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! ;)

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  1. Balzak75 says:

    @Tempted I read the same thing on Hollands page. Maybe they tried for 12 and are now too small for 13.

    I heard that Season 13 casting has started, but the app on the site is still for 12. It has all of the info for 3Ball so if there are going to be changes for 13 with them that may affect things.

    I heard a rumor that NBC contracted them to supply possible contestants for BL, ABC's new show was also 3Ball and that they used possible BL applicants for that show. I was contacted for that one after auditioning for BL as well. I don't know if that has become an issue or not. I guess we will all find out soon enough. The casting directors really aren't responding to anything BL related on their posts lately either.

    Filming is in full effect so it isn't affecting the show in that way.

    I don't want to get anyone in trouble if that is the case with the submissions though. I was contacted for a few that way.

    Regardless, I will try out for the show again. This may be a corporate thing as well. 3Ball may be undergoing a name change or something along those lines.

    I am still getting hits on my video, we are at almost 15,000 views as of today. I have to say, the hardest part this time will be making a new video.

  2. Tempted says:

    Any more news on 13? Or any more on 3ball?

  3. Balzak75 says:

    Nothing yet? I wonder if we are going to know anything soon.

  4. Mackenzie says:

    Yeahhhh, i know you have to be 18. I'm just saying that EVERY single weight loss show is only for adults, but hello?? adults aren't the only ones who are overweight. And no offense to adults but why are you waiting until you are 35, 45, or even 50 to start losing weight! Its better to start a healthy life style when you are youngg

    @wishfulthinking

  5. DotDotDot says:

    Holland just started a Biggest Loser Casting fan page on facebook. She says to 'like' it to keep updated on casting for next season.

    Never again for me, but good luck to everyone!

  6. Busy says:

    @Mackenzie

    I didn't gain weight until college and I didn't stay fat until I was 35……Along comes a job and kids and a house, etc..After you are young.

    I have seen teen shows that were being cast. There is a lot of legal and union stuff dealing with minors so they are not as likely to do a show with kids.

  7. Tempted says:

    @Busy

    I'm with you! I would not consider myself as ever having been "thin" but, I really packed on the pounds once my focus shifted from myself to my family. I'm ready to make a change, I just struggle on how to do it and still care for everyone else!

    I actually feel mad/frustrated with singles who struggle. They have NO IDEA how much easier it is when you are younger/ and single!

  8. Balzak75 says:

    Being a father and husband by 21 and being the sole provider definitely makes it harder. If all I had were myself to worry about on a daily basis, it would be a lot easier. I was 19 and my first year out of high school when I gained my first big 100 lbs. By the time I was 21 I was over 350 lbs. and it though I never stopped trying, it just kept going up and down. Sometimes eating bad food was cheaper when you had 5 – 6 extra mouths to feed who needed to eat well. My children are all perfect in size, but my wife and I are not.

  9. Big Fat Guy says:

    Hey guys. No I didnt make it, but I think I got as far as anyone can without getting the call. One girl in particular described her situation and it was the same as mine. BL & NBC Contracts, airport info, What we can and cannot bring to the Ranch, even a sheet asking what size BL12 shirts, pants, etc I'll need. I'm pretty convinced the people at 3Ball even thought I was going. Some of this stuff was even sent the night before the fateful Friday came without a call. Making that Friday even harder to handle. Why they did that, I'll never know; unless 3Ball was truly convinced and it was a last minute NBC decision. Regardless, it was very depressing.

    I thought I would have been able to jump right back on track, but have been wavering in the weight loss department. I know its getting close to CC time again, but will not do it unless they call me.

    The only advice I can offer is whats been said on here 100 times; you are a longshot until you get the call. I dont care how many emails they send you, how much info they ask for; you are NEVER in for sure and its ALWAYS a huge longshot.

    …And to think I thought I had it made after that first CB interview so long ago.

  10. Tempted says:

    @Big Fat Guy

    I really feel for you.

    I also think that there is a really good chance that if you got that far they will contact you again, but it still doesn't guarantee anything…

  11. Balzak75 says:

    @Big Fat Guy

    Sorry they didn't get you out there. No one knows what the future holds.

    On another note, kinda torn on whether to make another video or not. I thought my one for Season 12 was pretty good. I know there was a lot I could have done differently.

    Hoping this board picks up soon.

  12. Busy says:

    @Big Fat Guy

    That is terrible. So sorry. To get that far……sorry. Others have gone on the show the season after that kind of thing happened. Good luck.

  13. Balzak75 says:

    Has anyone been able to go on the casting website for BL? I keep getting asked for username and password and it won't take it?

  14. ugly duckling says:

    I was wondering the same thing. It won't take it???

  15. Overweight says:

    Has anyone heard if BL13 is going to be singles or partners?

  16. Big Fat Guy says:

    @Overweight

    They never actually commit on that until casting is complete. Never believe the rumors you hear and apply either way.

  17. Overweight says:

    @

    @Big Fat Guy

    Should I do two separate videos?

  18. Tempted says:

    Just announced BL13 is expanding the search for SMALLER contestants! Looking for 85+ lbs to lose.

