by Troy DeVolld
Even at 45, well into my career, I have my moments.
Between gigs, I still get pensive and crabby and wonder if every show will be my last, just like I did at 40, 35 and 30. I wonder, with all the ebbs and flows in the amount of reality television in production, if I will have enough when it’s all over to retire with more than just great stories. That said, I also have moments of wild, Pollyanna-like optimism when something even begins to look like it might go right. Those are the ones that keep me going.
Half a lifetime ago, I spent a lot of money on pitch festivals and books and all the things that would make me, I thought, a better writer/producer. Then reality television came along and my absurd output of spec screenplays and teleplays screeched to a halt as I ran down a new and exciting road that offered less resistance and more opportunity in the then-booming reality television alternative to traditional storytelling.
Ever since Reality TV was first released in 2011, I’ve tried to remain as transparent with all of you as I can, not only about the way the business works, but about who I am and the lifestyle I lead. My professional advice isn’t a lot of rainbows and Shineola, because my primary source of income isn’t derived from leading you down a you-can-do-it path in exchange for speaking or consulting fees — and you deserve the truth.
I am gratified beyond belief by the dozens of emails I’ve received from people who made it into the business after seeing me lecture, reading my book, or taking some of my advice to heart after just bumping into me. My goal has always been to help people break into the business, not feed the delusion that it’s a breeze to start at the top.
I guess what I want you to know is that I intend to keep it one-hundred with you for as long as I have a blog and a book and the occasional lecture to share. I’ve learned from my lumps, and if I don’t share those with you, you might not find yourself ready to struggle through the same stuff. You’ll think something’s wrong and you’re the only person that’s ever been through that moment, and I’d be a pretty awful person for not having shot straight with you that moments like that are totally normal. Even the big guys usually started from scratch and had to restart a few times after that over the years.
Stay tough, stay creative, keep asking what you want to know… and don’t mistake my transparency about the realities of the business for me being a curmudgeon who’s trying to dissuade you from taking a run at your dreams. I love this stuff, and I care about your success enough to keep telling you the truth.
Good luck out there.
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?