Big Brother 13 Interview: Robyn Kass, Big Brother Casting Director| March 1, 2011 at 6:00 AM EDT
Every Big Brother preseason we’re flooded with auditioning questions on how to apply, nail the audition, and end up in the BB House. While I’d consider myself quite the Big Brother connoisseur and a dedicated fan since the first season I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to casting the best reality show evah, I only know what I’ve gleaned from those more adventurous than me. So, armed with a stack of the most often asked casting questions and my own curiosities of what goes on behind the curtain, I turned to Big Brother Casting Director Robyn Kass of Kassting Inc., who graciously agreed to be interviewed and share her unmatched insight.
Robyn Kass has lead the casting for Big Brother for the past decade since Big Brother 2 along with 26 other reality shows including Survivor, The Bachelor, and The Bachelorette. Having earned her first casting gig with Big Brother in 2001 it’s easy to see Robyn’s professional and personal interests shine through when it comes to making sure each season has the very best Houseguests possible.
So if you’re planning on filling out that Big Brother 13 application, submitting your audition video, and even attending every casting event in your area, then read on to find out everything you should know going in to the casting process.
Robyn Kass on making your Big Brother audition the best it can be:
Big Brother Network: What tends to grab your attention the most in an audition?
Robyn Kass, Kassting Inc.: It’s pretty easy to tell when someone is trying too hard. It’s difficult to explain, but we can tell if you’ve rehearsed what you’re gonna say. Don’t do it. Come in fresh minded, but willing to open up and talk. If we ask you a question, give explanations and stories to back up what you’ve said. We like examples…. if you say “I’m controversial” our next question will probably be “great, give us an example of being controversial….” that’s when there’s usually a LONG pause. Don’t say things if you can’t back it up.
BBN: What are the top three things you’d recommend avoiding during an audition?
Kass: 1. Avoid one word answers….. “So, it says on your application you have 7 sisters, wow”…. “yep”. We’ve just given you a huge opening to tell us about your big family and you answered with “yep”, happens all the time.
2. Avoid dressing in something that isn’t “YOU”. Please come to an audition dressed nice, I always say that, but dress in your style. If you’re not a suit and tie guy do not wear one. If you’re a girl who’s more comfortable in jeans, wear jeans and a cute top. You’ll do better in your audition if you look good, feel good and are comfortable.
3. Remember, it’s not a job interview. You do not have to be “PC” with your answers. Don’t worry about offending us or keeping it “clean”, if you’re a person who cusses, go for it. We want to see the real you…. I always tell people to talk to me like they’re having beers with their closest friends.
BBN: Settle the age old question. Which gives applicants a better chance: in-person audition or video submission?
Kass: Really, it doesn’t matter. At this time in the game, season 13, we know what we want….. we watch every tape that comes in and we watch the open calls too, so wherever you feel more comfortable. Some people are more at ease at home, with their friends around and some people like to meet us in person, some like to do both. We’ve had contestants on BB who have applied every way possible, so no right answer.
BBN: What’s the one thing you wish every applicant knew going in to his or her audition?
Kass: I like every person to be unique. I just wish everyone would relax and have a good time. Nothing worse than leaving an interview thinking “I wish I said this or that”.
Robyn Kass on past Big Brother Houseguests:
BBN: Which HG has surprised you the most once you saw him or her in action inside the house?
Kass: Hummmm, great question. I’m probably surprised at the same moments all the viewers are surprised….. Jerry motor boating April, Joe talking about STDs, Chima breaking rules, Howie with his “personal moments” in the pool shed…. I could probably go on. I’m guessing it would be the same list as any fan.
BBN: How often are HGs cast with the expectation to clash or hookup but end up getting along or having no chemistry?
Kass: We don’t really have any of those expectations going into the house. We know the stress of the house will bring out the best and worst in people and will result in conflict and romance, it just does. But we don’t go in thinking specific people will bump heads or hook up.
BBN: How many super fans keep showing up year after year like last season’s Matt Hoffman?
Kass: Lots, and I hope they never stop. I’m sure the true fans know how many cast members applied year after year before getting on (e.g., Dick, Dan, Kail, Matt, Ronnie)
Robyn Kass on Big Brother season themes:
BBN: Do auditions ever drive the season’s theme (as a pattern emerges) or do CBS and Allison Grodner Productions direct your team to look for certain angles/styles?
Kass: All twists come from CBS and AGP (Allison Grodner Productions).
BBN: Which past season theme has been your favorite to cast?
Kass: HA! Most fun?? The twists are always very difficult for us to cast. As difficult as the themes are it makes my job challenging and never dull. It’s Sophie’s Choice, I can’t choose. :)
BBN: If you could suggest a theme to production, what would it be and why?
Kass: Absolutely no idea.
A huge ‘Thank You!’ goes to Robyn Kass for taking the time to humor this Big Brother fanatic. I look forward to the work she and her team does every preseason and can’t wait to see who Kassting Inc. throws at us for Big Brother 13!
Learn more about Robyn Kass and Kassting Inc. at KasstingInc.com.
Photo credit: Carla Ray Thompson