Biggest Loser casting tips (season eight)

16 Dec
December 16, 2008

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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 -)

Pete

Talk to you soon and remember, There’s a Winner Wi ‘thin’ You!

http://WinningMan.com

2234 replies
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  1. Louisville was COOOO says:

    Can anyone tell me who the CD for Louisville was? I had the really handsome guy with the popped collar that spoke to us early in the morning. I cannot remember his name!!! He had dark brown hair and was prolly around 6'0"

  2. simplyme says:

    Please if someone knows who the cd well be in L.A. cc March 14 pritty please tell me and give me there email i would be very thankful.

  3. MiamiBound says:

    My advice is to get your directions off Yahoo maps not Mapquest.

    Email me at an address I created for anonymity if you would like to set a time to meet: imabiggestloser@gmail.com

  4. mimi says:

    Hi Sara,
    What would I have to do to get a VIP pass for the cc in miami? thanks!
    mimi

  5. harleykat says:

    Kelli Reed, I am from Mesa, Az and I will be at the Phoenix CC on saturday. I am super excited, but also really nervous! Does anyone know who the CDs will be in Phoenix?

  6. DontWantToMissOut says:

    Hi All!
    I don't know if anyone can help me on this, but here I go anyway….

    I have moderatly severe hearing loss in my left ear and I'm wondering if that is something that will disqualify me from being on the show. I'm planning on attending the LA casting call, but the Friday following it I am scheduled to have surgery on my ear. Should I reschedule the surgery just in case I do get a call back??? I just don't want anything to hinder me possibly being on The Biggest Loser.

    Your input is GREATLY appreciated!!

  7. simplyme says:

    I am so excited that I just finished my video! I am going to mail it on Monday. I am going to the cc in L.A. unless I get a call back. I watched my video about 20 times and am still not board! It was so real and heart felt.

  8. honeybld67 says:

    Ok, I can't stand this….. I was at Detroit cc on 2/28 how long do you normally wait before you say…"ok they're not going to call" I'm killing myself over here…..I guess my hopes are so high I just don't want to give up on the thought that they still might call …..

  9. EXCITED says:

    honeybld67- I feel the same way about the Charlotte CC. It is weird that hardly anyone (but one person's friend) has gotten a callback on here. Last week it was several different people.

  10. nashvillebound says:

    i have not heard anyone say they got a callback from nashville? any news?

  11. honeybld67 says:

    Excited – Well, heres something I did a search on you tube and found a video of this guy who said he was hired locally to be a production assistant for biggest loser while they were here in michigan…..i looked up his latest yesterday which said he got done shooting some good stuff…but heres the kicker that was three days ago which puts his video back to the 27th which makes me wonder if he was shooting prospects for the show before people went to open audition…..I'd hate to think I did it all for nothing! Btw did you make a video Excited??? I haven't yet, I have some really good ideas for one, and now I have to rearrange because my best friend flaked out on me at the last minute…how did your cc go??

  12. jamieannbro says:

    i actually did get a call back…not even 2 hours after my try out in nashville. my interview on tape is in an hour. wish me luck!!!

  13. NotGivingUpHope says:

    Good Luck Jamieannbro

  14. JML3783 says:

    Good luck Jamieannbro!

  15. JML3783 says:

    Questions for everyone who has an opinion or advice! Since we haven't gotten a call back yet from Dallas CC. I will be going to the Houston CC to apply as an individual. What do ya'll think about that? And, I will be making another video with just me on it. Should I redo my application as well? When I do go the CC in Houston should I take my new video? Or do ya'll think I should just resend everything?

  16. EXCITED says:

    honeybld67- I have not done a video yet but I am going to do one next week. I am extremely busy with college since I missed a few days while I was in Charlotte. I thought the CC went really well. Rita was so nice and said she remembered seeing my photos I sent her for the VIP pass. That sucks that your partner flaked out on you… sometimes doing things alone are the best route. Hopefully your video will get noticed!! I will send a video in and hope for the best. Good Luck!

  17. headingtotheranch says:

    simplyme – I am going to the LA casting call on the 14th. I don't know which casting directors will be there. Since the only two casting calls that day are in LA and San Diego, it's really a toss up. I'm pretty sure that they all live out here, lol, so they could end up drawing straws, flipping a coin, etc… The casting calls are only like 100 miles apart, kinda strange, though we have a lot of people living in So Cal, so I'm sure that's why. Maybe between now and then we'll get more info, but right now, they are all in other cities so no way of knowing.

