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If I Do This And It Works, I Have To Add Reality Show To The List Of EVENTs

If I Do This And It Works, I Have To Add Reality Show To The List Of EVENTs

This morning I headed over to the Sheraton New York to interview for a possible potential place in a reality show about mommybloggers. Now, this is all very hypothetical. So, please stop freaking out. I have extremely mixed feelings about the prospect of a reality show for obvious reasons — I don’t even show my kid’s face on this blog or use my husband’s real name. And I’ve already covered the fat on TV issue from multiple perspectives.

I did want to know more about this process, though, and getting an interview was a surefire way of finding more out. Also, there is part of me that is a total traffic whore, as you know. And absent an EVENT, a reality show might be my only shot at display ad income from a mommyblog.

But disclaimers aside, nobody knows if this show will ever be made at this point, or even if they want me in it if it does, or if I will want to do it if they do. So for now, let’s stop wringing our hands and just gossip about what we do know, which is what happened in the interview.

I got there, and they had one room for interviews and one room for waiting. And if we were to speak in metaphors, then we could say that the rooms were kind of like the divide between The Mommyblogosphere and Hollywood aka the Reality With Which I Am Familiar.

In one of the rooms, when I explained that the hosts of the convention I’m currently attending might not particularly like me, a third party interjected, “Well, you sued them.” [For those playing at home, I did not sue BlogHer.] The mood in that room was upbeat, and it was clear that the objective of the people involved with Project Mom casting on that mommyblogging side of it are interested in keeping true to their vision of the uplifting, triumph-of-the-human-spirit mommy brooch brigade dream.

Which of course is all fine and good, but will never in a million years sell to a network.

The interview room was more what I expected from a TV casting room. Not that I have any experience with this stuff, because even though I am from Los Angeles I have never done anything with TV or whatever. But I was far more comfortable in the interview room than I was in the waiting room, which I’m thinking is a bad, bad sign — both for me, and possibly for all of America. The crew were all entertainment people, exactly what I would have expected, and this is the part that is going to terrify all of you:they were laughing at my jokes. The whole crew.

Yeah. And so the student becomes the teacher.The interview was set up like a confessional from any of the reality shows, like the things they do on Real Housewives. So the producer, Lee Vandeman, would ask me questions, and get me to answer them in full sentences. It was a conversation, but you cannot hear her talking on the tape. At one point in the interview, I remember there being a question like, “This does not really sound very controversial. What is it that is so controversial about this?” And I gave her a look like, “I know, I KNOW! I KNOW?!” And at that moment, I thought, let’s go into the other room and tell them this! It’s all so simple, really! Do you see?!

But then she said, “Are you misunderstood, Anna?” And I said, “You know, I don’t think I would be happy, frankly, if everybody just liked me, automatically. It’s like — why do I live in Los Angeles? Why do I live in a city that is so against everything I stand for? I need something against which to develop.”

And that’s kind of how I feel about certain parts of the mommyblogosphere. It was a kind of revelation.

Comments (25)

  1. Aug 7, 2010

    This makes sense, but you’re not trying to build a platform on LA. How does this work if the readers you want to win are the same ones who you need to oppose you for creative tension?

  2. Aug 7, 2010

    I don’t quite know why, but I’m kind of shocked you decided to interview for it. Not in a bad way, but shocked nonetheless. Maybe it’s because the entire idea of the show terrifies me, for a startling and varying number of reasons. Regardless, bon chance.

  3. Aug 7, 2010

    Well, I’m glad you’re interviewing for it, because it’s fascinating to see how stuff like this works.

    And yeah, it’s all kind of perverse. A lot of people build careers on that sort of perversity. I know I did. It’s like those fundy preachers/Congressmen who turn out to be gay (but, you know, better).

  4. Aug 7, 2010

    The big question is, if you are cast, would you want to be edited into the hero or the villain roll? Or villain turned hero? Whatever the case, I would watch it.

  5. E.
    Aug 7, 2010

    What did you have to do to get an interview?

  6. Kader
    Aug 8, 2010

    Of course, I’m thrilled that you were interviewed. How else would we ever know what was going on?? As for the possibility of you being on a reality show, I’m both intrigued and terrified. But I’ll wait patiently to see what’s next.

