Sex, Drugs and Reality Television: Your Favorite Reality Stars Nude!


Okay, that was a pretty low gimmick to get you to read this entry, even though teasing something you ultimately don’t deliver is exactly the topic of this week’s post.

Nothing drives me crazier than tuning into a show that’s been heavily teased (promoted ahead of time in a manner that gives you just a peek at what’s coming down the road) or sticking around to watch the ending after an early act ends with a mindbending five-second tease that implies that missing the rest of the episode would be akin to driving to Disneyland, then turning around and heading home when you’re in view of the ticket booth.

Audience trust is a big deal, and while your network folks may be in control of cutting the commercials for your shows and/or asking you to tease acts more heavily within each program just before act breaks, it’s important when composing teases that you not betray your viewers with stuff that’s waaaay out of context or instantaneously resolved once you get to the real scene.

For example: Act Two is supposed to “deep tease,” meaning hook the viewer for the rest of the episode by giving a peek at not only the next act, but acts five and six down the way. Your chosen tease is a woman saying “You’re a total fake,” coupled with another cast mate covering her mouth and saying “oh, my G-d, I hate you!” Once we get to act five, we see the first woman in-scene saying “I used to hang out with this girl until one day I had to tell her hey, you’re a total fake.” The reaction seen in the tease comes from other content where the castmate covers her mouth to sneeze, and the “oh, my G-d” and “I hate you” aren’t even connected.

Fail. Hard fail.

Another example? Teasing a huge fight all episode long at every break and having it resolved immediately with a character saying “I’m not going to take this” and walking away. You promised a fight, and you’d better deliver it or at least stretch out the rest of the scene in a manner that makes teasing all that drama pay off.

Keep tease content rooted in reality. Pump it up all you want to with dramatic music and ominous-sounding stings, but if you fool your audience once, it’s pretty unlikely they’ll come back to let you do it twice.

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