Saturday, March 31, 2007

Was it All a Lie?

My buddie Scott King recently auditioned for the secon season of Who Wants to Be a Superhero, the Sci-Fi channel show hosted by Stan Lee that turns a "regular guy" into a superhero.

Well, it turns out that these might not really be "regular guys." First, he found casting calls on internet sights looking for members of the Screen Actor's Guild (SAG). Then, when he contacted the casting director he was sent a letter saying that they'd already finished casting -- and there were still audition stops left. Click here to read Scott's whole post on this.

Then Scott discovered that the winner, Matthew Atherton who played Feedback, had prior acting experience. Well, I went to IMDB myself and found the Who Wants to Be A Superhero page. It turns out that several of the "regular guys" on the show had prior acting experience. The guy who played "Iron Enforcer" who eventually became the bad guy of the show even has a Wikipedia page and his own web site. Kind of makes me wonder how much of this was "reality" and how much was scripted, staged and edited.

Craig and I watched the show when it was on and found some of the people to be pretty over-the-top. It did seem kind of staged and phony at times. Now it looks like the whole thing, from auditions to winners, might be all pre-decided with little actual "reality" in it. The guy who won was lied to too I guess, since I've still not seen that comic book he was supposed to be in.

The second season is scheduled to start in July and Sci Fi has the web site all set to go. Looks like all of the characters are profilled there. We had two customers audition for this show and it looks like neither of them will get in, as the casting was aparently wrapped up before they even got their chance. I'll probably still watch the series, but I definately won't put it in the category of "reality TV" when it seems to be more like a soap opera with perhaps a bit of improv.


dave said...

I don't know about everyone on the show, but at least here's one guy who apparently got in the ol' fashioned way.

RAB said...

Was there really ever any doubt? Just watching any two or three minutes from the show would make it obvious this was all scripted and blocked out and the contestants were actors. You could see that from the camera angles alone...and I say this as someone with absolutely no stage, film, or television experience at all. Reno 911 actually does a better job of faking the "cinema verite" thing.

I said before that the show was so contrived that the word "reality" itself might be able to sue the producers for defamation, and I stand by that.

Lisa said...

Dave - that's interesting. It looks like a vote thing, rather than an audition thing, but interesting. I'll have to read it closer later.

RAB - I agree. Definately NOT reality.

Anonymous said...

It saddens me a little to hear your comments about what you think happened on season 1. As someone who was actually there, and participated, I can tell you with all truth and honesty that we were never given direction on what to do. You see - that's the magic that they were trying to capture: present people with situations that you hope will spark them into something real that can be captured on film.

Today's audience is VERY sophisticated, and production people are inherently... well, lazy. So, what's easier? To try to get people to "simulate" the emotions you want - or to present them with situations and then cature their real reactions. The second way is cheaper, and (they hope) easier.

Of course, nothing I say will convince you, and that's not my job. I just wanted you to know that though the challenges were obviously planned in advance, and even included actors, we were not directed on how to react, or what to do.

It's obviously your choice to believe me, or not, but I do hope that in these cynical times people can accept that even in a TV show, with all of the cameras and technical details, you can still have a very real experience. Fat Momma and I are still very good friends, and Major Victory and I became very close, as well. There are some genuine people out there who really do want to make the world a better place. I happen to be one of them, and I hope you are, too.