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Interview With Big Brother Casting Director Robyn Kass

Posted on 11/06/2007

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Q. Mark RealityWanted.com: Robyn, thank you for taking the time to chat with us today about Big Brother providing hopefuls with application tips. Let's start discussing the application basics.


A. Robyn Kass, Casting Director Big Brother: My first tip for applicants is simple, you need to apply. I run into so many people who want to be on the show, but many don't take the time to apply and send in an audition video. The majority of tapes are repeat applicants. Many people assume we won't see their tape, however, we watch them all.


Q. Mark RealityWanted.com: Since we're on the topic, what tips can you give to Big Brother applicants on making their video?


A. Robyn Kass, Casting Director Big Brother: Make sure applicants watch their video before they send it in. I have received videos in which applicants transferred the video from one medium to another and they don't realize their audio is missing.


Q. Mark RealityWanted.com: What about the length of the video or special effects such as audio, graphics etc.


A. Robyn Kass, Casting Director Big Brother: Applicants don't need to do a two or three day production when making their video. Some of the best videos are not rehearsed. A great tape with really cool effects and music doesn't make a great contestant.


Q. Mark RealityWanted.com: What about people who draw out a script or do some acting on their video? I have seen a few audition videos that look scripted.


A. Robyn Kass, Casting Director Big Brother: Don't practice what to say on your video. We love to see bloopers or candid and unexpected situations. We want to see you and who you are, not a play or short film.


Q. Mark RealityWanted.com: Before we discuss what photos to send in, do you have any final tips or pet peeves when it comes to the video portion of the application?


A. Robyn Kass, Casting Director Big Brother: The video is very important, it's about you! We want to know as much as we can about you, who you are, and what you do. We don't like to see applicants who don't know how to talk about themselves. Instead they record their friends, family, or colleagues talking about them instead of the applicant talking about themselves. We care about what you have to say about yourself, you are the star.


Q. Mark RealityWanted.com: Another important part of the application process is the photos. Can you tell me a little bit about what you look for?


A. Robyn Kass, Casting Director Big Brother: We want applicants to send in at least two photos; a headshot and a full body shot. When I say headshot, I don't want a professional headshot. Most headshots don't look like the applicant sending it in. Make sure you send in at least two clear photos of your face and full body. Please don't send us photos from six years ago when you may have looked your best. We need clear recent photos of you. If you wear sunglasses or hats, please take them off for the photos. Lastly, if you send me a photo that shows you have blond hair and a beard, please don't show up to the face to face meeting with brown hair and a clean shaven face.


Q. Mark RealityWanted.com: Years ago this wasn't an issue but with the advent of websites like craigslist, myspace, and of course RealityWanted, applicants have created some pretty elaborate profile pages and online campaigns. I ran across a guy who created some online banners that he wanted people to post, asking their friends to vote for him by calling and emailing the casting company. I know this is a very bad idea, what are your thoughts?


A. Robyn Kass, Casting Director Big Brother: I would advise against doing up myspace pages or trying to create a call in or write in campaign. At the end of the day the best people will get on the show not the ones that create any sort of online campaign for people to call us. I can't put someone on Big Brother just because their friends and family want them on. Let us make the decision. I am fan of Big Brother also, and I get passionate for the show, but fans still need to follow the correct process. Sending gifts, cards, and calling in will not change an applicants status.


Q. Mark RealityWanted.com: What about things that have come up during the background check process? Has anything come up with a Big Brother finalists that lead to their elimination prior to being on the show?


A. Robyn Kass, Casting Director Big Brother: There is not much in the background check process that will take you out of running. In short tell us everything up front. If we find you did something that you did not disclose prior there may be a problem. Don't lie. Surprises are the worst. If something does come up, we may assume there are additional things you are hiding from us. If we know everything prior, we are not blindsided and we can properly deal with those issues.


Q. Mark RealityWanted.com: Sounds like you have had to cut some people for things that may not have eliminated them if they have just told you from the beginning. What are some other things people have done to be eliminated while in the Big Brother application process?


A. Robyn Kass, Casting Director Big Brother: If we do call you or move you further along in the Big Brother application process, it is mandatory that you keep the process confidential. CBS wants the cast to be a surprise to viewers.


Q. Mark RealityWanted.com: Have you ever had a problem with this?


A. Robyn Kass, Casting Director Big Brother: Yes, I once had a girl who was in the finals staying in a hotel with the rest of the potential cast. When I went to pick her up I found flowers in her room. When I asked where the flowers were from she said her boyfriend dropped them off and I had no choice but to cut her. We warn applicants over and over again about the confidential nature of the process. Some finalists have even created fake online profiles to tell fans spoiler information, CBS has ways to track this activity.


Q. Mark RealityWanted.com: What about profiles and personalities? Do you look for a certain profiles or personality?


A. Robyn Kass, Casting Director Big Brother: There are no set profiles, however when we put the entire cast together we do at times look for single people, people of different ages, maybe a mom, someone in a relationship, a few singles, etc. Basically when we sit down with someone we know it when we see it.


Q. Mark RealityWanted.com: What do you mean you know it when you see it?


A. Robyn Kass, Casting Director Big Brother: For example, we may see 25 single blonds but out of the 25 we only find one that has that spark. It could be the way they laugh, their hand gestures, facial expression, etc... If we enjoy talking with them there is a good chance that viewers will enjoy watching them.


Q. Mark RealityWanted.com: Robyn, we greatly appreciate you taking the time to chat with us. I wish I would have had time to talk with you at the Big brother 8 finale. You did mention earlier that you are a fan of the show. Why do you think Big Brother is so popular?


A. Robyn Kass, Casting Director Big Brother: I think the online community embraces Big Brother since you feel like you are part of the show. You get to watch the cast 24/7. There is a huge loyal fan base, there is something personal about the show that allows fans to easily connect with the cast.


Thanks again Robyn, Big Brother is extremely popular and I am certain applicants will appreciate the tips you provided. I will try and catch up with you next year before Big Brother 9 to see how things are going.




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