Interview with Big Brother Canada and USA Casting Director Robyn Kass

April 13, 2013

Big Brother Canada casting director and longtime Big Brother USA casting director Robyn Kass took the time to answer some of our questions

When you set out to put a cast together for any season of Big Brother, is there a blueprint that you look to follow or do you put things together on the fly as you see who and what is out there? If you had to pick one Big Brother USA cast that you put together and are most proud of, which one would it be and why?

Robyn: Never a blue print. We like to keep an open mind until we see what type of people interview. Impossible to answer. I love different aspects of every cast. :)

What were your goals when putting together the Big Brother Canada cast as a whole, and do you feel that you accomplished what you set out to do?

Robyn: I LOVE the BB Canada cast and I'm very happy with how it turned out. Our goals were to put together the most entertaining, competitive group of people Canada has to offer!

What were the main differences between your typical casting experience with Big Brother USA and that with Big Brother Canada? Did anything about your experience with Canadians surprise you?

Robyn: I LOVED casting BB Canada!!! I guess I was surprised at how much I loved Canada as a whole- the people, the scenery, etc. I really had a great experience. And meeting so many fans of a show I've put my blood, sweat and tears into for 14 years was amazing! The basic casting was similar to casting the US version, I think more hardcore fans applied in Canada, mainly because they've been waiting all these years for it to come to Canada.

Nearly all of the Big Brother Canada houseguests have a solid understanding and knowledge of the Big Brother game and the Big Brother USA seasons, which has made for some entertaining game play early on. Is this something that you were looking for when putting the cast together?

Robyn: Not necessarily. Our goal is to put the best people in the house, whether they are familiar with the show or not.

A number of people have wondered why there are no French-Canadians in the Big Brother Canada house. What did you have to consider when deciding whether or not to cast someone whose first language is French? Is the absence of such houseguests simply a matter of you having picked what you felt were the 15 best houseguests?

Robyn: Well, we knew every HG had to speak English because they have to communicate with everyone in the house, first and foremost (whether it's their first or second language doesn't matter). As far as where everyone is from, it wasn't a conscious decision to cast people from Quebec or not, we just put our favorite people in the house, no matter where they were from. It's just like the US, we can't represent people from every state every season, it's just not possible.

Having spent a good amount of time working with BB USA, what do you think are the key aspects that have made BB USA a long lasting success? Do you see the same traits in the Canadian people and the show itself?

Robyn: Great question, I do think BB has the most loyal fan base out of any reality show out there. The viewers love the show (like I do) and they continue to stay loyal year after year. As far as the Canadian viewers, we'll see how the rest of the season goes, but it looks strong!

Big Brother 15 casting is underway. What are some of the most common mistakes that people need to avoid when creating their audition videos or going to open calls?

Robyn: Don't over think anything. If you're asked a question, answer how you would if you were with your best friends, don't censor yourself, and don't give us the answers you THINK we want to hear. Be honest.

One of your most common tips for Big Brother hopefuls is for them to be themselves. How often do you find yourself being surprised by the way that someone ended up acting on the show as opposed to throughout the casting process?

Robyn: Everyone has to realize there is no 100% way to find out how someone will be locked in a house with strangers. We don't lock them away during the casting process, the only thing we have to rely on is their word. And everyone is on their best behavior in front of me and the producers, sometimes that can backfire. Rarely people are "ON" 24/7, so it's a gamble we take. Most of the time it pays off, but like anything, there is room for error.

Finally, as a fan, what types of houseguests do you find yourself rooting on? Do you take into consideration the types of houseguests that you personally enjoy seeing play the game when making your casting decisions?

Robyn: I'm a fan just like anyone else watching. I have my favorites going in the house but they tend to change during the season, like any fan watching. I like big personalities, and people who make big moves. Personally, I find myself rooting for the toughest players- physically and mentally. And as much as it hurts me, its always sad seeing favorite players go early. The casting process can not be a personal one at any point. My entire staff and I choose people we think will be great in the game for certain reasons, which might sometimes stray from our personal tastes.

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