Should I be on a reality TV series?
Sat, 19 Dec '09 15:50

I was recently approached by a director to participate in a reality TV series charged with producing the definitive answer on the existence of the American Big Foot.

As a presales engineer for a video game company, I feel it may safely be said that I've "moved on" from these sorts of endeavors, and am no longer in the cryptozoology-world.

I thought it was a bit odd that they would reach out to me, since I don't really think of myself as a great animal tracker, or an expert on Big Foot. On the other hand, a friend pointed out, not many people have experience running a multi-year search for a cryptid bipedal ape in the backwaters of Indonesia, either.

In addition to this, I'm not sure I find the idea of appearing as a character on a reality TV show very appealing. The ones I've seen tend to make the characters look shallow, self-centered, and overly dramatic. I have no interest in appearing as any of those things, nor do I relish the idea of being in the extended company of people cast for those qualities. But after further reflection, that usually only happens in competitive TV shows, where someone wins a prize at the end.

I imagine this show would be much more like one of the many ghost hunter-type TV shows. Although their mission may be a bit silly, the individual people seem normal enough. They aren't competitive, don't form alliances, and don't incite drama amongst the other team members.

So maybe it would be OK to appear on a reality TV show.

Then there's the enthusiasm problem. I went to Indonesia to search for orang pendek because, while I didn't think its existence was by any means certain, I did think there was enough of a chance to warrant a serious search. So did National Geographic.

Plus it was a freaking cool thing to do with a couple of years during my mid-twenties.

On the other hand, I put Big Foot's chances of existence somewhere in the 0.00001% range. So I guess this would just be another "cool thing to do".

Then, of course, there's my job. I get 15 vacation days a year, and this TV project would be at least 3 months. I'm not quitting the best job I've ever had to go searching through the Pacific Northwest for a non-existent beast.

I mentioned it to a couple of my work-mates, and they couldn't believe I'd said no so easily. One even suggested I look into extended non-paid leave (a sabbatical, basically). It hadn't occurred to me this was possible.

It may not be possible, and I may not be guaranteed a position on my return. But let's say it is. What do you think? I want both my readers' opinions on this.