I was VERY surprised…and VERY ecstatic!
So as some of you may know, I was a contestant (and biggest winner) on the Let’s Make A Deal gameshow that aired yesterday. I wanted to write about my amazing experience and share it with all of those that know. Long story short, I was picked to be a contestant and won a trip to London, England, which includes two round trip tickets from LAX to London, 5 nights in a four star hotel, complimentary breakfast everyday, tickets for two to the London Eye, and tickets for two for a tour of the London Tower. Not too bad eh?
I have to be honest; I wasn’t exactly excited to head to LA with my girlfriend and her parents the day of. I know that the process is relatively long, and I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a big fan of dressing up. My girlfriend suggested the “cowboy” theme, because it was relatively easy and painless. I remember waking up that morning and just dragging; I didn’t shave, didn’t do my non-existing hair (ha!), and overall was just really lazy. I was more than happy and down to go and spend time with my girlfriends family in parents, but overall, I was just expecting a “meh” kind of day. Besides, who really gets picked to be on these things anyway?
We left my girlfriends house in Temecula around 10-1030ish, because we had plans to go to the afternoon show. LMAD tapes twice a day and a few times a week. We had to be in line by 12PM, and we just made it in time. When you wait in line outside, the producers make you fill out paperwork. Simple stuff like name, have you ever been on a show, release forms, ID, etc. Once you pass this, you wait in another line, where your group gets interviewed by one of the producers of the show. What are they looking for? I can’t tell you exactly, but this is where they find out who they’re going to pick for the show. Contrary to popular belief, contestants aren’t chosen at random. They look for people who they think will fit their bill; good on tv, decent personality, interesting costume? They basically don’t want duds on television. When our group came up, they asked me what my name was, where I was from, what I did, and something interesting about me. I answered in a very social and excited tone, told them my name was Ryan, from Palm Springs, that I was a property investor, and that I had drove cross country to see a baseball game in all 30 stadiums. I also added that my girlfriend was going to be in France, and told them if they had a trip to Europe, to give it to me! Ironic, eh?
After they interview you, you take a headshot. I can only assume this is for the producers again, to make sure they have a good idea of who they want on the show. You then wait in ANOTHER line to take a picture with your group, and individually, in front of a green screen (which you can see above). They want you to act excited, tell you to act like you won a car, etc. These are kind of fun and kind of get you pumped up to watch the show. You then have the option to buy the pictures, which my girlfriends dad did. He was hilariously trying to “Make a deal” and get the pictures for cheaper, and got a talking to from producers later on.
After you take photos, you sit in a waiting room. They have past LMAD shows, good moments from past shows, and try to keep everyone entertained. You can buy snacks, eat, drink etc. Everyone was also conversing with one another, talking about the show, asking where people were from, the usual. The producers then come in and talk to the crowd for a bit, mentioning that they have all been watching us to make sure we aren’t duds, essentially. They WANT you to be excited! They want you to be pumped up, because it’s good for television. More craziness = better ratings. They WANT you to win! They also gave us a few ground rules; trust me, they sound really easy, but with me going on stage, it was actually pretty difficult. One of them was to not talk like you were in character. They edited it out, but right when I came on stage, Wayne asked me where I was from, and I said I was from Palm Springs, CA, in a southern tone. Don’t know why I did it, but it just happened! Also, when you celebrate, they want you to be facing toward the camera, not towards the crowd. I started my victory dance toward the crowd, then remembered to show my dance to the cameras. Also, they did a great job of editing, but I remember watching myself on the TVs they had ABOVE the stage when I was on stage, instead of looking at the curtains. I could tell they edited a lot of this out. They basically told everyone NOT to do this if they got picked, but it obviously was a lot harder than I expected when I got called on.
At about 3PM, they finally pulled us into the studio for the game show. It’s actually very small and intimate. Again, I have no idea im going to get chosen, but the producers know at this time. We walk in, and honestly I really don’t think I have a chance at getting picked. I was there to have a good time and I wanted to have a good time, but I was trying to be active in the crowd, because the producers are definitely looking at you as you come in. They go over a few more things before the show starts, and Wayne Brady comes out! They start taping the show, and obviously Wayne Brady comes out! Here’s where the fun starts.
Wayne brings up an assistant for his first deal, and then another contestant. After that, he asks “Who wants to make a deal?” I was just jumping to have fun and have a good time, and Wayne says “I have a cowgirl, now its time for a Cowboy..YOU IN THE RED BANDANA” and points to me. I literally cant believe it and just RUN to the stage. My heart is automatically pounding and although I don’t feel nervous, I could definitely see it on tv! Some of the things they edited out were Wayne asking me where I was from, asking if I knew French, and asking my girlfriend a question or two. Here came the deal! I was offered $700, or curtain #2. I idiotically said door #2, and they edited that out. He told me that it was a curtain, not a door, and obviously that was my nervousness. He then told me that the trip could be to France, and then I went on my spiel about my girlfriend going to France. I also told Wayne that I was going with the crowd, willing to put them on my back with me (which they also edited out). The next offer was 900, which again, I had no intent of taking. The last offer was $1500, and again, money is nice, but 1500 isn’t life changing money. I was willing to get zonked just to see what was behind the curtain.
The moment of truth: Wayne tells me to look at the curtain to see what i’ve won. I was really anxious at this point, put my hands on my face in anticipation, and saw the curtain open TO SEE A TRIP TO LONDON. Right away, I just went NUTS! I couldnt even remember how I danced, but if you saw, it was definitely hilarious. I actually got some of my ideas from this guy on the price is right: Where I learned some of my moves – You’ll see that I gathered some of my inspiration from him. Again, I danced toward the crowd first, then I remembered to look at the cameras, and again, I didn’t remember anything until I saw the show yesterday except the fact that I just went absolutely nuts. It was hilarious to watch on TV and I had a great time. Again, they edited out a part where I did a do-se-do with Wayne Brady, which was definitely a highlight. I also didn’t exactly know what I had won; after I saw LONDON, I absolutely wasn’t listening and I was too excited to even realize what I had won.
I got back to my seat and couldnt believe it. Right at that point everyone around me kept asking me if I was going to go for “The Big Deal of the Day”. Honestly, the Big Deal of the Day was valued at $23,000+, but going to Europe has always been a dream of mine. I absolutely had no intent on trading my prize in. The rest of the show was extremely fun to watch now that I had known I won the trip, and I couldnt stop talking to my girlfriend and her parents. We were still in such disbelief.
After the show had aired, the winners had to stay and sign a bunch of paperwork, and W-9′s. Basically, ism going to get taxed about 10% of the trip value, which was valued at close to $10,000. That’s totally fine; I’m getting a huge discount to go to London! The paperwork took about an hour, hour and a half, but I was finally done and my girlfriend and her parents went out to dinner to celebrate.
As I type and finish this entry up, I’m still in disbelief. I remember being a kid and watching game shows thinking it’d be so cool to be on one, but c’mon, again, do you ever really think it will happen? It really is a dream come true and I can’t stress the importance of how fortunate I have been to just have the opportunity for some of the things i’ve been granted in life. I will be called by LMAD within the next three months to set up my trip, and I honestly can’t wait. A lot of people have mentioned to me how “lucky” I am, and you know what, maybe they’re right. But I will say one thing; the more I put myself out there, the luckier I am. I would have never had an opportunity to win this or that if I didn’t put myself out there and try. I would encourage all my friends to attend a taping for next season! Tickets are free and even if you don’t get picked, it’s still a fun experience (I went to a Price is Right halloween taping in 2012).
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