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What Really Happens Behind the Scenes Of Reality TV? A True Story

Updated on June 22, 2015
donotfear profile image

Annette Sharp holds a BAAS in Behavioral Science from Texas A&M. She is a counselor and motivator with an empathetic heart.


 The time has come to spill my guts to the world about the details of my reality show experience.  I've been carrying this thing around for 5 years now and I'm tired of keeping it bottled up because of the bloody 'confidentiality agreement'.  It's not like the show was a hit.  I mean, come on, it never made it on the air for goodness sake!  I wrote the "watered down" version in my hub 'Reality Show Reject'.  It's time to share the details so that somebody out there can be inspired to overcome their greatest fear!  So listen up, everyone!  You're about to hear what really happened in My Reality Show Experience: The Whole Story.

Casting Agent Call.....

It all started several years ago when I received the fateful call. I was given a message at work to call "Cindy" at an unknown area code.

"Hmmm", I thought, "I better look this up."

I checked the area code. Santa Monica, California!! At last! SURVIVOR!!!! My heart pounded and adrenalin raced through my body. A week before, I’d sent another audition tape and application to the casting department for ‘Survivor’. Why would an aging, born-again baby-boomer want to apply for a reality show like ‘Survivor’? It’s not like I really thought they would call, but "what if?" And "what if" I beat ‘em all, and showed ‘em how to win without being a liar or a cheat! Oh, man, that would be too cool!

I called the number on the message slip. Voice Mail!

"Hello, this is Cindy in casting. Leave a brief message and phone number and I will call you back."

RATS!!! I left my name, number, and plainly stated I was returning her call. I tried to relax as I waited, but it was impossible. I thought of every question she might ask me. My mind was racing with the possibilities. I was already trying to figure out how I was going to ask my boss for a six week leave of absence.

Finally, she called me.

Casting Calling!

"Hello?", I said, trying to drop my southern accent.

"Hi", gushed the California voice, "this is Cindy in the casting department at Casting Corp. Tell me about your nightmare". Then, she proceeded to ask me about a recurring bad dream I’d been having....what the heck?

Now, let me explain something. The reason I’m leaving out the name of the casting agency is because of the contractual agreement I signed for this project. I am prohibited from revealing the name of the show, the production company, and the network who was to broadcast it. They agreed to allow me to discuss my experience in relation to the program as long as I would abide by these terms. Back to my story.....

"You’re not with Survivor?", I asked, plainly disappointed.

I was totally blown away, at this point. What was this? As she explained why she was calling, I remembered an on-line survey on the website of a major television network. I had spontaneously responded to the survey a few weeks before. In my response, I described, in detail, a recurring bad dream I’d been experiencing about climbing a high, narrow, and spiraling staircase. The dream was the result of my very real fear of heights that, at times, was totally debilitating. Anyway, as I spilled my guts to this perfect stranger on the phone, I sensed she was really picking up on my enthusiasm. I totally hammed it up and she loved it!

"Okay,", she stated, "this is what I want you to do. Make me a three minute video tape....tell me everything we’ve just talked about. Everything. I want you to send it to me by Monday. Download the application from the website, fill it out, and mail it with the tape."

The Casting Agent Liked Me!

Wow! How cool was that? I hadn’t even applied, and they were requesting my application! In a whirlwind, I made a tape, filled out the application, and mailed it the next day. I even went further than that. I called and left an official-sounding message on her voice mail; "Hello, I wanted to confirm that I have mailed the video and application form, at your request, and it will be in your office on Saturday". Now that was professional.

For the next couple of weeks, I was apprehensive. Would they call me? I just knew I had messed up my video, I wasn’t forceful enough, I wasn’t funny enough, on and on, I tortured myself. Then, on a Monday morning, I got the message I wanted to hear.

"This is Sally, casting director for Casting Corp. We loooooovvvvvve you!"

I couldn’t believe it! Finally, someone had recognized my potential as a reality show contestant! This was it, I knew I’d made it. She congratulated me.

"You’ve made the semi-finals!!! This is what I need you to do now......".

