If 40 is the new 30 then I’m clearly in the midst of a midlife crisis of epic proportions. What other excuse is there for me jigging work on a Wednesday, glamming up as if on some sort of hyper-coloured Hens’ Night, and then heading out in broad daylight (tiara and all) to a taping of ‘The Price is Right’?
Sure, the lure of cash and prizes has a certain appeal but, as another daytime TV great would put it, “This ‘aint my first rodeo”. Just a month ago I did a very similar thing (minus the tiara) with my younger brother, sister and fiancé (still love using that word!) and we won nada, zippo, ZILCH! What reason did I have to think this time would be any different?
Well (in answer to my own rhetorical question), I had one very important reason for thinking this time would be different:
I had insider knowledge.
Insider knowledge that secured me a place on this iconic game show, and insider knowledge that I am more than happy to share with all of you!
Oh yes ladies, I touched Larry Emdur. Please form an orderly queue and wait patiently as I explain how you too can experience this once-in-a-lifetime high.
I’m told that in the United States you can wait up to 6 years for tickets to ‘The Price is Right’. In Australia you wait as little as 6 weeks, which, presumably, is the very reason we are known as “the lucky country”. These tips, therefore, are specifically directed at Aussie hopefuls (although I suspect they may apply to our foreign friends as well).
Top 9 Tips for Becoming a Contestant on The Price is Right
1. Get yourself some tickets! Tickets are free and available here. You don’t need anything more than an internet connection and an awareness of your own name and address to secure tickets. Sadly, I’m told taping for this years’ series finishes this week, however I have it on good authority that they’ll be returning for a new season in 2013. Keep it on your radar and order tickets whenever you can. Above all, follow the clear instructions in any email replies to ensure you don’t suffer the same heart-stopping fate as my sister Claire and I did yesterday when we were told we hadn’t completed our registration (thankfully, they had a few spots left and we still made it in).
2. Dress for success! This is probably the second most important step of all (after step 5) and this is where we fell down on our first pass through. It is almost an unwritten law that to appear on TPIR (as us veterans have come to know it), you need to wear a stupid t-shirt. A bit of colour never goes astray either. Do yourself a favour and buy a blank t-shit and some t-shirt transfer paper from Officeworks (or should I be promoting Big W, the sponsor of TPIR, here? Probably. Owned by Coles and Woolies respectively they are almost direct competitors!) “I ♥ Larry” is a failsafe option for your shirt, but if you can be more creative it will probably pay off. If you can’t bring yourself to publicly profess your love for Larry, at least steer clear of t-shirts with obvious branding. Invest in some headwear too if you can bear it. We opted for tiaras, but I’ve seen dollar-sign-adorned glitter bowler hats work just as well. I should point out that tiaras bring with them some devastating #firstworldproblems – specifically, you *will* bang them against every raised surface that comes in your path (now I know how Princess Catherine feels! Poor little blight’a…) Do your hair and TV-ready make-up. Do not wear high heels (not only will short-arse Larry feel sadly inadequate, but you increase your chances of tripping up at step number 8). Basically, your outfit should be the visual representation of your desperation to be picked (and it is only desperation, not determination, that will ensure you are picked). When your hands are bruised and on the brink of bleeding from excessive enthusiasm throughout the day, your outfit will still be there to do the talking for you.
Appropriate homage paid to host Larry Emdur and announcer Brodie Young. What’s not to “like”?!
3. Show up to the taping! The show is currently filmed at Channel 7’s studios in Eveleigh, Sydney – making it mighty convenient for me, but possibly less so for some of you. Since we are not only the lucky country but also the lazy country, it is not necessary to turn up early – you won’t receive any advantage for doing so. Both times we went to the show we were towards the back of the queue and it made no difference to our chances of being selected. The only exception to this is days where the show over-books, in which case you want to arrive early enough to ensure you aren’t turned away at the door. They tape 3 shows each session and select 3 contestants per show. With a modest audience capacity, that makes for pretty good odds of being selected!
4. Check your dignity at the door! This is NOT the time to be shy. The more of a fool you’re prepared to make of yourself, the better the chances of being selected for the show, it’s as simple as that. Take care, however, that you do not cross that fine (invisible) line between “fanatic” and “lunatic”. Let’s put it this way: If you are currently suffering from a mental illness beyond the level of “Basic Aussie Bogan”, now is the time to hide it. Then again, if you are not currently suffering from a genuine mental illness, now’s the time to start manifesting like crazy! Take every opportunity to be noticed, but do not stoop to the level of obnoxiousness. Remember that from the moment you arrive at the studios – you are being watched. Call out. Stand out. Shine like the unpolished bogan gem you are. Your objective is to “stand out from the crowd” – let that be your mantra.
