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What’s the Difference Between Unscripted and Scripted Television?

Ben Russell
Ben Russell

Scripted television and unscripted television are two completely different genres. If you’re just starting out in your career, it’s important that you fully understand the difference between the two. When scrolling through the Casting Depot casting calls, there will be a mix of both types of projects (unless you decide to filter otherwise). Some actors only apply to scripted calls while others apply to both unscripted and unscripted. It simply depends on what their goals are.

  • 1. Scripted television is all content that’s produced with a script. Examples include television series, movies and commercials.
  • 2. Unscripted television is all content that’s produced without a script. Examples include YouTube talk shows, documentary-series and game shows.

A common misconception is that unscripted television is only reality TV. Unscripted content is an umbrella term for all programming that does not require a formatted script. The term ‘unscripted’ was coined years ago when the launch of reality-based dramatic content became relevant in programming. Survivor was arguably one of the first successful reality-TV shows. Since then, this section of the industry has completely evolved into other areas of unscripted content including game shows, talk shows, doc-series and yes - still reality tv shows.

A job post on the Casting Depot casting dashboard will have a description of the series the poster is looking to cast. It’ll outline the mandate they’re looking to fill which should be insightful into what type of unscripted show they’re working on (if it’s not stated otherwise). If you’re ever confused with the type of project your auditioning for, it’s encouraged to reach out to the poster and simply ask.


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