Students attend casting session for reality TV show depicting life in the Ivy League
Co-directors Tricia Rosenthal and Rosana Clawson, who are both local entrepreneurs in Princeton with backgrounds in the film industry, are seeking to portray an “insider look” on the cast’s lives and narratives, Clawson said.
“Princeton represents so many types of students, and so we want to capture that,” Rosenthal said. She added that there has not been a reality show focusing on this subject yet, and that it would be both “interesting” and “unusual.”
Ben Bush ’10, the campus liaison to the show, said that the directors plan to seek University approval for the show “very soon.”
The University requires commercial film crews to obtain authorization before filming on campus, while crews “are not permitted to enter residential living areas at any time,” according to the Office of Communications website.
Bush added that, if approved, the show will differ from other reality shows because of its “distinct lack of drama.”
“The intention of this show is not to put a bunch of people together and create friction, like on ‘Real World’ or ‘Jersey Shore,’ ” Bush explained. “The directors want to show that synergy can happen on college campuses and at places like Princeton, and really highlight the uniqueness of individuals and how truly amazing some people can be. There’s not a better place in the world to do that than at Princeton.”
Rosenthal explained that she and Clawson hope to assemble a cast that represents not only the “diversity” of students, but also the multitudes of “interesting stories and narratives.” The directors declined to comment about the show’s premise in greater detail.
Students were eligible to audition if they would be on campus the entire fall semester, and they had to answer questions about their academic, social and extracurricular lives during the casting session.
Clawson said that the casting session exceeded her expectations, noting that there is “great talent” among the potential cast members.
Desiree Howry ’13 said she was excited at the chance to audition for the show and at the possibility of a reality television show being shot on campus.
“The show is a wonderful idea, because I’ve found that a lot of outsiders think [Princeton students] are something we’re not,” Howry said in an e-mail.
Other students auditioned for the sake of the experience. “I decided to go to the casting [session] because I figured it could be a unique experience and might turn out to be quite fun,” Juan Miguel Ogarrio ’11 said in an e-mail.
Lester Nare ’13 cited a similar reason for attending the casting session. “I was taking a chance to go and see what it was all about,” he said in an e-mail, noting that “going into the casting session, I knew absolutely nothing about what the premise of the show was.”
During the casting session, “the producers asked me a lot of questions about myself,” Ogarrio said. “I had an opportunity to talk about the things I do on campus in thorough detail, and if there’s anything I’m an expert on, it’s myself.”
Ogarrio added that the casting session was more casual than he had expected.
“I thought the casting would involve a lot more grilling,” he said. “I guess it’s because ‘reality show’ is a term that usually carries negative connotations.”
But some students were unsure whether the show could achieve its goals. Eliza Kontulis ’12, who attended the casting session mostly to find out what it was about, said she was skeptical about the process of filming the show.
“I think it’s an interesting idea, but I just don’t know how [the directors] are going to end up doing it,” Kontulis explained.
“I can’t imagine having a camera crew follow me to squash practice or out to the Street,” she said. “I don’t see how it’s truly going to portray the [students’] experience.”