  7. Aug 8, 2010

    I’m not sure that they are. I mean, the ones that don’t “get” me are never going to get me, right? I mean, I suppose you could argue that I might have a large audience of people for the PF section who want to learn from me that aren’t necessarily going to like me personally, but the problem with building an audience like that is that then you are beholden to them and their bizarre quirks. Those are the people that turn on you for no reason or unfollow you for offending their delicate sensibilities. It might be that I cannot reach large success without an audience that includes people like that, I don’t know. But I kind of like the freedom I have from them right now. Being at BlogHer has underscored this for me.

  8. Aug 8, 2010

    I did actually tell people, in a quiet way, over on Personal Finance that I had submitted my name. But you had to be paying very close attention to have noticed it. I didn’t let on that I got an interview, though.

    I don’t know that I would participate if they chose me, and I definitely don’t know that they would want me to participate, so this is very hypothetical. But I knew I wanted to do the interview for sure because it would allow me to see what was going on.

  9. Aug 8, 2010

    In the interview room, they kept saying, our goal is to keep this about strengthening the community. And I definitely believe that this is what Ciaran Blumenfield (from Momfluential) wants to achieve. I don’t believe, though, that this is what sells in Hollywood. And I believe if they want to sell the show, they are going to have to mix those kinds of stories with something that sells. It doesn’t have to be all trash, but it’s going to have to have something that is appealing. And you can’t do that all on the inspiring, triumph of the human spirit stuff.

    I saw some tweets go out yesterday by people who were interviewed who said, “Oh it’s wonderful, nobody should have any qualms about momcasting.” Those are the people who need to be seeing red flags. Those are the people who stand to lose the most from doing a show like this, IMO.

  10. Aug 8, 2010

    I want to be Frankenstein’s Monster. I think I already am. 🙂

  11. Aug 8, 2010

    I submitted a questionnaire and a one minute video which was really stupid. It just basically let them see what I looked like on camera.

  12. Aug 8, 2010

    That’s basically what Jonna said. She thought I was joking when I told her. And I said, “No, this is what I do for you people.” But then she looked at me like I was insane.

  13. Aug 8, 2010

    Exactly. If people don’t know how this can turn, they’re in trouble. If you watch the first season of Survivor (which was one of the first reality shows), the people who seemed truly hurt afterward are the ones who actually thought that show would be about surviving in the wilderness. I remember seeing an interview of one of those cast members afterward, and she still seemed just stunned by what it turned out to be.

    The Real Housewives shows have charity work too. They have cancer scares and stuff like that. But they mix it in with the ugly, because otherwise, it just doesn’t work.

  14. Aug 8, 2010

    Ultimately people have to do the thing that they want to do, whatever the reasons. Of all of the people who might make it onto this project, you are probably one of the few walking in ‘eyes wide open’ knowing fully what all of the potential outcomes are. You are probably the one person who will be the least surprised by any turn of events simply because you are willing to acknowledge the how ugly it might turn.

    In the private conversations I’ve had about this show, there are people who are in the same boat I’m in – we want to be supportive of people, but we know well how badly this might turn out, especially for those walking in with the set notion that this is going to be a (paraphrasing) ‘wonderful way to showcase everything that is beautiful and wonderful about the mommybloggers.’ Some believe they will be finding the golden apple of legitimization. Others hope this is their key to fame and fortune. Few will openly acknowledge the dark and ugly possibility that this show, if it comes together, is going to portray some people in the worst possible light, in ways they could never have imagined themselves being portrayed. And when this happens, I think there are people who might truly be damaged in the process. I dread this.

    In a perfect world, everyone who gets cast will gain a measure of success for themselves personally and for their blog. That would be nice if it happened; I just don’t see it as being realistic.

  15. Aug 8, 2010

    We’ve were speculating about this over morning coffee and think you were not selected to be interviewed based on the same criteria everyone else was. You are known as a controversial character and TV loves controversy. So what do they want from this? What will sell? As you say, you are already Frankenstein’s Monster in the eyes of many within the community, so that in itself may not be what sells. Is there some way to turn Frankenstein’s Monster on in its head? I wonder.

  16. Aug 8, 2010

    Well, they think that if the creators or the people who originally pitched the show want it to go one way that this means it will go that way, this is the final say. And they don’t get that it’s the market that dictates things. The market does not want to hear about mommies all loving each other all the time. They want some of that, but not all the time.

