Why Aren't There Reality Shows for Aspiring Writers?
There have been many talent-based reality shows on television over the past decade - cooking, singing, dancing, fashion, and art, to name the most popular. However, there have not been any for aspiring writers. This is perhaps because creative writing is not a performing art or because the writing process is not as interesting to watch. When you think about it, most people probably wouldn't want to watch a show about the written word, but they sure can listen to people talk and be catty in any of the other reality competition shows. Although it may not catch the interest of a broader audience like those other shows, a similar show for aspiring writers wouldn't be all that different in concept.
Imagine documenting a creative writing class at a high school or college level. You may think that the class would sit in silence writing or typing the whole time with a single concept or set of constructs written on the board. While some writing classes may be taught this way, not all of them have to be this way. There are occasions which require group work or presentations as well as having the writers act out each other's scripts. Even the most boring-sounding activities like sitting outside to find inspiration aren't as drab as they seem. All reality shows are based on watching people just sit around and talk (or in most cases scream at each other), so why would a reality show based on writing and reading from one's work be any different?
While writing and reading aloud may not qualify as a performing art and certainly won't win in a talent show, a competition of its own has its merits. Like any other competition, it would have a career or even life-changing grand prize for the winner. Because writers don't always make the best actors or public speakers, they can be assigned voice actors to read from their assignments each week of competition. Because writing is a creative process like cooking or fashion design, the competitors could be at each other's throats just like any other show already on the air. Honestly, where else can you find more accusations of stealing ideas than in the field of creative writing (aside from the patenting of inventions)?
The one down side to any competition is if a contestant enters it with his/her own set of expectations for what he/she wants to do. When he/she expects to go into the competition hoping to build upon his/her preconceived repertoire, he/she may not find what he/she is seeking. Take creative writing class as an example. If you have a set of story ideas you want help developing but are forced to set them aside to write whatever the prompt is for that week, you are probably in the wrong place. Classes and competitions are designed to challenge you each week with a new assignment so your skills can grow from there. While it may seem like you have the perfect recipe for a story on a given assignment, that's great, but more often than not you will have to go in as a clean slate aside from the skills you already possess. Some do not have the patience for this, but for an audience it might not make a difference if all they want to see is a level of drama that has come to be expected of reality show competitors.
In conclusion, while there are writing competitions out there in the world and on the 'Net, none has gotten its own TV show. While this may not be needed due to the fact that the number of people who would be interested in watching it is likely to be minimal (though I cannot say the same for the number of people who would want to enter) or that some would not want such a thing cheapened by television, it's worth noting that it could be within the realm of possibility if given the chance.
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