5. Have a back story! After you have successfully registered for your seats on the day, you will be required to fill out a basic disclaimer form and then proceed to a second queue to be interviewed. This interview will make or break your chances of selection, so it is not to be taken lightly. Come prepared! Trust me when I say that you are not the only person in the room for whom the most interesting thing that has happened in months is actually making it out of the house. Frankly, TV doesn’t give a daytime-slot-friendly-*bleep* what you’ve been doing, as long as it you can polish it up and make every other boring person watch the show feel a little vicarious joy from having known you during your 15 seconds of fame. TV doesn’t care if you flat-out lie about what you’ve been doing, as long as it’s interesting. I saw one contestant claim she would get a ‘Price is Right’ tattoo if she got on! Thankfully, given my Top 30 list I didn’t have to get too creative with the truth and I could just be honest: “Appearing on The Price is Right is on my bucket list, which so far has included things like getting engaged and swimming with sharks!” They will probably ask you what you do for a job and what you have been doing lately. One contestant I saw was named ‘Bryce Wright’, so he had it in the bag! Another contestant had to spice up “I’m a nurse” by saying “I’m a vampire… I draw blood for a living”. Be creative and, whatever you do, don’t respond with “I don’t know”!
6. Prepare a little! Even dodgy game shows have a precious ego, so it’s important you demonstrate that you are a fan. Do the right thing and at least watch the show a few times in preparation. Get to know the games and the way the show runs. If they like you during your interview, they may ask “What is your favourite game,” so you want to be prepared with an answer. Whatever you do, don’t say ‘Hole in One’. I don’t care how dope your putt-putting skillz are, no one can ace that baby with the pressure of 200 expectant middle-aged women bearing down upon them. I enthusiastically answered “Cliffhanger!” and – lo and behold – that’s the game I got to play! (Did Cliff stay on the mountain or yodel his way right over the edge? You’ll just have to wait until the end of my post to find out…)
7. Sustain that momentum! It ‘aint over until the fat lady sings, and if you’re lucky they will be watching you all throughout taping and until you are called to ‘Come on Down!’ They may indicate to you that contestants are chosen “at random”, but that is far from the whole truth. From what we were told during our first experience, there are cameramen hidden behind set, scouring the audience to determine the excitement levels of those present (If you look closely you will see cameras behind the black curtains). Clap, cheer, proclaim your love for Larry. Do whatever it takes to be noticed because, if you made a decent impression during interview, you are still in with a chance. My sister and I were the only ones dancing to the chill-out music during the break between the first and second shows. Normally, I might consider being the only ones dancing to be embarrassing – in this instance I couldn’t have been happier! I hope it’s not too hard for you to guess who was selected as the first contestant on the very next episode after our dance break!
8. Play it cool! If your name is called to “Come on Down!” don’t forget to breathe. If you’re anything like me, you will suffer a little mild shock with a lot of not-so-mild excitement. Try to refrain from tripping down the stairs (yes, I have witnessed this) and try to refrain from saying anything too embarrassing. As per step 4, you will have to give yourself a little leeway to behave like you’re deranged, just try not to make it anything you’ll regret. Thankfully I have a very forgiving fiancé, because my biggest gaffe was implying that making it to ‘The Price is Right’ was somehow superior to becoming engaged to the love of my life! (Clearly not true, but a little ego-stroking never goes astray in TV Land (see Step 6)). Above all – look to the audience for advice when you are playing the games. You may be surprised just how knowledgable they are!
9. Have fun! Going to a taping of TPIR makes for a long day. You will literally smile until it hurts and clap until your bruise, but no pain, my friends, and no gain. Take some excitable friends with you and make a day of it. If someone told me I’d have to swap a few precious hours of my life for a new car, I’d probably take it. Let that be your motivation!
Do all of the above and you may be the very next hopeful to be invited to “Come on Down”!
Meanwhile, if I’m such an expert on how to get selected for the show, what do I have to show for it?
Who’s up for a rousing game of ‘Amanda is Right’?
Ok, so “Cliff” might have yodelled his way to certain doom, but I still have a shiny new board game and a $50 Big W voucher to show for it!
Disappointingly, I was a measly $1 away from competing for the showcase and the chance to win (amongst other things) a car, a canoe, and a beautiful sapphire ring that may have even outshone the Black Onyx ring my Grandad won on Bob Dyer’s Pick-a-Box all those years ago (and which was subsequently stolen during one of many burglaries of my Mum’s family home).
More importantly, I have the very happy memories of high-fiving a former Big Brother contestant, chatting to Larry Emdur about my upcoming wedding, going backstage and hearing the goss about the most recent season of the Biggest Loser, and hugging a male model! Better yet, in the process of competing for a crack at the showcase, I bagged myself a pair of $300 binoculars!
What better way to spend a sunny Wednesday?!