Another video and contracts. They needed to be in her office " the 6th!" Everything was push, push, hurry, sit back and wait. They wanted to create a sense of urgency so I wouldn’t have time to think about what I was going to do for the video, they wanted it spontaneous (I realized this later).

A few days later, another phone call.

"Congratulations! You’ve made the finals!"

Up, up and away1
Up, up and away1 | Source

Off to Los Angeles!

Then, whoosh! I was off to Los Angeles after frantically making arrangements for a couple of vacation days. It wasn’t easy explaining to my employer why I needed a day and a half vacation, immediately. Remember, I couldn’t tell them anything, it was all a secret. So, I had my first all expense-paid trip to Los Angeles and I couldn’t tell a soul, except for immediate family members.

Once in Los Angeles, the real fun began. Met at the airport by a production assistant, I was driven to the exclusive hotel hideout for reality contestants near Hollywood / Universal City. A casting agent was waiting outside the hotel to welcome me.

"I’m soooooo glad to meet you!! We’re soooooo glad you’re here! Welcome to L.A.! Would you like something to eat?"

These people catered to my every need! I mean, the casting agents were so upbeat and positive, it was hard NOT to be enthused. I told them they were great sales people. One agent told me, "This is just the way we are". Right......

After I settled into my room, I had my first interview with the executive producer. I was exhausted, since I was still on Central time and it was quite late, but I managed to get through the taped interview process easily and with great ease. I’ve always felt natural in front of the camera, maybe because I’m such a drama queen. The producer questioned me extensively, about everything. It’s not like they didn’t already have my life history after the background check, but they wanted it all. He made me feel very comfortable, and besides, I was impressed with the fact that he used to work on a major television network.

I'm In, I'm On the Show!

Mr. Executive Producer called me, a few days later, and said they would be coming to my hometown to shoot some footage and tape interviews with me and two of my family members. This was actually part of the show, the rest was to be taped in L.A. at a later date. They didn’t tell me they would be bringing the host of the show with them. In fact, I never watched his movies, but I knew who he was. You can imagine my surprise when, two weeks later, I walked into the lobby of a local hotel to meet the crew and producers, and there he was! I thought he looked familiar, you know, like maybe he was someone I went to school with. I turned to one of the producers and said, "Hey, he looks like an older ------ ------". And the producer said, "He is XXXX XXXX !". I think they got a kick out of that. Then I realized, XXXXXX had been viewing my audition tapes and interviews in preparation for shooting! He acted like he already knew me, so I felt pretty comfortable. I mean, why not? He’s just another person who happens to have a high profile job. We talked quite a bit. I found him to be a very interesting person. I’m sorry I can’t reveal his name, but you know the old ‘confidentiality agreement’, coming back to haunt me. Good grief, will it ever disappear?

The main interview, with me and the Host, was to be taped the next day. This would be the plot of my episode, a narration of my dream and the phobia that plagued me, so it had to be done carefully. We used my mother’s house to shoot the footage, and let me tell you, we had no idea what was involved. When I asked my mother about using her house to tape some footage, she asked me, " How many crew members will be coming?" I told her I thought about four or five people with a camera. NOT! Let’s see, five rental cars and approximately ten crew members, not to mention the extra that drove down from the network subordinate in Little Rock. And not to mention the number of lights, cameras, and equipment that filled her living area (they moved the furniture out). On top of the fact that they turned my mother’s house into a studio, they used the spare bedroom for a makeup /dressing room for the Host to use. So, when my expected ‘four or five people’ turned into a mass production, Mom made sure she played the part of a top notch southern hostess, offering the camera men cake and coffee. Of course, my father was in the dark about what was going on. We told him I was working on a project with some California folks, but he seemed to roll right with it. What a day!

Reaching the Semi-Finals.

The next morning, I had breakfast with Mr. Executive Producer, the Casting Director Assistant, a Production Assistant, and three of the other contestants. I found out we were the first four of over twenty people chosen for the finals. We formed an immediate bond and labeled ourselves the ‘First Four’. It made us feel like we were their top choices ( I found out later this was true). In addition, this was a brand new reality show, and we felt totally privileged to be the first four contestants considered for this particular show. After breakfast, we were whisked away for our medical exams.

