Arisa Cox reveals Big Brother Canada casting secrets
Pre-production on season 11 of Big Brother Canada has begun and we are looking for Canada’s next greatest houseguests. Host and producer Arisa Cox has some timely advice and casting secrets for those who want the opportunity to entertain Canada and a chance to win that grand prize.
John Powell: Firstly, congratulations on the new season! You must be feeling really excited.
Arisa Cox: So excited! I feel like this is where I live! I live in varying stages of excitement and it starts from the moment we find out that we’ve been renewed and it doesn’t go away! If anything it just increases over time. This is such a fun part of the process, when we’re we’re really nailing down who our cast is because I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the show’s strength is the cast!
John Powell: Now, onto the actual process itself. What are your list of do’s?
Arisa Cox: Do a little bit of homework but you don’t have to be a superfan. You don’t have to have watched all ten seasons. You don’t have to know all the players but maybe know a little bit about how the show works. I think it is really important because this is a big experience and this is for people who want to live an unusual life, right?
You at least have to do enough homework to be able to speak confidently about what you think your game would be or what kind of gameplay you respect or like to watch. I think that’s really important. Don’t come in and say…’Oh, my gawd! I’ve never watched an episode!’ It is not as cute as you think.
I think another ‘do’ is picture yourself in a screen and what your casting video will be like, the one you’re going to upload to bigbrothercanadacasting.ca. Picture that screen as your screen at home and picture you as you would be in a diary room. In the diary room you’ve got a producer talking to you and asking you a couple of questions but we’re only seeing you. You can always grab a friend or family member to ask you a couple questions.
Really think about what makes an amazing houseguest in the diary room because there are iconic players who are made in the diary room. They’re the people that the second they are on the screen, in that little room, you know you’re going to be laughing, crying, feeling something or scratching your head. We want originals especially in the diary room. So, if you can think of your audition video as a diary room, I think that would really help.
The other thing is I think really find out what it is that makes you really, really special and why you would be a good personality to watch on the show. If you don’t know what that is talk to the people around you, your besties or your family members. I guarantee you they’ll be able to tell you what it is about you that they think is really special or would make a really good houseguest. Whatever that is, lean into that thing because not everybody is wild and crazy. We always see year after year a bunch of people who try to be wild and crazy but don’t have any stories or examples to back that up. If you’re quiet but conniving, let that be your thing! If you are extremely sarcastic and cynical, rolling your eyes all day long, lean into that! That’s what we want to see because we do not want to cast of all the same people. We want different people that are going to interact in new and unique ways.
John Powell: What would your list of definite don’ts be?
Arisa Cox: Don’t say I am just like Anthony or I’m exactly like Victoria. Don’t just pick an iconic player and say you’re just like that person. I guarantee you, you’re not just like that person. We actually want a unique flavor.
Make sure we can see you and hear you in your video. We’re in and around television and production all the time. We know if the audio is bad. There’s nothing we can do about that but if the video is bad, that’s not great. We want to be able to see you. We don’t want you standing in front of a bright window facing the wrong direction, right? We want to see your face…Pay attention to those little details. Other than that, we do not want these slick, beautifully professionally produced videos. We just want to see what you would be like in the diary room, what makes you special and what would make you pop!
John Powell: Now, there’s people who just have that X-factor. Beyond that though, what can make someone’s video really stand out to a producer like yourself who goes through thousands of submissions during the casting process?
Arisa Cox: I think one is confidence and there’s a very strange brew of personality traits that makes someone suited for a game as difficult and fun as this. I think that confidence or that ego or narcissism, that presence of mind, that mental fortitude, that’s the stuff you can most often tell right away if someone has that or they want to be on the show but maybe they’re not ready emotionally or their personality might not be suited to it…Because you’re gonna be in there with all kinds of different people, including lots of chaotic people. So, I think we want to know that you thrive under stress…I think if you’re somebody who thrives under stress this is going to be an environment you’re going to thrive in and we see that year after year.
There’s also people who have the best time! Kevin Jacobs last year, he won the season and was having the most fun of his entire life because it was a place where he could get all of the attention he craved! All of the human interaction he craved! He could show how smart he was. He could be conniving and he had permission to lie and manipulate people. That is fun for the right person. I think we want to see people who are not only going to thrive but really find the joy in how absurd of an environment that we will put you in. So, I think that’s I think something that would really stand out. If you thrive in chaos this is going to be the show for you.
John Powell: To finish up, there is one piece of advice some former Big Brother houseguests give to potential players and they say “be a character” in your audition. What do you think about that approach?
Arisa Cox: Well that depends on what you mean by that. If somebody hears that advice and they conjure up a personality they graft onto themselves that will never work because you can maybe keep that up for like a day or two but you can’t sustain that…I don’t care how great you are if you come off as fake or insincere people will not respect you. They will not enjoy rooting for you at all. Fans want people who are going to be as real and authentic and vulnerable as they can be with us, the producers. You can lie all day long in the house but with us, when you’re talking to us in the diary room, we want to see who you are more than anything.
I think when some people say “plate a character” that to me really speaks to every single human being as the main character in their own story. If a story is great then the main character is amazing! I think what it really means is find the thing that is special about you and think of how it would be to watch that as an audience member without taking away that the real true essence of that. Don’t be fake but find out that special thing about you and turn it up, lean into it! Turn it up to 10 and then turn it up to like 12 or try 13, 14 or 15!