A University of Mississippi broadcast journalism graduate stopped by Farley Hall this week to share insights about her career in reality television production with students in several classes.
Brandon native Regan Looser, 31, graduated from Northwest Rankin High School before enrolling in UM in 2009. She majored in broadcast journalism with a minor in cinema. After graduating, she moved to Los Angeles, where she now works in production for reality television.
Looser has worked in production on shows that include “Dancing With the Stars,” “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” “Shahs of Sunset,” “America’s Got Talent.” She started her career as a post-production assistant on “Dancing With the Stars.”
Although she loves seeing a story come together in the editing bays, she said she wanted to be in the middle of the chaos, creating stories out in the field.
“Breaking into producing is competitive and challenging at best, so I started by assisting talent during the shows to get to know what they think and say when cameras are not around,” she said. “I used this to help give myself a better understanding of how to talk to them and treat them once I became a producer.”
Looser has worked as a talent assistant on several reality TV shows.
“Because I have worked directly with actors and guests on reality television shows, I have had the opportunity to sit in on their interviews with the producers,” she said. “The more I listened to the producer’s interviews, the better I understood how they made filming decisions to bring the story together. At that point, I knew becoming a producer was my career goal.”
Because she works as a freelancer, Looser said she bounces from show to show. She recently worked as a segment producer for a show that aired in February called “The Real Dirty Dancing” featured on Hulu.
“Fun fact,” she said. “I am the one being lifted in the lake scene in the promotional ads and trailer for the show.”
Some of her job responsibilities have included:
- Creating storylines to follow throughout the season.
- Taking notes in the field while filming what happened.
- Directing cameras while filming.
- Developing interview questions.
- Conducting one-on-one and on-the-fly interviews, and most importantly…
- Trying to keep all cast and crew happy.
“I absolutely love what I do,” Looser said, “and the best thing about it is that I am constantly learning—for example, individual cultures and backgrounds. I was on the producing team for ‘Bling Empire’ and learned so much about Asian culture, food and history. The people I get to work with have expanded my knowledge and made me curious about the world.”
Her most important piece of advice is: “Ask for help.”
“If you are trying to get in this industry and know anyone, or know a friend of a friend, then ask them for help,” she said. “Meet for a coffee or send an email asking whatever questions you have.
“Networking gets you in and keeps you in, so do not be afraid to reach out to someone even if you don’t know them very well. Besides that, be kind to everyone. Yes, I know that sounds cliche, but you never know whom you’re talking to here. Everyone knows everyone.”
Looser also says: “Just start creating.”
“Many Facebook groups are full of cameramen/women, producers, stylists, hair and make-up, and talent just wanting to be involved,” she said. “If you have a fun idea for a segment, or interview, or anything you’d like to see on TV, create it yourself. The amazing thing about this industry is meeting new people and sharing ideas so you can help each other bring them to life.”