In the afternoon, we had some free time. Our babysitter, the casting director's assistant, took us all over Hollywood. We made the legendary walk down Hollywood Blvd and went to a lot of tourist traps. I clowned around the whole time, naturally, and held nothing back. This was my day! We had a totally awesome time and ended up in a gourmet pizza restaurant in a Hollywood mall. The day was totally exhausting, but worth it, especially since I didn’t have to foot the bill! Later that night, we got to meet the top producer for the show. I don’t know what I expected, but he didn’t look like my concept of a traditional producer. He was an average guy with a family, just like everyone else. He’d done a lot of work on reality shows.

The next day, we had our psychological examinations. I had to leave immediately afterwards in order to catch my flight home, so I never got a chance to say a proper goodbye to my new friends. After all, we were the ‘First Four’ and we were going to be reality stars on a new show that was going to be a hit. Sure. I never saw them again, we weren’t allowed to exchange addresses until after the show aired. Right. After it aired.

Taping on location in Arkansas
Taping on location in Arkansas

Hurry Up and Wait!

The episode taping was only half over. I still had to make another trip to L.A. to shoot the final "challenge". I had four weeks to mentally and spiritually prepare. The fun part was over, now it was time to face this thing, head on. It was a personal battle between me and the fear that plagued me. I was more than just another attention-seeking reality contestant. I considered myself a strong person who was, for years, tormented by a totally ridiculous, illegitimate fear of heights and the dreams that accompanied it. Sounds a bit like Fear Factor, huh? Remember this: People who are Fraidey-Cats don’t go on Fear Factor; and I’m a Fraidey-Cat.

On the way to the set.
On the way to the set.

Another Trip to L.A.

The day arrived to leave for L.A. While I was in DFW Airport, my son called me from overseas and said,"Go for it, Mom. You kick butt!" My daughter, who participated in the interviews, also encouraged me. When I arrived in L.A., the casting department were getting ready to leave for the day. They suggested I call room service, then I was alone to contemplate my expectations for the next day. When morning arrived, I prepared myself for the day and opened the Gideon’s Bible to Isaiah 41:10... "Fear not, for I am with you: Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand". I carried those words in my heart.

The casting agent who originally contacted me, Cindy, met me in the lobby and drove me to the set location. I had my own trailer! Hey, I was a Star for the day! Cool; I mean, how many people can say they were a Star for a day? They even gave me a couple of lines. So, by the time we started to shoot the first scene, I was really getting into it, so I hammed it up a little. One of the producers said, "Hey, this is reality television....stop acting!"

Ha! I was doing what came naturally. That’s what I thought! We broke for lunch, a catered Tex-Mex meal, then we had a short lapse before the final "challenge

Scene from the roof top....
Scene from the roof top....

The Challenge

If you can imagine being scared of something to the point that it physically pushes you down, then you can relate to how severe my phobia was. It was that strong. When it was time for me to actually face this thing, any preconceived ideas I’d had about proving to the world what a comedian I could be when faced with my ridiculous fear were blown out the window. When the stunt girl came in, dressed exactly like me, she cinched me up in a safety harness. It was so tight I nearly peed my pants, and I hadn't even done my challenge yet! Literally. You see, when I realized what I was actually going to have to do, I looked at the crew and said, "You gotta be crazy". They wanted me to climb a fire escape. For an instant, I wanted to quit. There was no way I could do it! No Way!! I remembered the scripture " I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". (Philippians 4:13). I summoned all the inner strength I had and felt a tremendous struggle going on within me. Then, I stepped out onto a place I’d never been before: a fire escape landing. Let me tell you, I felt very alone at that moment. But I wasn’t alone. There were three of us who stepped onto the landing that day: me, Jesus, and the devil. Not to mention the casting extras standing on each landing dressed up like bell boys from the 30's! The battle was on! As I began my ascent, I cried, I prayed, I sang. I even prayed in the spirit! (Can you imagine the sound men tapping their earphones trying to figure out why they couldn’t understand me!) At this point, I'm sure the producers were thinking how I'd ruined their production with my over-zealous Christian faith. I didn't care, I only know that I did everything I could do to get through the next few moments. It was the scariest thing I’d ever done in my life, and I did it with my eyes ‘wide shut’! ( I really had my eyes shut, no lie). This wasn’t just a bad dream I was re-enacting, it was a real fear. I focused on God, on healing, on finishing! I was going to make it. I screamed at the top of my lungs. I was screaming and rebuking the devil to leave, I was calling on God to rescue me, and I was letting myself be the voice. Finally, I heard another voice (the host) above me, "Almost there!" I was so relieved!

