Biggest Loser casting tips (season 17)

30 Jun
June 30, 2015

Biggest Loser Season 17

Biggest Loser has begun casting for season 17!  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 list of posts 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. I have heard from later season’s contestants that those amounts increased.

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! ;)

37 replies
  1. Tempted says:

    @ Lost boys- If you look up the pre-registration, it specifically says you will not even be considered for season 17 without a partner…. I hope that changes!

  2. Nanny says:

    Hey all, I’m trying to decide if I want to try again. My whole life has been turned upside down since the last casting. I’m getting a divorce (it’s a good thing) and I moved to a new state. My story has changed, but do I want to put myself out there again?

  3. Bigmamalove says:

    How’s everyone doing? It’s been awhile!!!

  4. Balzak75 says:

    Doing well. Just did a production of Fiddler on the Roof. We made up a third of the cast. Been busy at work and our oldest just graduated and has a full ride to college.

  5. Tempted says:

    @Nanny- I say go for it!!!

    @ Bigmamalove- Great, How you doin?????!!!

    @ Balzak- Awesome!!!

  6. Bigmamalove says:

    Tempted- I am fan-flippin-tastic! Life is good. So who’s jumping in this round?

    Nanny – do it girl!!!

  7. Nanny says:

    My kids are telling me the same thing, so I guess I’ll give it another shot. This time though I promise not to become obsessed……

  8. Tempted says:

    Quick question – Does each team member have to register listing the other as a teammate, or is it enough for one person to register, listing the other as a teammate? What are you guys doing???

  9. Tempted says:

    @Nanny- Good luck not obsessing!!! Hahahahha! I say that every time!

    I wish you all the best in every aspect of your life!

  10. Matthew McNutt says:

    Hey, if any of you are going to a casting call, I have five front of the line passes to give away … check out this post to find out how to get one: http://matthewmcnutt.com/?p=4601

  11. Nanny says:

    Tempted, I feel different about my life now maybe that will help me keep things in perspective, but we shall see.

  12. Tempted says:

    @Matthew- WOW! What a great opportunity! Too bad I’m not hooked up to social media. I guess I do it the old fashioned way, standing in line sweating :)

    @ Nanny- sounds like you are in a really good place. So happy for you!

  13. Bigmamalove says:

    Hey guys! Got a phone call from a casting producer yesterday in response to my pre registration. Anyone else heard anything?

  14. Wendy Woods says:

    Hi Everyone!
    First time doing this and I’m super excited!! Going with my 27 year old daughter. Im starting to become obsessed, is this normal??
    Thanks,
    Wendy

  15. BigBuggy says:

    I need to send my registration in and I hope I get to hear somethin before the casting like you did @bigmamalove! What did they say?

  16. Bigmamalove says:

    Wendy – it is totally normal to get caught up!
    Bigbuggy- we chatted about my responses, talked about my teammate and she gave me some tips for the casting call. I’m wondering if this is happening to others. It’s a first for me.

  17. Tempted says:

    @Bigmamalove- How exciting! You must have something they are looking for. Nope. Never happened to me. Hasn’t happened (yet) this season for me. When did you pre-register? and when is your casting call? Maybe I still have some time to get a coveted phone call :)

  18. Bigmamalove says:

    Pre-reg’d Tuesday night, phone call Wednesday afternoon, casting call Saturday. I’m keeping it all in perspective though, long LONG road to haul.

  19. BigBuggy says:

    Good luck to everyone goin to a casting call today! Gotta share some details from how it goes for the rest of us!

  20. Tempted says:

    @bigmomma- hope it went well today!

  21. BigBuggy says:

    I am hoping to make it to a casting call next weekend but I’ve never been. How does it all go? My parent might not be able to come so I’m pretty sure I won’t get picked. But that’s o.k.! What’s the process like?

  22. Tempted says:

    @BigBuggy- Matt outlines it all very well. Make sure you read what he has put together.

    I see casting calls as a live screening. They are often looking for particular types, or characteristics. You sit at table with several others, answer a few questions, and they look over your info.

    If you get a coveted callback, then they’ve decided you might have what they are looking for. But there is so much more to go!

  23. lost_boys says:

    @bigmamalove how did it go? I am jealous that you got a phone call before the casting call. I go this weekend and I am scared!

  24. GinaBaby says:

    I got a FOL for Dallas but I want to know has anyone gone yet? I want to know what they asked.

  25. Bigmamalove says:

    Hey guys! Casting call was a blast. Partner and I need to put together some footage :-)

  26. Tempted says:

    So quiet this season!

    @bigmama- glad it went well!

    Anyone go today? Lots of locations! Only next weekend left! Casting has been quick this season

  27. Gig_it says:

    I had received a call from casting asking if I would apply (I got pretty darn close in years past). My partner and I drove to the casting call with the front of the line pass from casting…only to not get a call back. Kind of a downer. The group we were in had 8 other people yelling, no joke, over one another and making comments while other people talked. I get it. You want to make an impression. Overall, I was excited to be asked to come back out and apply but I am over it. No idea what they are looking for but I am happy for everyone that got a call back! Get some cool people on the show!

