Alumni Profile: Communication Alum Finds His Mark in Reality TV
Grayson Brooke ’05 of Monrovia, Calif., was hooked on film from early on.
“I’ve always loved film since I was a small child,” Brooke says. “I think the catalyst was after I walked out of the film ‘Jurassic Park’ in the summer of 1993, having never seen anything like what I had just watched on screen before. I realized at that moment that I wanted to be involved in the industry creating stories and entertaining audiences.”
As a communication major at Ripon College, Brooke wrote all of his critical papers and thesis on film studies.
“Along with the production training I had learned as a theatre major, I think I was given quite a well-rounded education that prepared me for where I am today, working behind the scenes in reality TV,” he says.
Before reality television, Brooke established roots in a variety of aspects of television. “I worked for Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Variety Entertainment Magazine right out of the gate after graduating from Ripon, but I found a longer-term gig running the inside sales division of a camera manufacture for a number of years before deciding to go back into entertainment.”
His television work has included casting, production, editing and story development. He has worked on a variety of programming, including game shows for Nickelodeon, makeover shows for HGTV and “Million Dollar Listing” for Bravo.
For the past three years, his focus has been working behind the scenes in reality television. He currently is working in the story department on “Chicagolicious” for Style Network.
“Basically, in story, we take all of the footage and craft the story of the show together,” Brooke says. “We do anything from writing interview bites to drafting scenes.
“I think one of the best things about reality TV is when we are able to transform someone’s living situation or life on TV,” he says. “Anything from makeover to competition shows, you really get the chance to tell a story or teach new things to your viewer. Personally, I’ve learned a lot from the HGTV shows on how to remake a room, what colors to use, what to keep, what to throw out. It’s actually helped focus my style working behind the scenes with interior designers and contractors.”
Some months ago, he took time off to take care of his mother who slowly succumbed to cancer.
“Seeing what doctors and nurses were doing for her and comparing that to what I did for a living made me rethink a few things, but I found that reality TV became a major form of escape for my mom. It gave me a renewed sense of belief in that what I was doing had benefit to anyone who needs to escape the reality of their life for a little while.”
On the side, Brooke also has been writing and developing film treatments with his producing partner and hopes to transition to film production within the next few years.