Troy DeVolld: 2017 NEW YEAR’S SUGGESTIONS FOR REALITY TV

by  Troy DeVolld

Well, here we are, not so deep into 2017.  I’m wrapping up on season three of Vh1’s K Michelle:My Life and looking forward to some new shows and non-TV opportunities the year is already hinting at… including another book.

If you know me, you know what a fan of lists I am.  I keep a list of goals to be accomplished in one year, five, and ten, and I’m also a big fan of making resolutions.

While I’ll be keeping mine to myself, as I usually do, here are a few that reality television viewers and producers might want to consider if they haven’t already filled up on “stop eating donuts” and “spend more time with Mom.”

VIEWERS

In 2017, I will…

… try to remember that reality television, like scripted, depends on conflict as an element of story.

… be skeptical of anyone publicly ranting about how a show “made them look,” while watching shows with a critical eye just in case overly heavy-handed producing is in play.

… write or email networks in support of the shows I like.

… stop blaming reality television for Donald Trump in water cooler conversation.  It’s not like the American Idol judges picked the president, the electoral college did.

… eat healthier snacks while watching The Voice.

… read more articles at RealityBlurred.com and listen to Joke and Biagio’s podcasts at ProducingUnscripted.com.

PRODUCERS

In 2017, I will…

… remember the credo “Everything can be made better than it deserves to be,” while also accepting that you should just do the notes if you can.

… establish style guides and then give the editors a little room to execute.  Don’t crowd ’em.

… think of the post team while in the field as more than the bank from which overdrafts are covered.

… think of the field team while in post, especially when writing massive amounts of pickup material or reviewing content that may not be perfect.

… establish what you expect before something is shot and cut.  “I’ll know when I see it” isn’t leadership.

… spend at least as much time contemplating story as the overall look of the series.  All beauty and no brains makes for a dull show.


Troy DeVolld is a Larry Brody buddy and one of the masters of the reality TV genre. This article originally appeared on his Reality TV blog. And while you’re thinking about him, why not buy his book, Reality TV: An Insider’s Guide to TV’s Hottest Market?