This is what post traumatic stress looks like.
This is what post traumatic stress looks like.

Relief and Post Traumatic Stress!

Thank God, was it really over? Had I made it? I can truthfully say that the minute I reached the top, it was over for me. I was victorious! I jumped up and began to sing, "Look What the Lord Has Done" while the cameras rolled. This was the real meaning of my desire to participate in the show; to overcome adversity in the midst of fear! I had to prove to myself that I could do it. Not with my will, but His. But, alas, Hollywood has it’s twists. It was over for me, but not for them, naturally. In order to complete the challenge and win the "big bucks", I had to do just one more thing: climb a rope ladder attached to the fire escape!! I’d already been up six flights and was approximately 80 feet high, now they wanted another 15 feet! It was my turn to say ‘NO’. Who was I to put God to the test? I already had the victory! I didn’t complete the challenge, but who cares? I faced my fear! I have a new saying, these days: It’s better to face your fear and fail than never face your fear at all! But, who lost? Certainly, not I.

I was traumatized from the experience, yet I felt a sense of accomplishment I’ve never known before. For the next couple of days I experienced a range of feelings: from extreme confidence, to spells of breaking down and weeping. I was exhibiting the symptoms of post traumatic stress and recognized the signs. In addition, I had recently stepped out in faith and confronted a career change by leaving the comfort of a stable job and starting the last few classes for my college degree. A triple whammy! After a few days, I was almost back to normal. Almost. You see, once you’ve experienced something like this, nothing is ever the same. Ever. And the bad thing about it is that I’m held in bondage by the dreaded confidentiality agreement. There it is again. I don’t know what’s worse, the post traumatic stress or the binding torture of being prohibited from telling others the complete facts. Come on, is it really fair? Legally, yes. I signed a contract. It’s legal and binding. Ha! Binding, no joke. Is it ethically fair? Not really, but Hollywood isn’t known for it’s fair work ethic, either. It boils down to this: The accomplishment of the total experience was worth all of the stress, anxiety, elation, and legalities I had to endure.

Waiting again....

After the excitement was over, all I had to do was wait for the show to air. So, I waited. And waited, and waited. The production company called me once to ask me what my occupation title was. That was the last time I heard from them. Then nothing. I continued checking the web sites for new information, but the proposed air date continued to change. After approximately eight months, I stumbled upon an on-line interview with the Host of the show. In the interview, he confirmed the show had been ‘shelved’ by the network and was, more than likely, ‘gone forever’. What a disappointment! And worse, the production company nor the network ever bothered to contact me or any of the other contestants. It’s like we never existed, we’re out there in Never Never Land with the cancelled pilot and six episodes collecting dust on the cutting room floor.

I tried calling the production company, once, to find out where I stood with the confidentiality agreements, but they never returned my call. I was determined to get an answer, so I e-mailed the network on their website’s public feedback section. After about three weeks, a member of the law department answered my e-mail and wanted to know exactly ‘how I wanted to share my experience on the show with others’. So I promptly answered him. About ten days later, he sent me a new addendum to my original contract. The addendum allowed me to tell of my experience, yet prohibited me from revealing the network, name of the show, or the production company involved. In addition, it must not be for exploitation purposes, whatever that means. They may as well have slapped me in the face with a wet fish. ( I sent an e-mail, about it, to the creator of a particular reality-show-based website who said he was amazed and appalled at the restriction. ) So, I weighed the restrictions on a scale of "what’s best" and decided I’d rather tell people about the experience and leave out the name, rather than not talk about it at all. It’s that simple.


