I wants to be a millionaire

This morning I went over to Fort Worth to audition to be on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. My wife had seen an ad for the auditions a couple of days ago and suggested I go. I said “Yeah, yeah, yeah” and didn’t think too much about it. The ad was on again yesterday morning and she suggested it again. This time I figured “What the h***, as long as I can get the day off I might as well give it a shot. Nobody watches it anymore so there shouldn’t be much of a crowd.” I got the day off and I was up this morning at 5 a.m.

Turns out I was wrong about there not being much of a crowd. I got there at 7:00 for a 9:00 audition and the line stretched around 3.5 sides of a city block. I estimated that I was about 300th in line or so. Turned out I was just over 400th. I got out my lawn chair and settled in for a long wait. The big question in the line was when they’d let us inside. The audition wasn’t scheduled to start until 9:00, and the temperature was already in the low 80s with a forecast high of about 100.

The line started moving about 7:20 and by 7:40 we had gotten inside. They were trying to cram as many people as possible into the Bass Performance Hall where the auditions were being held. The first group of 250 got into the auditorium to start the audition process about 8:25 and they were still slowly letting people into the building and lining up all around the public areas of the hall. There had to be at least 1,000 people there by that point. The line still stretched all the way around the block even after everybody who had been outside when the doors opened had gotten inside.

At 9:00 I got a fridge magnet that indicated that I was about halfway through the second group. We also got a questionnaire for our contact information and such, along with some essay questions such as What would you do with $1 million, what’s your most embarrassing moment, etc. It took a while to get those figured out and written down, but we still had time to kill before the first group got out of there and our group got into the auditorium.

That finally happened about 10:05, but it took until about 10:30 for everybody to get into the auditorium. In the interests of speeding things up they took groups 2 and 3 into the auditorium at the same time, so there were about 500 people to get in and settled.

The first step was to pass a test. There were two tests, the regular general knowledge test and a second movie-trivia test to qualify for their movie week shows. Everybody took both tests, which were 30 multiple choice questions each. You had 10 minutes to complete each test. I took almost the whole 10 minutes for the movie test and thought I had gotten 24 questions right or so. That was better than I thought I’d do, but I figured it probably wouldn’t be enough to qualify on the movie test. The general knowledge test went better. I thought I got 27 or 28 of those questions right and was pretty confident that I would make the cut there. During the Q&A before the tests the guy from the show said that there was a definite qualifying score established, but he would not reveal what it was.

The two tests were finished about 11:15. There was some time to kill while the tests were graded so he did some more Q&A and then they threw some WWTBAM t-shirts out into the crowd. I didn’t get one and didn’t even come close to getting one. The tests were answered with the old fill-in-the-blank with a no. 2 pencil variety, so they were graded quickly with an optical scanner. At 11:30 they gave us the results of the tests: I flunked the movie test as expected, but passed the general knowledge test. About 5-10 people passed the movie test and 20-25 passed the general interest test (out of 250).

After the test results were announced, the people who hadn’t qualified were dismissed with a Thanks For Coming and Better Luck Next Time. Apparently there were a lot of next times. A guy a couple of people down from me had passed the test 3 times before and passed it this time as well, and he said he recognized some people from other auditions.

We the survivors were then taken upstairs to another room for the interview phase. They took our picture with a Polaroid camera and stapled it to our questionnaires. We got called up to the front one at a time for the interviews. I was one of the first ones. The guy said hi and glanced through the questionnaire and then asked a few questions about family, job, etc. Nice enough and pretty low stress. Not sure what the purpose was, I guess just to make sure you weren’t a weirdo or a complete zero personality-wise. So I probably flunked on both accounts. Somebody had asked what they wanted in the interview and the show guy said (predictably enough) “Just be yourself.” So I thought “You want me to be surly and uncooperative?”