  18. headingtotheranch says:

    JML3738 – IMO , If your app and video were with a partner and now you are going solo, I would resend everything, treat it like a completely different submission, because I'm pretty sure they will. If you send just a video or just an app, there is a chance they could view it as "incomplete" and set it aside. I haven't really heard of them taking apps and videos at the casting calls, but I could be mistaken. If you mail it first, then just have a copy with you, I suppose it wouldn't hurt, though they may not want it at that venue, just for logistics if nothing else.

  19. Back from Louisville says:

    I've been on this message board for awhile now and started out by reading the whole thing so I hope I'm not being repititive – but I don't remember anyone saying how long the one-on-one interview is? Can someone who's been through that process give us an idea?

    Big J – no problem and good luck in Columbus!

  20. headingtotheranch says:

    Back from Louisville – I think a couple people have responded to that questions. I think it is something between 30 minutes to 1 hour.

  21. annenoni says:

    Matthew or anyone – what happens after they receive your background checks, bio, video, etc.? Anyone know the entire casting process from there?

  22. JML3783 says:

    Thanks headingtotheranch, appreciate it. I so wish I already had the call back from Dallas, but oh well. Everything happens for a reason, I think I just need to do this on my own and without a partner. We will see how Houston goes!

  23. question says:

    Back from Louisville: Yeah, the one-on-one's range between 30-60 minutes just like headingtotheranch said. I think, if they like you, they want to fill up a miniDV tape of you, and if not, they'll be polite and send you on your way in less time. I've experienced both. When I auditioned season 6 with my mom we went about 45 minutes on tape, were asked for a bio, and an additional home tape. When I auditioned for season 7 with a different partner, and they didnt' care for us for some reason (I think our story), I don't know how much footage they shot of us, but we were out of that interview in about 30! We weren't asked for a bio and there was never any contact after that.

  24. Back from Louisville says:

    Thanks headingtotheranch!

    question – thanks too! That's interesting your two different experiences. When you say you had to send in an 'additional' home video…I'm guessing that means that you did one tape and then the interview and then they asked for another home tape? Or did you never submit a home tape and then did the one-on-one and then they asked for a tape?

    I've read several stories of people who had to make multiple home tapes and that seems hard! I mean it would be worth it to get on the ranch but hard to be original and creative on tape multiple times. My first one took a lot of thought as it was. But if I'm asked to do another I've got an idea that I think might be fun!

  25. Jason says:

    Here's my biggest question re:auditions. Are they looking to see you shovel crappy junk down your throat in your video?

    I ask because three years ago, I completely revamped my diet and I just don't eat that stuff much anymore.

    But… my body is now adjusted to my new 'diet' and I can't lose a pound.

    It's rare to see a video that doesnt have them piling the Cheetos or eating a tub of ice cream.

    How much of that do you think is staged to make a better video?

  26. MyLife says:

    Jason–I would hope that they are not looking for that crap…I can't stand to see fat people doing that in videos…it's not funny at all….I believe that they want your video to be funny but some what true…if you don't live like that then don't be fake about it….just bring some humor into your own life….I saw in either last week or rhe week before where they showed the chick on the purple team eating a burger like her eyes were gonna explode…that is so gross!!!

  27. NotGivingUpHope says:

    justmailed….what did your home tape all include? CONGRATS on making it that far.

  28. NotGivingUpHope says:

    Jason….I don't think Heather and Neil & Amanda ate food in their videos. Some people do, some don't. I thought about eating in mine, but don't think I will.

  29. headingtotheranch says:

    I wonder if they give you tips on what to include once you've reached that background/bio/video level? Maybe justmailed can share?

  30. Applying Again says:

    I thought about showing what I eat; I don't shovel food in my mouth but I don't eat the healthiest stuff either. I decided against taping that– it was hard enough getting the tape down to 10 minutes as it was!

    JM,
    I redid my tape and app without my partner info. I havent' been to a casting call yet. Miami, here I come!

    Who's excited? I'm excited! That's who!

  31. CoCo17 says:

    Went to CC on Saturday and got a call back 20 min after I left. SOOOOO EXCITED! But really feel I blew the Call Back Interview. I just couldn't form a coherent thought. Any thoughts about my next step? Should I make my own video and submit? Do I attn the CD's I spoke with? Is it just too late since they already have that interview? HELP!

  32. fluffychick says:

    Hi All,
    Just wondering if anyone from Chicago CC got any further then a CB interview?

  33. Applying Again says:

    Hey CoCo what time did you get there? Was it nearer the end of the day? I would still make that video.

  34. Matthew McNutt says:

    Okay people … I'm locking this one down and restarting the thread! You can resume discussion and find an updated casting blog post here: http://matthewmcnutt.com/2009/03/02/biggest-loser

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