Do you dream of designing frocks on Project Runway? Finding romance on Flavor of Love? Or bunking in the Big Brother house? Now there's a school to learn how to land a gig on reality TV. At the New York Reality TV School, which just wrapped its second session, students learn how to audition, create an on-air persona and parlay 15 minutes of fame into a career.
The school, which claims to be the only educational institution of its ilk, is the brainchild of actor/coach Robert Galinsky. "It doesn't matter if you're going on vacation or on a job interview, you go prepared. Same with reality TV," Galinsky says. "If you want to get on one of those shows, you should be as prepared as possible."
To that end, 29 students ponied up $139 for a three-hour class, where they were critiqued on practice auditions for actual upcoming reality shows like You Owe Me Money, Pimp My Halfway House and Bully's Revenge. They endured "emotional conditioning," which involves being alternately insulted and cheered on by the rest of the class, and mingled during a networking session with refreshments prepared by reality alum Dave Martin (Top Chef). Jessica Krant, a doctor who holds degrees from Harvard and Columbia, was one of the school's recent grads. "I wanted to hone my TV skills," she says. "I've been told I should be a TV dermatologist."
SO WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GET ON A REALITY SERIES?
"Just be yourself... times a thousand," advised A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila contestant Vanessa Romanelli, one of the "celebs" on hand to dispense advice to reality-TV wannabes. Here are some lessons from the pros:
■ "You have to have something that makes you stand out, especially when you're in a line with thousands of other people," explains Donato DeMarinis, who wore an American-flag jacket to audition for a patriotic themed episode of Deal or No Deal — and when he competed on the show.
■ Once you've been cast, "Shine, but don't shine," says Groomer Has It finalist Jorge Bendersky, who counsels everyone, even the guys, to buy some makeup and learn how to use it before going on camera.
■ When you're on a show, "Think out loud," says Bendersky, so producers and directors know what you're planning and can have the cameras ready to zoom in when you make your big move.
■ Galinsky says it's important to relax before meeting with casting agents so they can see the real you: "Try to touch their soul, don't try to get the job."
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