Joe P's Blog Post
April 4, 2014
I’ve been a fan of the show since I was a toddler. I would watch with my parents, sitting in front of the T.V. and be fascinated with this spinning wheel in front of me. I remember calling the show “Wheelies” when I first started watching since I couldn’t say “Wheel of Fortune” all the way at the time.
I remained a fan of the show, and always wanted to have the chance to be on it and spin the Wheel myself. I attended a local Wheelmobile event 2 months after my 18th birthday, but was never called up. However, I never gave up hope. Fast forward to my Fall 2012 semester. I received an email from the show where they were offering fans the chance to send in a video introducing themselves to the produces and explain why they would be a good contestant. I decided to give it a shot and see what happens. The video wasn’t fancy and had no special editing. It was just a one minute video of me introducing myself and why I would be a good contestant, doing my best to make my personality shine.
After a few months, I forgot about the submission. Then one day in early April, I received an email inviting me to a final audition in downtown Chicago. I knew this was my big chance so I did my research to prepare for the audition. I played the video game, watched the show, and searched the internet for what other people had to say about their experience from blogs and fan forums. I gave it my all at the audition and all I could do now was wait. On the last day of my finals for the semester, I received a text from my mom that the letter came. I was going to be on Wheel of Fortune!
After many months of waiting, with friends and family and professors asking when I would be on, I finally got the call in late January. I was invited to tape for College Week on Valentine’s Day, to which I said yes without hesitation. All of my friends and family were very excited (my Facebook page has never been more active then when I made the announcement). Between normal schoolwork at U.I.C., applying to law school, and preparing for the taping, those two weeks went very fast. I prepared by doing what I did for the audition: watched the show, played the video games, and looked for words of advice from former contestants who already had the experience of playing America’s Game®.
The day of my taping finally came. I had mixed feelings of excitement and nervousness as we arrived at the studio. I received words of encouragement the day before which included a text message from a friend as I was heading to the studio to wish me luck. The excitement started to come out when my fellow contestants and I got to go to the set and see the wheel and puzzleboard up close and personal. It was smaller than I imagined it to be from watching the show, but it is still heavy and difficult to spin. The excitement really sank in when who other than Vanna came into the green room to wish us luck. I’ve been watching her since I could learn to talk and there she is in front of me! She was very nice to everyone. While I didn’t get to meet Pat until we were taping on stage, he is just as nice and personable by keeping us pepped up between rounds and giving us words of encouragement to keep us calm.
After rehearsing and going through the rules and paperwork, we were paired up with who we would play with and selected our taping order. Our group drew number one and got to go first. Now is where the nervousness started to sink in. All I could think is, “This is really happening!” It started to become surreal at this point as I’m standing on the set, just looking forward. Then, out of nowhere I hear Jim Thornton’s voice announcing, “From Sony Pictures Studios………It’s America’s Game!” Next thing I see is Pat & Vanna coming out from behind the puzzleboard. This is it, my childhood dream is coming true.
For those that are trying to get on the show, don’t give up and be patient. It took a few years for me to get on after my first attempt, but here I am now telling you about my experience. If you do get on, soak it all in and enjoy every second of your experience. It may seem like a long day ahead, but the actual taping was probably the fastest 30 minutes I have ever experienced, and I will never forget it.
So, how did I do? You’ll just to see how I did when I air on April 7th.