  28. Tempted says:

    @Gig-it- sorry for your disappointment. I know how it feels. Seems like a waste of time and energy, then you feel kind of foolish for ever thinking you had a shot. I understand. On the flip side, totally worth it if you get called!

    Since 16 casting my video has been viewed. A LOT. But no one has called. It is a curious thing to me.

  29. Tempted says:

    More than anything I think I’m tired of making videos:) You make them for callbacks, you make them to apply, and you make them for a second chance! I’ve run out of ways to represent me and my life through video!

  30. Should Have Been a PI says:

    @Tempted

    From Biggest Loser Castings fb page

    “Biggest Loser Casting
    1 hr · Edited ·

    Thank you to everyone who came to the casting calls, submitted videos and who tune it each week to watch the show! We truly appreciate your enthusiasm for wanting to be healthier and for cheering each other on in the process. We will be watching videos and finishing up casting in the coming days and weeks. Due to the number of videos we receive, We are unable to let each person know it was received, but rest assured if you sent it then it will be watched! We even check our spam box!!! The videos counters sometimes do not register our view because we often download the videos before watching them, just fyi. They will be watched!!! Good luck to everyone!!!! We will post once finalists have been notified.”

  31. Should Have Been a PI says:

    GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE WHO APPLIED!!!

    (I did not)

  32. Tempted says:

    So quiet on here :)

    Casting is wrapping up. So sad. I just didin’t have a partner this season. First time in a long time I stood on the sidelines and couldn’t apply.

    I kept waiting to see if they changed their minds and allowed singles to apply. I think I still hold on to hope as last season they made a late call (a full month after I attended a casting call!), and seemed to change who they were looking for – a little bit.

    I guess it is still possible, but not likely since I didn’t apply because I had no partner :)

  33. Should Have Been a PI says:

    “Alison Sweeney Leaving ‘Biggest Loser’ (Exclusive)
    AUGUST 25, 2015 05:13 PM EDT

    Alison Sweeney is exiting “The Biggest Loser.”

    Read more at http://www.accesshollywood.com/alison-sweeney-leaving-biggest-loser-exclusive_article_111645#j8zSWhkD38CFOf1C.99

  34. Should Have Been a PI says:

    WHAT ? ? ? ! ! !

    Bob Harper Moves from Trainer to Host on The Biggest Loser

    http://www.people.com/article/biggest-loser-bob-harper-new-host

  35. Should Have Been a PI says:

    RICHARD HATCH ANYONE!!!

    Then you’ll want to tune in to The Biggest Loser 17

    Check out all the new contestants.

    http://www.nbc.com/the-biggest-loser/contestants/season-17

  36. Big Fat Guy says:

    Hi all!,
    It’s been a long time since my last check in. I saw another season’s castings came and went. I think I may have gotten a call, but did not find about it til months later; don’t know why they didnt email me. Anyway, I would not have been a choice anyway.

    Still on Paleo(Primal), January 13th will be two years. I lost the original 80lbs in the first 9 months and then plateaued for a year. BUT, did NOT gain it back; a first for me after losing weight. In August I had a momentary lapse of reason and joined Crossfit. I was by far the fattest and oldest; but I said eff it, it is what it is. After a month or so of going 3x week, they started to except I wasnt just another fly-by-nighter. I’m almost 4 months into it and down another 10lbs or so, but my muscle mass and core, is the best it’s been since I was in the Army; Evidently I had no core. I’m trying to push it and reach the 100lb mark by January 13th.

    For me, this was the answer; all that trial and failure, and this was it. I don’t think of it as a diet though, it’s the new lifestyle I chose. I still have a good 50-70 lbs to lose, but it will happen; it just takes a very long time.

  37. Balzak75 says:

    Things have been crazy on our home front for sure. Our family was part of the filming of a new pilot show for a major cable network, though it is all still in the planning stages and it has been a year almost since we filmed. The CD has been great and keeps us in the loop while working on other projects. I just finished Miracle on 34th Street with my wife and where we would have been perfect for leads, were passed to other parts because of our weight and were told so. That is theater for you. I am getting ready to audition for another play and last year my oldest youngest and I were cast for a commercial and when we got to the set they replaced me because of my weight. Good news was the kids had a blast and we all got paid. I am looking for more agents for my financial practice and having one in college and one applying for college is expensive. We are all still active musically.
    I still have only watched the first episode of this past season of BL. Not sure why that is.
    I also finally got to move my belt a notch this past weekend. I bought a new shirt and was even able to get it on within a week. Things got really tight for our family during the holidays and let me tell you the blessings just came pouring in from money to get stuff for our kids (we were prepared to just not do gifts) to a one year gym membership for me from an someone who wanted to remain anonymous. (Turned out to be my daughter’s boyfriend’s father) You literally would never believe what has happened just in the last 8 months.
    How has everyone else been?

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