Not Ready for Prime Time

Several months ago I posted about an ad on our local Craigslist – a new ‘reality’ show looking for Americans who were struggling. FYI,  I’m not going to name the show and won’t publish any comment that does.  Well, I did respond to the ad, and when the producers called me, I sent in an application of sorts.  We even went to LA at our own expense to have a videotaped interview.  I don’t know where we were in the running – I believe they had a lot of responses from folks across the nation – but eventually I opted out.

The releases the producers wanted us to sign were very much weighted in their favor (we essentially would have given away all rights for nothing) and I did not foresee anything good coming of our participation.  The show was going to be a web blog detailing your struggle.  You agreed to allow cameras to film you as you blog for a year.  The idea was that local people would respond to your struggles and help you out and the producer’s experts would offer advice that could benefit you.

However, each new release form became more intrusive and exploitative. There wasn’t any sort of guarantee that you would be better off at the end and I was really annoyed by the last release form which essentially said we would grant them all rights to our images and story forever and that they could alter or modify such, that we recognized the producer’s “substantial and valuable property rights” in our story and would not be able to discuss this story with anyone else ever and if we did we agreed to pay the producer $500k ” as a reasonable and fair amount of liquidated value to compensate the producers for any loss or damages”!  Funny how it isn’t worth paying us anything for our story but if we agreed to intrusive filming for a year and said anything to anyone about an upcoming episode it would be worth half a million dollars to someone else.  Oh, and by the way, the release also said we agreed we essentially had no recourse and even if portions of the release were found to be unenforceable it didn’t release us from the release!

So at that point I declined to sign and never heard another word from them!  C’est la vie.  I guess our 15 minutes of fame still awaits us.

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9 Responses to Not Ready for Prime Time

  1. Margaret says:

    Whew! Looks like you made a great dodge! What a wise decision. I once heard that most participants in reality shows have some rather significant regrets and that the only one that had participants giving positive reviews of their experiences was “The Amazing Race” – not sure that show is still around. At any rate, I think you spared your family great intrusions and negative impacts by pulling your application. Thanks for posting what the releases tended to include and how pay is not included but economic penalties might be part of the deal. Like others who have posted, I too feel badly for those who trust and do not read, or may not understand the fine print.

  2. dana says:

    smart girl

  3. Terry says:

    Imagine how this could have been in terms of ever finding a professional job. Glad you opted out.

  4. Michelle says:

    What is scary is how many people probably signed that release without so much as even reading it……………..

  5. Lynn says:

    Sounds like you made a very good choice. I like watching some “reality” shows (mostly the hoarders ones) but I do cringe at the way people are portrayed. They could not have imagined the amount of “dirty laundry” the shows portray. The subjects HAVE to be humiliated. Yes, you might get a benefactor who would help, but might also get a stalker. Too bad it didn’t work out, but thank heaven you read the small print.

  6. debbieo says:

    Some people will sell their souls for a few minutes of what they percieve as fame.
    debbieo

  7. Dawn says:

    Forever is a long time for them to have access to your name and likeness. I would’ve walked away also

  8. Sheila says:

    Good for you for reading the fine print. Sounds like exploiting people stuck in a bad situation. Your privacy has to mean something. I will not be looking to follow this show anywhere.

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