Attention budding renovators and reality stars: applications for The Block 2019 are open.
If sleep depravation, excess stress and living among camera crews are your thing, then it’s time to get your application together for next year’s season.
This year, 45,000 people applied to be a part of the show. So, how in the world do you stand out from the crowd?
According to casting director Lucky Price, who has cast 12 seasons of the show, he actively seeks an audition video that “breaks the rhythm”. After all, he is reviewing applications for two months straight, seven days a week.
“I want something that is going to break the rhythm of me going through video after video, application after application,” Price says.
“We aren’t looking for presenters, a lot of people do have scripts in their application video. We don’t need scripts, because we don’t have scripts on the show. I am more interested in what happens when you stuff up the script and how well you respond to that.”
Former Block contestants Bec and George Douros applied for the seventh season and won a coveted spot in the series. In hindsight, they believe it was their candid approach that clinched it for them.
“I think unconsciously our application ended up looking like how The Block is filmed. We did walk-throughs and also interview-style questions and answers with each other to the camera without focusing on the camera so the casting director could really see what we would be like on the show,” Bec says.
“We asked each other questions that neither of us knew were coming so the responses weren’t rehearsed at all. George has a huge phobia of tomatoes and I have never understood it and people think it’s a funny thing to be afraid of, so we laughed in length about that. When we got the call back to meet the casting director he said it was a memorable story and he went home to tell his partner about it,” she says.
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For Price, that’s his bottom line.
“I just think, do I want to know more about these people? My honest test is, do I want to have a beer with you? The odds are, if I want to connect with these people, the rest of Australia might, too.”
According to season seven’s Alisa and Lysandra Fraser, they made a conscious decision to let their personalities fly in their audition tape.
“We both have strong opinions and people always know where they stand with us. We don’t hold back when we want to make a point and we have strong emotional reactions to things. I guess that all made for an interesting mix,” Lysandra says.
Price says one of the most memorable applications was season five’s Dan Reilly and Dani Wales, who he notes as a “great success story” of the show.
“The thing about them – and this is a good clue on how to make a good application video – was they just made sure to be themselves. I know that sounds obvious, but all we want is for people to be their true selves in front of a camera.
“Dan and Dani were like that from the get-go. They did something silly: They were dancing and singing along the Yarra River to theMasterChef theme song, before Dani slapped Dan on the arse and called him a goose. The two then joked about how they were actually applying for The Block. There was nothing false or forced or fabricated about it.
“People don’t need to be flashy, you don’t need to spend money. Last year was the year of the drone shot,” he says, noting it has become common in applications.
For Price, the easiest ways to stand out are the simplest.
“Make sure we can see you and hear you and make sure both you and the person you’re applying with are in the application video.
“When filing out your application, don’t give one-sentence answers. Share as much detail as you can. It’s my first opportunity to meet you. Also, Don’t tell me you can do something, do it. Don’t tell me you’re funny, just be funny. Don’t tell me you have really good banter, just have good banter. Demonstrate it.”
More than anything, he encourages anyone applying to “have fun with it”.
“Don’t try to tick boxes for us or worry about what we’re looking for. That’s my job to worry about. Be yourself – that’s your job.”