Continued from Part 1…
And so it begins…finally, things are getting real!!! An upbeat producer addresses the Let’s Make a Deal waiting room! He welcomes everyone to LMAD, thanked us for being there, and provides a list of do’s and don’ts once we arrive on-set. He tells us how to act in there, to have fun, and if you feel like it, to dance during the commercials. Basically, he tells us to have a great time!
We are then led out of the waiting room in a single file line and loaded onto three charter buses for a quick 10-minute ride to the studio. Before getting on the bus, everyone must turn in his/her cell phone because no phones or camera are allowed on-set. There are two friendly ladies collecting cell phones and making sure your contestant number is attached to your phone.
The excitement grows as we board the bus. I sit next to a guy who is from L.A. dressed like a skateboarder. He’s been in the audience four times and hopes this will be his lucky day. He helped ease my nerves and told me I had a good chance of being selected because I’m from the East Coast.
The bus pulls up to the backlot and we all are told to sit in the narrow waiting area outside. This was our last chance to visit the restroom or get a drink of water. We waited maybe 20 minutes and then we were led into to the studio. We walked by the Zonks lining the parking lot and other props used on the show. (It was getting real, yo!!) Next thing I know, I am standing in the studio, looking at all the lights, the colorful doors, the rows of seats, the LMAD logo. It was unreal…this was a real TV studio! The studio was much smaller than I ever imagined, but regardless – the camera works its magic.
Producers direct each person where to sit in the studio. I was seated behind Wayne Brady’s right shoulder. After everyone was positioned the producers stepped back, took a look at the audience, and moved a few people around. Another producer came out a welcomed us to the show; he reminded us the entire studio is mic’d and everyone is being watched. He said they’ll look at you before they’re about to call you – and if you’ve lost energy, they won’t call you to play a game. They really try to scare the energy into you (and they do a great job, as the audience is consistently going crazy). Everyone is encouraged to dance during the commercial breaks.
It’s very clear that all the contestants are pre-picked before the start of the show. Wayne doesn’t have a say in who will become a contestant.
The show is also huge on the “gratitude.” The producer says if you play for something you know you can’t use, think about someone in your life who can use it, and play the game happily for them. He mentions that the audience at home won’t understand why you’re excited that you didn’t win a hot tub even though of you may live in a dorm or apartment. He told us that if our reaction was not ‘good enough’ they would re-film your reaction until the director was happy.
Lights, camera, action…the music starts and there he is! It’s Wayne Brady – in the flesh. No way, he’s a celebrity, he’s famous, he’s the reason people watch LMAD. He calls a person out the audience they play the first game and now it’s a commercial break. What?! Did that just happen? The first game is over- it was so quick!
Wayne Brady went backstage after every game. It was a little disappointing that Wayne does not interact with the audience during the commercial breaks whatsoever)
Everyone is up on their feet and dancing again. The music lowers and Wayne appears again. Another game is played and it’s another commercial break. Wow – what a whirlwind! I’m fascinated by the lights, the cameras, the behind the scenes movement. Everyone is cheering and exciting – everyone wants to be picked, but how can you not be excited about the entire experience?!
Another game came and went. And another. I’m tired from all the dancing during the commercials breaks – who knew I was that out of shape?
So Wayne comes back out and looks right at me and says “The Pirate.” I freeze for a brief second, which felt like an eternity. He just called me up to play a game. My mind is going a million miles per minute. I run over and say hello to Wayne. He asked me what I do – so I told him by day I worked for an orthodontic consulting firm (which they told us to be vague), but by night I am a Community Nomad. He asked me what that meant so I proceed to tell him I’m a tourist in my own town and have an Instagram (NCTriadGirl) that documents my adventures by taking pictures of my feet. I don’t care what Wayne thinks – I’m just excited to be in the spotlight for just a brief moment.
Next thing I know, Tiffany Coyne is standing next to me holding a hardcover book with the title Ready Dealer One. It’s a play on the book/movie Ready Player One.
She starts reading the description on the back of the book. I have no idea what she is saying – something about a futuristic story.
I’m just in awe of everything going on around me. I’m secretly praying there’s not a quiz about the book description. I do notice there is a white bookmark sticking out of the book with a dollar sign on it.
Tiffany finishes reading and Wayne presents the deal. I can go with the amount of money printed on the bookmark or what’s behind curtain one. I think for a moment and select the curtain. You only live once – go big or go home.
Tiffany then starts pulling the bookmark out of the book, to see how much money I passed on. There’s a number three…then a zero…then another zero.
Crap, how much money did I not win?! She slowly pulls the bookmark up again, and it’s blank. $300 – okay, not too bad. However, there could be a Zonk behind the curtain.
Ready or not, there’s no going back now. The curtain opens. I hold my breath. That’s not a Zonk before my eyes! It’s a set of kitchen appliances – a refrigerator, stove, and cooking tools!!! Seriously, I just won those?!?!?!?!
I act as excited as I possibly can, even though I’m still in disbelief this entire thing is happing. It transpired so fast.
The next thing I know, I’m walking back to my seat. I’m being high-fived by strangers and crowd is still cheering. It ended as quickly as it began.
There’s a whiteboard on the set that lists the winners and his/her prize value. I’m second on the list; another woman is ahead of me who won a set of watches. They use this to determine the order the contestants are approached for the Big Deal. I would love to go for the Big Deal, but I know the other woman is going to trade in those watches.
And that is actually what happened – she went for the Big Deal and ended up winning a trip to San Francisco, cash, and a brand new car! She was so excited to win and the entire audience was so happy for her!!!
She goes back to her seat and Wayne, Tiffany, and Jonathan start the “quickie deals”. The ask audience members for a variety of items, from a postage stamp to a receipt. I believe they did a total of six deals, only a couple of them appeared on the air.
After the taping was over, they told all the winners and those who received Zonks to gather in front of door three on the set. Our small group was loaded on the charter bus and shuttled back to the main building. We were then led into a small room to sign all our paperwork. We were also given a number of papers to sign and tax documents to fill out. Everyone was provided a forfeiture sheet, as you have 10 days to decline your winnings (if you choose to do so). Nothing glamorous about this part of the LMAD experience.
My show was filmed on June 29, 2018, and aired November 29, 2018. As of today, I have not yet received my winnings, but they should be arriving within the next 90 days.
Overall, I was just excited to be in the audience and was more than surprised when I was selected to appear on the show! Of course, it was an incredibly fun experience! What’s not to love about that?! Even if I wouldn’t have gotten picked, it was still a great time; however, getting picked made the overall experience million times better!