Friday, September 28, 2012

Big Brother Canada exec says, "Just be yourself"

Auditions in Vancouver - Hayden, winner of BB 12, was in attendance
I, like the rest of the country, am ecstatic about the Big Brother franchise finally coming to the Great White North.

I have always been curious how a Canadian version of the backstabbing manipulative sometimes aggressive game would translate in the land of 'sorry' and constant politeness. Now we are about to find out. To get a little more insight into the show's process of finding the first group of Canadians to duke it out 24/7 I spoke with Barbara Williams, Senior Vice President of Content at Shaw Media.

Barb has been a part of BB Canada since the beginning, "We've talked for years here about doing a Canadian version of Big Brother...We were expecting a lot of excitement around the announcement, for sure we were, but honestly the day we announced it I was taken aback by how the Country responded." I told's been like 14 years Barb, obviously we are due for a shot!

Thousands of Canadians are vying for one of approximately 12 spots in a prison house which they may live in for up to 75 days. To date over 4,000 people have applied online and approximately 1,000 people showed up to the show's first live auditions in Vancouver. That is a lot of people wanting to have possibly the worst experience of their entire lives...

How can someone get on the show? 
After talking to Barb for a short period of time it was clear to me, there is no formula. They are looking for a certain group of people, a diverse group, and you never know what spots have been filled and what type of person they are still looking for.

They may have found there perfect "crazy person" at the Vancouver auditions and are now looking for a stoic business woman. YOU NEVER KNOW. That is basically the gist of what Barb told have no idea what they are looking for so your best bet is to go in and be you and hope they are sold on your winning personality.

Diversity, Diversity, Diversity
As I said before, they are looking for a diverse group. This really makes me scrunch up my nose. "'s really important to us that we have diversity from across the country, from cultural groups, age ranges, from backgrounds and experiences and no one knows where we are at in terms of needing to build a well mixed group," said Barb.

I always question casting going this route. Will it be the best group of people possible, or are you just going to give us a person from every province to appease the masses? I feel like a lot of good people will get passed over on their quest to make a cast that looks like the cover of  Inclusive Diversity Monthly Magazine (this is not a real magazine...I made it up, or maybe it is - I wouldn't know).

Auditions: the Social Media advantage
So what are things going to look like the day of the live auditions? If you go online now you will be able to find blog posts and comments about questions asked and how the audition process was executed. Usually for shows like BB they like to keep the audition process somewhat under raps, but with the emergence of social's kind of hard to put a leash on it.

I asked Barb if they were concerned or were going to try to put a stop to publishing the behind the scenes information. "People are going to choose to respond to the audition process how they do. ...ultimately we can't control this day in age, there is no way to block communications - so what comes out comes out." They know it's gonna happen and will adjust as they go along.

If you are planning on showing up to the auditions in Calgary or one of the remaining cities, plan on going as yourself and showing off your true colours! Best of luck hopefuls.


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