Sunday, July 31, 2011
Lessons Learned And What You Need To Know From Being In A Reality Show
Some of you may know I'm an aspiring television producer, entrepreneur and recently a participant in a new pilot for a reality show called, "Just Serve" (airing this Fall). The idea is that 3 people from very different backgrounds get together to help people that may need assistance (feeding the homeless, building a home or anything in between).
A couple of months ago, I saw a listing for participants on a well known internet site for a new reality show. I thought I might want to try this out and submitted my picture along with bio and why I thought I might be a good person to chose for this show.
Let's fast forward about 5 weeks, I went on my trip to Atlanta and after I returned I got a call from one of the producers stating that I was being selected and asked if I had a week to spare.
Well, that was a little tougher than I thought. After some serious thought, I decided to take the plunge and say, "Yes"!
First lesson: If you're asked to participate in a reality show, make sure you have enough money to make it after the show shoots and definitely don't quit your job. As a technology contractor, I ended up passing on three different contracts in one week so be prepared for this.
The crew arrived at my house on Monday morning to shoot in the home, out of the home, me on my bike, me sitting on the steps, me coming out of my house. Basically, we shot anything and everything "my home" but what was funny was how the neighbors started coming out when they saw a film crew...Did he win the lottery or something?
Next day, I was off to meet my fellow participants. I won't share much about them because I'm bound by NDA's (non-disclosure agreements). One was male and younger than me. The other was female older than us both. I can say that they were both nice but being that this was a reality show I felt a little bit of the "we're not here to make friends" vibe even though we were not competing for a cash prize. The idea was to take people out of their busy lives and see how they interact and see if they can be successful in serving others.
Second Lesson: If you get chosen for a reality show (prize money or not) keep in mind that you are not there to make friends.
Now that we've gotten to know each other and exchange pleasantries it was off to our first challenge! We had no idea where we were going and there was a lot of anticipation. There won't be any spoilers here (I like getting paid) so I can't tell you anymore but I can say that I was totally overwhelmed and I thought how in the world are we going to do this?
Third Lesson: Make sure you're 100% prepared to participate because you just might be inclined to say , "I'm outta here"! (Of course, I didn't, I was in it to the end).
Since this project was about volunteering, I've decided to start my own foundation helping feed the homeless in the month of December. I can truly say that doing this reality show has changed me in a positive way. I have volunteered in the past but hitting the streets really helped me get in touch with myself and be thankful for what I have and not be so critical of what I don't have because so many people don't have what we consider to be "the basics". I wonder what "The Kardashian's" or "The Real Housewives" are doing to help the less fortunate?
Over the week, I had so many ups and downs (mainly ups though). Learning to work with others when you know you have a better idea. Even though you have a better idea, it might be better for the team to forego your plans until a better moment in time. Also, working with a really cool production team (coordinator, associate producer, producer and cameramen) and what it means to work with professionals, In the end, I learned much more than what I'm presenting here. Mainly, I learned not to chase the dollar, it'll be there but chase your passion instead.