Photo provided by Wheel of Fortune and Chris
“You know some interesting people, don’t you?” I was asked by an ex after running into some of my friends. Why yes, I do know lots of interesting people and generally, I’m open to meeting more.
I’d thought I’d share a little bit about some of the interesting people in my life with you.
Today I’d like to introduce my step-bro, Chris. Can I take a second and tell you how much I adore him? He brings so many good things to my life. His sense of humor, his laugh, his general enthusiasm and his love of family are all things I really like about him.
While he’s an interesting guy for many more reasons, recently he was on Wheel of Fortune so I thought I’d pick his brain about his experience.
So Chris, how did you come to be on Wheel of Fortune? I know there’s an application process and auditions, but was it a whim? Did you win/lose a bet?
Wheel of Fortune does most of it’s casting with the “Wheel Mobile” which is a big truck that travels the country for casting calls. Back in December, Wheel announced that they were coming to South Florida for 2 days. The process is very random – everyone’s name is entered into the GOLDEN DRUM and if your name is picked, they bring you on stage for a quick interview and to solve a fake puzzle. By luck, my name was called and next thing I knew I was on stage completing my interview. I thought it went well but you really never know. They tell you that if you don’t hear back in the next 4-5 months, you probably won’t hear back at all.
In April, I finally got the email that I had made it to the next round of auditions. Myself and about 65 others all had to go to a conference room in Miami for the next round. Again, the whole process was so quick. Everyone in the room gets called upon to do some fake-spinning and fake-solving of puzzles. They are really watching you to ensure that you can call letters loudly and clap/smile insanely. The more clapping and smiling the better! They also give you a test with 16 half-filled out puzzles. The time for the test FLIES by- I think I may have gotten 8 of them complete.
They then cut down the room to about the top 25 for more fake-spinning, fake-solving, a fake Pat Sajak interview and a ton more clapping/smiling. From here, they send you all home with the knowledge that a handful will actually be on the show. They contact you by mail and if you don’t get a letter in 2 weeks, you will not get one at all.
Luckily for me, I had to travel for work for about 2 weeks and wasn’t home to check the mail neurotically. About two days after I got home, I checked the mail and can you believe it…a letter from Wheel! The letter said that I made the show and that they would contact me at some point over the next 18 MONTHS with my air date. They only give you 2-3 week notice for taping so you have to be ready to drop everything!
What kind of prep work did you do to get ready for the show?
I did a fair amount of studying for “Final Wheel”. My friends would pull up old answers, give me RSTLNE and then I would pick 3 contestants and a vowel. I was hitting those about 75% and getting a good rhythm for which letters I liked (Big H fan). Alas, I never got to put those skills to the test.
Pat Sajak always appears to be drunk. Does he smell like whiskey? And how much makeup does he really wear?
Pat was awesome!! No smell of Whiskey for me…he smelled great! Not sure how much makeup he wears but I can confirm that I had it caked on, and they keep adding more and more during every commercial break!
Does Pat seem like he’s one fake laugh away from going on a cursing rampage?
I could see that…it seems like Halloween Week in particular is stressful for him. There are extra sound effects (ex: cats screeching) that seem to set him off.
How does Vanna look up close?
I didn’t get as much Vanna close-up time as I did Pat but we did have one cool moment. Earlier in the day, myself and the whole week’s worth of contestants were in the back room practicing a promo that we had to tape. We each had to do a, “Hi, I’m so and so and watch me on Wheel of Fortune on ABC10″ or whatever your local affiliate was. Each member was standing up one by one to read their promos and then out of nowhere Vanna jumps in and starts reading hers! The room went nuts, everyone screaming and fainting and fanning themselves as if Obama has walked in. She was without makeup, hair pulled back and in sweats but still looked gorgeous!
A reader asks, how heavy is the Wheel?
Pretty heavy! I had hoped to get a “feel” of the wheel to be a good spinner but that was not to be.
A reader asks, were you afraid you were going to do something like one of these guys did?
Absolutely. That was the #1 salutation my fellow contestants and I said to each other, “Good luck – don’t become a Youtube sensation!”
What was the most nerve wracking part? The most fun part?
My taping was the 5th and final of the day so there was a lot of waiting and hanging around. I really wasn’t too nervous until the 4th taping when it really got real. But once the show started, it all happens so fast and was such a blur that it was impossible to really be nervous. That said, I think all contestants say that the “Pat interview” at the start of the show is the scariest part. I guess winning money was the funnest part LOL!
Which in your opinion was better? The actual turning letters or the push button screen?
I’m ok with the push-buttons and I love it when Vanna misses and has to press one again.
Are you disappointment that the Wheel of Fortune showcase shopping segments are no longer part of the show?
Haha that’s before my time a little bit. I’m just thankful I didn’t miss Pat or Vanna.
Thank you, Chris for answering our questions! If you have one for him about his time on Wheel of Fortune leave them in the comments below and I’ll see if he’ll answer more.