Questions? Email me.

Hi, folks.  Just a quick reminder that this blog is here to answer your questions and you’re welcome to ask me anything both here and at realitytvtroy(at)  I refer to these methods of contact in my book, and must make this request as it’s now getting out of hand: Don’t call me at the office.  Let me say that again…PLEASE don’t call me at the office.  Sugar on top.  PRETTY PLEASE don’t call me at the office.

Apparently, the number’s easy to figure out.  Since the book has been released, I’ve received over a dozen blind calls (usually asking me to hear pitches, which I don’t do) and as a result, have to restate my policy of not taking or returning calls, restricting my time and advice to off-hours email and blog queries only.  Even then, no pitches.

When I’m at work, I’m on my employers’ dime.  Drop me a line and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!


11 thoughts on “Questions? Email me.

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  1. Hi Troy I created and written a reality show base on a character from another reality show I have a network in mind to pitch to, I have my reality character, and I have a new twist for my treatment when my show gets picked up what’s the range of compensation I can look for?

    1. Lisa, there’s an important hitch in your plan… you’ve created a reality show based on a character from another reality show. Do you have this talent signed? Important stuff moving forward.

      As to range of compensation should you get your show sold, that’s between you, your agent or lawyer, the network and the production company you partner with. As a non-participating producer, you’d likely receive what seems like very little initially, more in subsequent seasons.

      Good luck!

  2. Okay! After having read your book and your entire blog archive (as of today, 2/16/2012), I have questions. 🙂

    1) You say you need two things to have a great reality show: A) a great cast and B) conflict. Conflict not necessarily being fights but possibly working against the clock or against each other for a prize. BUT what about for reality shows like “Dirty Jobs”, “Mythbusters”, and travel shows? A great host, sure. But where’s the conflict? Or what do these type of shows need? Only a great host? Or don’t you consider them really reality shows?

    2) How important is one segment being connected to the next segment? Could a five-act show have five segments that are essentially self-contained? Say a travel show that hits five different locations in the same country or five different countries. Do you need more carry-over from one segment to the next or is the host in all segments enough? Could carry-over be satisfactorily done with by a simple trivia question over the break? Multiple-choice question before the break and answer given after the break. And/or a teaser video clip of antics ahead?

    3) Let us say you, Troy, are not you. Let us say you are someone that has backers for a reality webseries and you need to hire a supervising producer to put together a pre and post production team and a camera crew. What would you recommend to such a person in finding and hiring the right person for that position? How would you recommend they go about it? Correct me if I’m wrong, but this decision would be a crucial one since that supervising producer will want to bring in people s/he has dealt with before and know can do the work or, at least, want to do the interviewing and hiring of the people that will work under them. Or am I wrong in that assumption?

    1. 1) I do consider them reality shows. For Dirty Jobs, it’s Mike versus the increasingly disgusting nature of each task. He’s not breezing in there and doing them, he’s really wrestling to get through some of ’em.

      2) All of your questions can be answered by shows like UNWRAPPED. Host introduces a segment, we see how a candy item is made, and then it’s on to the next, usually involving some sort of trivia bumper to lure you back. Shows like this don’t really require conflict, because they’re an anomaly.

      3) I’d hire a supervising producer that knew what he or she was doing and ask them to help staff out the show. There’s a bunch of ’em at

      1. Thanks for the reply, Troy.

        But in regards to #1 above, what about travel shows? Where’s the conflict in them?

        And thanks for the link to I will check it out. Now is such a thing as “THE” question that someone should ask a supervising producer when considering whether or not to hire them over another supervising producer? Or a set of “THE” questions? If so, what is it or them? Or do you just look for one that has produced a show closest to what you’re hoping to produce?

  3. Hi Scott, I’m not trying to answer your questions, I think you answered numbers 1 and 2 yourself, at least that’s the way I see it traditionally done / happening when watching similar programs.

    Number 3 is quite intriguing, because if I fail to sell my show I still plan on producing it one way or another. In that case there will be some serious budgetary and control constraints involved.

    To my knowledge, most of the mainstream cable shows are subbed to production companies of particular names, but I don’t think I’ll be in the situation to pay for one of those. I might have to rent / buy a camera and do the directing in a worst case scenario, So far, from filming and editing clips for the sizzle reel, my confidence has definitely grown in the production sector. I think one of my decisions in this situation will be made based on the potential revenue I can generate, especially if it’s web-based.

  4. Okay, in addition to your book, I’ve also bought and have finished reading Donna Anderson’s “The Show Starter: Reality RV Made Simple System” that you recommended. Are there any other books on reality TV that you would recommend aspiring reality TV producers to read?

    Also, I’d still appreciate an answer to “THE” question that executive producers should ask prospective supervising producers who are trying to land the job with the EP’s upcoming show. 🙂

    1. Scott, there aren’t any other books I’ve come across that are terribly useful.

      As for “THE” question that executive producers should ask prospective supervising producers who are trying to land the job with the EP’s upcoming show, there’s actually two. If a person can make it through an entire interview without being a smug jerk or telling me how they singlehandedly saved a show from disaster, then the only real questions left are “How are you with notes?” and “Do you prefer to spend a lot of time in the bays?”

      Personal preferences only: I like people who can roll with notes and who don’t feel like they have to be in with the editors all the time.

  5. First, thanks for the reply.

    Second, RATS!!! I was hoping for another book recommendation. 🙂 Is there any book that might not be necessarily specifically about TV producing or even entertainment in general that you would recommend an aspiring reality TV producer to read? A good philosophy book that advocates a philosophy you think works best as a TV producer … or a good history book on TV … or a good management book that seems to be the right one for TV production as you’ve experienced it … or ???

    Third, thanks the “THE” questionS. Makes sense. I will try to remember them. 😀

    1. That’s why I had to write a book, Scott! There are other reality books out there, but I can’t really recommend them as I either didn’t find them useful or couldn’t get my hands on ’em to read in the first place. Many were through University publishers, and due to limited runs would be up in the hundreds of dollars in some cases.

      I’m a sucker for great television biographies. Producer Chuck Fries’ autobiography, CHUCK FRIES: GODFATHER OF THE TELEVISION MOVIE is an incredible read, and atypically frank as autobiographies go. I’ve also just been through past NBC president Pat Weaver’s THE BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE, which I liked a bit more than Brandon Tartikoff’s slightly too self-congratulatory THE LAST GREAT RIDE, which I’d finished just before.

      As for management books, Imai’s KAIZEN, which can be tough to track down in print but is in most good library collections, is well worth the read. I first read it in my pre-TV-career years, but find that many of its techniques for refining process in order to avoid saddling workers with needlessly hard work to be useful and inspiring.

      1. 🙂 Good point about why you wrote your book.

        As for those biographies, I’ll look into them as well as that management book. Thanks for pointing them out.

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