Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How I got on Wheel of Fortune

Category is... Headline:
Wheel of Fortune is holding open auditions this weekend in Dallas and Fort Worth! This blog has all the information you'll need if you're planning on hitting up the Dallas Convention Center on Saturday or Billy Bob's Texas on Sunday. Make sure you click that link, because it has really important information.

So, yes, 10 years ago I was a contestant on Wheel of Fortune. I don't really go around talking about it a lot because it makes for very fun trivia or an upper hand in ice breaker games where you have to say something unique about yourself. BUT, I'm armed with quite a bit of knowledge on the audition process, so I'll go ahead and share.

Be prepared to be blended in among the several thousand other people who will be there. The only people who actually get to audition in a speed-up round are those whose names are drawn via raffle. If you do get selected, they want people who first and foremost are good at the game. Practice playing hangman or find an online version of the game. Secondly, they really want people who will react loudly to winning. Clap, jump, yell, celebrate... But remember, it's not the Price is Right. They also want people with big personalities who aren't shy and won't clam up. Here's how it happened for me:

Category is... People
My college roommate and I had just met each other one month prior to the Best Friends Week Dallas audition at the University of North Texas, and she convinced me that we could sell ourselves as "best friends." I was more than excited about a shot at Big Money Big Money, because the group I was in had ambitiously pledged $100,000 to help build an infectious diseases clinic in Cameroon, and fundraising efforts weren't going so well. So, why not give a game show a shot?

I woke up early and stood in line outside the auditorium, while Best Friend Michelle took her time waking up, then lazily wandered to the center of campus and walked in to the auditorium. Thank God! She met one of the show's big wigs, Lisa Dee, and talked to her about what they were looking for in a contestant. Armed with this insider information, we were sure we had a shot.

Category is... Event
So we were shuffled into the auditorium, a few hundred people at a time, to watch the auditions. Before the lucky auditioners were selected, they asked the audience a few trivia questions and handed out prizes. Michelle and I knew one of the answers, grabbed each other's hand to form a big W, and got it right. We won hats, tshirts, a fanny pack (eek!) and a computer game, which came in handy for practice later. They did not choose us out of the big raffle basket, so we watched the auditions, but were happy that they had noticed us in the audience. While we were watching, we drew a picture of ourselves doing a victory dance with Lisa Dee calling us to tell us we had been selected. We wrote down every single possible piece of contact information, and Michelle ran up at the end to hand Lisa the paper. We felt like SUCH cheaters, but just knew it would pay off!

Category is... Before and After
We waited on pins and needles for the callback. They gave us a window of time, but I don't recall how long after the initial audition that was. Then it happened. The contestant coordinator called and invited us to the callback audition! We practiced our victory dance, played hangman and our new computer game during every piece of free time, and showed up at the final audition. There were about 35 sets of friends there. We were briefed on ALL the strict rules and regulations, then given a test. Both partners had to pass the test in order to move on. This part made me nervous, because Michelle was the one with the personality, but I was the one with the Super Puzzle-Solving Skills. But, she passed. Everyone who passed played a mock game, complete with a little wheel and interviews about who you are, where you're from, and why you're best friends.

We must have done well because a few days later, Michelle's extra-large cell phone rang. We were headed to Dallas for the show.

So, here's the video. You may wonder why I'm alone, and that's definitely not a Dallas background. But this blog is about the audition process, not the twists and turns and drama that came after that :)


  1. THANK YOU so much for this post. I have been wanting to get on this show for so long. It also just so happens that my husband and I are going to Ft. Worth this weekend! Any other advice you have, please send me :)

  2. Is it customary to wear the color of the spot you'll be standing in? If so, I will need to find some yellow shirts just to be safe...

  3. No, they just tell you to wear something nice and not too busy. I don't remember how they decided who would stand where. (And if that wasn't a real question I'm going to feel pretty silly)

  4. I know they do pets, best friends, military, couples etc. How do they determine what they are looking for? Can you audition in pairs?

  5. Brittany PelletzMarch 3, 2010 at 7:00 PM

    What an awesome experience, Laura. I could totally picture you on a game show, before even seeing the video! ; ) What a neat fun fact about you!

  6. we want to know the twists and turns and drama though. that is what makes the story interesting it sounds like... not the hangman game and a drawing of you celebrating!

  7. See paragraph 3 for what they are looking for. Good at the game, celebratory, answers personal questions quickly and personably. And, as with my experience, if you don't get noticed the conventional way, get noticed in an unconventional way!

    That's what my story's about here -- letting you guys know how the audition process works and how I managed to get selected. How awesome would it be if someone from the Big Country were selected this weekend?!

    The rest of the story is REALLY long... I'll get around to writing it soon. ;)

  8. Oh, and The Parkers -- I am not sure if this audition is for any certain category of players. I want to say it's just for regular Wheel, since I didn't see anything anywhere about Best Friends.

  9. This was wonderful! Thanks! Wish me and my sis could audition together( Guess 2 chances will be better than one.