I was let off by my gracious employer at 1:30pm today, so I could get downtown in time to make my 2:30 final audition to be a contestant on the Wheel of Fortune. I don't know what I was expecting, but it's not what happened. For one thing, I was expecting a much smaller group of people. I was immediately shocked by the number of people that were there. I took a seat in the back row of over 70 people, picked up an official entry form from my seat, and began filling it out. I had to text my roommate to find out what the local NBC affiliate's call letters are. I wasn't feeling very confident at that point.
After I finished filling out my application form, they showed us a pretty funny couple of videos featuring Pat and Vanna through the years. When that was over, they began a rough game when they would have a word puzzle on the big screen like what the have on the show, and they would call people seemingly at random to play. About forty or fifty names were called before mine was called. I looked at the partially completed puzzle on the screen, and in a clear loud voice declared that I wanted to see a P. I was answered with a callous buzzer, and sat back down.
About twenty minutes later, they called my name again, and I went on something of a letter spree, and wound up solving the puzzle. The answer was "I loved every minute of it." I found that rather fitting. I was awarded with a Wheel of Fortune ballcap to add to my collection, and was not called on again during that round of the game. After that was over, they passed out the written test, which I think I did relatively well in completing. There were about four or five puzzles that I wasn't able to solve in the alloted five minutes.
Then the producers announced to everyone that there'd be a fifteen to twenty minute break during which we were welcome to use the restroom, look out the 12th story windows, make a phone call, have a glass of water, or stare dumbly at each other, forcing conversation. The producers disappeared to grade our tests and compare notes. They reassembled us shortly afterward, and called off a list of about twenty people that made the cut. I was one of them.
And to the credit of the producers, they picked a very good group. Everybody seemed like people with whom I would love to be friends, and everybody cottoned on very nicely. There was lots of encouragement and high-fives. It was really nice. The second part of the audition involved actually getting groups of four people to stand up in front of the group(facing the screen and the producers), and to actually play the game as we see it on television. I was in the first group that was called, and was the first player. We were actually asked to make like we were spinning an imaginary gigantic wheel, like what's on the show, and after making the dramatic show of it that was required, we saw one of the producers spin a smaller wheel. They would never let us spin for very long, which is understandable, because assessments had to be made. After a player would spin two or three times, they'd just bankrupt the player and move on to the next person.
After my group of four ran through two puzzles, they asked us to tell them about ourselves. Again, I was the first one they asked. It went something like this:ME: I'm John Kelly and I live in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. I've recently been elected to the board of the Downtown Neighborhood Association, and look forward to doing what I can to help my community.
I think the whole thing went extremely well. Unfortunately, I won't know whether I'll actually be picked to be on the show for another two weeks, when they will contact successful auditionees by snail mail. Even if I don't get picked to be on the Wheel of Fortune, I at least had a great time with the process, and got two hats out of it. Wish me luck!
Free Hat! Free Hat!
Congrats and good luck! We'll even stray down to network TV if you're on!
6:49 PM, Nov 7, 2007
i'm excited for you. Hopefully I can tell my grandmother I know someone on the show.
9:19 AM, Nov 8, 2007
Congrats! It sounds like a great experience. I would have been extremely nervous to be the first to speak about myself, or to attempt to play the game!
9:43 AM, Nov 8, 2007
How exciting. I think you'd make the perfect contestant. If they ask if you're single on the real show you should respond "Not if I can convince Vanna, who is oh so hot, to leave her husband" or something like that.
12:02 PM, Nov 8, 2007
The suspense is killing me!
8:34 AM, Nov 16, 2007