Inside look at MTV’s MADE

Allyssa Yohana, left, shows off her singing skills at a performance at a local venue.

By Caitlin Kawaguchi

When I first heard the rumors that MTV was looking at Cal High for a reality show I didn’t believe it.  But months later, when the application forms showed up in my theater classroom for “MADE” I realized that not only had the rumors been true, but there was a good chance that someone I knew would be on national television.

“MADE” is a MTV show that takes a student with a goal outside of their comfort zone and provides them with a coach to make that dream a reality.

My friend and Cal senior at the time, Allyssa Yohana, was chosen from many applicants for the show to be made into a singer.

Although the process started during late May of last year with the paperwork, she didn’t start working towards her goal until late June. In early June, her camera woman arrived and began filming Allyssa’s every move.

At first it was weird knowing everything we did was being captured on camera.

We would be in the middle of a conversation and the camerawoman would request we repeat, sometimes multiple times, what we had said to make sure it was clear on the film. The actual concert at the end of the show was even performed twice, to make sure they had the right angles and sound they needed for editing.

The editing in the show was interesting for many reasons, but one of the most obvious was the way they chose to make it appear that Allyssa only had one friend, Jake Sigl, at Cal.

While she may not have been a social butterfly, she definitely had more than one friend and the footage showing her friends conveniently left out.  Instead they showed interviews with people who would criticize her.  One of the girls interviewed told me that she had said she didn’t even know Allyssa but they still asked her to say something, preferably something unflattering.

Another interesting part of the editing was the way scenes were taken out of context.  After one comment by her art teacher that she “wasn’t a joiner” a clip was shown of her in a class where everybody but her and another boy was in a circle.  They were both T.A.s for that class and the circle was for the students, it had nothing to do with her “not joining”.

I was away during the summer when her first coach, Edara from the band Shinobi Ninjas, showed up.  Although I didn’t see directly what was happening, I was constantly texting Allyssa and she would complain about how her coach would yell at her, putting her down for hours each day.

The show made the fights between Allyssa and her coach seem more frequent than they were and didn’t show the events leading up to the confrontations.  In her scenes Edara looked like a well-meaning coach, when in real life she was unsupportive, rude, and took advantage of every opportunity to name-drop her band.  It was interesting realizing how convincing television can be in making a person look like the opposite of what they are, just by showing the right footage.

Watching months of my friend’s life be condensed into an hour was a strange experience.  Knowing the actual situation and watching what they chose to show and how they edited it was even stranger.

I went to her final performance and was amazed at how she’d come out of her shell and her ability as a singer.  But the television audience didn’t really get to see that with the brief seconds shown of the actual outcome.  Far more time was spent on the drama with her coach than the actual process and success.

Watching the episode showed the clear priorities, the focus was TV, not reality, despite what the genre may claim.