America’s Got Talent Auditions: Orlando
How to Get on TV
Last week I wrote about Watching The Ellen Show Tape at Universal Studios. Well as luck would have it – and that’s exactly what it was, I ended up at the taping of America’s Got Talent. It was at the Hard Rock Live at Universal Orlando. I’m pleased to be able to share with you what the experience was like. And as an added bonus, I’ve got some tips to share with you on “how to get on TV” – because I think I’ll be on it.
1. Get Tickets and Arrive Early
Yep, this is the inevitable. You have to arrive early in order to get seats, and you need to have tickets. How do you get tickets? Visit your favorite show’s website and search for tickets. They’ll keep you posted on when they become available. Lines are long. Just be patient. You’re about to be on TV!
2. Obey the Rules
The confirmation e-mail for America’s Got Talent Tickets had a pretty detailed list of do’s and don’ts.
DRESS CODE IN EFFECT! Hip, upscale attire is mandatory. You will be on camera so it is very important that you dress nicely! When you look great, the show looks great! No shorts, t-shirts, or hats. We’d prefer you don’t wear jeans. WE ASK THAT EVERYONE PLEASE WEAR DARKER COLORED CLOTHING. Absolutely no white attire or clothing with logos or writing will be allowed into the studio.
NO CELL PHONES, PAGERS, OR CAMERAS WILL BE ALLOWED INSIDE THE THEATER.
We dressed hip. Take a look.
The last rule was made quite clear several times. Cell Phones and Cameras were not allowed inside the theater. Officials requested that anyone with phones check them in at the box office. Don’t get caught folks. Leave your cell phones behind. You don’t want to miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. For a blogger like myself, this is a tough request. Naturally photos help tell the story of the adventure. Since photos weren’t allowed, I’ve done the next best thing – hired a police sketch artist to draw the moments. And by hired I mean I paid myself. And by paid myself, I mean I worked for free. And by artist I mean stick figures.
When we arrived to our seats on the balcony the production crew was “blocking” the stage. That’s industry-speak for putting props and people in position and marking them for the camera. It was really cool to see the set live. If you’re not a frequent viewer of the show, David Hasselhoff has been replaced by Howie Mandel this season. He joins regulars Piers Morgan and Sharon Osborne. It looked just like TV – but even better. All the details were there: the big “X’s”, the lights, and the judge’s table with the red buttons.
3. Have Patience
You’ll be waiting for a while so have patience and enjoy witnessing the magic of television. Since there were no phones allowed we actually all had to talk to each other instead of playing phone games – what a concept! We decided to pass the time by anticipating what acts we would see during the show’s taping. We were pretty good at guessing some of the acts. Neither Susan Boyle nor someone with boils were in our audition session though.
4. Act – You’re in a Studio Audience for a TV Show Taping!
Around 6:40 the warm-up guy Chuck came by. His job was to keep us motivated throughout the entire evening. He told us to clap, cheer, boo, dance, etc. It’s an important job because the energy needs to stay continually high. He had T-Shirts and other prizes to give away.
One of the producers came on stage and shared that they’d be taping some audience shots first. While the camera was on the crowds we pretended to laugh, grimace, shed a tear, sit on the edge of our seats and more. It took about 30 minutes. The host of the show Nick came on stage, followed by the judges. From our vantage point we couldn’t see the judge’s table, but had a fine view of the acts.
5. Have Patience
2.5 hours later we had a break. What will become a 2 hour episode took nearly 4 hours to film. Much of the time was spent preparing the stage for the next act. In between acts the make-up artists would touch-up Howie’s head while they would lint roll Piers’ jacket. He was lint free all night!
During these breaks Chuck would come onstage and continue to bribe us with T-shirts. He became quite annoying after the 3rd act. Towards the end I wanted to upchuck. Sorry dude. There’s a rule in comedy called the rule of 3′s. After 3 mentions of something it’s not funny anymore. I can’t count how many references to the Lakers and how badly you needed a female companion. Hang up the mic. It wasn’t your night.
Many audience members started to leave at this break. One of the most important needs for a television taping is a full house – or the appearance of one. As taping resumed a production assistant came to all of us in the balcony and asked us if we’d like to go down to the floor. Of course!
We originally sat in the 10th row. But then some people in the rows in front of us started to leave so we moved up again. Row number 3 baby! I could see the judges no more than 15 feet away! Waiting around has it’s advantages because we were about to have our moment in the spotlight.
6. Never Look at the Camera
The cardinal rule of being in a studio audience for a television show taping is to never look in the camera. It’s supposed to be natural. Viewers at home don’t want to see you, they want to see you. Make sense? Resist the urge.
For the benefit of the continuity editor, the four of us sat in the same order for all 3 seats. Just in case.
Because we followed the Dress Code and dressed hip (and the Camera Rule), we made it to the front by the aisle. During several acts the cameraman walked up the aisle and positioned the camera on us for quite a while. Every so often the red light on his camera would illuminate, presumably to indicate that his camera was “live”. We were on TV – well not really, but possibly, we might get edited out, but maybe not. Only time will tell.
So what acts did we see? I won’t give that away. You’ll have to see for yourself when they air in June. Well…how about if I give you a preview?
My favorites were “Fafo”, “Mama T” and the Indian Dancers from Georgia. Great night. Great acts. Great friends. Great friends. Hopefully a Great Outcome.
Have you ever been on TV? What was the experience like? Share by commenting below. When you’re done, become a fan of adventureswithben on Facebook here.
Have a great weekend.
I’ll see you out there…!
Did you know…? Metal detectors can’t detect iphones! But don’t take the risk – just sayin’