Rebirth and Reboot: Reality Show Confessions
How, you may ask, does this tie in with reality shows? We all know they are the plague of intelligentsia worldwide and have single-handedly slam-dunked primetime TV drama. I admit, I used to be a reality show snob. Now, I confess, I’m a reality show junkie. With the aid of my trusty DVR—which ranks up there with my coffee grinder and French press as things most essential to my mental health-- I happily record American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, and So You Think You Can Dance. To research my next book, I ordered Season One of Miami Ink and used it to nurse my way through a nasty cold.
Have you noticed a theme to the shows I enjoy watching? Idol, DWTS and SYTYCD are all performance shows. As a writer, I am inspired by performance, art, music. I love to see creative interpretation, especially dance. I am filling my well, as Julia Cameron describes in The Artist’s Way. Or, in other words, I’m getting a reboot.
There are times when I see a performance, especially in Season 5 of SYTYCD, when the choreography, the story and the movement melded so perfectly that I was in awe of the artistry.
Photo credit: Vogue.com
The rehearsal footage showed his dancers – probably thirty years younger than him – clustered around the stage, watching him perform, emulating his moves – wanting to be him. And yet, not. He was in a plane of his own. In my mind, the highest plane of artistry.
Now, back to my confessions. I also love reality shows that reveal personal transformation. Good old rebirth. Transformation is a key element to developing a character arc, so I find it both fascinating and stimulating to watch “real” stories across all walks of life. I recently got hooked on Miami Ink for “research purposes.”(My third book, TATTOOED (August 2011), will feature a tattoo artist). What I love about Miami Ink is that the show’s format devotes a lot of time to the stories behind the tattoos.
And for me, I’ll happily devour a reality show when it’s about the art, the performance, and the stories of transformation that inspire it.
How about you? Do you have any favourite TV shows/performing artists that give you the reboot or fill your creative well?
Pamela Callow is the author of DAMAGED (June 2010), the first of four books in a new legal thriller series for MIRA Books -- and a Levy Home Entertainment "Need to Read" Pick for June!