Reality TV Writer

Weave raw footage from reality TV into interesting stories and plot lines.
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Quick Stats

Salary Range
$29,000 – $109,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Reality TV Writers do?

A Reality TV Writer turns raw reality TV footage into entertaining reality TV shows. For instance, what happens when you drop people on a desert island? When you make Chefs cook with one arm tied behind their back? Or when you put two celebrities in a room and ask them to accomplish a difficult task? Thanks to reality TV shows — and Reality TV Writers — you can find out.

Here’s how it works: In traditional scripted television, Television Writers collaborate to create fictional storylines that they turn into scripts, scenes from which are staged by Television Producers, performed by Actors, and filmed by Camera Operators. In reality television, the process is reversed. A Reality TV Producer stages scenes, which are filmed by Camera Operators and then shaped into storylines by Reality TV Writers.

Reality TV is therefore only half real. Although there are no scripts and no Actors, there are nonetheless conflicts and resolutions, triumphs and tragedies, and friends, lovers, and enemies. And when you’re a Reality TV Writer, they’re all shaped by you.

To create them, you first watch hours of unedited footage and read pages of notes taken by Video Loggers. Based on what you read and watch, you then develop a narrative in the form of a script, and collaborate with Video Editors to find and edit relevant footage. Along the way, you take notes from Producers, conduct additional cast interviews to support your story, and revise your script to accommodate new ideas and directions.

Because real life can be pretty boring sometimes — after all, nobody wants to watch people drink coffee, pick their teeth, and watch TV — it’s your job to make it exciting!

Should I be a Reality TV Writer?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Outside the Box Thinker: Your creative brainpower gets a workout as you come up with innovative ideas.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.

  • How to become a Reality TV Writer

    We recommend at least a Bachelor's degree. Check out these schools offering Reality TV Writer-related education!
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