Students keep it real for ‘Real World’ auditions

While her fellow classmates crunched numbers Wednesday, business and marketing junior Megan Schuetzle skipped class, sipped on a beer and waited for her chance to be the next reality TV star.

Schuetzle, along with other aspiring television hopefuls, waited their turn to meet with a MTV “Real World” casting director at the Library Bar and Grill in Dinkytown.

Damon Furberg, supervising casting director for Bunim-Murray Productions, said “Real World” is “the granddaddy of reality TV shows.”

He said he expected around 600 people between the ages of 18 and 24 to attend the open casting call at the bar for season 19 of the show.

Participants signed waivers and applications before dividing into groups of 10 for interviews. Each group met with a casting director and participated in a discussion on political and social issues.

Furberg said his company likes to hold casting calls in cities that “get a good cross section of people.” In the next week, the company will visit Iowa, Ohio, New York and Washington, D.C., for potential participants.

“The great thing about coming to Minneapolis is that we get the best of both worlds: the universities and the city,” he said.

Although Furburg said he is not sure where the next location of “Real World” will be, his company has been scouting potential cities across the country.

Megan Sleeper, another Bunim-Murray casting director, said there are three teams of recruiters who canvass the nation searching for the seven perfect strangers.

Sleeper said they often recruit potential candidates before open cast calls through local radio contests and by searching profiles on MySpace, a social networking site.

Sleeper, who has been a Real World cast recruiter for five years, said recruiters have seen about 20,000 applicants for season 19.

She said when she’s searching for a potential ‘Real World’ cast member, she wants “someone who’s being real.”

“We’ve been doing (casting) for a long time,” Sleeper said. “We know when someone’s trying to put on a show.”

Marketing first-year student Caitlan McDaniel, who was between midterms Wednesday, said she always wanted to audition but until this year was not old enough.

“I was born for ‘Real World’,” she said. “My personality can’t be contained.”

McDaniel said she was walking through Territorial Hall and saw a poster for the open casting call.

“I took it as a sign to apply,” she said.

McDaniel said she would probably not go back into marketing if she were chosen to be in the show.

“No one would ever hire me,” she said.

Other University students said they are using the casting call as a chance to break into TV, including journalism junior J.J. Wienkers.

“My ultimate goal is to move to L.A. and work in entertainment,” he said. “This is a good way to get my face out there.”

Wienkers said he knows it’s a long shot, but he thinks he would make a good addition to the cast.

“I’m not delusional; I know there are thousands of other people auditioning,” he said. “I just think I’m a pretty unique individual.”

He also said he knows reality TV often makes participants fit certain roles in the show.

“They portray people the way they want,” he said. “But I’m not afraid of confrontation and it takes a lot to get me down so I think I would be a good fit.”

Justin Jones, a Minneapolis event marketer, deemed himself a “mobile Bloody Mary unit.”

Despite sporting olives on each of his fingers and spreading hot sauce on his face, Jones, who describes himself as “a little bit out there,” said he was turned away because he would be past the age requirement when the next season would be taped.

While many people were hoping for their next big break, most were left to go back to their normal lives.

“There are many people looking for fame and fortune and glory,” Ferburg said. “Whether or not reality TV is the right place to look for that is debatable.”