Part 1 – My Five Minutes of Fame on Let’s Make A Deal

Spin the wheel. Name that tune. Press your luck. C’mon down. Is that your final answer? Survey says…

As long as I can remember, I’ve always been a fan of game shows. Maybe it has something to do with the cheesy catchphrases or the charming hosts that make them so much fun to watch! Or possibly because I have great memories of watching Bob Barker when staying home sick from school. Who didn’t fascinate about dropping the Plinko chips, playing the Cliff Hanger game, or dream of running down the aisle to contestant row?! Regardless of the reason, appearing on a game show has always been one of my bucket list items.

I was lucky enough to make my TV debut on Season 10, Episode 51 of Let’s Make A Deal! Since appearing on the show, people have asked so many questions. How did you get tickets? What was the process like? Did you know you were going to be picked? Was it taped in real time? Was Wayne Brady cool?

laura with let's make a deal sign

Let’s walk through the process from the very beginning.

When the opportunity arose to secure a ticket to Let’s Make a Deal, last June, I jumped on the opportunity. It was easy to request a free ticket via the On Camera Audience website. I simply selected the date and time and provided some contact information. The official ticket arrived via email.

I Uber’ed from downtown LA to the studio in Van Nuys, arriving about 8:05 am. My taping time was scheduled for 9:00 am; however, the doors open 60 minutes prior to the established taping time. (All ticket holders are guaranteed admission to the filming.) I went through security, checked-in, received a nametag, was given a contestant number, and filled out the paperwork. A driver’s license or passport was required to enter the studio. One document that all audience members must sign confirms eligibility to become a contestant. A ‘valid contestant’ is defined as anyone who has not been a previous contestant on LMAD the last three years, been a contestant on any other game show, local, syndicated or network within the past year, or been on more than four other game shows in the past 10 years.

The next step was the interview process. Everyone is interviewed in a small group of 8-10 individuals. This is the most important part of the day – the chance to make a favorable impression. A chance to wow the producers. A chance to be memorable. The two producers asked each of us where we are from, what we do, and what is our favorite part of the show. I don’t really remember anything else (it’s very quick), but I said everything with tons of energy and smiled the entire time! If you have an interesting fact about yourself, a unique hobby, a fun job, or just a fun story – this is the time to mention it. Craft it into your interview, but don’t force it.

My interview with the producers included the following facts: I was from North Carolina (they love people from out of state), I love LMAD especially the energy between Wayne and Jonathan, not only do I have a ‘real’ job but by night I’m a Community Nomad. The producers wanted to know more about being a nomad – so I told them about my NCTriad Instagram account and of couple brief details. They also asked about the number of followers on my page. This interview lasted 45 seconds at the most – it was over as quickly as it started.

Word of advice regarding the interview: Be yourself but take it up two or three levels, because enthusiasm goes a long way. No one wants to watch boring TV.

After the whirlwind of an interview, all contestants entered a large waiting area full of 180 chairs and big screen TVs. This area became ‘home’ for the next two hours while all the other contestants filtered in.

waiting in line- let's make a deal

let's make a deal sign

In one corner of the waiting area is the All About Fun Costume Shop. I had read good things about renting a costume on-site so I decided to go that route. Most of the other contestants arrived their costumes, but quite a few others were in the costume corner selecting the perfect outfit.

let's make a deal costume shop

The rentals are super-cheap and you simply turn them back in after the taping! They have a wall, kinda like Party City, with photos of all the outfits that can be rented ranging for $10-$25. They also offer a wide variety of accessories that can be purchased, such as wigs and hats. They make it easy for everyone! The costume staff is so helpful and they want you to look your best on screen.

I selected a red pirate costume, complete with matching bandana. I paid via credit card and for collateral and they kept my cell phone. They want to be 100% sure all costumes are returned.

The producers LOVE creative costumes! The cleaner-cut the costume the better, they don’t want any messy looking costumes on TV. Also, if you are wearing anything with a brand name or logo, producers will give you a LMAD sticker to cover it up – that’s why there are so many stickers on audience members. It is also asked that you do not wear costumes with a recognizable cartoon, television, movie, or other copyrighted characters, or include any items that have designer names, corporate or sports team names or logos, copyrighted images, celebrity names or images (living or deceased). If costumes are not your ‘thing’ it is asked that you dress in nice, casual attire.

After renting my costume, I got in line for the photo area – this step is required for all contestants. Two photos are taken in front of a green screen – a normal smiling image and an ‘I’m so freakin’ excited I can’t believe I’m in the LMAD audience!” photo. You can purchase the photo, as they superimpose one LMAD studio behind you. I declined to purchase the 8×10 because I didn’t want to carry it around.

The next part of the process was the ‘Hurry Up and Wait” step. This provided quite a lot of time to mingle with other contestants, watch past segments of the show on the large TV screens, purchase a snack, check out the souvenir table, or go the restrooms.

let's make a deal waiting area

There’s no doubt in my mind there are undercover producers mixed in with real contestants in the waiting area. In saying that, I was friendly and social with people around me, complimented people on their costumes, and was truly interested in the other people there. It feels as if you become a dysfunctional family made up of clowns, kings, cupcakes, and dinosaurs throughout the day.

waiting area - let's make a deal

At this point, you can have your cell phone – take pictures, post on social media about the excitement, but don’t spend the entire time looking at your phone. Live in the moment, and be interested in everyone you meet that day.

To be continued in Part 2

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