    Do you think they are specifically going smaller for 13? BUMMER for me! I kinda thought with so many other weight loss shows popping up, it would take care of all the "smaller" obese people, and all of the "super" obese people, and then BL would have those of us who fall in between! :)

  19. Balzak75 says:

    Not sure what to think of the drop in weight requirements. Hoping it doesn't kill my chances for 13. I know they are changing things, but I would love to have the opportunity to change my life forever and be the man on the outside that I am on the inside. I pray this is my time.

  20. maybenexttime says:

    @Tempted

    its probably because while having the "super" obese contestants has greater shock value in the beginning, the live finale results have not looked as impressive as they have in the past. in earlier seasons almost everyone looked like they reached their goal weight but as the seasons have progressed and the contestants have gotten bigger, they have been bigger at the finale. so maybe they want to go back to having people be impressed by how amazing they look at the end rather than how big they are at the beginning

  21. Girl Scout Thin Mint says:

    Well…I've been a thinkin…

    If Holland and DJ, Jane and Rita, Jodi and Barb, Brandon and Derek, etc. etc. all work for 3Ball Productions, what does it mean if 3Ball is no more (I mean, regarding their affiliation with The Biggest Loser)?

    Do we need to start again, from scratch?

    Are all our prior submissions (videos, etc.), the property of 3Ball and not on file with the Biggest Loser?

    Just something to think about…

  22. Big Fat Guy says:

    <blockquote cite="#commentbody-37154">
    Overweight :@
    @Big Fat Guy Should I do two separate videos?

    I would. It can only heighten your chances.

  23. Big Fat Guy says:

    @Tempted

    Thats actually a good thing for me. I've been always a borderline kind of Hopeful(Untill lately). Now I can start losing weight and not worry about being too thin to make the show.

  24. Big Fat Guy says:

    @Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookie Blizzard Lover

    I know thats been in the rumor mills for a month or so, but does anyone know that for sure? They are in the process of changing their name to Eyeworks, I wonder if that has led to some of the rumor and confusion.

  25. Balzak75 says:

    They also twittered that they were in their new offices. I am with you BFG, I have always teetered on the border. I was asked about a number of the other shows. I wonder as well if NBC has any of my info or will have it after the whole deal or not. Starting from scratch won't be horrible. Don't know what I could change on my video submission though. My last one for Season 12 I thought was okay. Be honest and give me some input on what you think. If you forgot my video here's the link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mt59ETzba9A
    Thanks for all the support. It would be nice one day if we all made our goal weight. Maybe this is our year.

  26. Tempted says:

    @maybenexttime

    I get it, but I can also say that season 11 was a longer shooting season and many of those contestants went home with only 10-15 lbs to lose! Olivia and Hanna actually were under weight (or just barely on the charts) by finale! Other seasons have had people with 100-150 or more who have made AMAZING transformations! And look at Kaylee– she went home and did nothing! She was smaller to begin with and really didn't do much with her opportunity. I think they need to concentrate on getting the right people who are ready to make the change!

  27. Girl Scout Thin Mint says:

    <blockquote cite="#commentbody-37173">
    Big Fat Guy :@Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookie Blizzard Lover I know thats been in the rumor mills for a month or so, but does anyone know that for sure? They are in the process of changing their name to Eyeworks, I wonder if that has led to some of the rumor and confusion.
    .

    I am not sure when you used the term “rumor mills” whether you were referring to posts on this blog OR if you were referring to articles online.

    I have listed here a few articles I had either read (at an earlier date) or I have found online today.

    All the time spent on the issues between the producers (whatever the issues were / are) could certainly be the reason for so much of a delay in the finalizing of the Season 12 cast.

    If anyone is interested in reading, I list these for you…

    'The Biggest Loser' Co-Producer 3 Ball Prods. Suspended From Hit NBC Series
    By NELLIE ANDREEVA | Wednesday June 1, 2011 @ 6:04pm PDT
    http://www.deadline.com/2011/06/the-biggest-loser

    3 Ball Productions out as “active producers” of Biggest Loser 12
    by Andy Dehnart / June 2, 2011, 8:32 AM
    http://www.realityblurred.com/realitytv/archives/

    The Revolution, Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition Producers Suspended From Biggest Loser!
    By Jamey Giddens on June 02, 2011
    http://daytimeconfidential.zap2it.com/2011/06/02/

    Hit NBC Show Suspends Co-Producer, Isn't Revealing Why
    http://www.tvweek.com/blogs/tvbizwire/2011/06/hit

  28. Tempted says:

    @Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookie Blizzard Lover

    I was wondering the same thing. My understanding is (but I could be TOTALLY off!) It is more of a name change kind of thing. But I don't know what that means for staffing/ casting for the show. Someone I know was contacted by a CD because of her BL submission for another show, and THAT person answered the phone with the new company name.

