Production Practices in the Filming of German Scripted Reality Shows

  • Daniel KlugEmail author
  • Axel Schmidt


Unlike traditional reality TV, scripted reality formats (prevalent on German TV) are based on fictional scripts that are acted out by amateur actors but shot and presented in the aesthetic style of documentary reality TV. Therefore, these shows combine fictional elements and factual elements to create so-called faction. This chapter explores the organizational structures, interactions, and production practices before and while filming scripted reality shows by using the example of the German show mieten, kaufen, wohnen (Rent, Buy, Live). We observed the shooting of an episode and conducted interviews with the production staff and the amateur actors and base our analysis on this data. Scripted reality productions aim to factualize the underlying fictional narrative by using specific production practices. For example, only one camera is used, which leads to multiple takes of the same scene, as the scenes are not shot in chronological documentary order; or dialogues take place within predefined interactions, however, they are free individual adaptations of the script. This requires the directors to monitor and guide the amateur actors through the loosely written script while also attempting to create a meaningful story. We analyze the decisions, actions, and practices on set to illustrate the specific paradigm of creating faction in scripted reality shows from a screen production perspective. Finally, we compare the production process to the narrative structure of the actual broadcast episode to analyze the transfer of production strategies into the televisual product.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Carnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.University of MannheimMannheimGermany

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