Biggest Loser Casting Tips (season 8, page 2)

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Okay, casting is well on it’s way for season eight of Biggest Loser.  I’m reposting this entry to enable people to continue the conversation started here.  There’s over a couple thousand comments worth of ideas, notes, and other information, including casting directors, and former contestants (other than myself), so if you have some time it’s worth exploring.  Here are the vital links:

  • NBC has posted casting information and the application here.
  • Pete Thomas, the season 2 $100,000 winner has some of the best casting call advice out there, which you can find at www.WinningMan.com.
  • 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.
  • My original casting tips post with 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!
  • My second post (fairly identical to this one), with well over two thousand comments worth of discussion, click 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.  Good luck to everyone … and let me know if you make the show!  Pete Thomas has more contestants on season seven than I did and I’m bitter!  😉

2,169 thoughts on “Biggest Loser Casting Tips (season 8, page 2)

  1. campuslife – i read an interview from one of the contestants and she said her season the company that provided the footwear was starter. i don't think they have anyone there that does their hair. i could be wrong but i think the only time they get their hair professionally done by the show is the "makeover" episode near the end. i do know they do leave the ranch to buy clothes, and take care of other business. i would think haircuts and the like would be included in that outside business. it is a reality show, after all. i remember the contestants being really impressed and feeling pampered when they got to go on the set of "days of our lives" and have their hair and makeup done.

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  2. Sunshine – Thank you for that info!

    2-2-0Needs2Go – I had a VIP pass, so no wristband.

    So for all the LA people, are you going to make a video if you don't get a callback? How long do you think we should wait? If we wait out the full two weeks that Paul mentioned, then we're going to be right at the video deadline. Thoughts?

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  3. I would love to make a video also…but as it goes I have no idea where my video camera is. I have not seen it since before we moved. It is down to 3 locations..maybe I will get ambitious and try to find it again.

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  4. I changed my screen, so I am not new. I think it was on biggest loser club a video, where they actually have a seamstress (?) who measures you and makes you 7 outfits and then 2 weeks later she said you will drop a size and she measures again and provides 7 more sets.

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  5. The video would be required either way so make it now. I'm glad to know the LA calls have started. I seriously thought there would be no point in waiting. That's not to say they're done calling, they'll probably take their time with that but at least they've started.

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  6. I have sent in a video and have not heard back. Do any of you think I should make a different video (more exciting) and send it in?

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  7. I still really haven't gotten an answer to the question I asked last night – I'm not asking how long til I hear about my tape, I'm asking if you send Holland an email, how long does it take her to respond, assuming she is going to?

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  8. Good Thursday!

    Question: If you do not get selected for the show for Season 8, will you try again for Season 9?

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  9. I won't! I plan on being too thin for it by the time they start casting for season 9. I guess I said that about this season, too…but I'm serious now! This is the first year I actually sent anything in. I had wanted to do it for season 6 and 7…but I actually ended up pregnant for both of those. I really want on the Ranch…but the bottom line is, I really need to lose this weight!

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  10. I will be. I have a feeling that I will still need it by then. So, if I am wrong, and lose the weight before Season 9, then all the better! I just know myself and I think I will still need the show.
    I have a very "never give up" attitude and if I set my mind to something…watch out! I will keep at it until I succeed! I can apply that to weight loss too, but I need their tools to teach me how to stay that way once I reach my goal.

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  11. Ian, Holland, Kristin, Tad, DJ, Jackie, Paul, and Brandon. Are the names that I have heard in this board. Does anyone know of any other?

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  12. To answer your question about Holland answering your email. You probably won't get an answer to this first email you sent her. They are SO super busy. It's difficult for them to answer emails even for the people that have had call backs and one on ones and even have had the background check and bio info requested.

    Send in your tape! She probably requests the email so she would have an email address and a name to go with it when it arrived. I would send her another email the day you actually send the tape out (to her attention) let her know when she can expect it. Also, in the package you are sending your tape in; include all your contact info (duh) and mention that you will be sending her an email later that day to confirm it's been sent, so she can keep a look out.

