Who Wants to Be A Millionaire held a contestant search in Las Vegas today. After going to the audition (and being there for 4 1/2 hours), I'm excited to say I passed the tests and (I hope) the interview!
Millionaire had been promoting the audition on the tv show and on their website for weeks. I knew there would be a lot of people there, but I wasn't prepared for what was in store once I arrived. The audition was held at the Tuscany, a small casino-hotel just off the Strip. It started at 9:00 a.m. and I got there early--about 8:40--but not early enough. The parking lot was packed, so I had to park behind the hotel, about as far away from the meeting rooms as I could be and still be on property.
Once I found my way to the front of the hotel and the meeting rooms for the audition, I was greeted by close to 800 people who got there way before I did (the buzz was people were lining up as early as 6 a.m.). I got in line near the back of the room and waited . . . and waited . . . and waited. A wave of 200 people at the front of the line was escorted into the next room for testing. That was followed by . . . more waiting. Picture standing in line for a really big Haunted Mansion with an hour wait between stretching galleries.
You spend a lot of time observing people when you're stuck in line that long. All ages, races, economic backgrounds and, I'm sure, sexual preferences were represented. Some people dressed up. Others were kinda scruffy looking--a lot of them tourists I'm sure. Two guys behind me were having a deep discussion about nuclear physics (really). In front of me was an elderly couple, who didn't look like they could scratch two dimes together. Only one of the physics guys would pass the audition.
At the top of each hour, another group of 200 was herded into the testing room (you never see them come back--should I be concerned?). 9:00 . . . 10:00 . . . Thank gawd for text messaging, or I would've lost my mind . . . 11:00. Finally, I make it to the front part of the line where we actually get to do something!!! Woohoo!!! Each of us is given a WWTBAM kitchen magnet with our contestant number on it, a #2 WWTBAM pencil and a questionnaire to fill out. The questionnaire is pretty in-depth. Note to those considering auditioning: be prepared to explain what you would do if you won a million bucks, what your hopes and dreams are, and several really clever/embarrassing/anecdotal things you've done in your life. I pulled out the stops: Disney collecting, DVD collecting, childhood humiliation, dream travel destinations, life as a former radio DJ, MiceChat--even the DMCA (!!!). Will it help me get on the show? Couldn't hurt. I stole a peek at a few neighboring questionnaires. Some people's lives are really dull. Point for me!
At 12:00 we became the next herd (Into the valley of death rode the 200!) to enter the testing room. We were given a test envelope and an answer card while one of the show producers explained the rules. First we complete one test on movies only (Netflix is sponsoring a WWTBAM movie week this season), then a second on general information. Each test is 30 questions long and we have 10 minutes to complete each one. Multiple choice, just like the show. Use your #2 pencil and fill in the bubble--I feel like I'm in school again. I get movie test number 69--this is a good sign. Even better, my general test is 8 (I am NOT making this up).
I thought the tests were tough, but not brutal. On the easy side were questions about what Tom Hanks' 'companion' Wilson was in Cast Away (volleyball); and what character asked "Snakes, why does it always have to be snakes?" (Indiana Jones). Tougher were the questions asking where Mystic Pizza was located (Connecticut--lucky guess), and what was the first NC-17 rated movie (Henry & June--which I never saw, but somehow I knew). I finished the movie test with a few minutes to spare, and felt pretty darn pleased with myself.
I thought the general test was tougher--and for the life of me I can't remember a single question on it (except for one I know I missed--convicted corporate scumbag Bernard Ebbers worked for WorldCom, not Adelphia).
While we were waiting for the test results, the staff entertained us by asking trivia questions for free Netflix movies and tossed out free WWTBAM t-shirts. Free t-shirts make people insane--free anything does, pretty much. Parents will trample their youngest child for a t-shirt. I thought the back two rows of the room were going to riot when the girl in the front of the room had a weak throwing arm. "GEEZ!! CAN'T YOU THROW A T-SHIRT BACK HERE!?!?!?!?!"
The movie test results come in . . . with only about 10 passing scores (remember there are 200 people in the room). That's a surprise, but . . .
MINE IS ONE OF THEM!!!
The general test results are announced . . . probably 40 names.
MINE IS ALSO ONE OF THEM!!!
(BTW, there is a minimum passing score for each test. They will not tell us what it is)
And with that, 150 people (losers! ) file out of the room. The angriest ones leave without t-shirts.
Those of us remaining are escorted into yet another room ("To Serve Man" is running through my head) where we get congratulations all around. This is followed by Polaroid pictures (has anyone ever taken a good looking Polaroid?) and a quick two-minute interview.
Hisoyou'refromVegasanyonefamousfromVegashahawhered oyouworkknowanycelebritieswe'llcontactyouifyouqual ifyfortheplayerpoolexitthroughthedooronyourrightth ankyou.
I deduce that the "interview" is just to determine if you have a personality. I'm pretty sure I have one.
So what happens now?
In 3-4 weeks, I'll get two postcards in the mail telling me "officially" whether or not I passed the auditions (one for the regular shows, one for the Netflix shows). I'm going to be presumptuous and say I've passed. After that, who knows? You can stay in the "player pool" for months. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I get a call in September for the movie shows, but let's be real. A week's worth of shows means, at most, 10-15 contestants. Out of all the contestant searches, plus all the auditions they're already doing in New York, the odds are pretty much against you.
Still, you gotta be in it to win it, and I'm still in the running for the regular shows anyway.
I like my chances. Hey, why not me?
I'll keep you posted.