Talent Screener 3

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Well…, what is it like, how best to describe it… This is really hard, you know? Would you like an honest answer, me describing as it is? Or do you prefer the official legend, as in splendid opportunities, new horizons, chance of a lifetime, and bla, and more bla,…?

The truth. Okay… That is one big word, you know?

Let’s try the facts, then. An average of 1.117 applications, per day. Not that many, considering there are some dozens of millions of refugees, if you trust sources like UNHCR. Quite a lot, if you take into consideration that to be able to apply, you need to be in a camp, officially registered, have a functional smartphone with sufficient data volume to provide the required set of three pictures and one video, and pretty good English. We are totally missing out on non-English speaking talent. Breaks my heart, because hey, that’s so not inclusive at all!

No, of course I can’t ‘read’ 1.117 applications per day. No manual processing involved at the first two stages. Central casting sets the parameters, for age, gender and region of origin – bit of a proxy for race, that one, but psst, no mentioning of this aspect, big bad dirty secret.

Stage one, the software sorts the applications according to the parameters. We typically get loads of young men, and hardly any old women, meaning the latter get a much better chance to get land a gig. Can you do me the favour to spread the word? I’d really appreciate a better selection of at least middle-aged ladies. The older, the better, actually. A granny would be cool to have, on the show, but they seem to rarely make it to the camps, for whichever reason.

Sorry, I’m digressing…

Stage two, the software does some advanced sorting, of the pictures. It’s a special algorithm, trained on audience preferences, that delivers a liveability score. You need high and low likeability scorer, for emotional involvement. Officially, the algorithm is very secret sauce and high tech. If you look at what it delivers, you see the usual: Symetric face, good teeth, nice skin and hair good, asymmetric face, bad teeth, pimples and bald spots bad. Pretty obvious, but it does save time to have the software do the sorting.

Stage three is my job: I get presented with perhaps a dozen of promising candidates and call them to check if they’re anything like their applications. More often than not, I can’t reach them, or they’re fake in one or more respects. I often go for days without proposing anyone.

Would this qualify as the truth, or would you prefer more anecdotes?

You won’t believe the kind of stuff I get to see in the videos…