Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of Fortune

My Auditions My Auditions

The First Audition:  Beating the Odds


Well, last Sat­ur­day (Octo­ber 25th, 2008) I waited in line for sev­eral hours in a Casino Hotel con­fer­ence room in Tunica Mis­sis­sippi.  What was I wait­ing for?  A chance to audi­tion for the Wheel of For­tune show!

The Wheel Mobile has three audi­tion “sets” each day.  There were approx­i­mately three to four hun­dred peo­ple in each “set”, and from thirty to forty peo­ple were cho­sen (by raf­fle) to audi­tion dur­ing each “set”.  This means that your chances of get­ting audi­tioned (in each set) are about one in ten.

I was cho­sen dur­ing the last set of the first day!

The Setup

Well, let me “set the stage” for you.  It is a stage, brightly lit, in front of hun­dreds of peo­ple.  Five peo­ple are cho­sen as “contestants” in a mini Wheel of For­tune game.  We have our pic­tures taken while wait­ing for the pre­vi­ous audi­tioners to fin­ish their game.  Mis­take #1:  I’m too ner­vous to smile prop­erly for the cam­era!

Next, we line up for the game.  Marty Lub­lik is the host (did I spell that right?), and Heidi Jack­son (last name?) is the Let­ter Girl.  They have quite a job.  Marty has to enter­tain the audi­ence, inter­view each audi­tioner and M.C. the game all at the same time.  Heidi doesn’t just “turn” the let­ters.  She sets up the puz­zle board (and the clue) before each mini game.  She keeps the puz­zle solu­tion handy so she can write the guessed let­ters in their places.  When she’s not doing those things, she’s “model­ing”. 

I don’t know who hired these two, but who­ever did was on the ball.  Marty did a great job cov­er­ing for my defi­cien­cies.  When I looked down (at the micro­phone), he raised it so that my head was up (I didn’t real­ize until after­ward — my mis­take #2!)  When I spoke too quietly, he moved the mic right up to my mouth.  He even man­aged to make me smile (spon­ta­ne­ously) dur­ing my inter­view.

Heidi was flaw­less.  So was her per­for­mance.

The Audition

Next is the inter­view.  Marty asks what you do and what your hob­bies are.  Except for look­ing at the mic, I think I did fair here.  How­ever, I wasn’t very excit­ing, and that’s what they look for.  I did men­tion my web site, though!

After all of the inter­views it’s the mini game.  Here, I do really well.  I speak clearly, I don’t call any already-called let­ters, I’m com­pletely com­for­ta­ble and focused, and — guess what? — I solve the puz­zle!

After the mini-game audi­tion, all of the “con­tes­tants” get prizes!  My group got a Wheel of For­tune key ring and hat!


Now I hope to be con­tacted in the next cou­ple of weeks and chosen to join in the Final Audi­tion.

Where did I fail?  I didn’t smile for the photo, I didn’t show nearly enough excite­ment dur­ing the inter­view, and I looked at the mic instead of over it.  For the lat­ter, I plead com­plete lack of expe­ri­ence.

Where did I suc­ceed?  Well, solv­ing the puz­zle is one obvi­ous point.  More, I didn’t stut­ter, I spoke clearly and with­out any obvious ner­vous­ness.  In fact, I was sur­pris­ingly com­for­ta­ble dur­ing most of the audi­tion.  Only the ini­tial moment — the photo — found me dis­tracted by my sit­u­a­tion.

Marty, Heidi and the rest of the staff did a bang-up job, as far as I’m con­cerned.  I think their pro­fes­sion­al­ism, more than any­thing else, made me feel so com­for­ta­ble while on stage in front of so many.  So, if you’re afraid to try out for Wheel of For­tune, don’t be!  You have a decent chance of get­ting audi­tioned and — hope­fully — on the show!

Second Round Audition ahead . . .

The Second Audition:  A Test!

Surprise Invitation

Well . . . I’d given up hope of being called back for the sec­ond audi­tion when four months after the first audi­tion I received an invi­ta­tion!  This despite the assur­ance dur­ing the first audi­tion that we would be called back in about two weeks.  I’m gues­sing that the late call­back was a sort of “sec­ond string” sit­u­a­tion, where the pri­mary can­di­dates from the first audi­tion had already under­gone the sec­ond audi­tion round and we were there to “fill out” the remain­ing needed con­tes­tants.

The Setting

Unlike the first audi­tion, no cam­eras, no crowd, no bright lights and no stage.  There are about 60 peo­ple seated in a small con­fer­ence room with about 5 Wheel employ­ees work­ing at the desk in front of us.

The Game

The first thing that hap­pens is one of the Wheel employ­ees goes over the rules.  There’s a sur­prise here:  she asks the audi­ence how “Same Name” puz­zles work.  The first cor­rect answer (not me) gets an auto­graphed photo of Vanna!  (I’ll bet that goes for a few bucks on EBay!)

Next is another mini-game sim­i­lar to that in the first audi­tion.  Instead of com­pet­ing in groups of 5, eve­ry­one remains seated while the Wheel employ­ees give every audi­tioner a turn (at ran­dom, not in any order).  Your turn lasts like nor­mal (that is, until you fail, hit Bank­rupt or solve the puz­zle).  Once again I solve the puz­zle when it’s my turn!!!

After eve­ry­one has a turn, they go through the audi­tion­ers “at ran­dom” again, this time giv­ing par­tic­u­lar audi­tion­ers a turn at the wheel.  My impres­sion is that they had already cho­sen those peo­ple as can­di­dates for “pas­sing” the audi­tion, and they wanted to decide between those par­tic­u­lar audi­tion­ers.  I believe this because one of the sec­ond chancers was sit­ting next to me, and she “passed” the audi­tion.  I was not cho­sen for a sec­ond chance at solv­ing the puz­zle despite my good per­for­mance.

The Test

Yes:  believe it or not there is a writ­ten test!

After the game is fin­ished, we each get a test page.  The test is timed, and we have to keep the test page turned over until the test starts.

The test begins, and I dis­cover that I have about 20 Wheel of For­tune puz­zles to solve.  Each puz­zle has just a few let­ters filled in plus the clue. One or two of the puz­zles look familiar to me:  I’m pretty sure that they are actual puz­zles from past sea­sons of the TV show.  I get maybe 5 of the 20 in the time allowed.  The peo­ple around me seem to do no bet­ter.

The Cut

Well, out of about 60 peo­ple who showed up, 6 are cho­sen.  Again, despite a good per­for­mance in play­ing the game (and solv­ing the puz­zle), I am passed over.

Again, prob­a­bly where I failed most is in show­ing excite­ment.  I real­ized this dur­ing the “game” stage and (unfor­tu­nately) did not get a sec­ond chance to rec­tify the sit­u­a­tion.  The trick here, I believe, is to act as if the money you “land on” when the wheel is spun is money that you’ve actu­ally won.  So:  when you do your Wheel audi­tion, try to think how you would feel if you were really win­ning the money that you know you really are not win­ning.  When the “Wheel” lands on a high value wedge, jump up and down!  When you cor­rectly guess a let­ter, show some real excite­ment, as if you’d really won some dough!

Leave your comments ahead . . .

If you saw me audi­tion and want to leave a com­ment about my per­for­mance or ask ques­tions about the Wheel Mobile audi­tion, you can e-mail me (see the but­ton below).  If you want me to post your com­ment on this page, make sure to give per­mis­sion in the e-mail and also a “user name”.  I will not post any­one’s real name or e-mail address online.

— Jim

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