Inside Track makes breaking into reality television a reality for Tucson community
Headshots of panelists Josh Murphy, Nir Caspi and Ryane Belafsky. Murphy, Caspi and Belafsky are some of the panelists at Inside Track, a panel about breaking into reality television.
Some viewers hate it, some love it and others consider it a guilty pleasure, but there’s no denying the popularity of reality TV.
For students and members of the community looking to find employment opportunities in the world of non-scripted television, Film Tucson and The Hanson Film Institute are collaborating to hold another Inside Track panel all about breaking into reality television.
It has been a booming subsection of the entertainment business for the past couple decades. Audiences have been captivated by reality shows ever since they began chronicling and dramatizing the daily lives of interesting subjects.
“I always watched ‘Real World,’ ‘Cops,’ all that stuff that kind of started reality TV,” said Ryane Belafsky, a reality television producer. “It made sense to go into it because I loved it so much and I watched so much of it.”
Belafsky is one of the featured Inside Track panelists and a UA media arts alumus. After graduating in 2008, she worked a handful of different jobs in the entertainment industry, including an associate producer at Country Music Television, before taking a leap of faith and going into production.
After a little less than five years of production work, Belafsky has an impressive resume that includes producing episodes of “Last Comic Standing,” “Face Off” and “Are You the One?” to name a few. She is currently working on “OutDaughtered,” a new program on TLC about parents with a set of quintuplet daughters.
Belafsky has made some lasting connections with her cast through her job and the various programs she has been a part of.
“You’re in these people’s lives every single day and they need to trust you,” Belafsky said. “Even after shows are cancelled, you still keep in touch with people.”
Belafsky hopes her experiences and advice on producing non-scripted television will help the Inside Track attendees in their efforts to break into the field. She advises those looking to break in to start at the bottom and be willing to work hard to rise through the ranks.
“You just learn things you can’t learn in school,” Belafsky said. “It’s fast, I would say especially to women, and you have to work hard and smart.”
While Belafsky specializes in production, Nir Caspi is bringing his experience as an non-scripted television agent to the panel. Caspi, a graduate of UA’s Eller College of Management, found his way into reality television after spending several years developing phone apps with a friend.
Caspi said he originally wanted to work his way up to being a talent agent when he first got a job in the talent agency’s mailroom. But when a desk opened up in non-scripted television, he snagged the opportunity.
“Really quickly I fell in love with the business,” said Caspi, a William Morris Endeavor non-scripted agent. “I kind of fell into this department, but I’m glad that I did. I always say that if I was in another department, I may not be here today.”
As a non-scripted agent, Caspi represents production companies, producers and talent that creates all kinds of nonfiction programs. While reality shows are the main focus of the Inside Track panel, non-scripted agents like Caspi work in everything from game shows to documentaries.
Caspi is working with reality television production companies like GRB and Screening Fleet that produce “Intervention” and “Hoarders,” respectively, and also represents documentary filmmakers like “Amanda Knox” filmmaker Brian McGinn.
Caspi also helps bring together clients in order to create packages for nonfiction ideas to be sold to networks.
“Right now, I represent a filmmaker who just did a documentary and I’m partnering him up with one of our bigger production companies to develop a concept for television to take out to the market,” Caspi said. “We try to add elements here internally to help the sale of these projects, whether it’s attaching The Rock [Dwayne Johnson] or Mark Wahlberg or LeBron James.”
Alongside Belafsky and Caspi will be with Josh Murphy, head of development at Pilgrim Studios and Anthony Michaels, a Tucson-based tattoo artist and the winner of “Ink Master” season seven.
Lorna Soroko, a writer, producer, television development executive and entertainment lawyer, will be moderating the panel.
Inside Track begins at 4 p.m. and is free to the public. The winner of the reality television pitch competition will also be announced and given a chance to pitch their show idea to the panelists and receive feedback in front of the audience. For anyone interested in reality television as a career or simply curious about what goes into an episode of “Real Housewives of Orange County,” it’s an opportunity not to be missed.
Follow Victoria Pereira on Twitter.