POPCAST: Life Behind Reality TV, With Laura Waters

In the extension of POPSUGAR’s pilot season of POPCAST, host Tim Dormer interviews the masterminds that work behind the scenes on some of the biggest reality TV shows in Australia. 

In episode twelve, Tim is joined by Logie award-winning producer, Laura Waters. In the past decade she has produced all five of Chris Lilley’s ABC/HBO/BBC comedy series, We Can Be Heroes, Summer Heights High, Angry BoysJa’mie: Private School Girl and Jonah From Tonga, as well as overseeing the production of a range of comedy and documentary series.

In this episode we hear about:

  • Laura's point of view of storytelling within reality TV (01:29)
  • The commonalities between scripted television and reality TV (01:58)
  • Why Laura got into making television and into entertainment (03:17)
  • Laura's motive to to create her documentaries Year 12 Life and My Year 7 Life (05:24)
  • Laura's experience casting young talent (08:33)
  • Laura's duty of care during production of cast members (12:07)
  • Laura's experience working on The Graceland Happiness Project and what made it her scariest project (18:51)
  • How Laura developed the series and how production rolled out (20:23)
  • How Laura addressed the raw topic of mental health and her responsibility as a producer (22:19)
  • The distinction between over-produced and under-produced storytelling (22:50)
  • Laura's favourite reality TV shows (28:15)
  • The reality TV shows that are well-produced (29:42)
  • How you can identify when a story isn't being authentically told (31:25)
  • What Laura needs to do to get a certain reaction or outcome on camera (35:48)
  • Laura's first appearance on reality TV in America (39:58)
  • Whether Laura would ever want to be followed around by cameras (42:58)
  • How would Laura be portrayed on a reality TV show (43:33)
  • Laura's perspective on the enduring appeal of reality TV (45:56)

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