  17. Aug 8, 2010

    When are people going to get that there is no such thing as “legitimization”? Why are they so concerned with this? Who are they trying to legitimize themselves with? Who cares?

    By the way, this is a show about people trying to build an online brand specifically. This is not about people who do this as a hobby. They are interested in casting people who are blogging as a business only, as far as I know. And I noticed that most of the resistance comes from people who are not interested in blogging as a business.

  18. Aug 8, 2010

    There are other people who were selected to interview who are “finds” in terms of the reality TV genre. To avoid hurting feelings, i won’t say who they are. But trust me, there are people on the list who are definitely there to be cut apart on screen. My guess is that they don’t realize this because they don’t realize what a trainwreck they are. But there is no other explanation for them being chosen.

  19. Aug 8, 2010

    So you believe you were chosen for the same reasons, to be cut apart? I am just curious how this could be managed in your case. How to turn you on your head? I wonder if they might want you to help cut apart others.

  20. Aug 8, 2010

    No, I don’t think they want to cut me apart, necessarily (though this could certainly happen). I think they want me to create the master narrative and provide the introduction to the community. For example, in the course of the interview I explained my theory of the EVENT, we discussed whether the idea of making money from a blog was a pipe dream, and finally, I was asked to comment on “the squee.” So, if I were to be cast, I wouldn’t necessarily be the villain on the show but I would undoubtedly be perceived that way by the mommyblogging community, but not in any way that is different from that in which I already am.

    But to be honest, I don’t think they actually know how they want this thing to go yet. I think it is SUPER free form at this point. I think they are still really not sure about this stuff, so I’m not sure that they have any “roles” or “types” laid out at this point.

  21. Aug 8, 2010

    “but not in any way that is different from that in which I already am” but this is what I’m getting at. How do you know? TV has a magnifying effect. If people get cut apart and you appear to be the detached, objective one narrating about the inevitability of it all it could look like you’re in a really different role than the one you’re in here. It seems risky. But what do I know, I defer to your judgement.

  22. Aug 8, 2010

    I think there are a lot of women bloggers, and I’ll probably get crucified for saying this, but mommy bloggers who really do want to be recognized as legitimate contributors. Personally, I have a full time career, blogging is a hobby, so I’m not really concerned about how the kind of blogging I do is perceived, in general, but for those women who are SAHM or BlogAHM, particularly those who might have put careers on hold for the mommy gig, being seen as legit is a big deal. For those who care, it seems to be a very real issue. For those who don’t, its not. I can certainly understand if someone is making their income contribution to the family via their blog and it is perhaps their sole “professional” job, why being seen as legitimate is important. I think it depends on your perspective.

    I think there are plenty of bloggers who are not only in this to build a brand and blog as a business but who also buy into the blogosphere as the internet version of high school. Even though its a business, they adhere to the social mores as well because the networking is as much about making money as it is about developing friendships, feeling liked and building community with like-minded others. Not everyone is all about the business. I don’t think it has to be one OR the other. I also think that when it is both, for that individual, a healthy sense of boundaries and reality is important to maintain. Implosion is otherwise imminent.

  23. Aug 8, 2010

    No, you’re right. It’s still risky, I did not mean to suggest that I thought there was no risk for me to be on a reality show — I absolutely believe there is. I guess what I mean is that I’m more comfortable with the implications of that particular risk than I am with other ones — like the ones that are presented to my personal life from being put on TV. Those are the ones that give me the most pause and are the reasons that I’m not sure I would do this if it ever comes to that.

  24. Aug 8, 2010

    If I were you, I’d pitch myself as a consultant for this project, to help the people producing it figure out how it should look and to help them navigate the waters of the blogosphere.

    That’s a way safer role, you still get to see how it works, and you would actually be a huge help, since they seem to be a little cluefree.

  25. Aug 8, 2010

    See, I don’t care if anybody thinks that mommyblogging is legitimate. I only care if I can make money doing it. It is a business like any other entrepreneurial endeavor. If they are waiting for somebody to recognize it as an art form, that is going to take — and I am not being facetious here — that is going to take a hundred years. So they need to just forget about the literary accolades and worry about whether they are making money or not.

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