At any rate, the interview just lasted a couple of minutes after which the guy remarked “You scored high on the test.” I don’t know if that is good, bad, or indifferent. Then he thanked me for coming out and said I’d get post card from the show in a couple of weeks that would let me know if I passed the interview and got put into the contestant pool. I have a reasonably good feeling about the interview, but the guy sitting next to me had passed the test all three times before and then flunked the interview and he seemed pretty normal to me.

So we’ll see I guess. If I flunked the interview then at least I had an interesting morning and got a free fridge magnet for my trouble plus a pencil with the WWTBAM logo on it. I got out a few minutes after noon and the line was still around the block. I would guess there were at least 2,000 people in the line inside and outside by that point and people were still arriving. I was stopped 3 or 4 times by people in the line who wanted to know how it went. I was back home and back at work by 1:00 so I only had to use a half day of vacation.

Update: More blog entries about the Ft. Worth auditions: My Million-Dollar Audition and 7 hours and all I got was a t-shirt and So I Auditioned For a TV Game Show.

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26 Responses to I wants to be a millionaire

  1. Toody says:

    That’s funny…I auditioned for a show called “Who Wants Their Brainiac Brother to Buy Them a New Car!” The test was pretty easy and all WWTBBTBTANC needed me to do was use some straight pins to pin up the headliner in my ’94 Saturn! Just kidding (not really!). Good luck!

  2. Pingback: Silence is Foo » Blog Archive » So much for that idea!

  3. Hannah says:

    I’m trying to get my Dad on that show. Could you tell me how we get started? How do find out about the written test, addresses, etc.?

    A reply would be great!

  4. radial says:

    Your best bet would be to go to the show’s website, Millionaire TV. They’ve got all the information about how to get on the show. Normally you have to go to New York and take the quiz at the studio. Every now and then they take the auditions on the road (such as when I auditioned). They’ll announce that on the website when they do it along with the schedule of where they’ll be when.

  5. Vincent says:

    I took the audition on July 5th in NYC; passed both the test and interview, received a “passing” postcard 3 weeks later, and received the call to be on the show for this coming week! I am very excited….finally a chance to put some of my useless knowledge to work for me!!

  6. Potential says:

    What kind of questions were on the audition test? I’m planning to audition next summer when I turn 18.

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  8. Judy N says:

    Hi Radial,

    Just read your post. Found it very informative! I will be doing the audition in NYC this Monday (today is May 10th). There are a couple of differences I am already aware of since you took the test – the questionnaire is now 1 hour instead of the 10 minutes you referred to in your post (I was informed of this by a staff person when I called the hotline number). Also I was given a time to appear at the ABC studio so I will not be standing on line for hours and they e-mailed me the personal questions in advance so I can bring the completed questions with me when I come for the audition.

    I assume that you never did get called to appear on the live show – is that correct? Will let you know how I do and thanks again for your post!

    Judy N
    New York City

  9. radial says:

    Judy,

    I took the test at one of their road trip auditions. I think the auditions in NYC (such as the one you took) work differently because they’re not doing so many people in one day.

    About two weeks after my tryout I got the postcard that said while I knew trivia well enough I was too much of a personalityless goober to be on TV. Actually it just said that I had not been selected, but I knew what they meant.

    How did the audition go?

    Radial.

  10. joehugan says:

    I took the test on May 19th. They schedule one hour for the whole process but the test is still only 10 minutes. The process sounds identical. I passed the test, had the picture taken, the anti-climatic interview, etc. I am expecting my postcard in the coming weeks. I’d say 20 out of the 80 people in our session passed the 30 question test.

  11. nelly says:

    hello,

    My fiance and I are going to audition for millionaire wedding week. Is there anything we should do to prep ourselves for the test/interview? Has anyone been on wedding week?

  12. PJ says:

    Hi everyone,

    I will be auditioning for the show next Wednesday in NYC (actually flying in from out of town just for the audition). I also received a specific time to appear and request to spend at least 1 hour for the whole process.

