Real World Advice

If you haven?t yet used up your fifteen minutes of fame of if you?ve ever wanted to get on television, we have some useful advice for you! Unless you have been living in a box for the last thirteen years, you have seen or at least heard of MTV?s hit reality show, The Real World. Instead of just watching the show, you now have the chance to be a star yourself.

Who: You!
What: A chance of a lifetime: to be cast on The Real World
When: Tuesday, September 20, from 10 am to 5 pm
Where: Boomerang?s Bar and Grille
3909 Forbes Avenue
Why: Because you rock! And this is the perfect opportunity to be on television!
How: Show up with a recent photo that you are willing to part with forever and ever, an ID, and your cute self.

So now that you?re serious about trying out for the role of a lifetime, here are some wise words to help you become a cast member on the 17th season of The Real World from Damon Furberg, the supervising casting director of MTV?s hit reality show.

The Tartan: What do you usually look for in a cast member?

Furberg: The number one thing is charisma. I can?t overstate that. I think that it?s like when you go to a party. There?s always one person who?s the center of attention. It?s not always the best looking person. What we?re looking for is the person with the magnetic personality. Some people are just fascinating. You?re looking for the person who is unsheltered. Someone who isn?t going to think before they speak ? someone who can?t help but be themselves. Some people ? I call them politicians ? worry about what people think too much. We?re looking for people who aren?t afraid to speak their minds.

The Tartan: What?s the hardest part about being a casting director for a show of this caliber?

Furberg: The hardest part is finding new territory, finding types of people we haven?t found before, finding a way to differentiate this season from the season before, and doing something different. This is challenging especially when you?re running a show like The Real World. You have to raise the bar every year and try to top what came before.
As a casting director you spend a lot of time on the road getting interviews. You have to remain sympathetic towards people, but remember to be objective at the same time. We?re all human beings, and as human beings, we like people personally. In the end, you need to differentiate between someone you?d like to hang out with and someone you want to see on television.

The Tartan: Just to get a feel of your job, could you run through a typical day in the life of The Real World?s casting director?

Furberg: We do casting calls and accept tape submissions. When we?re in the office we spend a lot of time watching the tapes people send in. We decide who we like from those. Then we conduct interviews over the phone. If we?re interested, then we do more interviews in the office. A lot of time is spent promoting the casting calls, and figuring out ways to get people to cast in calls who otherwise wouldn?t come out. We want to tap into parts of the population we haven?t tapped into yet, so we spend a lot of time and effort getting the word out.
When we get on the road, we do casting calls and brief interviews. Usually we see hundreds of people in groups of 10, get an overview of what types of people appeal to us. Everyone uses different techniques. Playing party games such as ?Two Truths and a Lie,? asking people individual questions like ?Are your parents proud of you? What?s your biggest fear? Tell what?s interesting about yourself,? helps give us a sense of what people are like.
A lot of people are hung up about what the best answer is. But it?s all about having an answer and being truthful. Afterwards, all the casting directors get together and discuss who we met and who we want to see more of. We decide who to call back for the next day, and then it becomes a process of narrowing down the choices we have. It?s a pretty democratic process.... The process is designed the way it is because these people have to sustain an audience?s interest for months.

The Tartan: Which cast member do you most regret choosing?

Furberg: I don?t regret choosing anyone. If I feel bad, it?s because the person didn?t have a good time. We don?t want to put people in uncomfortable situations. It?s boring, it?s not nice, and people fighting all the time gets old really fast. In the general sense, there are times I watched the show and felt...wow, this person isn?t having a great time.

The Tartan: Even though a lot of things happen throughout the week, how do you guys choose which segments to use?

Furberg: We have directors. A director on The Real World is different from a movie director because the directors of The Real World are observers. They sit there and take notes on what?s interesting, what story line seems to be developing, how people are interacting, and how things might turn out. The editors take the information and prune it down. There?s a massive amount of information. We cover these kids pretty constantly. After they go to bed, the crew goes away, but we?re constantly keeping an eye on them.

The Tartan: What happens when college students get onto the show? Do they take leaves of absence?

Furberg: They take a break from their lives. Normally we try to time the show so that it won?t interfere with people going to school. A vast majority of the cast members are out of high school or already in college. For the most part, schools don?t have a problem giving deferrals. If people have jobs, sometimes they take a break or quit.

The Tartan: So what?s your advice to young people out there who want to get on The Real World?

Furberg: Be yourself. I think especially since the show has been on for such a long time, I get people coming in saying they will be like so and so, and this immediately signals a red flag. We?re looking for something new every time, not people who will emulate other people from the show. Putting up a front is not really going help in the long run....
In every group we get a deer in the headlights. They?re so afraid to say the wrong thing. There?s a funny thing I?ve noticed about people who come in groups. Someone who really wants to be on the show comes along and they usually drag a friend. The friend ends up doing really well. The more relaxed you are, the better you can shine. We?re not trying to put people on the spot or trip them up. We just want people to have a light-hearted attitude.
Want some advice from a cast member? Mike ?the Miz? from Season 10: Back to New York not only got to meet celebrities like Christina Aguilera, build new
relationships, fly an airplane, and go to the Video Music Awards, but he was able to emerge from the show completely changed from how he had been four years prior. Currently training five to seven days a week, the Miz is intent on developing his territory in the WWE. Sorry ladies, although the Miz is currently single, his recent focus is his career. Now, some words of wisdom from the man, himself:

The Tartan: How has The Real World changed your career?

The Miz: Before I did The Real World, I lived in Parma, Ohio.... Not knowing what I wanted to do in my life, I went to college right after high school because everyone did it. Being on The Real World made me realize that I could do everything I wanted.

The Tartan: What?s the most important thing you learned from The Real World?

The Miz: Look at everything from a positive light, and keep telling yourself to do that.

The Tartan: What?s the best advice you want to give to people trying out for The Real World?

The Miz: Be yourself. Be entertaining and tell a good story. Try out. That?s the most important thing, because a lot of people say they want to be on The Real World, but they don?t try out for it.

Now that you?ve been equipped with all the necessary knowledge to take on an open casting call, what are you waiting for? You?ve watched the show. You?ve heard the stories. You know what to expect. You probably have nothing better to do on Tuesday anyway, so just head out to Boomerang?s Bar and Grille and get ready to shine. Be yourself. Be cool. Be everything that you can be. And, as the Miz suggests on his website: Be good. Be bad. Be Miz. Who knows? You might become the next hottest cast member on The Real World.

                Mercy Chang