Sunday, June 3, 2012

"Drama.... give us drama..."

Ok, so as many of you may have heard there are a two or three new TV shows out there that are looking for new people/ contestants.  I have a few words of advice! ( for what it's worth)

I know first hand just how much Tv can do for you, but I also know what it can do to you. 

TV can be a great thing.  I've been watching it while I clean up. (I'm a sucker for Science Channel, Morgan Freeman's "Through the Wormhole" marathon!)  I also owe it, or rather my work on it for much of my success these days.  I don't for a minute believe that because I was on TV I'm bigger and better than anyone, nor do I believe that without my talent and hard work would it have been of value to me at all, but there is no denying it...  Tv has been pretty good to me.  I like to believe that my skills and abilities  in addition to my Tv work are what land me gigs where I get to travel and share my love of being with people, and do demos and classes.  I really do love to meet people and get to share even a little bit of our time on Earth together.  I feel lucky everytime someone signs up for my classes or attends a demo, and the best of all being our work on KC cakefest, where over 8000 people attended an event that we put together!   Would I have been able to do this without TV?  I don't know... probably not.  So If this is the case why would I have any feeling against Tv at all?

    It's a tricky subject...  To many who would like to be on TV, the idea of scoring a role on a show is the Holy Grail.  They believe that because they do great work that being on a show will make it for them.  They believe that once you're on a show something magical happens and life becomes somehow better.  But its more complicated than that. 

    Many of the producers of TV shows these days are not interested in your skills and abilities as a cake artist, but rather your abilities to entertain.  This ability to entertain doesn't necessarily come from your ability to make cakes well and quickly, but from other possible sources.  I know this first hand as I have shown up on set and had it explained to me that they plan villains, hero's and even loosers and winners on a show.  That's not to say that the shows are totally rigged because they arent.  But it does mean that if the producers think it would be good TV to push something to happen, they will try like hell to do it!   During one of my shows I was told a certain person would be the episodes villain.  I was surprised ( and nieve), but it quickly became very clear that the deck was stacked against them.  The producers set up a situation well in advance to create the outcome they wanted.  We as the cast of that show played it right into their hands, and sadly fell pray to their work, and I've regretted it every day since.

     It would seem the answer to be simple.  Just don't give them what they want...  But in reality TV there are at any given time dozens of cameras rolling shooting even when you feel you're not being watched.  It's very easy to catch something they can use, even if they do it out of context.  So, if honesty matters to you, be very mindful if cast.  Even when your guard is down, and things seem safe.  don't believe it is.

     Another tip, and one I learned the hard way is don't think you have to give them what they want.  Yes it will piss them off, but weigh the options...  A pissed of story producer or the next several years of your life regretting what you said about someone, or yourself on international TV.  They will push you to say things you're not really feeling, or convince you that there is hope of bigger better things in order to subdue you, but the best policy is "to thine own self be true"

Finally, be prepared and don't try to do too much!  Now, I've never done a run through of any of the cakes we did on TV.  But I did design them so that there was one major component, then several important ones, but not all of them were 100% critical.  below that is the final detail stuff.  for example the sandcastle cake.  Obviously I had to have the sandcastle done. I made it as simple as possible, like a model kit.  Simple pieces built, then stacked then finished, as easily as possible, yet it was the key piece.  Second to that was the cool details like the umbrella, surf board and shark.  That's really just 4 things that had to be done.  we could have left out any one of them and still looked great.  Then finally the details.  These were designed so that we could have worked for days.  the more you get done, the better, if not, no big deal.  The idea is to plan for failure, but by doing so avoid it.  Get a few things done and we could atleast have a finished piece, get a few more, great piece, a few more still and awesome!  on that episode we were essentially done early, though we continued to add details til the end.

And to close, if you're still looking to try out for one of these shows( I have links for a few)  you'll need a video.  My advice would be not to make a how to video of yourself doing great work, but one thats fun and entertaining first, even if you don't touch cake at all.  if you're silly, act silly...  If you're goofy, be a goof.  if you're hardcore and serious. well... try to be hardcore and serious!  think of a fun way to mix things up and make the casting people laugh.  Tell a story about something you care about, have fun!

Remember TV is temporary.  You can't expect to change your life because you did a show.  It won't define you and it won't last forever.

I know a ton of "TV cake people"  many of them tell me the same thing.  It didn't really change things much.  I personally run into a lot of problems where potential clients see something on TV and want it.  This should be great except that their budget is at walmart level and their taste is at price is not an object level.  It's a funny thing... You'd expect Tv to increase the cost of your cakes and make people willing to pay for them, but in many cases I have people that shy away from me because they assume they can't afford me ( you know cuz I'm busy making millions!)  It actually can give people the idea that you're above their budget.  ( and I rarely am!) 

Have a look at some of the trends in Tv too and you may want to reconsider.  Next Great Baker season 3 is casting still and they claim it will be  "the competition will be fiercer, the weekly challenges more cutthroat and the judging no-holds-barred".  that's straight from the TLC website! 

so go on TV and be insulted by an over the top guy who's lost sight of what it takes to do what we do.  be a part of the "cutthroat"  and stab your friends in the back.  If you win you may even get the prize and be required to limit yourself to working with buddy any time they see fit.  Lucky you!
Most of the decorators I know, although underpaid in comparisson, are far more talented. 

Good Luck and be true to you!

peace n love

1 comment:

  1. It's nice to see that someone who has "been there, done that" has the same view of reality TV. So many friends and customers ask, "Why don't you get on *fill in the blank* show? I see no reason to put myself in a position to be put down and abused about something I normally enjoy and am good at. Thanks for the validation.