So, the Jeopardy audition I mentioned in my previous post was today. I feel it went pretty well, and though the odds are against me (about 1 in 10 people who audition in person make it onto the show), I had a lot of fun.( Ramblings about Friday )
The next morning, after breakfast and the world's fastest Walgreens run, I checked out of the hotel and went to try my luck.
There were about 20 of us in a hotel meeting room, where the hosts chatted with us and had us fill out some forms. They took Polaroid photos of us too (first of those I've seen in years!). We went over some of the rules and regulations, took a written test (the questions were read aloud and projected on a screen), and took a quick bathroom/water/"omg what was the answer to the question about $SUBJECT? ...DAMMIT!" break, and the real fun began.
I'm not allowed to talk about the specific questions -- and it wouldn't be in my best interests if I did, since they use the same question sets in all the audition cities -- but I can talk about the process. They split us into groups of three, stood us in front of the group, and played mock games. These were less about the answers (though answering correctly is good!) and more about stage presence, ability to project, general aplomb in the face of "I buzzed in and now my brain isn't letting me access the answer," and ability to follow directions re: how (and when!) to work the signaling devices. A lot of the time they didn't call on the first person to buzz in, because they want to give everyone equal time.
Then they asked questions like Trebek does. One of the paperwork things was a "5 interesting things about yourself" sheet, and they took a question off of that. They also asked everybody's jobs, and what they'd do if they won a huge sum of money on the show.
(My favorite one of those is the teacher who spent a full minute waxing poetic on teaching and his preferred teaching methods, and how wonderful it is when kids finally Get It. They asked what he'd do if he won lots of money, and his answer? "Retire from teaching!")
There was also the auditioner with the same name as my mother. That made me laugh a bit.
I was impressed, too, at how well they handled the auditioner who had limited mobility. The man didn't have to ask for a single accomodation; they offered him everything he needed. They let him sit for the mock game/Q&A, and they made sure that his spot for the game was the one closest to his seat.
Oh, also, I won a baseball hat. :D
Some interesting take-aways about the show/audition process:
-About 100,000 people take the online Jeopardy test each year. About 4000 of those get to audition in person. About 400 people appear on the show each year. (Here, one of the hosts made an "occupy Jeopardy" joke.)
-A lot more people than you think are sitting behind the podiums instead of standing. They're on electric risers so everybody's approximately the same height.
-You know when they zoom in to someone who's signaling and you see them pressing the button a whole lot of times in a row? That's actually how they work. Though I think in the real show they track the timing of the first button pressed as well. For this they were lenient (partly for ease of setup, and partly because this is more a test of concept for us auditioners).
Some amusing observations not related to the show:
-I don't remember if this was the case last year or not, but they've finally taken "Due to the increased level of security..." out from the standard airport announcements in both DEN and ORD. If it's been this way for ten years, it's not "increased" anymore; it's the norm. (Said announcements are still hideously misplaced. What use is an announcement about acceptable carry-on bags in a place where everybody's already passed security?)
-A boy, about age 7, to his younger brother at a crosswalk: "No, see, you can only step on the white bits. Because the black ones are made of lava." (It's amusing how just about every kid ever comes up with this game, and how it's nearly always lava.)
-Tough adjustment: crosswalks. In Chicago it seems everybody starts crossing 5 seconds early. Out here, you generally wait at least three seconds before crossing because otherwise you're rather likely to get hit by some assface red light runner.
-If you're in a room full of sports fans in Chicago, and mention being an Avs fan, you're gonna have a bad time. (All right, so it wasn't really a bad time. There was some good-natured booing from the Detroit and Chicago contingent when I told the panel I'd see an NHL game in every city with my imaginary millions of dollars, and that the Avs are my favorite team.)
EDIT 9/10 with a couple things I forgot:
- Great view of the Big Dipper from the plane on the way back. Also there was a thundercloud in the very far distance, making this the second time I've seen lightning from such a far distance. (The last one was more spectacular but I love it no matter what.)