Is It Worth Selling Out For Reality TV?Jo Dee Messina
Like most businesses, the music business has its lucrative times of year and then times where things slow down. Record sales peak in the fourth quarter and touring doesn’t start to get heavy until April or May with fairs and festivals. During this year’s “slow season” I’ve chosen to use this time to concentrate on writing songs and finishing my new album. Simply speaking, I had decided to take time and money to reinvest in my career, but then, I was approached by a reality show.
Obviously, I can’t tell you which one, but I will say it paid A LOT of money. The money made doing the show would have offset the expenses of making an album. It also would have made the people that make commission off of me a nice chunck of change during a usually slow income season. I had passed on the show in the middle of the summer, but they came back with an even larger offer and I was feeling pressure to accept it.
Hear me out. As an artist, being part of a reality show is something people around you dream of. It’s free promotion. You’re on TV weekly and it’s easier for them to push you in several arenas such as sponsors, advertising, appearances, etc. But here’s the catch: the show involved bringing my family into
confrontational situations and exposing my kids to strangers and cameras 24/7. The show sets up circumstances that test your marriage and puts you in positions you wouldn’t normally be in. Call me old -fashioned, but, that didn’t sit well with me. The very worst part to me was involving the children. One thing I try to provide for my kids, who are at the ages of 1 and 4, is consistency. I try to keep to teach them how to respectfully deal with others and try to keep our home life as drama-free as possible. This makes for boring TV, but it’s what I think is best for my kids. I don’t feel it’s worth selling out on that for money for recognition. And I especially don’t feel it’s worth selling my kids out for.
I was sent what’s called a “trailer” or a “pitch reel” from the show. My husband and I sat down and watched it together to take the offer into serious consideration. Keep in mind the people around me who profit really wanted me to take the deal. After about a minute my husband walked away. I continued to watch in the hope that it would show some glimmer of possibility. Unfortunately, when it was done I felt defeated. Doing the show wasn’t even an option in my mind. I always say you can be successful with integrity and NOTHING is worth selling that out for.
I took a deep breath and typed an email passing on the offer. I believe my children are to be protected. Their childhood is to be stable.
However, I still felt like I was giving away a winning lottery ticket, but I knew I had to do it. I then said a little prayer: “God, I know this is not something that would make you proud.” and pressed “send.”
When I told my husband that this would be an interesting blog post, he said, “You think? Ask people what they would do. I’d like to know if anyone thinks it’s worth it.”
People want you to sell out who you are for ratings. You are not a person to these shows. You are a character. The only problem is, the PERSON from these shows has to recover from any damage that has been during taping as their character. The obvious example: impressions left on the children. In some cases, kids are resilient and in others, not so much. With our kids so young, we can’t know that. I don’t think any amount of money is worth taking that chance.
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