Troy DeVolld on TV Writer-Producer Career Stages

EDITOR’S NOTE: A few words from reality show honcho to the stars, Troy DeVolld, that if you read just right – you know, a little squint here, a slight raising of the chin there – will give you hope.

Or, as LB put it: “Spiritual Xanax! Just what the medicine man ordered!”

Career Stages
by Troy DeVolld


All is magic

Anticipation (film school?)

The move / job / apt search

First gig:

Spend too much

First gig ends


Second gig:

More panic

Third gig :

Hey, this is working

The stripping of illusion

Fourth gig:

So this is the real business

Fifth gig:

The getting of the membership card

Fleeting sensation that this will last

First dry spell (90-120 days):

The fiscal bailout

Brief thought about doing another thing

The realization that nothing pays like this

Name excluded on a nomination

Gigs 6-20:

The dulling of the spirit

Listed on nomination no win

No friends outside of the business

First major car or home purchase

Marriage or pet acquisition

That one show

Despair/resignation to fate

Membership in peer group feels phony or unrewarding.


Unexpectedly awesome show

Restoration of faith in business

Decision to do some version of this forever

Realization that aw, yeah

Aw yeah

Death of ego

Simple pleasures / managed expectations

Membership in peer group is excuse to have fun at parties and meet nice people, also give back /

create opportunity for next gen

Good times

Limited recognition

More good times

Lame gig, but not internalized

Unexpected dry spell #2, but feeling great

Find a hobby or passion

Awesome gigs all in a row (or leave showbiz with no regrets)


(This space reserved)

Troy DeVolld is a Larry Brody buddy, former senior story producer of Dancing with the Stars, and all-around true master of the reality TV genre. This article originally appeared on his Reality TV blog. And while you’re thinking about him, why not buy his book, Reality TV: An Insider’s Guide to TV’s Hottest Market?