    Holland is SUPER sweet. If she says to email her, she means it. Don't get discouraged because you have yet to hear back from her. For all you know, she might be waiting on your tape!! 🙂

    GO GO GO! What are you waiting for!! This is your dream! Go get it!!

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  13. This is the period of time of uncertainty therefore causing much anxiety in those who are further in the process. I was told that I should hear something by mid-April. I think a few others said the same.

    Just sit tight and go about your lives.

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  14. If I don't get a CB from my video this season, I am SO making sure I get to a CC for season 9! They sound like they were a lot of fun. Plus, I love the excitement in the air with things like that. I probably would have gotten to meet some of you too!

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  15. Some of you have said recently that you plan on auditioning for season 9 if you don't make season 8.

    The cc's that we just went through were for BOTH season 8 and 9. It's been tossed around/rumored/reported season 8 is definitely singles at this point, and season 9 is couples.

    All of you who are wanting to audition for season 9, that time is now…

    ..also DON"T WAIT! I have said this before. You care enough to get out there, film a crazy tape, put yourself on the line and push it to the limits for this tape you are sending in, or waited hours and hours standing in line braving the elements. DON'T WAIT ANOTHER DAY!

    Imagine yourself asking Bob and Jillian what you should do if you don't make it on the ranch? Do you thin they would tell you to go buy more Girl Scout cookies (totally aimed at me here) and sit on the couch, waiting for next season??

    NO!

    They would say, "JUST START MOVING!" I can hear Jillian now, "Cardio, cardio, cardio"

    It might be more than a year before they start casting for season 10. Who knows! All I know is I don't want to be this fat when season 10 rolls around. No matter HOW I get the weight off.

    Please please do the same. If you do, then TBL has REALLY done what it sets out to do; inspire millions of people to take charge of their health and ultimately their lives through the example of their trainers and cast.

    You are worth it! You just have to keep telling yourself that until you believe it. 🙂

    -Yarra signing off, putting down the cookies and going for a walk. 🙂

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  16. Yarra,

    I didn't see anything on the NBC website about casting for seasons 8 & 9 together (unless I just missed it). Did one of the cd's tell you that when you were at your cc?

    I think someone said that if you audition as a single and they are wanting couples and are interested in you, that they might ask you to find a partner. Am I remembering that right?

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  17. Que Pasa Biggest Losers! Wow, it must be super exciting to be in the running for the show. I had an awesome time at the Charlotte CC. Since, I didn't get a CB, I decided to send in a video. Confirmation via USPS, it was received on Monday. Now, I wait like everyone else. I planted the seed that is the beginning to my new destiny – to be healthy and thin. My goal is to lose 140lbs. I am making my goal the #1 PRIORITY in my life. I challenge everyone to set a goal. One step at a time, it can be accomplished. Forget about the past failures because nothing can be done to change it, but today's decisions and actions can change the future. Hasta luego.

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  18. Yarra – Dido on the Cardio. I am going outside to enjoy the beautiful day and burn some calories off to be that much closer to my goal. Adios.

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  19. Hey everyone I am coming under a different name than before. Yes I am along in the process. Yes we should know around the middle of April. I was told they should be starting to make cuts towards the end of this month. Also, just an FYI I have NEVER attended a casting call. Only had one on one interviews. Casting calls are not always the way to go. Just an FYI. The WORST part of all of this is waiting belive me. And it SUCKS!

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  20. I agree and my goal to get the weight off this year with or without the show still is a priority. If you made the first step and tried out for the show, you realize you have a problem and should conquer it. I never had the drive in me like now… so this is my year for goals to be accomplished, that is for sure. I can only hope and pray for you guys to have the same attitude! 🙂

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  21. But listen to me and try to take this advice. Don't do like I have done several season before this. Don't sit around and wait and gain wait while you wait for the phone to ring. Start now because when it is all said and done and you haven't gotten a call then you will feel 10 times worse when you have gained 20 lbs. thinking you were going to get on the show and you didn't. I have already started myself even though it may not be the right way to do it I have started and I hope to get on the ranch to learn the right way to do this and maintain the loss.

