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Interview with Robert Galinsky Of The New York Reality TV School

Posted on 03/27/2009 by RealityWanted and General News

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New York Reality School

We have had several RealityWanted members email us asking what we knew about The New York Reality TV School so I picked up the phone and called the founder/instructor Robert Galinsky to get the 411. Can you go to school to learn reality? Check out our chat below.

Q. Mark, RealityWanted.com:
Start off by telling us a little about the Reality TV School.

A. Robert Galinsky: The New York Reality TV School trains people on location in our studios in New York City and we also do long distance coaching via the internet and telephone. We just signed a production deal with Merv Griffin TV and are producing the school as a TV show in and of itself, which means all of our students are actually auditioning while getting great training. We’ve had clients fly in from Oklahoma, Iowa, Maryland and we have done long distance virtual coaching with students in Arizona, Denver and even the UK!  We are not yet one year old and we’ve gotten students featured on shows including: The VIEW, E! Entertainment News, MTV, ABC Nightline News, The Today Show and in international press in Japan, Australie and all over Europe. We’ve graduated a 1st place finisher on FOX’s “Hole In The Wall”, 3rd place finisher on Animal Planet’s “Groomer Has It” (who since has been hired as an on-air spokesperson), have a student on set of a Bravo fashion design show and now have two students in the deep stages of the audition process on “Survivor” and “America’s Got Talent”. The school focuses on three things that make for success on Reality TV: confidence, authenticity and being able to tell your story. We bring in Reality TV stars as mentors to work with students and we have a staff of incredible teachers that are also working casting directors and reality TV producers.
Q. Mark, RealityWanted.com: Tell us a little bit about your background and the background of some of your staff.

A. Robert Galinsky: I have been coaching actors and corporate professionals as well as directing and producing theater and internet TV for the past 15 years. My clients have included FOX, NBC, VH1, American Express and currently working with Roy Bank of Merv Griffin has brought a whole new level of hands on expertise with regards to Reality TV. I’ve worked with a diverse group of performers that includes: Quentin Crisp, Willem Dafoe, 50 Cent, Andy Dick and many more. The Reality TV School is an extension of what I love to do- teach people who to be the best they can be and bring that to the TV screen or to the live performance. I also am a recurring panelist on FOX News “The Strategy Room”, am producing a new video blog for VH1 and I produce and host the only bi-coastal theater slam in the country The Manhattan Monologue Slam http://www.MMSlam.com. The staff includes Robert Russell who is currently working on Big Brother. Risa Tanania is a casting director and producer working at Stick Figure Productions and always brings in fresh projects as she works with Bravo, HBO, FOX and new productions every day. We also feature Jorge Bendersky who spent 6 weeks on the reality TV Show “Groomer Has It” lends an incredible expertise from the point of view of a successful contestant.
Q. Mark, RealityWanted.com: Why did you start the school?

A. Robert Galinsky: I started the school because Jorge Bendersky came back from his appearance on Animal Planet Channel and he raved about how the work we had done helped him immensely and brought his game up on the show. I felt that from that point on I was able to bring a greater level of success to anyone who wants to be on television, specifically Reality. The key is to know your story so that there is something unique and clear for the audience to watch over the long haul. Also to clearly understand the nuances of the audition process from the interview, to the application to the submission of a great tape. I just worked someone in Denver who submitted for “America’s Got Talent” and he told me the casting person was blown away at the specifics in his application and the dvd he sent them. We worked hard on digging into who he is and how to present that and it seems to be paying off. He has gone on to the next round of submissions.
Q. Mark, RealityWanted.com: Is there really a need for a reality TV school? Most of us are told when it comes to reality you either have it or you don’t?

A. Robert Galinsky: The landscape for reality TV hopefuls has widened to the point where there is so much variation and room for different types that to say you ‘either have it or you don’t’ just doesn’t make sense anymore. With every type of character, race, gender preference now being opened up because of reality TV, everyone has a shot and the “it” has become much less specific! So the school really is here to emphasize each person’s pre-existing greatness. We work to get our students to bring the best to the casting process and to shine as brightly as possible. This in turn makes for a better experience for reality hopefuls on the show and in turn a better viewing experience for us at home.
Q. Mark, RealityWanted.com: Can you share a few big Reality TV audition mistakes?

A. Robert Galinsky: Big mistakes include not being specific either when being interviewed or when filling out the application, ie: using words and phrases like: “I’m interesting” or “I am unique” or “I am crazy” or “I have done some different things in my life and you’ll never meet anyone like me”. All of those statements tell me nothing specific about you- everyone is interesting! Everyone is unique! Everyone is different! But please… you will only stand out if you tell us that you’re interesting because- “I was born on a raisin farm and I love riding my motorcycle at the track” or “I am training to be a cosmetologist while supporting myself by working at a McDonald’s and the contradiction of greasy food and good skin is making me crazy!” The first example is really unique and the second example could be anyone, but the person made it interesting! Another mistake is to submit a tape that again does not feature you in a very one of a kind way, the way we each deserve. One of my students works in an iron shop. All day long his big strong hands bang metal and shape steel over a hot fire. Well his first tape just had him standing in front of a fence talking about it. After some coaching his second tape featured shots of him working with the hammer, close ups of his hands, his face, the tools. We got to see him relaxing after work, driving in his old truck and then again back at work- it is the tape that has Survivor taking him seriously now. Some of this stuff seems obvious but people miss the points and my job is to work with my students and private clients to pull out these authentic qualities that will work on TV and to make that what casting people and audiences will see and yearn for.
Q. Mark, RealityWanted.com: Have you had students try out without the school without success then after the school find success?

A. Robert Galinsky: That’s what is happening to our “Survivor” student right now. He’d been refused immediately a number of times, but now he is into the second round of casting so he has made the changes necessary. Our “Hole In The Wall” first place finisher said that he never would have made it onto the show if hadn’t made it clear during the casting process that there was a lot at stake for him. His wife was pregnant at the time and was due any day, he lost a major client and was not doing great financially. All of this real information was just made for reality TV so we advised him to make sure to let the casting people know that the stakes for him were so truly high, that being on the show was a huge moment in his life. They loved it and cast him and his team and they won $10,000.00! Lastly when the Reality Veterans come to the classes they always leave saying: “I wish the school had existed before I tried out for my show, because I would have done so much better.”

Find out more at NY Reality TV School



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