Saturday, April 2, 2011

Vital Points to Consider before You Join a Reality Show Contest - 7 Preparation Methods to help you succeed all the way!

Most of my Artiste Training Course students know I encourage them all to participate in reality show contests. I told them it's a great platform to showcase their talents and get some exposure in the media. Now, exposure alone is meaningless. Anyone can get exposure. It's what you do after that, is what counts. That's why the really smart aspiring artistes will take my Artiste Training Course, because it prepares them fully - mentally, physically and emotionally. I, myself, accidentally started my acting career through this path. So I am totally for reality show contests. Not many of us are born into a family or have friends with contacts "inside" the industry. Participating in a reality show is really a legitimate way to make yourself famous -  in a good way or otherwise.

But there are a few points you need to consider and prepare yourself before participating in the show. Hopefully these first 4 tips will help you to sail through smoothly in the course of the contest, and perhaps even win the show!

1) Select the right reality show for you
Nowadays we have a lot of reality shows. They are all targeted at very specific skill sets and age demographics. My students who has been through my Artiste Training Course are very well-aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Either you are very confident of your own skills or just in middle ground about your own talent, I will usually push them to go on and just try your luck. Some reality shows need to have a certain physical trait, say a modelling contest. If you don't meet the physical criteria, don't even bother to go for the audition and save your energy.

2) Be organised within yourself
During the audition process of any reality shows, there are bound to be tons of confusions flying around. You will have questions about the duration of the shoot, the prizes, fill up forms, take pictures, search for the location, time and etc. Firstly, you need to be organised within yourself. This means being prepared for any eventualities. Do your research about the program and see whether it suits your natural skill sets. At times, I feel like an outsider during this reality shows. Follow your instincts. If you feel the reality show is not right for you, then don't go for it. If you do, then be prepare to organise your thoughts, actions and the outcome you expect from entering such shows. Have realistic expectations.

3) Expect the unexpected
Reality shows hinges on twists and turns. Drama. Unexpected challenges. As a contestant, you need to be open about such turn of events. Some reality shows can be unfair, in the sense that the judges may already have their favourites. Or you may accidentally made some enemies along the way. So be prepared for the unexpected. Even production crew may cause delays in the schedule or you need to wait for the camera to get set up. Plenty of frustrations on set to welcome you into the world of reality TV. The producers might want you to act out your dramatic moments at expense of making you look like a fool. Sometimes you have to bear it up and just do it for the sake of getting some screen time.

4) Take it as an entry point into career of choice
Reality shows are simply a platform for you to showcase your talents. Don't hope too much that it will give you instant fame and success. I hear a lot of winners of past reality shows are not even gaining the momentum they should in their careers. If you get selected for the show, just take it one day at a time. You never know what might happen next. There is the elimination process. So it's really not in your control. Your thoughts of early success and stardom may vanish in a moment. So be level-headed and think ahead. It's OK to lose, get eliminated or disqualified. If you're strategic and resourceful like I did (all my students know about my strategies through my Artiste Training Course coaching), you could end up like me - starring in dozens of local dramas, 2 local movie, 1 international film and a string of commercials, like the last one I appeared in below as the main star, considered as success finally after all the supporting roles:

Now here's the downside of entering a reality show contest. Personally for me, being an experience Artiste Training Coach, I've been a participant in 3 national TV reality show contests in a year! Unheard of? Well, that is due to my "popularity" that year in which I received these offers. Thankful? Yes, in some ways. But it also takes something out from me. I was downgraded and made to look "foolish", in my opinion, in some of these shows. But I managed to make use of this bad experience and turn it into something good, which leads to an acting career. Hopefully the following last 3 pointers will keep you aware, and hopefully prepare you for the negative downside.

5) Be aware that you do not conform yourself to the show
It's an unconscious psychological domino effect that will happen to everyone who auditions. Contestants auditioning say, a male beauty contest, will put their frame of mind into how a male beauty contestant would think. Conformity happens when you're in a group of participants, who are striving for the same prize, hence it could happen even without you knowing it. It is very unhealthy, for it takes away your own thoughts and opinions about yourself, and can seem like the judges opinion about you is true. In a way, a contestant can lose himself (his identity, self confidence, ideology) in a reality show. For example, recently there's a reality show targeted specifically to Chinese male. The purpose of the show is to find the most gentle and well-mannered Chinese man in the country. The cynic in me instanteneously rejects the whole idea. For one, I feel there's a conspiracy of sorts between the media ministry and TV station in part to "tame" the beauty-centric Chinese males in this country, and put them out there in the spotlight to represent the typical Chinese male- the quiet, orders-following metrosexual. Perhaps in true reality, they sense an overwhelming dissatisfaction among this group who are highly-strung and outspoken of their discontent over the extreme lack of representation in the media, hence, the birth of this show. I, for one, cannot be tame in this sort of way. I will surely fail if I join, hence the rejection of the show! Because at the back of my mind, this show is like a brain-washing mechanism skewed towards quietening the highly vocal Chinese male masses, which is growing at speedy rate. And with this reality show, their actual objective might just backfires, who knows?

6) Be sure you can stand criticisms, no matter how unfair it sounds
This is truly difficult, for nobody can take criticism well. What if the criticism is unjust and seem to marginalise you in some way? What's worst, it's for the whole nation to watch! Your self-belief will be used as a punchline. It's like a secret conspiracy of the reality show "dark agents", who are out there to strip you bare and open for the public to see your dirty linens, worst, even your unclean undies. Unfairness do happens, because you've signed a talent release form. You have to bear it. For a young talent who has no idea of what self-belief is, they will certainly get crushed under the pressure. That's why I advised new talents to undergo my Artiste Training Course first, to prepare themselves mentally and  physically first, because in the reality show land, things can get pretty harsh, the conformity herd-mentality mechanism never stops shredding your original voice and mental self-image. When I'm coaching, my intention is only to bring you up, to enable you to know who you are as an individual, so when you are put in the face of such situation, your true self remains intact and stronger even.

7) And finally, remember it's reality
A lot of our local producers of reality shows don't seem to get this concept. All the contestants are so beautiful, tall, slender, macho-ly covered in make-up, dressed and glammed to the nines for the show, thinking that beauty sells. To the point that it looks fake! Reality shows are for normal folks like us. Folks who need to find work, from middle income group or below, with dreams and aspirations. Not everyone in this world looks like models. And worst, there's certain protocol to follow, like when the host/emcee of the show is talking (why do we even need a host for? It's reality!), the contestants need to shush up (hey, the contestants can't even make an honest opinion?). Personally for me, I would rather the contestants protest and buggered the host down for talking too much. Or punch the blady judges' faces whenever an unfair comment is made. Wow, that indeed would be great reality, isn't it? Break the rules of reality, because it's becoming so much like a soap opera now with all the perfectly coiffered contestants. And mind you, soap opera is NOT reality.