Friday, November 20, 2009

Casting Director Morgan Fahey Gives the Real Scoop About Reality Television

By Chris LaRose

With the way reality television is today, odds are you know someone who knows someone who slept with somebody who has either been on a reality show, or has at least waited in line to audition for one. But what you may not know is just how complex of a process it is for the people who cast these shows to find the right cast members. Recently, Morgan Fahey, a casting director for such shows as "The Real World" and "Project Runway," spoke to a Plattsburgh State journalism class about her career and her experiences in casting such widely known programs.

Originally, Fahey had no intentions to go into casting for television programs, however, she had worked in post-production before. It was only when an old college friend told her about a position that had opened up in casting that Fahey decided to possibly take her career in that direction. After graduating from Wesleyan College, Fahey explained that she has always thought herself to be "very curious" and had the type of personality that could get anyone to open up to her. Lucky for her, these personality traits and her education at Wesleyan would come in very handy for a career in casting.

"I like casting shows where even I can learn something," Fahey said, "it's not always about just the selected cast members learning things about themselves." While she admits to not watching much reality television, "Project Runway" is still one of her favorites and she was thrilled to cast for season five of the hit show. "Project Runway was definitely the most difficult show to cast," she said, "because you're not only looking for A+ designers, but also personalities that will shine on television." It's these extreme personalities that Fahey says she is always looking for when casting, however, it can sometimes be difficult to decipher a real personality from someone just trying to end up on television.

Having been an integral part of casting for shows such as "Laguna Beach" and "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," Fahey says her job requires her to be "half psychologist and half investigative journalist - but without the ethics of either two." Regardless, she says she looks forward to the future of reality television, even though it seems that there are already established genres that a majority of the networks stick to. "I don't see much changing anytime soon," Fahey said, "but it will be interesting to see if anything new comes about... We've already wet the public's appetite."

What sets Fahey apart from others in her field is her strong personality and ability to talk to anyone about anything, because there is no kind of person she isn't interested in meeting. "My job has made me much more and much less social," Fahey said, regarding the impact it has had on her friendships and relationships with men. However, she admits that she loves her job and is grateful for all the opportunities it has opened up for her. "I had always wanted to be a writer," she said, "but being such an important part of the reality show business is something I will never regret."

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