    For those of you who already auditioned and passed the written test, did you feel like you had to prep extensively to pass the audition written test, or where you able to just “wing it” and do well enough to pass? I find myself doing pretty well answering almost any gameshow question while watching the show, but it may be much different in the audition. Also, do you feel that the one-on-one interview with the staffer was more important than the written test? Any pointers to help me get past the audition would be great.

    Thanks so much.

    PJ

  13. Michael says:

    I am auditioning in 2 weeks. Any inside hints you can give me. Is personality important?

  14. Skip says:

    I took the test yesterday and managed to pass – I know I got at least 2 or 3 wrong (possibly more) so you don’t need to be perfect. Try to avoid the end of the day if you can – my interviewer was obviously tired and not happy to still be working. Test is still 30 questions in 10 minutes. Since they have Scantron cards it only takes them a couple minutes to correct them all. I’d say about 12 out of 80 people passed.

  15. Daniel Palmer says:

    I passed the written test last October, only to receive a no thank you postcard in the mail. So, it must have been the interview which I didn’t pass. I thought it went well but the interviewer did not ask a lot of questions. I am returning to audition again next week and have no idea what they are looking to see in the interview. Do they want someone bouncing off the walls happy or an introvert? Just don’t know..

  16. Helene says:

    Took the test on May 21, 2008- passed the test, passed the 2 interviews, received my qualifying post card…..so now all I have to do is wait!
    My advice to anyone who cares to listen is that you can’t study for the test, but you can prepare for the interviews. They like a little off-the-wall, slightly hyper, happy types. I know, because that’s me. Also it doesn’t hurt to have a cool or unusual factoid about yourself or your life experience…..SMILE!!!

  17. Lisa says:

    I’m going next week for an audition and taping in NYC. They say that the tickets aren’t guaranteed, and I wanted to know if the audition was, and what time I should plan on showing up for a 10:15am audition, 11:30am taping? Trying to fly in the night before.

    Any and all tips are GREATLY appreciated!

    ~Lisa

  18. MissG says:

    I passed the written test and interviewed this past week in NYC. Am waiting on my pass or fail postcard… A bit nervous cause the interview was short and I was tired and maybe not as spunky as I should have been… Will let you know!

  19. Goldy says:

    I have an audition this friday! I’m sooo nervous.

  20. Bill says:

    I took the written test in NYC on July 8, 2009. Its 30 questions in 10 minutes. I am a guy who can do the Sunday New York Times Crossword in 3-1/2 hours, and I failed the written test! I thought it was quite difficult. Its a general-knowledge type test, and you can’t study for it because the Q’s are all over the map. They range from popular culture (rock band lead singers name is….?) to historical facts (who was born here and died there…?) They are multiple-choice, with Q’s like: A Cygnet is a baby: A) Owl B) Goose C) Swan D) Whale. Either you know it or you don’t. Evidently I didn’t.

    In my opinion, the selection is based on the highest scores in the group… they picked the 10 (or 7, I didn’t count) highest scores. So, less than 10% ” passed”. You don’t have to get a certain number correct, just be the highest in your group. Everyone except you could get zero Q’s right, and if you got one right, you’d be the highest score in your group. [But you’d probably suck on the show!]

  21. mary quigley says:

    I don’t know how they match your scantron sheet to the number on the manilla envelope. Does anyone?

  22. bob says:

    my wife and i took the test and passed. Hint: anyone who takes 3 times in two weeks will eventually pass. but the interview. Have no clue as to why we didn’t pass. my wife is cute
    and we both have personalities and present well!
    both 57 plus though.

  23. MsMoneypenny says:

    Maybe age discrimination, Bob. I took the test for the first time and didn’t pass. Too much concentration on movies I never saw and rock stars I never listen to. I’ll try again- but not real soon.

  24. click says:

    I feel one of your advertisements caused my internet browser to resize, you might well need to set that on your blacklist.

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