When I started to delve further into ghost hunting as a profession in 2008, I was eighteen. At that time, paranormal reality shows were on a steady rise across networks. Because of that, the scent of landing a spot on a show was in the air for everyone. It was something I was hopeful for in the future as a chance to see more locations and have hands-on experience. Over the last decade, shows have come and gone. Some reached extremes to attract viewers and crashed along the way. There are still shows left focusing more on the ghosts again. I still love researching, but my goals have shifted away towards personal projects. The truth is that being on paranormal shows isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and not worth the paycheck.
The Paycheck Isn’t Always Great
The paychecks that many researchers on paranormal shows receive are not enormous, certainly not what you’d expect. And because most networks pay per episode, all the work behind the camera goes unpaid most of the time. Any additional time spent traveling to and from filming locations or publicity events is on your dime. They may pick up the expenses, but not pay extra income. This was the primary reason why I had second thoughts about wanting to be on a show. The other compelling reason was for my privacy, and control of my reputation.
Your Privacy Is At Risk
When on a show, you allow the public to zoom in on you. The more your name is recognized, your privacy slowly disappears. Yes, you can have private social media accounts for close friends and family, but fans will still try to find back doors. Your public accounts can be a way of putting targets on your back if the wrong thing is said. Jokes can interpret out of context, and one post can become a PR nightmare. Sometimes, when it comes to social media, minimal is best when dealing with public affairs. While you can control what you post, what the network editors present on a screen can cause issues on its own.
You Can’t Control How You Appear On Air
The problem that can arise with reality shows is that editors are at work. They need to take hours of video and shrink that down to the final twenty to forty-five-minute cut. Hopefully, the editing process and the final cut cast you in a good light, but it may not always. If a scene is cut short, the audience will rarely know what happened before or after. The network essentially puts ratings first, and what you may feel is important for the audience to see, may not be crucial enough for the final edit. Giving up the ability to control how you may be perceived can be a significant risk.
Be Sure To Weigh Out The Pros and Cons
Now, there are exceptions to the points I mentioned above. It’s rare, but some networks put greed aside and do work with cast members. If you decide to be on a show, have a lawyer go over the contract thoroughly. Talk about what you do and do not want, and make sure any necessary revisions are made to protect yourself. As far as privacy, contracts may cover some aspects, but the public and social media are beasts that change every day. Those beasts, along with the network can significantly impact your reputation. While I understand the appeal of being on a show, take time to weigh out the pros and cons, and decide if the risks are worth it.