Big Brother – Casting Guide

Big Brother Logo
  • Contestants: 16 per Season
  • Top Prize: $500,000
  • Selectivity: 5 Star
In this popular CBS reality series hosted by Julie Chen since it’s first season in 2000, a group of contestants called HouseGuests are filmed day and night as they live in a house together, isolated from the rest of the world. At the end of this summer season show, there is a winner and a runner-up. The winner receives $500,000. This show is one of the most competitively cast reality shows on any network. Due to the number of episodes that air each week, and the fact that everything airs live, this is one of the absolutely best opportunities to get your name and face known by the American audience. Many former house guests have been able to leverage their stardom.

Big Brother Overview & Strategy

HouseGuests on Big Brother are constantly under surveillance in a custom built home in Los Angeles. The HouseGuests face eviction depending upon the rules of that season’s game, usually by being ‘voted out’ by the other HouseGuests. Many of the previous seasons have had some sort of twist, such as having the American public vote for household choices, all the HouseGuests having a secret partner, or being put into cliques during the weekly challenges. HouseGuests have a chance to win the ‘Power of Veto’ which they can use to save other HouseGuests from eviction. Also, each week the HouseGuests compete to be Head of Household, winning them various responsibilities such as helping decide who will be up for eviction. With the various twists each season, there are often extra ways for contestants to make money even if they are not the ultimate winner. For instance, the twelfth season saw a ‘Saboteur’ trying to secretly stir up trouble for a chance to win $50,000.

Winning the prize money involves differing strategies. Not one particular personality type is always the winner, proving that there are different ways to be the champion. This is what makes Big Brother unique compared to reality shows where the main focus is physical challenges or having specific skill sets. Sure, there are various endurance or quiz-type competitions to become the coveted Head of Household, but really any one of the HouseGuests could end up being the final winner. Being flexible to change your game strategy if necessary is key to being ready for anything.

Some important extras to keep in mind about ‘playing the game’:

  • Play Nice – Since evictions are based on different things depending on the season, it is important to keep in mind the importance of playing nice. Many seasons saw evicted HouseGuests making the final votes, while others had the American public, who just viewed the best and worst moments, voting for your destiny.

  • To Trust or Not to Trust – You will have no communication with anyone except the other HouseGuests living with you. Finding friends and alliances is often necessary for sanity reasons, as well as staying through the whole season. That being said, there is prize money at stake, so nobody can really be fully trusted.

  • Strategy – While the show began as more of a social experiment, it has morphed into a social game with competitive and strategic elements. Be prepared to have a few strategy ideas for how to stay in the house until the end.

  • 24 Hours a Day – You will be on camera 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. While the show is aired on CBS each week for the television viewing public, remember that every action you do can be seen and heard by the public on varying media forms, such as streaming on the internet. You can’t be easily embarrassed or worried about having any privacy. Make choices that you don’t mind being seen by the public.

  • Personalities Clashes – You may find that you are living with people who you would not normally care to be around, let alone live with. You may also be with people who don’t like you! Being stuck in the house with many different, strong personalities will be one of the most challenging parts of the show, but staying true to yourself will help get you through it. Plus, that prize money is quite the motivator!

Big Brother Casting Process

There is a short online application for Big Brother. Before filling it out, you should make a 3 minute video and save it and a photo of yourself to your computer to upload with your application. If you don’t have the capabilities to make a video, there is a video recorder option in the online application so you can record one while applying. Another option is visiting one of the open calls in various US cities, though this is not a necessity if you make a video.

In the online application you will need to write a ‘self biography’ of up to 70 words. This isn’t much, so on top of making a very exciting video, you will need to articulate yourself well in under 70 words.

Tips to make your personality shine through in your casting video:
  • Experiences – Explain a few real life experiences, honestly and enthusiastically.

  • Censorship – There’s no need to censor yourself. Say what comes to your mind

  • Have a Hook – What makes you unique? How would you describe yourself to others, in one sentence?

  • Editing – You don’t need fancy editing or video-making tricks. The show is about the personalities of the HouseGuests, and the casting people want to see yours clearly in the video.

Online applications are accepted year round, but for the 2015 season the deadline is May 15th. Applicants must be fully available April 17th-24th and May 15th-27th if chosen for the final round of casting and for the duration of the show’s filming if chosen as a HouseGuest. Exact filming dates for the show are still to be determined, but should begin around the end of June and last for a few months.

Remember, you will have no contact with any friends or family from home during your time on the show, even if evicted. You will need to commit to the full time of shooting.

Big Brother Application Restrictions

  • Must be 21+ Years Old
  • Must be a US Citizen
  • Must have a recent Photo
  • Must have an application Video

When you have the video and photos, you can apply using the Big Brother Application Form.

Finally, if you applied to be on this show, we’d love to hear your story whether or not you were selected to appear on air. Feel free to click the link below to share your story with us and our readers.