If you could make your own reality show, what would it be about and who would be on it?
Interesting. I hate reality shows, but the fact that I'm answering this at all suggests that maybe I just haven't found the sort of reality show I could get into yet... disturbing thought! Most of life, ie. reality, is quite boring - especially for those not involved! But let's face it - reality TV is not 'REALITY tv' - not really. It's heightened reality, complete with set-ups, behind-the-scenes manipulations, showmen (and women), an added soundtrack (I mean, c'mon - don't you sometimes wish you'd had a soundtrack to alert you to what was going to happen in the last few minutes?!) and a whole lot of editing.
Despite not liking reality shows I do love a good mockumentary. There have been times in my life where things have gotten dramatic enough on a day-to-day basis that it's seemed completely surreal and I've wondered if the whole situation was either a ludicrous set-up for candid camera or if I was going to wake up anytime soon. And then there's the life I've wished I was living and daydreamed about things happening to add a little more spice to my oh-so-dull day. These are the 'there's a musical in my head' days and I often wonder what would really happen if people were made to get on board and be part of my private production.
So what immediately comes to mind as a show I'd enjoy watching would be, what I would call, 'Life Is A Musical' - You see, growing up in a land far distant from the US of A, seeing the old movies, there's this sense that America lives a life of song and dance. When I finally moved to the US I must admit I wouldn't have been completely surprised had I observed people breaking into song and dance in random situations. Being that I moved to a hop-skip-and-a-jump from Hollywood, I've seen HAVE something close to this happen a couple of times now, though it never lived up to the numbers in my imagination. Now, of course, there's the wonderful improv group that does just that - surprising the populace of study halls and food courts by tunefully sharing their perspective on the woes of lectures and the tragedy of absent napkins. I love this stuff. Watching and listening to the comments of the pissed off and/or surprised observers is pretty telling about people's states of mind and I applaud the bravery of the participants. So as far as a show goes, what if there were a group of people - living and/or working in close proximity - who were required to expound their triumphs, trials, woes and daily activities in musical format? Each person would be required to initiate a musical 'event' at least twice a day or lose their place (I believe the vernacular is 'get kicked off the island'). They can plan a little and set it up but it must occur spontaneously and the other participating (and unprepared) members would be required to join in, with additional points given for making a number better/funnier/more entertaining. Essentially it would be improv theater, taken off stage and into the daily lives of those on the show and those fortunate - or unfortunate - enough to surround them at the time. The participants - starting with at least ten - would have to have enough musical talent to sing, enough comedic sense to entertain on the fly, enough movement skill to pull off some spontaneous choreography smoothly and enough sense of team work to figure out how to work with other members best in the heat of the moment for the best entertainment value. The reality TV production crew would provide creative and 'on-the-spot' lighting, musical accompaniment and help with corralling the general public when a number is in progress.
Yes - I'd definitely watch that.
So if I hate reality TV, why am I answering this writing prompt? Because I'm beginning to realize that a strong negative reaction on my part means I've got some soul searching to do. When I take the time to honestly try and figure out why I react as I do I get some interesting insights about myself.
What I've learned in considering this is that I'm not big on reality in general. No surprise there, I'm a fantasy writer after all, but the interesting thing about this that I realize I truly believe we all have the power to make our lives, and the lives of others, far more interesting than we generally do. Yes, it takes a lot of effort but that's when those memorable moments come and we are glad we were living our life - not just parked in front of a TV version of another's. Everyone has the opportunity to shine in one way or another. It doesn't mean taking center stage necessarily but it does mean taking opportunities when they're presented to us, putting our heart and soul into the moment and finding the magic in the ordinary. When we have the courage to live this way we inspire others to take what life offers and live it fully, not letting it pass them by. Our own stories are unique and interesting but if we're not interested, no one else will be either. What magic are we passing by because it's too much trouble to see? When we focus on making the most out of our every day, rather than tuning out and switching ourselves off from life, we tune in and can't wait for more. It's not more TV that we'll wished we experienced when the lights go down, it's the life we let pass us by.
What does this tell me? That I need to grab those opportunities and make things memorable when I can. Don't be afraid to sing, don't be afraid dance and above all, don't be afraid to shine. I'm the only one who can live my life and there ain't no rehearsal. It's my birthday today - another year gone, another year beginning - it's time I got with the program.
The show's happening, whether I like it or not - it's up to me whether it's worth watching or not!
Note: The pictures above are from two of my favorite shows 'Pushing Daisies' & 'Wonderfalls' - both are stylized, fantasy shows, where the most normal and innocent thing becomes the focus of something truly bizarre and fantastic, all in the middle of ongoing mysteries. In these shows, the colors are saturated, the sets are distinctly staged and the people are bizarrely unique and particular. You never know when things will take a turn for the weird, a magical moment will happen or people will break into song. A llfe like either of these would be exhausting but it's a lot of fun to watch and once it's over, you do catch yourself looking at the world just a little bit sideways and appreciating it all the more. Click on the pictures to be taken to more information about the particular show.