We like to gather career wisdom and inspiration from all over so what better place than reality television, right? It’s competitive, it’s thriving and so very now.
Last night during the NY Television Festival, SallyAnn Salsano participated in a panel discussion with the cast of Jersey Shore. Mind you, she’s the executive producer of the highest rated show on MTV so when the sassy exec talked, we listened.
Sure, most audience members probably wanted to hear from Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and the gang, but Salsano dished insight and back story about the show and consequently about making a mark in her career.
Here’s the thing: As a seasoned producer in the biz for nearly two decades, Salsano (or known simply as SA) earned her chops on a variety of shows like The Bachelor and a plethora of competition reality shows. Well, imagine our surprise to read that she had been fired from Design Star, a show that she created and executive produced!
The rest as they say is history because her very next show ended up being the pop culture hit on MTV! Last night she revealed words of wisdom: “Get fired ’cause the one time you get fired, the next time you’ll get a gold medal. You just gotta keep swinging and swing big.”
And how about proving herself in an industry where she had already demonstrated strong chops in competition shows but not in another genre, the docuseries? As she showed, don’t be dismayed by venturing into new territory; instead leverage it as an opportunity to fuel your passion.
Salsano’s mindset was simple and focused on working really hard. Describing 36 cameras wired in the house in addition to producers carrying their very own camera (mind you, there were 18 producers), she was determined to make it work.
“I never made a docusoap and I was like, ‘I’m not going to miss a God damn thing.’ I’ll show everybody because everybody’s like, ‘She doesn’t know’ [says mockingly] so in the end we shot it all.”
Plus, at one point during the talk Salsano mentioned they shot 700 hours of footage for every hour that aired!
During the panel she added,
“As a producer, anyone that has an idea sometimes it’s really hard because every network will say to you I don’t want something that’s derivative but then what happens is they only really want something that’s derivative….
Like what’s our [next] Jersey Shore? Fu** if I knew, I didn’t even know I had Jersey Shore but it’s a testament also to the people at the network because as the producer, you want to try new stuff, you don’t want to be a rip off, and I think everyone’s always afraid of change and this show especially was embraced by the fans but not by any kind of reputable critic but the truth of the matter was, there were so many issues at first and we were going behind the scenes….I think it’s a testament to producers, to talent and also to network executives especially if you want to make a mark, take a chance.”
- Media Beat: Brian Stelter's Choice, Work in TV News or Cover It
- Media Beat: Brian Stelter on Being Matt Lauer's Nemesis
- Media Beat: Lori Greiner Talks About Swimming with the Sharks
- Christiane Amanpour: My First Big Break