How To Act On Reality TV | Notes

My dear friend H. whom I owe many of my personal interests about film and music has been spamming me about John Wilson for a week or two. Wilson has a docuseries called How To with John Wilson that I’ll watch soon if I find a legal way, but How To Act On Reality TV was the introduction to the filmmaker for me: it documents a workshop by a media professional who helps people planning to join to Reality TV [1]. He gives tips to the participants about how to better introduce themselves and improve their self-expression, educates them about how the producers and the audience desire to see them on screen, and warns about the pitfalls to avoid acting while being hyper-authentic. Of course, the video itself is a great example of Reality TV. The whole workshop is recorded in a similar manner. In addition, there are some familiar missions for the participants such as trying to get phone numbers from strangers in a park or a sudden singing performance on a supermarket aisle. On the other hand, the camera —and the editor— does not avoid including the scenes about the participants yawning. All in all, we need boredom too.

What he manages to achieve is exactly the sweet spot where the authenticity intersects with essayistic intent. As the trainer says, “it’s the improv factor, that I like most… it’s also an opportunity to serialize in a way where documentaries can’t… I guess I’m not patient enough.” I felt that it’s the very reason why I, and I think several other people who, like YouTube or any sort of amateur content look for at the end of the day. I personally almost never watched Reality TV, but I see what is meant by the trainer, from a different corpus of contemporary chess broadcasters, immigrant bloggers, music video reaction channels, or the BookTubers. I also haven’t watched Twitch much, but when I encountered it a couple of years ago, I felt that this whole Reality TV concept crystallized and isolated, within four walls. Maybe John Wilson is looking for redemption, who knows.

How To Act On Reality TV | Vimeo

[1] The guy seems interested in How To videos, I think he would have fun in the software development cyberspace.