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Archive for Wednesday, February 7, 2001

MTV will cast its net in city

The Real World’ expects 1,000 people at auditions Saturday

February 7, 2001

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Want to live with six complete strangers for four months in front of a TV audience of millions?

Producers at MTV expect about 1,000 people from the Lawrence area want to do just that. They're bringing auditions for "The Real World" to town Saturday, looking to fill spots on the reality-based show.

But before you get your sights set on a TV career, you should know: More than 12,000 people in 15 cities across the country will be vying for only seven openings on the show's upcoming season.

"People still come down, and seven people do get picked," said Sasha Alpert, casting supervisor for the show. "It's kind of like a party atmosphere at these open calls."

Saturday's auditions will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Abe & Jake's Landing, 8 E. Sixth. Auditioners ages 18 to 24 will complete a written application, then take part in a group interview with a casting director.

Alpert predicted 800 to 1,000 people will apply during the daylong casting call.

Kansas University student Kara Warner will be among the crowd Saturday trying out for the show. Though Warner's not sure she wants her every move chronicled on national television, she's not about to miss the opportunity to audition.

"It's just a fun process," Warner said. "You see all the taping shows and the crazy people that try out. It'll be interesting to see how the whole process works. We've grown up with the show over the years."

"The Real World," MTV's longest-running show, was a forerunner to other reality-based shows such as "Survivor," "Big Brother" and "Temptation Island." "The Real World," which currently is filming its 10th season in New York, chronicles the interactions of seven strangers as they live and work together for months at a time.

Filming for the upcoming season will run from July through October, with the first episodes airing in November.

Lawrence is smaller than most of the cities in a nationwide cast search that also includes Tallahassee, New Orleans, Philadelphia and St. Louis. But, Alpert said, having KU here means a higher percentage of the show's target audience. This is the first time the show has traveled to Lawrence.

"We always try to go to a place we haven't been before," she said. "Plus, there's the huge school there. Literally, we have a map in my office and we put pins in where we've been to try to get a geographic balance."

Steve Swift, manager at Abe & Jake's Landing, said MTV representatives called the bar last month to see if it would be interested in hosting the event.

"We were excited about it," he said. "Obviously, it's MTV, and we want to do anything they want because it'll help us out."

Swift said the bar would order catered food Saturday to entertain auditioners. He said its coffee shop would be open all day, and its bars would open at noon.

"It could be crazy," he said. "It depends on how much people in the area want it."

Alpert said casting agents chose the venue because it was popular with the 18-to-24 age group.

"We tend to try to find a place where our demographic hangs out," she said. "We don't want a 35-plus bar. We want it to be well-known to our demographic and a place that's big enough."

So what will it take to make it on "The Real World"?

Alpert said casting directors look for "someone who's outgoing, has a strong personality and is not afraid to tell us what's on their mind. Also, we try to look for people who can bring a fresh perspective to the show something we haven't seen before."

"Just bring your personality," she added. "And bring some patience. The lines may be long."

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