Unnaturally Long Attention Span

AvatarA blog about Grad School at Stanford, Working in a Silicon Valley Internet Company, and Statistical Machine Learning. mike AT ai.stanford.edu

Come on Down!

It's not every week you live out one of your childhood dreams. This past weekend, I was on a live taping of "The Price is Right with Drew Carey" in Hollywood. You can catch my mug on TV on the December 11 airdate. I'm right in the first row. Obviously, the show is THE classic game show and I spent countless Sunday evenings in my youth watching the show with my mom. To see it in person, though, was an eye opening experience.

Yeah, that's right, I snuck in my camera past security.

A) The set is TINY. On TV, the cameras make the set look wide, with expansive swashes of white, bright shiny lights, and immaculate sets and prize showcases. In reality, the entire studio is the size of a high school auditorium, with drab 70's-esque decor, folding chairs, dilapidated facades with chipping paint. Also, those trip showcases are all greenscreened, so as an audience member you just see the models standing in front of a blank wall.

B) When you watch it on TV, you just see an excited audience and with the host and the contestants being the only people on stage. However, the vibe in situ is totally different. During the show, the stage is full with 15 or so people , the producer yelling instructions, 5 massive cameras rigs shooting the stage and audience at various angles. In the crowd, we are looking up at TV monitors hanging from the ceiling showing what the camera sees. On TV, whenever you see the audience they are always in a constant state of euphoria. However, in reality, there are several long breaks between shots, when they have to set up the new games and showcases (there isn't enough room on the stage for multiple game sets). So, most of the time the crowd is pretty mellow until the lights come back on and everyone fights to get in front of the camera.

C) Another thing that you'd miss from watching the show is that the contestant selection from the audience is not random at all. Hours before the show airs, each of the hundreds of audience members goes through an interview with a talent scout to see who's going to be on the show. You have practically no hope of getting on the show if you are not female, humourously obese, and act as if you are on some kind of controlled substance.

In all, it was good to see "how the sausage is made." Next time, I'll know which drugs to take before trying to get on a TV show.


6:38 PM, November 15, 2008 BellCurve said...

Next time we shall go as a couple.

9:13 AM, June 30, 2009 Anonymous said...