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  22. Just wanted to drop in my customary well-wishing for those who are still in the process OR those who are rushing out those final tapes.

    Please remember, if you do NOT make the show, that you don't have to wait until next season to change your life. You can do this, you ARE worthy! Start making healthy choices and moving more, and progress will be made.

    As Confucious once said: If you are facing in the right direction, each step takes you closer to your destination.

    Josh

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  23. I will be there- I assume since you said you never went to a casting call that they contacted you based on your video?? How long after you sent it in did you hear back from them??

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  24. Question for anyone who can answer…
    My cousin and I are applying as a couple, but we're doing it seperately because we're both too far away from each other to make a tape together. Does anyone think that applying seperately would be a problem?

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  25. WaitingVideo… some that tried out before season 8 casting were called without sending in a tape or attending a casting call. They have a list of people they "save" from prior auditions that may have been pitched and network didn't want because it didn't mesh with the rest of the cast that particular season. Just because the casting crew finds you "perfect" does not mean you will strike the same note with the network execs. At any rate, some of us were contacted to try again. And some without their prior partners because it is singles for season 8 (as of now lol).

    Yarra, do you have any samoas left? I would kill for one right about now. 🙂

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  26. Thanks Realhopeful!! Another question, do you know how long after people who sent in videos (no casting calls) were contacted if they were interested??

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  27. I will be there!!!—I also want to know how long it took for them to contact you if you never went to a CC.

    I've decided that I'm worth being a priority in my own life…so today, I tossed 2 of my babies in the stroller and actually walked 4 miles on a trail with my hubby. Haulin 300 pounds anywhere is one heck of a work out!

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  28. WaitingVideo… that all depends. If you sent in a video before the casting call in your area, they will either send you a VIP pass to get a closer look at you or if they really like you, they will offer you a one on one interview. If the casting call already passed in your area, they will call you and ask you for more footage. More than likely around this time period for the next three weeks (post casting calls) as they prepare for the network pitches – even up to the last minute of their deadline to the network.

    My advice to anyone – either after your one on one or if you sent in a tape before the posted deadline of March 31st – is to sit tight and wait. If you don't hear anything by mid April, then you can say it's over. Yes, the waiting is killer… but why stress out and put your already unhealthy body under stress? Just go about your life and forget it for now. If they call, they call. If they don't, they don't. Whatever you do, try your best to live a healthier lifestyle. I mean, seriously – think about it – even if you started to lose weight now, the most you will lose is 10-20 pounds by the time they call. And you will be on your way, either way! 🙂

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  29. RealHopeful – My sentiments exactly!! And having to haul 20 lbs less on that first day at the Ranch is a HUGE blessing!!

    As for the Samoas…No, I didn't even buy any. Thought about it. But decided that for the money, I would get more bang for my buck out of the thin mints. 🙂 A box of Samoas would just be a tasty snack!! But they are good!

    I am soooo eager to detox and get on a healthy eating regime. SO excited for the day when I don't CRAVE a cookie or fried anything. I am even happy to come to terms with looking at something unhealthy and being TURNED OFF! *GASP* Can this day really ever come??

    You bet your butt it can! 🙂

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  30. Wow. Sent my DVD/Pic/App in today (Priority Mail!). I'm more apprehensive than I thought I would be. I thought it would be cleansing to mail it. I thought I could stand back and dust my hands off and forget about it. Instead, I'm a bundle of nerves.

    I know now that I'm going to be really disappointed if I don't get a call/email. I know that it's more likely than not that I won't hear anything, and I thought I was okay with that. Now I realize that I'm going to have to work to be okay with it.

    Huh. Venting to people I don't know. Nice 🙂 Thank you for your kind attention!

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  31. Live_to_Love—I hear ya! I thought about not sending in a tape because I knew I would be completely heartbroken if I didn't make it. But, I've realized that it's entirely in the Lord's hands and if I don't make it, it only means that He has something different in mind for me. And knowing that, makes this wait more bearable!

    Good luck to you though!

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