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How to Get on Reality TV Course Starts at Gramercy School

By DNAinfo Staff on April 9, 2010 12:22pm  | Updated on April 9, 2010 5:08pm

New York Reality TV School students work the camera during a performance challenge.
New York Reality TV School students work the camera during a performance challenge.
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Eric Wolfe

By Nicole Breskin

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

GRAMERCY — You don’t need to know how to walk the catwalk like Tyra Banks or belt out a ballad like Kelly Clarkson to be on reality television.

All it takes to be "America’s Next Top Model" or the next "Top Chef" is a little coaching, and come June, you can get it at New York City's School of Visual Arts on E. 23rd Street.

The school is offering a “Get on Reality TV” course through their Continuing Education program this summer which will teach students all they need to know about how to land a spot on reality television.

“It’s not the best chef that necessarily gets on 'Top Chef,' or 'Hell’s Kitchen.' If you’re not confident and you don’t have a personality, you’ve got no shot,” says the class's instructor, Robert Galinsky.

New York Reality TV School class.
New York Reality TV School class.
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Eric Wolfe

“It’s the same with 'American Idol' and across the board. You’re not coming to my class for singing lessons or to learn how to cook better.”

The course offers up high-drama conflicts, strenuous physical challenges and soul-baring camaraderie builders to help students prepare for the real deal. The class will also feature guest lectures by “Big Brother” casting director Robert Russell and Richard Hatch of “Survivor.”

One of the exercises, which Galinksy calls the “reality perp walk,” simulates an inmate’s first day in the cafeteria at a prison. He says it can be a real confidence builder in the end.

“We have everyone lined up on either side, taunting you,” he explains, totally deadpan. “We talk about how to manage and deflect that sort negativity.”

Joseph Cipri, executive director at SVA's Continuing Education program, said students from diverse backgrounds could benefit from the course teachings.

“We all have unique stories and personalities,” he says. “It’s just about learning how to develop and express them in a concise way.”

Three years ago, the university taught a course titled “How to Write for Reality TV.” Cipri says the latest course offering is a response to the growing popularity of the genre in mainstream culture.

“There’s a rise and interest because people are watching other people who have no acting training get on television,” Galinsky said. “Reality TV makes it all possible. You can do it yourself. The only training you need is who you are."

The reality TV professor believes even the darker sides of students should be encouraged in the classroom in the name of what’s real, with reality TV villains becoming icons in pop culture, like Rozlyn Papa from "The Bachelor" or Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth from "The Apprentice."

“The class is about encouraging people to be themselves," Galinsky says. "If they’re wild, over the top and obnoxious  — and that’s real — then that’s great.”

The course runs from June 8 to July 6 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The cost is $395 plus an enrollment fee.

Get on Reality TV is open to anyone 18 and over. Younger aspiring reality stars need the consent of a parent or a guardian.