    There is a little part of me that thinks it may be refreshing to have new eyes looking at the "potentials". Somewhere along the line I think they got kind of tired of me!!! :)

  29. Tempted says:

    @Balzak75

    Don't underestimate yourself! I kind of hear you saying you can't do better than your first video (which WAS very good). But you are still YOU!!! Your awesomeness will shine through no matter what the video content! You may suprize yourself and make something you are even MORE proud of.

  30. Girl Scout Thin Mint says:

    @Tempted

    Re: 3Ball's split from Biggest Loser

    FYI – I had followed up my previous post #21, with a much more detailed post #25 and #27 (both are waiting for moderation), which includes links to four online releases, announcing 3Ball's split / separation from The Biggest Loser.

    Holland's "Holland "Master Caster" Striplin" Facebook solicitation requesting followers to the recent start of the "Biggest Loser Casting" Facebook page left me wondering (because I knew 3Ball was gone from The Biggest Loser). Just couldn't help wondering if they were padding their address books with potential candidates for their future shows (I'm not saying, going thru them is the wrong way to lose weight).

    Good Luck to everyone…

  31. Big Fat Guy says:

    @Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookie Blizzard Lover

    I Stand corrected. I did not read those articles. Now I guess the question is, what do they mean by "Temporarily". Was it a slap on the hand for the ABC show, or was it a nice way of buffering "Youre Fired!"…

  32. Busy says:

    @Big Fat Guy

    I feel the same way. I can keep trying to lose and get healthy and still qualify for the show without being told I am just a little too small like in past seasons.

  33. sillygal says:

    BFG- I noticed you "unfriended" me on your facebook…..now I'm sad to see you are on here because I thought you "unfriended" me because you made the show….I was kind of excited when I noticed I was deleted and thought "WHOOO HOOO one of us McNutty's made it". I feel for you (and me…and all of us who didn't make if!) I hadn't checked this site in a long time….do we know if one of us made it (I'm not in the mood to read way back on here)?

  34. ugly duckling says:

    I got a message that the website may be working today???? But still can't get on the site. Has anyone had any luck accessing the BL website? Thanks in advance.

  35. Tempted says:

    With such a late start to the next casting season, and the "smaller" requirements, I wonder if they will be starting filming for 13 in January? This would prevent them from having to work around the holidays like they usually have to…. but would make for a VERY SHORT filming season if the finale is still at the same time.

  36. Busy says:

    Darn, I would have to fly to Los Angeles right when school starts for a CC. I may be just mailing my application again. Casting Calls for TBL 13:

    7/30

    Austin

    NYC

    Detroit

    8/6

    Charlotte

    Washington D.C.

    Atlanta

    8/13

    St. Louis

    Salt Lake City

    Phoenix

    8/20

    Chicago

    Dallas

    Orlando

    8/27

    Los Angeles

  37. Tempted says:

    WOW!!! They're coming back to Detroit!!!

  38. Balzak75 says:

    Love that they will be in NYC again. DC is right in my backyard. I have to admit I am a bit nervous this time. Though my video did well with many, the CD's didn't give me much feedback. I guess I was a little overconfident of my video for Season 12. Not sure if I should do another video or let things go. I haven't really been able to move past the 470 lb. range since casting last time. I think I would be great for the show. My video only shows parts of me. I often wonder if there was another way to get their attention or get them to hear me out. (I was soooo sick this last callback.) Not sure what to think anymore and torn on whether or not to try and contact my CD. Good luck everyone, let the fun begin.

  39. LovelyLadyLumps says:

    Here I go again….

    No Denver this season! Poop!

  40. LovelyLadyLumps says:

    Sorry if this was already discussed but can anyone access TBL casting website?

  41. LovelyLadyLumps says:

    <blockquote cite="#commentbody-37202">

    ugly duckling :

    I got a message that the website may be working today???? But still can’t get on the site. Has anyone had any luck accessing the BL website? Thanks in advance.

    No, I just tried, and still can't access it.

    Where did they post the new lower weight loss requirements?

  42. Busy says:

    Holland said the site will be up in the next few days and there should be no log in required.

  43. Kristen says:

    Season 13…here I come! Who's with me?

  44. ugly duckling says:

    <blockquote cite="#commentbody-37217">

    Kristen :Season 13…here I come! Who’s with me?

    Me Please!!! Ohhhhhh me please!! hahaha

  45. Nanny says:

    I usually just read the post on here. ( for the past 6 seasons) and post every once in a while. It's so slow right now I feel like I'm going through withdraw. LOL. I'm excited about the changes because maybe 1 of the changes will be how many people they choose. With 3 trainers maybe there will be 3 teams.

  46. Tempted says:

    @Nanny

    Glad you posted! It is dead around here :) Should pick up with galiant speed once casting calls start!

    They haven't done 3 teams since season 3(was it?). That may change things up a bit!

  47. Nanny says:

    How does everyone feel about Anna Kournikova being the new female trainer?

  48. Girl Scout Thin Mint says:

    The website is UP!

    http://www.thebiggestlosercasting.com/

  49. Matthew McNutt says:

    Hey, I finally got around to starting a season 13 casting thread … so I'm closing comments on this one and sending you all over there! Here's the link: http://matthewmcnutt.com/?p=3373

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