I said up above, if I could just lose my belly! Grrrrr!!!!

  6. Busy says:

    @Hot Momma

    You just never know with this year's odd weather. Do plant the usual lettuce, carrots, and broccoli.

  7. Busy says:

    @BLPickMe

    I know! I cannot lose this belly! grrr!

  8. Busy says:

    WEEK 2 OF NO SODA or RED MEAT for me! My arthritis feels better and 2 pounds came off. I still have to get exercising. It is the toughest part of all of this! I wish I had a work-out buddy here!

  9. mando says:

    BLPickmer – I will email you shortly for a copy of the diet. thanks!

    I weighed this morning and I am down 4 pounds so total of 9. Yea!!

    Happy Monday!

    breakfast – low carb yogurt and a lot coffee

    lunch – brats

    dinner – taco salad

    There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from.

    Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

  10. Hot Momma says:

    Congrats everyone on your weight loss and even trying to get a good program that works for you. I've been eating healtheir too and so far, i've lost 4 lbs, about two lbs a week and I am NOT starving. It's really important to me, not to feel that I am starving, but I feel better, seems like my face is more sparkly, lol, not sure why that is, but, I am looking real weight 😀 Also, not really exercising like I should, but trying to a little each week, I really need to try more, just have had so much to think about but hopefully will get that down soon 🙂

    Keep up the goood work everyone!!!

  11. me says:

    Well since not getting chosen on the show has been a bummer. My sister and I started to blog about our weight loss journey (on our own) please visit us and leave us comments. We need all the encouragement we can get.

    http://www.twofatmuffins.com

  12. BLPickMe says:

    GRRRRR!!!!

    Frustrating week!

    After the great weight loss last week, this week I haven't lost ANY! I can't even tell you how discouraged I'm going to be if I get stuck again! GRRRRRR!!!!

    I hope you all are doing great! This place sure did lose a lot of people FAST! Hopefully they're all on the ranch! 🙂

    I hope you all have a most wonderful and blessed day!

  13. SillyGal says:

    Hey Me…I haven't been here in awhile, just been busy. I love your sight! When I go to the "About Shell" info there is a bunch of spanish stuff 🙁 I'm not sure which one you are, however, you guys have such creativity to put that together 🙂

    I miss you guys 🙂 I don't however miss the anxiety of getting picked 🙂

  14. Busy says:

    @me

    Love the blog and just started at loseit.com! I gained from prednisone this last few weeks! grrr 3 pounds! I feel like I am going backwards, but I will keep trying. Thanks for the tips!

  15. BLPickMe says:

    Nobody's saying anything anymore!

    Where's everyone at???

    Prayers and love for you all!

    I hope you all have a most wonderful and blessed day!

  16. Big Fat Guy says:

    Waiting for Season 12, I guess. This season is ok…but just ok. Too much freakin' crying again… I wonder if there has ever been even one episode in ANY season where no one cried the whole show? I'm not emotionally shut down, but its way too much! As soon as the conversations begin, cue the background music, cue waterworks; I wanna throw sh*# at the TV…

  17. sillygal says:

    BFG~ Agreed !

  18. aghhhhh says:

    hey guys hows everyone doing? well at the beginning of September i decided to not wait for bl to change my life that i was going to do it my self. i was at 227 lbs and since ive gone down to 211.6 lbs i was at 210.2 lbs 2 weeks ago but i weight my self today and saw i went up im disappointed i want so hard to be out of the 200's i can taste it. i haven't had soda or junk food in over a month i only drink water and 24oz of milk i don't eat out i make all my meals no fried foods. and i jog 3miles and walk 1 mile total of 4 miles 6 days a week. any advice? im feeling kinda blue today.

    thanks guys

    z

  19. Busy says:

    My weight loss is pretty slow-going… Lost 3 pounds in 2 weeks, so I shouldn't complain….It is not BL wt loss and nothing to cry over..hahahahaha

  20. aghhhhh says:

    @Busy

    if you dont mind me asking how much more do you have to go? congrats busy a loss is a loss 🙂

  21. My Time!!! says:

    So what does everyone think of this season? I dont like it. The game play is stupid.

    MY TIME!!!!!!

  22. mando says:

    The Blue team made a big mistake for making a tie breaker with Adam and Jessica (?). They need Adam with his weight loss numbers at least for awhile. Adam should have cashed in his token. Dumb dumb dumb.

    I am kinda done with the crying. I feel for all the players but geeze.

