Graphic by Louise Dolby

The head of casting for a major reality production company has been roaming San Luis Obispo stables, fields and bars looking for the next reality show cowboy.

Starting today at 11 a.m., casting call auditions will be held at the Sands Suite and Motel for a new reality show looking for single young farmers in the general San Luis Obispo area.

All single farmers between the ages of 20 to 35 who live or work on a farm are invited to the auditions, which end at 4 p.m.

The show’s basic premise is to pair up a cowboy with a city girl in the hope that they will find love.

Billy Kemp, head of casting for Fremantle Media, arrived Monday and has been searching ever since.

“There isn’t an exact science to finding people,” Kemp said. “We wanted to go to places untapped. It’s like there’s never been a TV show here. We had the fliers and told people there’s a show, and they look at us like ‘This is going to be on TV?’”

San Luis Obispo was targeted as a demographic because of its agriculture and farming, and as of now, it’s the only place Kemp has visited to find his star. Originally, Bakersfield was another option.

The name of the show: top secret. The producers: ditto. So far, mum’s the word.

The secrecy is due to the nature of the business. Many reality show ideas are copied and even stolen, Kemp said.

To convince people, Kemp simply tells them the companies’ affiliations, which include “American Idol,” “The Price is Right” and “Family Feud.”

Already, the show has seen success in eight countries. But the United States has its own demands.

“The United States has a different sensibility to what it wants to see on TV,” Kemp said. “With other dating shows, it’s a lot more than that. It’s a slice of life, a fish out of water. It puts a lot of genres into one. It’s like a service to the farming community, to help them find love.”

Kemp couldn’t confirm that the show would be filmed in San Luis Obispo. It all depends on whether or not he can find a “great farmer.”

What is he looking for?

“I’m looking for personality, their story, their energy,” Kemp said.

Unlike other casting directors, Kemp takes his time deciding.

“I’ve talked to a number of people so far; Some seem very promising,” he said. “I don’t like to peg people within the first five or 10 minutes.”

The mission this go-around was to find a genuine character for the part.

“Most shows are not in fact reality,” Kemp said. “They’re so produced and the producers are feeding the characters what to say or putting them in situations that are not realistic. It’s another reason to be in San Luis Obispo.”

Oddly enough, the entire operation is being done in a flash.

A lot of what his production company is trying to do must be done just before Christmas, according to Kemp. Some shows notify areas well in advance, but for shows such as this one, Kemp has found that short notice creates more of a buzz.

“It think this is fine,” Kemp said in response to the hectic pace. “The ideal situation would be driving up to farms, knocking on doors and saying ‘Hey, looking for a wife?’ But sometimes it’s not always that way.”

Kemp spent last night searching the San Luis Obispo bars. He planned to search Bull’s Tavern and Mother’s Tavern.

Ideally, he hopes to walk away from San Luis Obispo with a handful of great choices. Kemp has done freelance work for MTV, CBS and FOX before becoming the head of casting for Fremantle.

Today’s turnout is unknown. For American Idol auditions, some times as many as 10,000 hopefuls show up. But Kemp’s seen shows draw 500 people and others just 20.

If all goes right, he’ll find his one. If not, he’ll just keep on roaming.

For more information on the cast call, call Peter Huntley of Fremantle Media at (310) 806-4859.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.