Photo: Salt & Lime Media Founder Dana Michell | Courtesy

Salt & Lime Media Founder Says Trust Is Key To Unscripted Content

Dana Michell reveals why media partnerships that emphasize trust are the cornerstone of powerful storytelling.

Reality productions are a staple in the entertainment landscape. Whether it’s the drama-filled exploits of reality TV stars or authentic narratives captured for marketing purposes, reality productions aim to depict real people in real situations.
In showbiz, it refers to creating television shows that feature unscripted real-life situations and interactions. The genre has exploded in popularity, captivating audiences with its raw, unpredictable nature.

On the commercial side, it involves crafting content that authentically showcases products or services. It’s generally believed that reality productions are not too different from scripted ones. However, the people in this business believe otherwise.

Dana Michell, founder of Salt and Lime Media, is an international producer with two decades of experience across reality TV and marketing. She asserts, “While it may not seem too different on the surface, reality productions are drastically different from scripted ones because of one major factor. That is trust.”

Trust holds the entire structure of reality productions together. Dana says, “It’s the bedrock upon which the entire narrative rests when dealing with real people and their stories. Whether they are reality TV contestants or individuals featured in commercial content, participants want their stories handled respectfully”.

In reality TV, participants willingly open up their lives to the public eye. The responsibility to accurately portray their stories lies in the production team’s hands. Without trust, the authenticity of the content is compromised, leading to a disillusioned audience and potential harm to the lives of those involved.

In commercial reality productions, such as testimonials or behind-the-scenes glimpses, when individuals share their experiences or endorse a product, they put their reputation on the line. Dana points out “if the audience senses a lack of sincerity, the entire purpose of the production is defeated.” Trust connects the audience to the genuine experiences of real people.

One key aspect of trust in reality productions is the assurance of privacy. Participants often reveal personal details or vulnerabilities, and their trust mustn’t be violated. Producers must create a safe environment where participants feel comfortable being themselves.

Another facet is the commitment to honesty. In showbiz and commercial reality productions, there is a delicate balance between entertainment and truth. While the aim is to captivate and engage the audience, sensationalizing reality can erode trust. Authenticity resonates with viewers, and a genuine portrayal of real people fosters a deeper connection.

Ultimately, it’s the responsibility of reality production houses to uphold this trust. Salt and Lime, for example, says trust is the bedrock of its production process. It is an uncompromisable constant that drives the team’s focus.

“So many people trust me to tell their story. Thus, I feel responsible for doing it right. I don’t exploit people for my financial gain. And that’s the secret sauce behind Salt and Lime’s success,” Dana adds.

In the end, reality productions offer a refreshing dose of authenticity as the world becomes saturated with scripted narratives. However, without trust, this authenticity crumbles. It leaves behind a façade that fails to resonate with audiences.

If you have a story to tell or want to boost your marketing campaign with real content, ensure your media partners emphasize trust. After all, it is the invisible force that brings real stories to life on the screen and connects them with audiences.


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