I must address the issue of my phobia. After the show, I was a wreck. Every time I saw a building with a fire escape my hands shook and became cold & clammy. But there's an upside to this. My over-all fear of heights diminished to the point that I was actually able to climb the open staircase at the college library! Before, I was never able to go up the stairs to the book store, it was a complete disaster. The day I walked into the store, stepped onto the first step and walked to the top with ease, I knew it was worth it all!!! Best of all, I was able to climb other staircases that I'd previously been too terrified to attempt! I can go up or down escalators with ease. How's that for victory! I still have a problem with very high, open places. But I'm telling you guys, my fear has alleviated to the point that it NO LONGER controls my life! I give God four stars & all the glory for this!

Let Down.

So, here I am. A victim of network programming etiquette, locked in a prison of Hollywood legalities, looking for some kind of closure. I feel like I’ve been left hanging. (Yeah, from a rope ladder 80 feet up!) I want to see my episode, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I found out one thing for sure, though. The host of the show was still talking about me a few months after taping. He gave an interview to a certain website concerning the show’s cancellation. Then he mentioned me. He described me as a’ fundamentalist, born-again Christian who was a great person.’ That really made me feel better. He said as they were taping my "challenge", they were thinking that the episode’ wasn’t going to make it’, but my personality was so strong, it turned out to be an interesting show. Now that really made me happy! Maybe it can be my ‘closure’ on the experience. Even if the show never airs, anywhere, at least I know that I made some sort of an impression on the producers, crew, and assistants. If they remember me as ‘that Jesus Freak from Arkansas who spoke in tongues on the fire escape’; that makes me happy! Whatever way you look at it, I’m positive I’m not the only reality show contestant who feels this way. I don’t know about the other contestants, and I certainly can’t speak for them, but I’m totally changed from the experience. So, I guess I’ll be forever content to be cast in the role of ‘reality show reject’. But I got the victory, anyway. It’s as simple as that.


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    • CMerritt profile image

      Chris Merritt 

      7 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Great story! I always wondered what all was involved with some of these shows. Glad to hear that you was treated well during the process.

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      7 years ago from Northeast Texas

      chelsea: you bet your sweet bippy that show-biz is brutal!

    • chelseacharleston profile image


      8 years ago

      Show biz can be brutal lol. But great experience and it def made a good story! :)

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      8 years ago from Northeast Texas

      The Grandma: Ha! You got that right.....we never knew we had it. Too bad all that great talent went 'up in smoke' back then!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      What an interesting story! Who woulda thought all that talent for storytelling was inside when we were laying around listening to Pink Floyd The Wall!!!

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      8 years ago from Northeast Texas

      Thanks Anna! I'm glad you liked the's all real. Glad I got to meet you too. I had a blast.

    • annaw profile image


      8 years ago from North Texas

      Girl this is a short story - that I loved! 500 words be gone!You are a fantastic writer! I would not have imagine your reality show experience being as such. I love your take on the whole thing. It reminds me of the time I decided to audition for an over the top comedy at a local theatre. Trust me I am not actor and my sense of humor leaves at lot to be desired,I still had a ball and was not disappointed I did not get a part. I was just happy to have done it.

      Oh, by the way it was a pleasure meeting you at Hubcamp, you have a special way about you. Keep making people laugh

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      9 years ago from Northeast Texas

      Art: Thanks!! It was worth it all...

      loopyloo777: Thanks Lacie! I wish you could have been there!

      Amar Sagar Copra: Hey your name means Ima Cigar to Chop ya! Thanks for the input. You are exactly right in your comment. I also believe that my story can be an "uncovering". Worse than commission sales....Build up your ego, boost your self esteem, tell you how great you are to butter you up to suck the life outta you so they can make the big bucks off your performance. Ta-dah!! But it was still a good experience. Go figure....

    • profile image

      Amar Sagar Chopra 

      9 years ago

      your case is a classic example of a failed pilot episode! there is nothing more to it than the fact that the "idea" may have been worth a try, but once tried, didn't make an interestingly executed show!

      blame the producer's skinny pockets, the director's inability to deliver, or the pizza that wasn't ordered on the right day at the right time!! the show failed!! and you came out a changed person!! but now!! take the flip side!!

      imagine if the show had aired!! and imagine yet further, that you did not like what you saw on TV (particularly about yourself), would you think the the price you paid to be free from acrophobia was infact the passageway to a new fear after incessantly wondering what others might have thought about you?

