Why I love being an Unscripted Storyteller
Updated: Jul 31, 2020
In August of 1992 when The Real World premiered, I was introduced to the concept of Reality TV. I certainly didn’t know then what impact the series would have on my life, or the world as a whole.
But it was through that show that I learned how much I valued learning about other people’s stories and other people’s journeys.
As a kid living in Western Massachusetts, I learned the story of Pedro Zamora, I was introduced to the HIV/AIDS crisis and gained an understanding of the LGTBQIA community. I learned about different races, different cultures, different careers, and different places around the world.
I learned about relationships, consent, women’s rights…
I learned a lot about a lot of topics that I wasn’t being organically exposed to in my own personal bubble. Would I have learned them over time? Maybe, but Reality TV quickly gave me a greater understanding of the world beyond my bedroom (which was basically playing Tecmo Bowl and listening to Pearl Jam).
It was nearly a decade later that I first had the privilege of working on The Real World and learning what goes into telling those stories. I discovered the role of the producers and editors who view the mountains of footage to help tell these compelling, important, and entertaining stories, and I wanted to become one of them.
I’ve long viewed producing Unscripted TV as taking on an acting role. For whatever period of time you’re on a production, you’re immersed in a world that is not your own, and I’ve always been grateful to see what I can learn from every person who takes part in putting their lives out in the open. It’s an opportunity to slip outside the eye of your mind and for a time, experience a different world.
I’ve seen what it’s like to be a millionaire, a billionaire, a supermodel, an addict, a cancer patient, a cancer survivor, trans, a world class athlete, a psychic, a rancher, a pop star, an illusionist, a business owner, a real estate mogul, and a surgeon (to name just a few). And I’ve seen these individuals deal with the highest of highs and lowest of lows, battling mental health issues, cope with death, build a business, lose everything, fight for human rights, fight for animal rights, fight for equality.
I don’t pretend that working on these shows is a substitute for living in someone else’s shoes or facing someone else’s struggles, but I am immensely thankful for all the stories that have come through my life and to all of those who have shared them. Many of these stories have helped me learn things about my own life, both strengths and weaknesses and areas where I can (and still hope to improve).
This is why I love telling Unscripted stories. In the hope that something we do, or something we create, will help create a better understanding of somebody else’s world.