  23. Big Fat Guy says:

    The anti-crying thing was one of my main driving points in my Interview, HT, and bio. I guess NBC felt the crying thing still had some legs for ratings; but I read all over the net the exact opposite; and the main reason alot are turning it off. I hate to say it NBC but…I told you so…

  24. BLPickMe says:

    @aghhhhh

    Some of the fitness experts at the 5K in Myrtle Beach said that when you lose around 10% of your body weight you will plateau. That might be what happened with you? Happened for almost 2 months with me but I started losing again and lost 12.5 pounds in a week and have been losing about 1.5 pounds every 2 days or so. It's that New Mayo Clinic diet I'm doing. I don't particularly like it since I like lots of veggies and fruits, but it's working for now so I'm sticking to it. The only difference I'm making is that I'm taking a week off of the diet instead of 2 days and I am just having a salad for lunch rather than a salad and some type of meat (as the instructions say). I figure cheese and bacon bits count as meat anyway. hehe I still stay on an eating plan when I go off the Mayo diet, but just not the Mayo one.

    I am tempted EVERY day at work. The girl who used to be my best friend (for like 14 years or so) is now my boss and she HATES the fact that I am determined to lose this weight and get healthy. She's not to the point where she even wants to try yet and she's older than me. She constantly brings in things that will tempt me like muffins, cookies, cakes, etc. Good thing I'm not a sweetaholic or I would definitely give in to temptation ALL the time and sabotage everything I've worked for. But it IS tempting! We have a pantry and I go in there to get out stuff for our kids and it's just horrible! She does the grocery shopping and buys CHEETOS EVERY week! I LOVE Cheetos! Grrrr!!!! But I have not given in to temptation yet. I don't plan on it. Everytime I start REALLY wanting something from the pantry or the staff office I go run a mile in our gym. LOL I'm going to wear out the flooring in there!

    I want to go on a cruise and go to Blizzcon next year (maybe even Ringcon) and I won't allow myself to do that unless I'm MUCH thinner! So I have a goal and I WILL reach it!

    I'm glad to see a few of you back on here! Glad you're doing well. Keep up the good work and it WILL happen! Just remember you are ALL worth it, whether you believe it or not!

    Prayers for you all to have a most wonderful and blessed day!

  25. Oreo says:

    What up peeps!!

    Just randomly thought about this blog!

    Ughgh I've gainEd 10 lbs since casting!

    I'm dissapointed in ME. But tommorrow is a new day with new decisions!

    Do any of you regret auditioning?

    After getting far last season and semi far the previous two. I think it actually hindered my weight loss. I was so stressed out and uses it as an excuse. Not that I'm blaming the show. Just myself. I Do wish I hadn't auditioned though and will not be doing it again! Hopefully they don't call. Like last season. It's hard to say no to that 'chance'.

    Well it sounds like you guys are getting healthy and I'm so proud of you! Hugs to all! 🙂

  26. aghhhhh says:

    @BLPickMe

    can you tell me more about the mayo diet? im desperate my short term goal is to be down to 176lbs come February which i think is doable. my email is : tblfan1@yahoo.com if you have any more advice for me it will be greatly appreciated.

    hope ya'll are having a great weekend 🙂

    z

  27. Ron says:

    If anyone is from the Tucson Arizona area, we are taking applications for a new nonprofit project to work with very overweight people. We have one participant who tried out for BL and although he didn't make it, he is committed to weight loss and health. He's 22 years old and 590 pounds.

    As personal trainers – how an we NOT want to help? So we've put together a board of professionals, volunteers and community members to help and support him along the way. We're calling the program Weight Loss 911. If there is someone in Tucson who is desperate to shed the pounds and wants to put in a LOT of hard work – we may be able to help.

    Ron Holland, Owner of SWAT Fitness

    Weight Loss 911 http://www.weightloss911.net

  28. LoveLife says:

    @Ron. I am from tucson is this program for people who need to lose weight. I have tried out for biggest loser 3 seasons and been all the way to the final cuts and not made it. I am desperate to lose the weight.

  29. BLPickMe says:

    Matt,

    Time to make a Season 12 page!

    Season 12 casting is up on the BL casting page.

    Here we go again! LOL

    Unfortunately I'm still "big" enough to audition but at least it's fun. Maybe by the time open casting calls come around I won't be. 🙂

    Keeping you all in my prayers!

  30. Matthew McNutt says:

    Hey guys, I'm closing the comments on this post … discuss casting on the season 12 casting page! Here's the link: http://matthewmcnutt.com/?p=3034

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