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hello "mom" LOL. I really enjoyed reading more about this. I'm so afraid to stand on a chair and change a light bulb it's unreal. I WILL NOT get on a ladder either, and for you to do what you did is AMAZING!!!! You are a strong woman, so in a way it doesn't surprise me that you was able to do it. So what do you suggest on my fear of people hiding in the shadows?? LOL, but seriously I won't go too far outside at dark. My house is bolted down like Ft Knox at night. I have OCD to the point where every time I walk by my door I have to check the locks, even though I did it 10 min earlier. It's terrible and drives my hubby up the wall! Maybe one day I can face my fears too. Love you!!!!

    • Art 4 Life profile image

      Art 4 Life 

      9 years ago from in the middle of nowhere....

      wow girl....they really put you through the ringer!! But, your courage was outstanding, and I congratulate you for that...I hate heights myself, and I dont know if I could have done what you did...great hub, I am rating you UP!!!

      Hugs to you friend... Jan

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      9 years ago from Northeast Texas

      Lamme: Thank you so much for your comment! I'm pleased to share my experience with others.

    • Lamme profile image


      9 years ago

      That's an amazing story. Congratulations on facing your fear!

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      9 years ago from Northeast Texas

      Brenda: Thank you so much. I'm happy to have shared it with you. Amen!!!

    • profile image

      Brenda Durham 

      9 years ago

      What a story!

      Very cool, donotfear!

      I once wrote a poem about my own fear of heights; I can't find it yet or else it would be posted in a hub. Unlike you, though, I never overcame that fear except in the knowledge of the hereafter!

      Thanks for sharing this. I agree that you had the victory even though the film isn't publicly aired! Praise God!

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      9 years ago from Northeast Texas

      zzron: Yes, it was truly an incredible journey!

      Debby Bruck: thank you for your input. It feels great to be free! Conquering fear is a difficult hurdle indeed.

      Granny: Thank you and I will 'go girl'!!!

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 

      9 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      Great story, well written. I loved the fact you won in the end. You Go Girl!!

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 

      9 years ago

      This is a true story of bravery and courage. I think writing this hubpage freed you from your prison! The power of the word. Love, Debby

    • zzron profile image


      9 years ago from Houston, TX.

      Wow what an experience that was ! ! !

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      9 years ago from Northeast Texas

      skye2day: Thanks again for your encouraging words!

      Mikel: I'm glad to know you understand now. And yep, you're right. I did come out 'on top' if ya get my drift!

    • Mikel G Roberts profile image

      Mikel G Roberts 

      9 years ago from The Heartland

      I think I understand your Nic better now. I enjoyed your piece, and I am glad that in the end, you were the true winner, the winner of freedom from your phobia.

      Congrats, Mikel

    • skye2day profile image


      10 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Hello do not fear. Wowzer. These'people'sound 'crazed' to want to air something so bazaar. A 'worldly' thing for sure. Lets air peoples fears, make money at the expense of others. Thank God it did not make it. God is for you not against you. Lets show the kids and world to 'overcome' by actually doing something that is not a reasonable risk. That is my opinion. I am SURE that blew their minds your praying and tongue speaking. That rocks.

      I applaud you for showing others your dependence is the Creator. He is Lord of your life.This could have sent odd messages to many that do not believe or some that do. They could try something ludicrous on their own. It is like showing skinny, dying, twigs on TV saying this is how to look for 'Hollywood'. It is a lie. God takes our fears from us when we choose. He is not the master of fear the devil (take off the d) the evil one is a liar, thief. killer. You grew much from this and Christ will restore you. Believe to receive and you will sister in Christ. I landed on a comment you left PastorD so I came by for a visit. Be encouraged child of God. He has much work for you. This is part of your testimony. Congrats on your new work. Jesus loves you.

      I am part of your following now. Please visit my hubs I would be honored. Big Hugs

      in JOY PEACE and LOVE + + +

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      10 years ago from Northeast Texas

      Ralwus, I don't blame you for not wanting to get involved with 'one of those Hollywood things'. I don't know which bureaucracy is worst: Hollywood or Washington DC.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Well it is something I would not do, get involved with one of those Hollywood things. I live reality enough. Good story and I am happy it did help you some anyway.

