Sunday, September 18, 2011
So You Want To Be On Survivor...
This may be as close as I ever get to Jeff Probst. Unless I bump into him at the airport or move to California and start stalking him.
So you want to be on Survivor? Hey, me too! What a coincidence! Granted, I have absolutely no idea how to get on the show. I've only applied about...(counting on my fingers, ran out of fingers) 15 or so times and have never even gotten a call-in for an interview. Heck, I'd even settle for a Mark Burnett rejection form letter (Dear Sir, quit applying to Survivor, you're just embarrassing yourself at this point.) but I can't even get that. Sigh.
Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment but all that rejection hasn't deterred me one bit. Despite the fact that the older, slower, and fatter I get the less chance I actually have of winning if I do ever get selected. And naturally the uglier I get, my chances decrease even further. Whatever, I'm gonna keep trying anyway. While I may not be able to help you (or me) get on the show, I'm more than happy to share my recent experience of applying at an open casting call. This weekend they had one in my state and I drove 90 minutes to get there. That's how deep my passion runs.
Of course, I'm the same guy who spent an hour driving to three different Best Buys trying to find the free Darth Vader shirt that came with the recently released Star Wars Blu-ray collection (I didn't get one), so interpret that as you will.
Check out my experience, through photos and captions, below.
This is the line in front of me for the open call. It was surprisingly short. I got there about an hour early and there were only about 100 people in line. My guess is that holding the event in a small town outside of Denver reduced the number of people willing to attend. It may also have had to do with the fact that this small town is Black Hawk, known for its small stakes gambling. Aside from octogenarians and people with gambling addictions, I doubt anybody in Colorado knows where the hell this town is. I sure didn't, I had to Mapquest it.
For the record if anyone from this line makes it my money is on the black guy with the flat top and the brown vest to the right. He was chatting up a lot of people and seemed pretty charismatic. Meanwhile I stood in line listening to a Bill Simmons podcast and checking out fantasy football info on my iPhone. Oh yes, I was already playing the game in line. The anti-social-stay-away-from-me game.
Here's the line behind me. The one thing I can say I had going for me was that I was one of two minorities (the other being the dude previously mentioned with the vest) in the line. There were a ton of white guys! There were also a few younger, scantily clad women but I don't think they were Survivor quality. When you look like you jumped off your roof to fit into your dress, you probably picked the wrong outfit.
So here's how it worked. People in line were given a waiver to sign saying it was okay to use their image. This is the same form on the pdf that usually is available on the CBS website, people who've applied to the show before will know what I'm talking about. You walked up to a table, gave someone your name, phone number, and email address and are directed to one of the tents above. Here is where you film your 1-minute video. What do you say? Pretty much what you'd say in the video you'd send in to CBS if you applied from home, but 2 minutes shorter. There's just a cameraman, some dude who takes your name, and a camera. You're handed a mic and you get do do your thing. That's it.
The line moved super fast, they got people in and out faster than McDonald's during the lunch time rush. From the time I got in line to the time I was done with my video, I was there no longer than an hour and a half. So what did I say in my 60-second blurb? Good question. I honestly don't remember much. I started clamming up as the line whittled down. I thought I'd have more time, so I wasn't really prepared. Which was really dumb.
What I do remember is making a Patrick Swayze/Roadhouse reference, mentioning something about how my work/life history would make me successful in the game, and then I was out of time. I handed back the mic, took a pic of my boy Jeff Probst that's at the top of this post, and headed home.
So how did I do? Okay, I guess. Looking back on it now I certainly would have included a few more jokes in my video. In fact, if I knew the exact process I probably would have written out a script to memorize. At the very least I should have written an outline of what I wanted to say while I was waiting in line. I certainly had the time to do it, but that's on me. I dropped the ball on that one. Do I think applying this way improves my chances of being on the show? Not really. There was no application form to fill out, which is where I feel my sense of humor comes through, so that's a negative for me. Can casting get an idea of who I am based on a 60-second video? Probably not. But maybe being hardcore enough to go to a casting call counts for something. Who knows?
Despite not doing my best I'm glad that I gave the open casting call a shot. I'm a bit of a risk taker so why not drive to some sleepy little town and try? Besides, applying to Survivor is just flat out fun for me. I enjoy answering the questions on the application and making the video. I've made some goofy (and incredibly embarrassing) tapes but I sure got a kick out of doing it. All I need is to get in front of someone in casting and I really do think I'd have a chance, but if not, it's really not a big deal. Rejection allows me to live vicariously through the people who are on the show instead of me, without starving or getting eaten alive by bugs.
If nothing else, if I ever do get selected, at least I'll have some good stories to tell.