I made it to the Jeopardy audition on time Monday afternoon. One point for me.
I had managed NOT to spill my lunch on myself earlier in the day. Add another point.
My power socks (my favorite hand-knit ones) were dirty so I had to wear non-handknit ones. Deduct one point.
The Polaroid they took of me turned out not half bad. Add one point.
I didn't know all 50 answers on the test. Deduct some points, but pleaseohplease, not too many.
I managed to be energetic and personable during the interview. I think. Add a bunch of points, okay?
The audition was held at the Hotel Ivy, a new establishment just a few blocks from my office.
I was in the 3 p.m. group.
This is Glen, who is a contestant coordinator -- maybe even the head contestant coordinator -- for Jeopardy. He may have said that. He said a lot of things, veryveryfast. He was entertaining and good at his job but, my gracious, he could talk fast. Actually, both Jeopardy people that spoke were very energetic and talkedreallyfast. We don't generally talk that fast in Minnesota. But they were fun and entertaining and really, really tried to help us all do our best.
I remembered Glen from one -- or maybe both -- of my other auditions. He's been doing this for awhile. He told us some of his employment history in the game show industry. Given when some of those shows were on the air, I calculated that Glen must be at least 50. An extremely well-preserved 50; he looked about 30.
You want the play by play? I can tell you all about it, but I can't tell you any of the questions on the test. They made us swear and sign in blood that we would never reveal any of the questions because they use the same test in different cities. If I tell you they will take away my birthday and kill my dog. And come after you all. I'm just being kind, really, by not disclosing the questions.
There were 20 people in my group. That is considerably fewer than were in my previous group auditions. I don't know why and I didn't ask. It didn't seem important.
First, we took another 50-question test. It was administered from DVD -- the category and question came up on the screen and Johnny Gilbert read the question. We had 8 seconds to write the answer on our answer sheet. I kept a loose score in my head; I think I got all but about 6 or 8 of the questions right. Pop culture and sports are my weak spots. My Shakespeare kinda sucks, too.
Then, while two of the staff scored the tests in another room, Glen entertained us and we asked questions. I asked if I could take photos for my blog and was absolutely floored when Glen said, Sure, why not?
Then it was time for the mock game and the personality interview.
Three people at a time stood at the front, each with a buzzer in hand, and played Jeopardy. Glen kept encouraging them to Speak loudly! Pump up your energy! Have fun! Keep clicking!
The three people that are standing in the above photo are, if I remember correctly, a stained-glass artist and mother of six (ages 21 to 30-something; she declared emphatically in answer to a question during the interview that she was NOT suffering from empty-nest syndrome); a teacher from St. Louis, MO; and a recently retired English teacher from Duluth, MN.
This is Glen, Corina, and Carlos. Glen and Corina asked the interview questions. Carlos ran the computer and video equipment. There was another woman who didn't say a lot and whose name I don't remember.
This is Miriam, a grad student at the University of Minnesota who is studying for her Ph.D. in (something like) speech pathology and a man from St. Cloud, MN, who has a garage door company and a 10-month-old daughter. He said in response to the interview question that was asked of everyone that he would use his winnings if he, A, got on the show, and 2, won big, to buy a condo near the Twins ballpark. If he could persuade his wife that it was a good idea.
Miriam asked for my blog URL. Hi, Miriam! Hope you get on the show!
There were a total of five sessions on Monday and Tuesday at the hotel, plus some other, presumably larger, auditions at the Mall of America. Somewhere between 2,000 and 4,000 people *qualify* to appear on the show every year; *qualify* means they pass the test with a good enough score to be invited to this audition. Not all of those people do well enough in the mock game and interview to be invited onto the show. Watching the others play the game and be interviewed, I judged that only roughly a third of them were television-worthy -- able to keep the game moving, no dawdling over choosing the next category, enjoyable to listen to. But the Jeopardy people didn't tell us one way or the other if any of us made the grade; they just told us that we could assume we were ALL in the active file, the file from which they choose contestants. Only about 400 people actually get to appear on the show every year. We all did the math and said to ourselves, It could be me!
Prospective contestants stay in the active file for for eighteen months. I plan to sit right next to my telephone until September, 2009.
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Matthew lent me a cable that lets my camera talk to my computer. Oh, happy day! I have taken a fair number of pictures in the past few weeks while I didn't have my camera cable. Pictures make it possible for me to write this blog. With out them I would have to rely on words alone and that just doesn't do it for me. In the coming days I'll be able catch you up on my comings and goings and blatherings since February 24th, the last time I was home. And left my camera cable behind.