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      10 years ago from Northeast Texas

      Marisa Wright: Great suggestion on changing the story. I will try it when I feel the great 'inspiration' light! Wish I had a picture of the actual experience to share! But I wasn't allowed to take my camera onto the actual set in L.A. I did, however, take some pictures on location here in Arkansas, in my trailer before the 'challenge' and at the hotel hideout with casting agents.

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      10 years ago from Northeast Texas

      darkside: thanks! There have been tons of pilots shelved before they ever make it on the air. I know of one contestant who participated in 3 reality show pilots that never made it on the tube. I'd love to send the story in to a magazine, but I'm afraid it may fall under the 'exploitation' category, as you mentioned. Besides, it takes away from the story somewhat to never mention the actual network (one of the 3 major) and the Vincent Price type of host (R.E.) Regardless, Hollywood doesn't own me! And they can't take the experience away from me either!

    • Marisa Wright profile image

      Kate Swanson 

      10 years ago from Sydney

      I'd love to see this rewritten to make it "tighter" (I read it because I had read your earlier references to the story, but others would have given up halfway through).

      How about starting with a description and photo of your terrifying experience, then go back and describe how you got there?

    • darkside profile image


      10 years ago from Australia

      I for one am glad that you shared your experience with us. I wonder how many other shows have been shelved or individuals who have found themselves on the cutting room floor.

      You should think about sending in your story to a womens magazine. Though would that come under 'exploitation'? Even though that's exactly what they do with the contestants/reality actors.

    • rls8994 profile image


      10 years ago from Mississippi

      Wow, what an experience. Great story.

    • profile image

      Deborah Sexton 

      10 years ago

      Very interesting..I too am not comfortable with heights..However I would not like to cure it the way you did :)

    • Michael Willis profile image

      Michael Willis 

      10 years ago from Arkansas

      Thanks for sharing this experience. It is a bummer they will not let you talk about the "show." Especially if it got shelved.

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      10 years ago from Northeast Texas

      Thank you all very much for your encouragement. this truly was an experience that will be with me the rest of my life.

    • Miss Markayla profile image

      Miss Markayla 

      10 years ago from Indiana

      I love this story- you really need to be writing books. (If you aren't already.) You make people feel like they are right there with you. Even though you didn't get to see the episode- you have certainly given all all of us an episode in our minds. What a story!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      10 years ago

      Great job! Thanks for the insight!

    • Gerg profile image


      10 years ago from California

      Very interesting story, donotfear - thanks for sharing your experience!


    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      10 years ago from Northeast Texas

      Thank you Veronica. I needed that. Wonderful encouragement from a true kindrid spirit!

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      I loved this donotfear.

      I love how you turned this into a positive experince regardless of the fact that the show didn't air. Hey, when life hands you lemons....

      The fact that you conquered your phobia to a great measure and that you made such an impression on others is definetly a plus. You never know what doors may be opened to you in the future due to this expereince.

      In my opinion, any experience that has you speaking in tongues is definetly worth sharing :)

      Thank you for another great read.

    • donotfear profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Thomas 

      10 years ago from Northeast Texas

      Well now, hello hello. That's an interesting comment. I can certainly see where the situation can be read this way. Yes, it's true, reality contestants have no rights, they sign them away. Unless, of course, the show is a hit and their agent arranges many public appearances later. Then it benefits both the contestant & the network. In this case, however, it didn't work out that way. So what did I gain from this experience? Self-validation. The fact that I was one of the top four contestants chosen from thousands of others allowed me to realize that I was a valuable & talented individual. At the time,I'd been in a job where I was not recognized for my talents. So one can see how the experience was such a boost of adrenlin. I have no regrets. It was one of the best experiences of my life (except for the 5 minutes I was on the fire escape). Can you imagine being in a situation where you must give your TOTAL trust to God to make it through? This was it for me. The phobia I had was debilitating. I'm happy to say my life was changed for the better!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      10 years ago from London, UK

      An awful experience and and story. I am sorry. Thank you for your hub. It might help somebody to avoid being used.


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