Learning to be truly real on reality TV

Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:29pm EDT
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By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Judy Bolton wants her 15 minutes of fame.

Keen to appear on TV show "Big Brother," the 51-year-old therapist and mother of two enrolled in New York's new Reality Television School, one of a growing number of people on both sides of the Atlantic seeking help getting on reality TV.

"I want the 15 minutes of fame that everybody wants," Bolton told Reuters during a break in the three-hour course, one of about 30 people who paid up to $140 to attend the second session held by the school.

Bolton, who said she also liked "The Amazing Race" but was worried about the stunts, was aware of the irony of taking a course to learn to be real. "You say to yourself 'What do you need that for, when reality really means being one's self?' Why do you need to go to school to be yourself?"

But she and many others are lining up.

In London, the Central School of Speech and Drama -- which has made its name teaching traditional theater to the likes of Laurence Olivier, Vanessa Redgrave and Judi Dench -- has been deluged with reality television wannabes.

It received 4,000 applications this year for 47 places in its undergraduate acting program. Geoffrey Coleman, head of acting, said most of them had come to the wrong place.

"There are quite a lot of people who are, unfortunately, quite frankly, deluded," said Coleman. "There is no 15 minutes of fame here. This is about a lifelong career, a lifelong journey into their art."   Continued...

<p>Student Kristina Powis introduces herself on camera during a meeting of the Reality TV School in New York, July 8, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>