Want to be on VH1's Tough Love? Casting Director, Jason Cornwell, Tells You How!
Hey girl, you're so pretty you could be on reality TV. And now, here's your chance: Cornwell Casting will be in town on Thursday and we've got tips, details and advice from the man, himself - Jason Cornwell - who is handling the whole rodeo. We know what he's looking for and how to get you there!
Cornwell is casting the newest season of VH1's Tough Love, hosted by a mother/son team of matchmakers, Steve and JoAnne Ward, currently in its fourth season, airing on Sunday nights at 7 CST. You've seen Tough Love, you know you have. But, if not, here's the skinny:
So, Steve Ward is this dude who, after college, started working with his mom at her multi-million dollar dating service, Master Matchmakers. Tough Love is a boot-camp style format, teaching pretty women from the "rare" male perspective about why they're 23 and stiiiilllll unmarried, ugh! Ward is a former reality star from "For Love or Money 4," but there's very little about his appearance thereon to be found online. There is also conspicuously little to be found about the ostensibly unmarried Ward's own dating life. All of his bios focus extensively on his partnership with his mom, so it looks like dude's working through some raging Oedipal issues on top of teaching women how to change their personalities and become more well behaved and all.
Steve and JoAnne Ward. You Can't Buy Chemistry Like This, Dog.
Basically, Ward's $20,000 advice can be boiled down to two truths. Call it the Mixmaster Method, if you will. And, baby, it's free -
1. If you want a Chanel purse, get a job and buy one.
2. If you are attracted to men who wear short-pants and idolize Mystery, get used to disappointment.
Steve Ward and I Agree: If You See This Asshole, Run.
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But, Tough Love is good watchin.' And, truth be told, it never hurts to get a second opinion. After all, one woman's snake oil salesman is another woman's Mr. Darcy, right? While I might have trouble taking the Wards seriously, I do have mad-respect for casting director Jason Cornwell, who assures me that the show really, truly is all about helping women work through their dating issues.
Cornwell's a well-educated, savvy and affable Arkansas boy who got his start in reality TV on MTV's The Real World: Boston in 1997, and who has started his own hugely successful company taking on casting for a plethora of reality shows, including Beauty and the Geek and Black, White. Cornwell's success alone suggests that he knows what America wants, and he knows how to find it. Get a taste for Tough Love in this life-changing clip from season one entitled "Arian's Fun Bags."
Want to know more about what Jason Cornwell is looking for on Thursday? Here's the scoop after the jump.
Your agency has been really successful - how do you prepare for something like this? Is there a science to it? Do you sit around watching reality tv all day?
No! No, not at all. I probably watched more reality tv before I had a kid, but I'm pretty much stuck with Little Einstein and whatnot. He's five. But, even before that, with all of our shows I'll watch to see how the cast does and how well it is produced. We did casting for the first season of Tough Love and I watched it all, though. I was actually kind of glued to it. It was good. I liked our cast. We really pushed hard for a lot of those girls. A lot of those girls were not typical reality age - they were thirty and up, and I found that interesting. The first season was really hard, and we took a break from the show for awhile, but we're back now with a renewed interest.
What made it hard?
It was an unknown show at the time, so we couldn't really do massive open calls like we are now. We could use the Vh1 name and get some people, but we spent a lot of time convincing people that we weren't going to put them on television and make them look like they were crazy. But, now the show is more well known and people like it. They see that women are actually getting some help in the dating world. That can be a double-edge sword, too, because we don't want to get people on the show who will just automatically bow down to whatever Steve [Ward] tells them. We need people who are really stuck in their ways to effectively tell a story.
Reality TV has the reputation for going for the really crazy antagonists and the drama queens, is it too simplistic to think that's what you're looking for? You can't possibly be looking for real people who will act like real people, right?
Ideally, we want people who are going to be themselves, no matter what. What that cool person is has to be bigger than, for instance, someone like me at my age. I would not be good television. I would be boring. I would quash arguments. Mainly, we need people with big personalities, and that can go in a lot of directions. People who are 100% themselves. No. Matter. What.
They also need to have a good idea of who they are - or, rather, for this show, what their issues are. If a girl comes up for the casting call and is like, "All guys suck." Well, you know, we've heard that. We've heard it fifty thousand times. That's not a valid excuse. If they can't give us any insight into what their dating pathology might be, then we're going to have a hard time fitting them on the show. We have to be able to identify that early and and say, "I think that's something Steve and his mom, JoAnne, can work with."
Dallas women are subject to many stereotypes, some of them less-than-flattering. Do you think that will correlate to what you are looking for in a casting call?
Every city's got a stereotype. Dallas, Philly, New York. Sure, some of those stereotypes might apply, but I like Dallas because it's just got great characters. I'm from the south - I'm from Arkansas - I've been to Dallas a million times. I had a buddy who went to SMU and I just loved the characters there. I just have to bring them out of the woodwork. I want the stereotypically Dallas women - rich, big hair - but, I also want the other side, the rodeo girl. And, those girls are all around Dallas, if not in the city proper. I want someone who represents Dallas from every angle possible. We've just go to get the word out and get them interested. In addition to the casting call, we'll be out at clubs scouting.
How does it work - is there typically one spot from each city, or is it more flexible than that?
Oh, no! If we get twenty great interviews in Dallas, I'll get as many in the mix as possible! It's really not a numbers game. Ultimately there are 7 or 8 women on the show, and they can come from anywhere; if we get two from Dallas, great.
How do you go about pulling out the personality during a casting call? Does the right person usually pop from the first moment, or is it something you kind of finesse?
It's a combo of both. The truth is, you kind of know within the first five minutes if they are TV-friendly. And, then it's just getting the story out of them - breaking them down, letting them know that they can feel safe with you, and then just digging in and trying to find out what their love pathology is.
Don't try to come in and be somebody you're not. We'll see right through that. We get a lot of people who think that they're going to be a character, like, "I'm going to be X character." That's the worst thing you could possibly say. The minute you say that, we're kind of done. You can't tell us what character you want to be because now we know that you just want to be on TV. And, that is a no-no. They just need to come in and want to be on the show because they want some help.
Is there a way that our readers can prep for the casting call?
Yeah! Certainly. Fill out the application ahead of time. There's an online application you can print out and bring with you. Once you start answering those questions, they'll get you into the mindset of what we'll be asking. And, it gives us an opportunity to know you a little bit before you walk in. That makes everything go more smoothly for everyone. Also, absolutely look your best. And, be honest. That's it. Be yourself. I can't stress it enough.
Don't forget! Jason's crew will be at BlackFinn American Saloon at 4440 Belt Line Road in Addison on Thursday, November 18 from 4 PM to 9PM. It's your big break, supastar.
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