OKAY PEOPLE, I’VE LOCKED THIS THREAD DOWN … BECAUSE IT GOT JUST TOO DARN BIG! I’VE POSTED A NEW CASTING TIPS BLOG ENTRY AND YOU CAN CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION THERE … HERE’S THE LINK: Biggest Loser Casting Tips (season 8, page 2).
Well, it’s official! Casting has begun for season eight of Biggest Loser! Feel free to discuss, post questions, compare notes, etc.! NBC has posted casting information and the application here.
To find my original casting tips post which contains the video application advice you’ll see below as well as 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! To find my second post (fairly identical to this one), with well over two thousand comments worth of discussion, click here. I was cast on season three because of my video – I’ve never actually been to a casting call. And 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 accomdations, 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, physchological 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 frontload 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 editting 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 editting for a living. In fact, it can distract from who you are. I’m a video editting 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 descibing 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 Deleware 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!
Pete Thomas, season 2 $100,000 champion and currently a big asset in the casting process left a comment in one of my other posts that I thought was worth mentioning here (to read the full comment, click here). Here are few timeless highlights from his comment:
While I could give you tons of additional tips I will give you the BIG ones. They are really the only 3 that matter for the Open Call and Call Back.
#1 Your Look – Come looking beautiful or handsome. Men (and women) come shaven and looking neat, clean and beautiful. If you’re a slob this is the wrong show for you. You may be fat but you should still have a level of self confidence and respect that shows through in how you carry yourself. No need to dress for a wedding but Erik from Season 3 bought new clothes. See my site for his interview.
# 2 Your Team – Think about this. Who has a stronger team ’story’ – Two Fat Camp Counselors or two third Cousins? Get it? How you ‘relate’ to your teammate makes a big difference since this is part of your story. If you’re an individual all hope is not lost as they may have some twist that gets you on the show (think Bernie and Brittany from Season 4).
#3 Your Job – Assassins need not apply. Interesting or regular jobs only please.
Extra A – Have A LOT to lose. Men with ‘only’ 100 lbs to lose are borderline at best this year. Women with 70 lbs to lose are borderline. 700 pounders are also a no go. You have to be able to exercise. But I have a feeling one day that may be a twist or special feature they will add to inspire those who are that size.
Extra B – Type A’s get cast on the show. And the A’s of the Type A’s (See Bullets #5 from Matt’s video blog above – Live Loud)
There are even more tips I could give that have to do with interpersonal stuff which is where I see people mess up but remember what Matt said – Live Loud (not obnoxious, but Loud
Talk to you soon and remember, There’s a Winner Wi ‘thin’ You!