At dinner last Sunday, my son’s girlfriend told us she wants to be a reality TV show star. This seems to be a longing for many people these days.
Recently I had the occasion to spend a day with a reality TV show star, and I explained to my son’s girlfriend that one trades every scintilla of privacy for a little slice of fame and some fortune. I can attest to this.
We traveled to Los Angeles to interview this actress and her news correspondent husband for our documentary film about folks with second careers as vintners, due to their passion for making wine. This couple has an alternative life up here with a house in Napa Valley where the husband was raised, and a winery in Lodi where they make terrific wine.
Their stylish but small Spanish-style Westwood condo was the location for our shoot and also the location for the reality show that day. We had a crew of three and they had a crew of fourteen. With the two of them – and she eight months pregnant, that meant nineteen and a half people were mulling about their private space all day long.
She told me she had been working five ten-hour days for the current season, in this fashion, but would reduce this to three ten-hour stints for the new season, as she would then have a newborn baby to attend to.
In my world that would be an imposition beyond belief, but then I’ve never had the desire to be a reality TV show star.
But then, there’s the money to consider.
Reality TV show stars don’t have the paparazzi following them like “A” list actors. So, along with offering up their own home as a location, they must enlist the aid of a good publicist. They must create a buzz to keep them relevant in the gossip and social media sites, therefore driving people to the network where the reality TV show airs.
About a week after our shoot, I saw our lovely couple featured on People.com. They were in Beverly Hills ordering little cupcakes from a chichi bakery. They ordered five cupcakes and the article told me each flavor they selected, apparently important information for reality TV show fans. The husband is kind of a big guy, an ex-baseball player - and I couldn’t for the life of me see him eating little cappuccino flavored cupcakes.
But then, there’s the money to consider.
I started to think about a reality show here in Novato, and the makings of a reality TV show star, and how it would work here as opposed to there.
For example, say the show was called Novato Patch. The premise would be the day-to-day life of an AOL Patch editor here. It could be any Patch, and any Patch editor really, because the issues in these shows are supposed to be universal; they could be happening anywhere, from Novato to Hoboken. Obviously, in Hoboken it would be called Hoboken Patch.
Reality TV shows deal with small, “real” dilemmas, not some big crisis. Novato Patch might shake out like this:
Our reality show TV star is at a coffee shop, typing away at his laptop, posting blogs and writing articles and such. He needs to drive across town to check up on a few things, like what’s going on with the Board at Novato Fire, and what’s the status of the new trolley that’s going to making traversing Rowland Blvd. an amazing new experience.
But, this editor can’t find his keys. He looks everywhere as he talks directly to camera about how he can’t travel across town because he can’t find his keys.
Now, in typical reality TV show style, next, the Novato editor is in another, neutral location, reflecting upon the results of what has happened because he couldn’t find his keys. He did NOT get the latest scoop on the trolley or the fire district, or whether folks are warming up to Umpqua Bank as a community kingpin.
He got zilch by way of new dirt to report to Patchers. Nada. Because he lost his keys.
He could have called his wife to bring him a spare set, but he didn’t.
He could have, but didn’t, explore other options. He just didn’t. Why? Because he’s just an ordinary AOL Patch editor with an ordinary crisis. (Apparently, fans eat this ordinary, everyman stuff up.)
But wait, there’s more work ahead. When the filming of this episode is over, this editor now has to get busy on the promotional side of things - as I mentioned before, reality TV show stars can’t overlook their image for a moment.
And, there’s the money to consider. Good money for Novato coffers.
Being a savvy media man, this editor makes a few well-placed phone calls himself, all the while working his Patch obligations, (and making up for those he missed because he couldn’t find his keys).
He gets Paul Liberatore on the horn, then Paul Hutcheson, Jason Walsh and Nikki Wood for print. To cover the video aspect, he rings up Rick Tucker at NPAT, and of course my team at Zan Media.
He suggests a time and location and slyly hints at a photo opportunity like no other.
Of course, hoes for “the scoop,” we all take the bait and arrive at the Creekside Bakery simultaneously. There, this reality TV show star orders some pastries; two Danish, one croissant. And, a cup of coffee. Black, one sugar.
It’s a pretty awesome event and we all cover it accordingly.
Then, as quickly as it comes, it goes.
Our reality TV show star gets into his car – he’s got his keys this time, having learned his lesson well – and goes off to explore more Novato stories.
As for the next episode of Novato Patch, who knows what dilemma tomorrow will bring.